Band Aid flavor

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bwible

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So band aid flavor is generally an infection, something that is not clean post boil, etc. i’ve been trying to track it down for a couple beers.

Assuming you had something like chloramines in the water (shouldn’t be because I’m using campden) or a dirty kettle valve, etc, where in the process does the infection start to produce the noticeable band aid flavor? I’m finding these past couple beers tasted good at bottling (drinking what was left over) but developed band aid flavor a week or 2 after bottling.

So am I looking at something in the bottling process? Or is it possible its being introduced before that?

I had an old Phil’s philler I stopped using (metal, cant see inside it) and a stainless steel racking cane I also stopped using (again can’t see inside it.) I’m meticulous with my bottles, I soak in pbw first, scrub clean with a bottle brush, hold them up to the light and won’t use them unless they are spotless. Follow with a star san soak, drain and fill. I fill bottling bucket with star san. I sanitize racking cane by syphoning star san from bottling bucket. Hoses are visually clean, plastic racking cane is visually clean. Plastic bottling wand is visibly cleaned, sanitized in bottling bucket prior to draining

If an infection was being introduced prior to bottling ie dirty brew pot ball valve, etc, would it be apparent at bottling or show up later?
 

Zwerg

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AFAIK bandaid flavor comes from phenols created by the yeast. Maybe caused by infections of wild yeast or bacteria too, but I hadn't heard of it in that context - but I'm new to this.
 

dmtaylor

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How old are your hoses? It might be time to replace all your hoses. I get rid of mine after 15-20 batches, just in case. Hoses are a major source of contaminants. Cheap insurance to just replace them if they're a couple years old or whatever.

Infections can sometimes take time to show up. You can have an infection prior to bottling and not know it until later.

EDIT: But hmm...... I'd suspect chloramine before infection. How much time are you giving the Campden to react? How much Campden are you using? Hmm...............
 
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bwible

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How old are your hoses? It might be time to replace all your hoses. I get rid of mine after 15-20 batches, just in case. Hoses are a major source of contaminants. Cheap insurance to just replace them if they're a couple years old or whatever.

Infections can sometimes take time to show up. You can have an infection prior to bottling and not know it until later.

EDIT: But hmm...... I'd suspect chloramine before infection. How much time are you giving the Campden to react? How much Campden are you using? Hmm...............
Good thoughts, thanks. I usually buy the better silicone hose instead of the cheap vinyl ones. They are not that old but like you said, cheap insurance.

I brew 3 gallon batches and I’m using a piece of one campden tablet. Alot of stuff I’ve seen says it works almost instantly but that could be something to try giving it more time. Our water has no noticeable chlorine or swimming pool type smell. Before or after adding campden. I brewed a string of good batches with this water, the band aid has been 2 batches really. An Irish Red and Centennial Blonde. Different yeasts. I brewed a stout after the Irish Red with the same yeast cake that doesn’t have any noticeable band aid. And an APA and IPA after the blonde that I just bottled. Tastes good at bottling, drinking the leftovers.
 

IslandLizard

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How old are your hoses? It might be time to replace all your hoses.
Are you referring to hot side silicone hoses or cold side vinyl tubing?
Why would hot side silicone need replacing after 15-20 batches?

For (cheap) cold side vinyl tubing you may have a point, although, they can be kept clean and sanitary for many years too. I have proof of that.
 
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bwible

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Cold side, I buy the silicone tubing to use with the racking cane. I don’t really use any other hose after the boil. One piece of 1/2” hose attached to kettle ball valve to drain into fermenter. Also gets soaked in star san before each use and pbw later.
 

dmtaylor

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Are you referring to hot side silicone hoses or cold side vinyl tubing?
Why would hot side silicone need replacing after 15-20 batches?

For (cheap) cold side vinyl tubing you may have a point, although, they can be kept clean and sanitary for many years too. I have proof of that.

Cold side vinyl. I know they can last a long time, but... might be better safe than sorry, too, IF an infection is suspected.
 

IslandLizard

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Cold side, I buy the silicone tubing to use with the racking cane. I don’t really use any other hose after the boil.
You can boil silicone hoses, or even autoclave them.
Or recirculate (near) boiling PBW solution through, reinforced with some Lye. I do that with my hot side silicone hoses regularly.
 

IslandLizard

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I brewed a stout after the Irish Red with the same yeast cake that doesn’t have any noticeable band aid. And an APA and IPA after the blonde that I just bottled. Tastes good at bottling, drinking the leftovers.
That strengthens the argument it's not an infection causing the Band Aid flavor.

Do you crush the Campden tablet before adding? How long is it in solution and do you stir it?
I've been using a "good pinch" (~1/16 teaspoon per 5 gallons) of K-Meta powder. It dissolves almost instantly, even in 45F tap water. I add it when filling the buckets, then give it a good stir for good measure.

Is it possible your water company chlorinated the water heavily during those times, such as after performing maintenance to their system or a line break?
I've found our tap water sometimes has an abundance of chlorine in it, I can smell and taste it. But most of the time it's fairly decent, and totally flavor/aroma neutral.
 
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bwible

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That strengthens the argument it's not an infection causing the Band Aid flavor.

Do you crush the Campden tablet before adding? How long is it in solution and do you stir it?
I've been using a "good pinch" (~1/16 teaspoon) of K-Meta powder. It dissolves almost instantly, even in 45F tap water. I add it when filling the buckets, then give it a good stir for good measure.

Is it possible your water company chlorinated the water heavily during those times, such as after performing maintenance to their system or a line break?
I've found our tap water sometimes has an abundance of chlorine in it, I can smell and taste it. But most of the time it's fairly decent, and totally flavor/aroma neutral.
Yes the campden I bought crush easily between my fingers and I’ve been doing that. I always smell the water and it really doesn’t have any chlorine or swimming pool smell. I look for that. Its coming from somewhere though. Hopefully I’ll figure it out
 
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It's a long shot, but your bottling wand, does it have a tiny black tip that depresses in the bottle to allow the beer to flow? That tiny black tip is actually two pieces; a black plastic piston and a very small black o-ring. I had a string of infections when I was bottling and I'm pretty sure that little bastard was the cause. Disassemble or boil that piece before your next batch.

Also, I routinely replace all my spigot valves, vinyl tubing, bungs and airlocks just as preventative maintenance. Cheap insurance IMHO.
 

IslandLizard

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I'm not sure where a Band Aid can come from other than from Chloramines.

In addition to @Jayjay1976s suggestions, here's are some other thoughts and areas to look into:

Have you taken apart, cleaned, and inspected your bottling bucket's spigot regularly? Lately?
I discovered a nasty black slimy residue inside the two 3/4" barrels that rotate into one another. After soaking in some hot water I was able to push them apart.

Have others tasted/smelled Band Aid or other off flavors?
 

PberBob

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A lot of good advice here. IL covered all the potential sources (and then some) I’d ever learned.

A vaguely similar medicinal off-flavor that also comes from chlorine reactions in brewing comes from chlorophenol. (viz. ChloroSeptic oral antiseptic). But you seem to have covered usual chorine/chloramine/bleach sources.
 

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What I do is every batch, before I fill my fermenter, after sanitising, I throw in 2l of boiling water, airlock it, shake a bit. The steam sanitises whatever might have been left.

The valve and the o rings get boiled and left in the water for some minutes. Same for the parts of the bottling stick that can take it.

I don't have any problems since incorporating boiling water.
 

seatazzz

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Let's look at your process. What temperature is your wort when pitching yeast? Using in-date yeast? Autolysed (dead) yeast can throw that bandaid flavor as well, but it will usually be detectable long before bottling. I had this issue for several batches when I was getting started, before I got a plate chiller and chilled wort down below 64° before pitching. Everything else you describe above looks fine.

Another option, if you think it might be chlorine/chloramines in your water, is to start with spring water or reverse-osmosis water. If that doesn't get rid of the bandaid flavor, it might well be dead yeast.
 

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Have others tasted/smelled Band Aid or other off flavors?

A few years ago I had a few batches that sounds like yours. The first one was a Belgian Pale Ale that slowly got more of a plastic/band-aid character as it sat in the keg. At first, I was not sure if it was just a character of the yeast. Then my next American Pale Ale acted just the same. It was pretty good going into the keg. At a few weeks I took some to my homebrew club and feedback was that it was maybe just some stale hop flavors. At about a month it was a dumper with strong plastic/band-aid.

I would not necessary say that the source of the infection was in your bottling gear. I am not sure where the initial source of my infection was, but I suspect it carried over with something in the fermenter (though it could have been in my keg transfer hoses).

In my case, I was able to recover. I tossed some vinyl/plastic pieces, gave all the gear that I could a 20 minute soak in 190F water (the only plastic type item that did not survive was some hard plastic air locks that deformed), hit them with Iodophor (an old bottle I had around) and then sanitized with StarSan on brew day.

I had to do this again a few months later. I had harvested some yeast from that APA batch and did not do a good job of labeling it. After pitching some of that into a 1 gallon batch, I thought back to what beers I had made with an American Ale yeast lately. That batch was infected as well. That is a sign that my initial infection took hold before I transferred the beer into the keg.
 

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Times I had bandaid I feel I reused yeast too much and stressed it out. On the plus side, don't need to buy marinade.
 

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Not the usual "bandaid" but I have found these descriptions are tough... any chance you're cold crashing and sucking in StarSan? Had a few batches with that when I first started crashing, it's a chemical flavor.
 
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Times I had bandaid I feel I reused yeast too much and stressed it out.
I hadn’t thought about that. I did make 5 or 6 beers with that yeast. But I split it into 2 starters first. So really 3 beers off each starter. Because I was doing clean and hoppy beers and also stouts. I didn’t want to re-use the same yeast cake between them because I didn’t want the american hop flavors in the stout or to carry any of the color and flavor from the stout into the other beers.

I went dry stout, milk stout, imperial stout off the one starter. Then centennial blonde, apa, ipa off the other. I just bottled the apa and ipa so I guess I’ll find out.

All the stouts seem fine so far but there’s enough flavor in those that it would probably take longer to show up if it did. The irish red was the last beer I brewed in 2021 and the third off that yeast.

I’m only doing 3 gallon batches so I’m probably not really stressing yeast. I won’t re-use a yeast after a strong beer like an imperial stout. The only place I would go after an ipa would be a double ipa or a barleywine and be done with the yeast after that. But I didn’t want to do either of those this round.

I do take off the kettle valve and clean it each time. Same for bottling bucket spigot. I do soak bottle caps in star san.

The thing I was most bothered by is it tasting good at bottling and then developing it in the bottle.

Thanks for all the thoughts everybody. I have a few more things to think about and to check now.
 
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hotbeer

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If you had infection then I would think your beer will be over carbonated and/or gushers. You might let a beer that tastes band-aid'y go flat and then check it's SG. Infection should probably take it to significantly lower in gravity.

But re-used too many times yeast might be a good place to start looking. Get some fresh yeast. If that doesn't give any better results, then you might also buy some bottled water for a batch instead of your own municipal water if that is what you are treating with the campden tablet.

You don't sanitize with bleach do you? If so, you need to rinse the bottles and everything else the beer touches probably.

Did you say what yeast it was that you re-used so many times?
 

CascadesBrewer

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The thing I was most bothered by is it tasting good at bottling and then developing it in the bottle.

I recall tracking down an article or post that talked about a specific type of infection that would produce phenolic/band-aid character and would develop over time. I think it was some type of a bacterial infection.

This article is pretty high level:

It does have the quote (bold added by me):

Wild yeasts and unwanted bacteria may be to blame for smoky and plastic-like flavors, especially if the effect gets worse with time or if the phenolic character is accompanied by acetic or lactic sourness.

As far as band-aid from chlorine or chloramine...One time I "brewed" a test batch with some old grains that I had planed to throw away. I figured a run through would be a good way to gather some volumes of my new equipment. Since I planned to dump the wort after the boil, I did not mess with treating my tap water. I went ahead and tossed the wort into a fermenter to see what I would get. That batch had a very noticeable band-aid character at bottling time. I think I might have dumped it before bottling (it was just a small batch).
 
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The thing I was most bothered by is it tasting good at bottling and then developing it in the bottle.

This same observation is what led me to closely examining my bottling wand, upon which I discovered the tiny, almost unnoticeable black o-ring on the black valve at the tip. It is very hard to remove without damage but worth the effort, I ended up boiling mine.
 

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Few years ago a local craft brewery was having problems with band-aid dumpers every 5-6 batches. Found out that the local water supply was occasionally dosing with chloramines on an irregular schedule. Brewery eventually installed an RO system and haven't had a problem since.
 

dmtaylor

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Few years ago a local craft brewery was having problems with band-aid dumpers every 5-6 batches. Found out that the local water supply was occasionally dosing with chloramines on an irregular schedule. Brewery eventually installed an RO system and haven't had a problem since.

Good point, and true in many places. I know a water treatment specialist here at my municipality, and after I experienced my first chlorophenolic brew, he asked me when I brewed it, and indicated that they increase the chlorination heavily every spring and fall. Since then, I've been adding Campden and haven't had a problem since.

So it could be a seasonal thing as well, based on your own municipality's water treatment process.
 
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So I think I have an answer to this one. I have (had) a small spray bottle that I thought was full of star san that I had been using for spot sanitizing. Its the only small spray bottle in the house. So yesterday I saw my wife cleaning with it and asked “what are you doing with my star san bottle?” Turns out she had no idea what star san is, thought the bottle had water in it. She dumped out my star san and filled it with - bleach water for cleaning. So I guess I’ve been spot sanitizing here and there with bleach water and not rinsing. I’m guessing that would do it and it probably wouldn’t take much for a 3 gallon batch. Still wondering why that wouldn’t have been apparent at bottling though. Now I’m going to go buy a new spray bottle and write star san on it in big letters with a sharpie.
 
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I've always wondered how the hell anyone knows what bandaid flavor is like? Do you chew them raw? Should I boil or bake them first? Does a dash of salt improve the flavor?

It's a pretty distinctive smell/taste when you get it. Tastes like it smells kinda thing.

There's a smokey scotch joke hiding in there somewhere...
 
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I've always wondered how the hell anyone knows what bandaid flavor is like? Do you chew them raw? Should I boil or bake them first? Does a dash of salt improve the flavor?
Don’t put them in your mash.

I read somewhere recently, forget where, somebody described phenols as a “burning hospital” flavor. Now there’s one I ask how do you know what a burning hospital tastes like?
 

hotbeer

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Perhaps the cardboard box that band-aids mostly come in now don't get as strong aroma about them as the ones that come in the metal can most of us grew up with.
 
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