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Old 03-20-2013, 01:41 AM   #1
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Default On going off flavor issue

This is a continuation of this thread I started:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/str...edione-395469/

After doing more testing, I can conclude this is not a fermentation issue.

I have done a test batch with three different yeast strains (in brand new 2 gallon buckets), with appropriate pitching rates and 60 seconds of pure o2 from a diffusion stone.

Each test batch was just sampled and it had the same honey-like or caramel flavor as the body of the beer and a sweetness that people classify almost as buttery. But again, this flavor is not unpleasant, many of my friends really like it, but it is not as I intended it. This sounds just like pentaindione, which is a yeast bi-product. However, I tried using biomat dar which is inhibits the precursor of diacetyl and pentaindione from happening.

Any ale I make (mostly with light body) are dominated by this flavor. Even lagers have this similar off taste to some extent. In fact, I had a light lager that I forgot about because it had this flavor sitting in the fridge and out in the basement on and off for probably 8 months, this very beer now tastes amazing and has no sign of the off flavor.

So back to what we know:

We know its not a fermentation issue based on the temperature being in the mid 60s and holding constant, pitching enough yeast and getting proper o2 as well as testing three different yeast strains (US-05, WLP029, WLP090). Fermentation was conducted in brand new buckets that were given a good oxi soak and sanitized.

I also tried a lighter boil to see if kettle caramelization was an issue since I have a very vigorous boil, but the last batch still had this off flavor with a lighter boil.

With 10 minutes left I also circulate the boiling wort into pumps and the CFC so they are sanitized. A few batches ago I also gave it a good hot PBW soak and circulated it throughout the entire system of kettles and also used Acid 5 to give it an acid rinse. Again, anything in the BK should be safe anyways since it gets boiled.

The one final tid bit that has me thinking is this: When I started brewing extract 3 years ago, I recall this same taste and I have just now identified this. The only thing my extract days have in common with now was US-05 yeast, and the same city water, which by the way is excellent:

Ca - 20.5
Mg - 13.1
Na - 13.2
K - 0
Iron ~ 0
Bicarbonate - 85.9
Carbonate - .7
Sulfate - 21.1
Chloride - 33.4
Nitrate - .3
Nitrite - 0
Fluoride - .6

The water tastes great and to me is just as good as bottle water. However, at this point it's one of the only variables left to try to change. The only other suggestion was to try a different base malt. I currently use Briess 2-row.

Finally, I made a dry stout which came out great to me. However, it had black barley in it and it may be just 'hiding' this taste.

At this point the only thing I can think of is to try RO water and just see what the results are. I have gone to my LHBS store as well as talked to club members and we are somewhat stumped.

I have a hard time thinking its a bacteria infection since we have tried new fermenters and everything is getting cleaned and sanitized before touching the wort. If its not a fermentation issue, what's left?


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Old 03-20-2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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Just found an older water report:

http://www.cedar-rapids.org/resident...y%20Report.pdf

That states they have on average 3.2 PPM of Chlorine residue in the water. I typically have never experienced the medicinal or band-aid taste in my beers, but could this have anything to do with it?


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Old 03-20-2013, 12:37 PM   #3
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I had the exact same type of off flavor in about 6 consecutive batches. The beer tasted fine out of the fermenter but developed this off flavor after I kegged/dry hopped. I swapped out to fermenting in sanke kegs, got new serving kegs (I like sankes) and shanks/faucets/bev lines. My latest beer tastes fine (dark mild). I have 2 pale ales that I just put in the kegerator so we'll see if the problem comes back.

I am fairly sure it was part of my kegging system. Maybe something in my lines/faucets.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:55 PM   #4
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I get this off flavor before kegging. Right out of the primary fermenter it has it already.

Based on that, I can eliminate the kegging/keezer setup from the equation.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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I think butter = diacetyl. You said you ferment at a constant temperature. Maybe next time try a diacetyl rest - increase you fermentation temp a couple of degrees after a few days of fermentation.

Just found this paper by White Labs regarding diacetyl:

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/Diacetyl_Time_Line.pdf
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:22 PM   #6
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Here's a list of off by DRAFT magazine. Buttery flavor is most often diacetyl. http://draftmag.com/offflavors/
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
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I don't disagree with you guys in where you are thinking, because I spent a lot of time in that arena, but here is what I did to test fermentation:

I brewed a 6 gallon blonde ale

wort was chilled within 20 minutes in a whirlpool and left most of the hot break behind.

I bought (3) 2 gallon HDPE buckets from my LHBS with lids and new airlocks, everything was cleaned with oxi then sanitized.

The wort was transfered to each bucket, where it was aerated for 60 seconds with pure o2 and a diffusion stone.

I used three different yeast strains: Kolsch, Super San Diego, US-05

Each batch fermentation was in the mid 60s and occasionally rising during the day time.

I struggle that that is the issue based on we are talking about ales fermenting at the right temperatures. I have also tried krausening one of the blonde ales by pitching active yeast and that did not work to clean up the diacetyl. Further, I used biomat dar, which is a basically a means to prevent the precursor to diacetyl from happening and therefore no diacetyl. In the white labs article above, they even say for ale's a tempreature increase is not necessary.

It's possible buttery isn't the right word for it. I would say its a sweetness/slickness in the end that is smooth. Person in the brew club said buttery.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:10 PM   #8
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You could try Distilled water with brewing salts to eliminate the water. I have a hard time believing it's the water but that's all I can think of that is consistent.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:12 PM   #9
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I don't think that 20 ppm calcium is enough for overall yeast health. Your yeast may be stressing so much that off flavors are occuring in abundance and never fully reabsorbed.

The reason your extract brews were better is because there are retained minerals in extract from the original maltster's brewing water, which boosted your start water's mineral content.

With all-grain, you don't have those retained minerals. So, I would say that this is a water issue that is leading to fermentation issues.

Just curious, but how many days are you going from grain to glass?
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
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Diacetyl doesn't have to be buttery. It can also be oily or a slickness.


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