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Old 09-23-2008, 12:28 AM   #1
jcole
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Default First batch of beer's taste seems off

I've been sampling my first home brew, an AHS Special Bitter which has been bottled and aged for almost 3 weeks now.

Its a little weaker in terms of alcohol level and gravity that the recipe indicates (which is not necessarily an issue for me), however the taste seems to be a little off.

I'm having a hard time describing exactly what the off-flavors are, but it is a little spicier than expected (based on the recipe) and it has something of what might be described as a plastic-y taste and smell.

I'm planning on taking a bottle by the LHBS and get their input, but thought I'd put it out here on the forum as well to get some ideas on what might have happened.

As I mentioned, this was my first brew which was down outside over a friend's house who has been brewing for a while. He seems to know what he is doing, but I'm wondering if some outside contaminant may have gotten into the wort at some point.

Thanks for any insight.

John


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Old 09-23-2008, 12:38 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jcole View Post
I've been sampling my first home brew, an AHS Special Bitter which has been bottled and aged for almost 3 weeks now.

Its a little weaker in terms of alcohol level and gravity that the recipe indicates (which is not necessarily an issue for me), however the taste seems to be a little off.

I'm having a hard time describing exactly what the off-flavors are, but it is a little spicier than expected (based on the recipe) and it has something of what might be described as a plastic-y taste and smell.

I'm planning on taking a bottle by the LHBS and get their input, but thought I'd put it out here on the forum as well to get some ideas on what might have happened.

As I mentioned, this was my first brew which was down outside over a friend's house who has been brewing for a while. He seems to know what he is doing, but I'm wondering if some outside contaminant may have gotten into the wort at some point.

Thanks for any insight.

John
"Plastic-y" tends to be from phenols. That can come from stressed yeast (high temperatures) but can also come from the combo of chlorine and fermentation. If your water has chlorine in it, you can boil it before using and it'll help. If you use bleach to santize, you can taste phenols if it's not rinsed enough after sanitizing.

It doesn't really sound like contamination to me.


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Old 09-23-2008, 12:38 AM   #3
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spicy could be a result of a higher fermentation temp....i had a batch a while back that fermented at around 78 because my house warmed up and there were deffinitly some odd flavors. Check this out and see if anything fits the taste your finding... also what temp did you ferment at?

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Old 09-23-2008, 01:39 AM   #4
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Well, my house in Texas stays at around 78 degrees, so that could explain the spiciness.

It will be easier to keep it cooler when Fall finally arrives, but its tough during the summer.

Now that I think about it, it actually could have been chlorine related. My friend who was helping me with my first batch used water from his garden hose - so either the plastic taste could have come from the hose - or the unfiltered water tap water.

Since then, I've made three other batches of beer at my house using tap water from a decent under the sink water filter that should be pulling the chlorine out.

I sampled my second batch, a dry stout tonight and although it had some of the spiciness, it did not have that plastic taste.

John

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Old 09-23-2008, 06:11 AM   #5
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i would get an rv type filter which hooks onto the hose to filter out any chemical's from the water or use store water and as for the temp, you can build a box out of foam core insulation which is the type you would use for your house. Tape or glue togeather a box and then freeze 2litter soda bottles to put in to drop the temp. Ive heard of people lagering in setups similar so make sure it doesnt get too cold. Its an easy dirt cheap soluton...this is a similar setup but you would be using ice from the bottles and in this they used a modified cooling coil from an old fridge. Door removed obviously for photo,

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Old 09-23-2008, 06:16 AM   #6
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or better yet: Building an IceCube Fermentation Chiller - BrewBoard
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Old 09-23-2008, 07:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info scinerd3000.

So is there anything that can be done for the plastic taste at this point? Although the beer is somewhat drinkable, the off flavors aren't doing it for me... and I've got another batch ready bottle and could use the empty bottles...
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:10 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info scinerd3000.

So is there anything that can be done for the plastic taste at this point? Although the beer is somewhat drinkable, the off flavors aren't doing it for me... and I've got another batch ready bottle and could use the empty bottles...
Sorry to say that those flavors don't seem to improve with age. You could try aging it longer, just in case it does fade. I hate to dump beer, so I'd encourage you to hang on to it if you can.


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