All My Brews Taste the same

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Wingnutt73

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So I have been brewing for roughly 2 years now. Extract for now. And Lately I have been noticing that all my batches regardless of Type all have the same taste. I cant explain it I Brewed a Pumpkin ale and my last batch was a Oatmeal Milk Stout and while they had their differences they also tasted the same as an after note.

Do I have an infection in my fermentor?
It's it because I use Plastic 5 gal buckets that I am getting the taste?
Should I use Glass from now on?

I'm at a lose on how to get this dang taste out of my beer. It comes through the longer the beer ages. I want to have my own taste but this one reminds me of vomit. The beer is great fresh 2-5 weeks in the bottle but after that it turns to okay and then not so much.

Please if anyone else has had this issue help me!!!! :confused:
 

Hello

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I brew using extract as well. I can taste a difference in my beers but I wonder if the taste you're talking about is the twang (of sorts) from the extract. When do you add it to your boil?

Buckets have nothing to do with it, really. I would think that maybe at some point I would replace the bucket just because, but it shouldn't be the cause of any flavor in your beer. If you have an infection, I think it is pretty obvious.

Can you point to a couple recipes where the brew tasted the same and then tasted gross after a few weeks? I wonder if they're oxidized. What temps are the bottles kept at?
 

Yooper

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There are two things that I can think of that would cause the "sameness", and then later an off-taste.

One is ingredients, of course. The extract especially, if boiled the entire time, might be the culprit, but I'd consider water more likely. If your water has chlorine (especially in the form of chloramines), that would explain much of it. Also, yeast strain plays a huge part. If you're using the same yeast strain for all the batches, that could be an issue.

The other thing I think of is fermentation temperature. If the fermentation gets warmer than optimum, some off-flavors are created and they tend to taste similar across all beer styles. I'd suggest cooling the wort to 60 degrees before adding the yeast, and fermenting the beer at no more than 65 degrees, and that should correct that issue if that's been happening.
 

duboman

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If the beers taste unique and different and good when fresh in the bottle and then begin going south, infection could be a cause in started in the bottling process.

If the ingredients you are using are not fresh then the product can go south or not turn out the way you expect.

If all your beers taste the same from start to finish then I would begin by investigating your water as your water source could be muddying up the uniqueness of your beers even if the recipes are different.

Try and brew a batch with R/O or bottled water, read the brewing science stickie for building it up and see how it turns out.

Edit: Yooper beat me to the water suggestion:)
 
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Wingnutt73

Wingnutt73

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Thanks to you both. The ingredients I use for the most part are "Fresh" I get them from the LHBS and have them pull the different grains and mil them for me. As far as the DME/LME I use the same products everytime for the most part. Hops are either Fresh or pellet.
I have not checked the water yet. That may very well be the issue. That was my next step in my brewing adventure was the water chemistry. I have an inline water filter but it probably needs a change out and I will look into that also.
As far as the fermentation goes. I cool it down to around 70 pitch and keep at 70 for roughly a week rack to a secondary for another 1-2 weeks and bottle. Usually keep it bottles 2-3 weeks before I fridge it.
From what I have read 70 is a pretty decent temp to ferment at for ales, I thought the lower temps were more for lagers which I would love to try at some point.
Any pointers On what I shoudl be looking for when testing water? thanks again guys
 

Yooper

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Thanks to you both. The ingredients I use for the most part are "Fresh" I get them from the LHBS and have them pull the different grains and mil them for me. As far as the DME/LME I use the same products everytime for the most part. Hops are either Fresh or pellet.
I have not checked the water yet. That may very well be the issue. That was my next step in my brewing adventure was the water chemistry. I have an inline water filter but it probably needs a change out and I will look into that also.
As far as the fermentation goes. I cool it down to around 70 pitch and keep at 70 for roughly a week rack to a secondary for another 1-2 weeks and bottle. Usually keep it bottles 2-3 weeks before I fridge it.
From what I have read 70 is a pretty decent temp to ferment at for ales, I thought the lower temps were more for lagers which I would love to try at some point.
Any pointers On what I shoudl be looking for when testing water? thanks again guys
There are two things right away I'd try for the next batch, based on the comments there.

One- buy water from the store. RO (reverse osmosis) water would be perfect. Usually, they are in the "water machine" in grocery stores and in places like Super Wal-mart. If you can't get RO water, distilled would be fine but a bit more expensive. (I think I paid $1.78 for 4 gallons of RO water).

Next, depending on yeast strain, chill the wort to 60 degrees or thereabouts. If you're using S05, try to ferment no higher than 68. (beer temperature, not ambient). If you're using liquid yeast, make sure you consult a yeast pitching calculator (mrmalty.com or yeastcalc) and pitch the proper amount of yeast.

Hold in the fermenter for about 2 weeks, and then bottle. Skip the secondary this time, as it could be a chance to oxidize the beer and we can rule that out as a variable.

I'm not sure if the off-flavor is coming from water or stressed yeast but "vomit" doesn't sound too yummy, so this may work and fix your issues the first time. :cross:
 

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You could also pour all of your water off in a bucket prior to brew day and toss a campden tablet in and let stand for 24hours, if you don't have easy access to pick up RO water. That will help neutralize any chloramines that Yooper speaks of. Usually one tablet will do 20Gal of water. Most of the guys in my club on municipal water sources all do this, and rave about how much better their beer is by doing it.
 

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Two points:

70 ambient temperature definitely seems too high. The wort can rise in temperature by about 5-10+ while fermenting, and unless you are brewing a style which uses a yeast strain you want to shine (hefeweizens, saisons, some Belgians, etc.), I'd aim to hit 60-62 at the start of fermentation.

2. Why are you racking to secondary after only a week? In fact, why are you racking to secondary at all? The yeast not only needs time to ferment, but also clean up some of the byproducts of it. Unless you have a specific reason to secondary, I'd skip it. I have much less experience than you - I've only brewed 6 batches so far - but I've only used a secondary twice. One to age a "pumpkin" ale on rum and oak, and another to age on blueberries. Both sat in primary for over two weeks before transferring. I've dry hopped in primary, and will see how that turned out as I just bottled those two IPAs last weekend.
 
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Wingnutt73

Wingnutt73

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Wow Great info again and Thanks Yooper!! I will Try that out I have a basement that statys about 68 in the summer and drops to around 60 in winter so I should hit that temp no problem if I rack down there.
I have always been under the impression that racking to a secondary would help give the beer a cleaner taste rather then sitting on the yeast cake and getting an off flavor (Which I guess isnt helping)
On a side note this last Oatmeal milk Stout I did not rack to a secondary, I left it in the primary for 2 weeks bottled and served, Still has that "Twang" which cross your fingers wont turn to vomit in a month.
Second Side note I guess I could just continue to make the brews and pound 2 cases or so in 2 weeks time and not let the brew get old!!
 

helibrewer

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There is a contaminant called Megaspherea Cerevisiae that occurs in bottled beer. It produces butyric acid which has a "baby vomit" odor.
 

nhindian

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Racking off the yeast cake is a definite concern for large scale breweries, where the yeast is under a ton more pressure from the beer, but on the home brewing scale, yeast autolysis isn't typically a concern. Long term aging (several months) isn't recommended, but letting it sit for up to a month won't do any harm.

When do you typically add your extract? I know Northern Brewer usually says to add the full amount right at the start of the boil, but a lot of people recommend splitting the additions. The extract has already been boiled, so there's no need to do it again. Personally, I add about a third of my extract at the start and don't add the rest until the 5-10 minutes remaining mark. May want to give that a try as well.
 

motobrewer

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if you're using the same water source and same yeast, your beers will have very similar flavor profiles.

obviously your stouts will have roasted notes and your pales will have bitter/hop notes but the base flavors will be identical.
 

ong

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motobrewer said:
if you're using the same water source and same yeast, your beers will have very similar flavor profiles. obviously your stouts will have roasted notes and your pales will have bitter/hop notes but the base flavors will be identical.
I have to disagree with you on this one -- it's like saying all your breads will be the same if you use the same yeast and flour. I never really futz with water chemistry, and I do pitch US-05 for a lot of beers, but my blackberry cream ale doesn't taste much like my Comet IPA or my cacao stout.
 
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Wingnutt73

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I typicaly use WLP English ale yeasts, Water is always the same but the brews are for the most part different. Good to know about the secondary that would make more room for the next Batch!!
As far as adding the extract I do toss it all in at the 60min mark so maybe do a half @ 60 half @ 30min?
I think to start im going to try Yoppers suggestion with the water. I don't want to change the whole process all at once and have something else pop up. Trial and Error I guess.
Either way As I stated earlier the brew is great and everyone that has had it says it great. I t just doesnt age well and Since i'm Tasteing it more than anyone I taste the "Twang" that some may not.
Another thing I understand that the Extract has already been boiled but what difference does it make not tossing it all in @ 60 min? Its all sugars at that point And I am very careful not to scorch it. just wondering.
But again great info guys keep it comeing.
 

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I also had a problem of my beer tasting great until I bottled it and then within 2-3 weeks a strong off flavor emerged. Many of my friends have also encountered this same off flavor problem. Someone at Wyeast or White labs (can't remember which company it was) told me that wild yeast can continue to eat things that normal beer yeast cannot and this could have been our problem. I now pay careful attention to air movement when siphoning and transferring beer and make sure the air is still and try not to leave any vessels open except for where the siphon tubing has to come out. I turn off any a/c or heaters running, close windows, and even light candles around where I am siphoning (to create an updraft of air, something I read on here in an article on making yeast slants). I haven't had any problems in a while but now I also keg my beer. I also use RO water for sanitizing purposes to avoid chlorine. And if your water has chloramines the only way to remove those is to use a special carbon filter or an easier way is to treat your water with camben tablets (potasium metabisulfite).
 

duboman

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I typicaly use WLP English ale yeasts, Water is always the same but the brews are for the most part different. Good to know about the secondary that would make more room for the next Batch!!
As far as adding the extract I do toss it all in at the 60min mark so maybe do a half @ 60 half @ 30min?
I think to start im going to try Yoppers suggestion with the water. I don't want to change the whole process all at once and have something else pop up. Trial and Error I guess.
Either way As I stated earlier the brew is great and everyone that has had it says it great. I t just doesnt age well and Since i'm Tasteing it more than anyone I taste the "Twang" that some may not.
Another thing I understand that the Extract has already been boiled but what difference does it make not tossing it all in @ 60 min? Its all sugars at that point And I am very careful not to scorch it. just wondering.
But again great info guys keep it comeing.
The DME/LME is required for hop utilization in the boil but not all of it is needed at the beginning of the boil. You are best to add roughly 1/3 at the beginning and the rest can be added at the end of the boil.

Doing this will result in beer color being more true to style and will also eliminate/reduce the 'twang' that can be present in extract brewing so this would be a good move in your next batch.

Also, as mentioned, try a batch with R/O water, I think these two adjustments will produce you a better beer as well as the fermentation temps control.
 

ny101

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I would also keep in mind that the beer gets about 3 degrees warmer than ambient temperature during active fermentation (usually). This means if your basement is 68, your beer is likely around 71 at the center (which is too hot for many yeasts).

Another thing is, if you bottle your beer, make sure to keep it in the fridge for a week or so. Maybe you are sensitive to the yeast flavor, and you aren't giving it enough time to drop out?
 

Yooper

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I typicaly use WLP English ale yeasts, Water is always the same but the brews are for the most part different. Good to know about the secondary that would make more room for the next Batch!!
As far as adding the extract I do toss it all in at the 60min mark so maybe do a half @ 60 half @ 30min?
I think to start im going to try Yoppers suggestion with the water. I don't want to change the whole process all at once and have something else pop up. Trial and Error I guess.
Either way As I stated earlier the brew is great and everyone that has had it says it great. I t just doesnt age well and Since i'm Tasteing it more than anyone I taste the "Twang" that some may not.
Another thing I understand that the Extract has already been boiled but what difference does it make not tossing it all in @ 60 min? Its all sugars at that point And I am very careful not to scorch it. just wondering.
But again great info guys keep it comeing.
70 degrees ambient is probably too warm for most English ale yeast strains, unless you love the fruity flavors of them.

I'd suggest using a pound of extract per gallon of water, in the boil, and adding the rest of the extract at flame out. That keeps down maillard reactions and makes less of a tangy "cooked extract taste". It really makes a huge difference.
 
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Wingnutt73

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So here is an update. I brewed another Oatmeal Stout and My wonderful SWMBO got me a keg conversion kit for Christmas. I kegged the brew this time and used Store bought distilled water (6gal). Still has the twang after about a month in the keg. It did take a little longer for it to come through this time but I can still taste it.
Had a friend over for the first grill of the new year 2 weeks ago and they loved the stuff so i'm not sure if it's just me looking for the taste or if it is really there. (He also knows a good Beer)
Think my next step is to add the DME and LME towards the end of the boil. What times would you say are best for this practice? I was thinking maybe 10-20min left?
 
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Do the late extract addition at 5 minutes- long enough to sterilize it but not long enough to get any maillard reactions. Or at flameout as Yooper suggests.
 

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If the flavor is vomit, I doubt that it's your water, ferm temp, extract, etc. Vomit flavor after 3 weeks sounds like an infection. You might want to try describing the flavor a bit more. Does it taste astringent like tea, rubbing alcohol, fruity or spicy, like vinegar or vomit?
 
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Wingnutt73

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Its a tangy Baby spit up taste. But I don't believe it is an infection I have used 3 different carboys/buckets to ferment in. I also bottled and Kegged the beer. I would say it has been all over about 4-5 different brews, The only think I can think of is the Extract being added to early. (to that point why the heck do the kit instructions say to do this)((I no longer use Kits either)).
 

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Its a tangy Baby spit up taste. But I don't believe it is an infection I have used 3 different carboys/buckets to ferment in. I also bottled and Kegged the beer. I would say it has been all over about 4-5 different brews, The only think I can think of is the Extract being added to early. (to that point why the heck do the kit instructions say to do this)((I no longer use Kits either)).
Have you changed out your siphon? Maybe it is the common contact point.
 

BWE

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I think I may know the flavor your talking about. It's generally the after taste and it's not terrible. I used to think that was just the way home brews tasted. I stopped getting that familiar flavor when I #1 Did full boils #2 Use yeast starters on anything above 1.050 (this is debatable, but my preference) #3 Oxegenate the wort after the boil. If your doing all of this and still getting it, then it's above my knowledge. But try these three things and see what you get. Hope it helps.
 

steveoatley

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Yes !

siphon or common contact point !

I had a problem a long time ago with a "little" infetion inside the spigot on my
bottling bucket, and GREW to become a real problem !

I did not take the spigot apart & clean after bottling my Irish Red
So each batch after that got a little more 'funky'

Just an idea !
 
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Wingnutt73

Wingnutt73

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Have you changed out your siphon? Maybe it is the common contact point.
While this is a good point, I have not used the siphon in the past 2 brews I used a funnel each time When I racked to the Keg. I think it may just simply be the extract twang and maybe I'm over thinking it. Also I Believe I am Oxegenate the wort after the boil but maybe I am doing something wrong here. Whats your process BWE?
 
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Yes !

siphon or common contact point !

I had a problem a long time ago with a "little" infetion inside the spigot on my
bottling bucket, and GREW to become a real problem !

I did not take the spigot apart & clean after bottling my Irish Red
So each batch after that got a little more 'funky'

Just an idea !
Same thing happened to me with a bottling bucket spigot. I lost 3 batches before I figured it out. I bottle from a keg now.
 

BWE

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I use a disposable oxygen tank that you can buy at Lowes/Home Depot/Ace hardware... maybe even Walmart... but not sure. They sale this kit that screws (reverse thread) directly to it and right after you cool and before you pitch the yeast... just hammer down on it. There are a lot of threads about how long and how much. But really it's fine if you just get some oxygen into. I go for about a minute or so.
 

tagz

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While this is a good point, I have not used the siphon in the past 2 brews I used a funnel each time When I racked to the Keg. I think it may just simply be the extract twang and maybe I'm over thinking it. Also I Believe I am Oxegenate the wort after the boil but maybe I am doing something wrong here. Whats your process BWE?
If you poured the beer from the fermenter to the keg using a funnel, that would introduce a lot of oxygen to your finished beer. If that's the case, the beer would stale very quickly and you may be tasting oxidation.
 
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Wingnutt73

Wingnutt73

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Dang didnt think about that Tagz, so yeah that may be it right there. I also use this method when tranfering the wort to the fermentor so I know I'm getting enought O2 there. Man o man the joy of home brewing. To the next batch!!!
 
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