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Almond flavour - diacethyl?

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Miraculix

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Hi!

I just recently discovered that some of my pale beers suffer from almond type off flavours when young. I googled it and found information about oxidation based almond flavour and thought, ok that's probably it, but the almond flavour seems to fade away with age which oxidation based flavour probably would not do.

After one or two months in the bottle, it is luckily almost gone. Looks like it is fading, or the yeast is just eating it.

Could it be that I am mistaking diacethyl butterscotch flavour for almond like flavour?

Some yeasts seem to create heavier intensity of the flavour as others do with the same recipe.

I will try extending my boil with the next batch to see where I get with that, but did anybody ever have a similar problem?

Thanks,

M
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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I get almond from Aromatic malt and some Caramalts. I don't think it could be diacetyl. Perhaps a minor ester though that fades quickly like banana ester does in a hefe?
Hmm... might be.

There was nothing cara/crystal involved in the recipes. Basemalts like MO, Chevallier, Heidelberg and Pilsener/Lager. All of them dispplayed the almond. The Heidelberg beer had the strongest almond flavour while being the palest malt of them all. Another hint in the diacethyl direction...
 

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Diacetyl is distinctly "oily", and even without the butter aroma and flavor, it will give you a slick mouthfeel or a bit of oiliness on your tongue. What you are describing doesn't sound at all like diacetyl.

What you are describing seems to be benzaldehyde. It comes from the oxidation of melanoidins (melanoidins = chemical compound from caramelization) in the wort.

How is your boil? Do you boil off more than 1 gallon per hour?
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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Diacetyl is distinctly "oily", and even without the butter aroma and flavor, it will give you a slick mouthfeel or a bit of oiliness on your tongue. What you are describing doesn't sound at all like diacetyl.

What you are describing seems to be benzaldehyde. It comes from the oxidation of melanoidins (melanoidins = chemical compound from caramelization) in the wort.

How is your boil? Do you boil off more than 1 gallon per hour?
My boil is usually very "quiet". I do not have much boil off, I try to keep the temperature as low as possible while still maintaining the "movement" of the water. No heavy bubbeling, just a bubble here and there. Also the lids are half way closed to keep the energy consumption low..... Am I maybe confusing dms for almond?

Edit: I actually confused diacethyl and DMS in this thread.
 

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DMS is a vegetal/cooked cabbage flavor and aroma- think Rolling Rock beer. Diacetyl is an oily/buttery flavor and aroma.

Ideally, you should try to boil off about a gallon an hour. You want the wort to turn over actively, but you don't want to boil the sh!t out of it. More than a simmer, certainly.

What is your boil volume? And your typical grainbill?
 
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Miraculix

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DMS is a vegetal/cooked cabbage flavor and aroma- think Rolling Rock beer. Diacetyl is an oily/buttery flavor and aroma.

Ideally, you should try to boil off about a gallon an hour. You want the wort to turn over actively, but you don't want to boil the sh!t out of it. More than a simmer, certainly.

What is your boil volume? And your typical grainbill?
Volume of the almond ones were 4l , 8l and 16l batches. The smaller ones had a higher boil off percentage than the bigger ones due to increased water surface/ water volume ratio.
 

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I meant how much grain and how much water to boil down to get to your batch size?

For example, for a 5 gallon batch I use 10 pounds of grain and start with 7 gallons of wort to get 5.5 in the fermenter.
 
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Miraculix

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I meant how much grain and how much water to boil down to get to your batch size?

For example, for a 5 gallon batch I use 10 pounds of grain and start with 7 gallons of wort to get 5.5 in the fermenter.
I do not monitor the boil off rate. I boil for one hour und fill up with plain water till I reach desired OG. Those almond batches were all smaller experimental batches, where I used the same recipe with one variable changed at the time (actually multiple batches with multiple recipes, always about 3 to 4 variations of each). Some were 4l, some 8l.

Also the amount of grain depends on the beer I am brewing. I usually get about 80 to 85% efficiency according to brewersfriend and on this base I am calculating my amounts of malt I use, using their calculator as the tool of choice.
 

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I do not monitor the boil off rate. I boil for one hour und fill up with plain water till I reach desired OG. Those almond batches were all smaller experimental batches, where I used the same recipe with one variable changed at the time (actually multiple batches with multiple recipes, always about 3 to 4 variations of each). Some were 4l, some 8l.

Also the amount of grain depends on the beer I am brewing. I usually get about 80 to 85% efficiency according to brewersfriend and on this base I am calculating my amounts of malt I use, using their calculator as the tool of choice.
The reason I'm asking all this is because if you're developing excess melanoidins which are being oxidized, it is likely due to a concentrated boil if you're not using cara malts. I'd definitely look at that, and see if that is the cause.
 
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Miraculix

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The reason I'm asking all this is because if you're developing excess melanoidins which are being oxidized, it is likely due to a concentrated boil if you're not using cara malts. I'd definitely look at that, and see if that is the cause.
It might be the case with my main kettle as it is quite thin. Meaning, if I do a smaller batch in this kettle, there is an excessively big bottom surface which transmits the heat (gas hob) very uneaven, compared to the actual volume in the pot. This might result in excessive maillard reactions close to the bottom. And if the kettle is just filled to the half, the melanoidin concentration must be basically doubled, compared to a full kettle (16l).... If I use a full kettle I actually, most of the time, use higher gravity wort then fermented, to be able to thin it out after boiling to reach a higher final volume in the fermenter, meaning it thins out the melanoidins even more.....

..... good point actually.
 
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It might be the case with my main kettle as it is quite thin. Meaning, if I do a smaller batch in this kettle, there is an excessively big bottom surface which transmits the heat (gas hob) very uneaven, compared to the actual volume in the pot. This might result in excessive maillard reactions close to the bottom. And if the kettle is just filled to the half, the melanoidin concentration must be basically doubled, compared to a full kettle (16l).... If I use a full kettle I actually, most of the time, use higher gravity wort then fermented, to be able to thin it out after boiling to reach a higher final volume in the fermenter, meaning it thins out the melanoidins even more.....

..... good point actually.
I think we've figured it out- and I would be willing to bet that is why you're getting those benzaldehyde flavors and aromas.

A full boil would be a good place to start, and to get a full rolling boil without the wort jumping out of the pot. And lower the grainbill when you do the full boil since the efficiency is so much higher. "Matching" the grainbill to the size boil you're doing will help with excess maillard reactions especially with a smaller boil.
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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I think we've figured it out- and I would be willing to bet that is why you're getting those benzaldehyde flavors and aromas.

A full boil would be a good place to start, and to get a full rolling boil without the wort jumping out of the pot. And lower the grainbill when you do the full boil since the efficiency is so much higher. "Matching" the grainbill to the size boil you're doing will help with excess maillard reactions especially with a smaller boil.
Sounds reasonable. But one question remains. How is it possible that the almond flavour dissipates with time?
 
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Sounds reasonable. But one question remains. Good Hoit possible that the almond flavour dissipates with time?
I guess- if it's happening. :)
Or other flavors come to the forefront and "hide" it better? I really have no idea, but it's not really an uncommon off flavor and I've come across it in the training for being a BJCP judge.
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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I guess- if it's happening. :)
Or other flavors come to the forefront and "hide" it better? I really have no idea, but it's not really an uncommon off flavor and I've come across it in the training for being a BJCP judge.
No, it wasn't hidden, it was too upfront to be hidden :D

Anyway, thanks for the heads up, I guess I know now what I am dealing with :)
 

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Not sure this helps, but I confused crystal malt flavors with diacetyl and also oxidation many times. Doh, see you already addressed that. Ignore me!
 

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