Beer That Tastes Like Fermentation Smells

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GoodTruble

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I remember an interview with the winner of a national barista competition several years ago who said his goal "is to make a cup of coffee that tastes like brewing coffee smells."

For me, part of the fun of homebrewing is watching the fermentation process, and I especially love the smell of the fermenting beer. I have a red ale on day 3 of fermenting now, and it smells great. But I know it will not ultimately taste like it smells.

So I am wondering what beer, style, yeast, and/or techniques result in a beer that most tastes like the smell of those first few days of fermentation?

The closest I've gotten (I think) are probably Saisons using Wyeast 3724 and Hefeweizens using Safale WB-06. (And maybe a blonde using Danstar Abbaye).

But I don't really know anything I did with those brews technique-wise or recipe-wise that would cause that result.

Anyway, curious to see if anyone else has ever chased after this goal or has any suggestions.

Thanks.
 

wsmith1625

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I don't find any correlation between the smell of fermentation and the flavor of the beer I make. Some yeast do smell quite delicious during fermentation like WLP001 and US-05 which smells like a rich berry jam. But it has nothing to do with how my beer tastes.
 
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GoodTruble

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My lagers ferment inside a temp chamber (and under pressure), so yeah, I actually don't smell those as much. Even then, they don't smell like a fart. Or maybe I just like to think that my beer don't stink. =c)

But yeah, the question was actually aimed at ales. I don't think you could get the flavor from a lager.
 

troxerX

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@GoodTruble certainly what you are describing will be a dream fermentation IMO (lager farts being an exception 😂).. but unfortunately there are physical limitations that simply cannot be broken. You probably know by now that the smell of a fermentation is all the thousands of fragile/volatile compounds like esters, polyphenols and hop oils/hop compounds being scrubbed by the CO2 during the fermentation process. Sad but true.

Although we cannot completely avoid this, I think there may be ways to improve retention; and that is to make more of these compounds so something is left when the fermentation is over.

1. incorporate within your brewing one or more of the high alpha hops like Columbus, Nugget, Bravo, Apollo, Polaris, Warrior, CTZ, Pahto, you get the idea - lots of Terpenes.. It’s no secret that breweries like RR, Treehouse, HF and others use these hops for this reason.

2. practice more open fermentation.. as yeasts are known to make more esters when open fermenting. That could be as simple as instead of placing an airlock just cover with a loose aluminum foil… of course you need to keep track of the progress so that you can place an airlock right before fermentation slows down so you don’t oxidize your beer.

3. dry hopping during (and if possible) after fermentation with different hops and always a portion including a high alpha, Columbus is perfect for this. Again, exposing active yeast to hop oils and terpenes for that debated biotransformation.

4. stress the yeast early to make esters and slow down your fermentation right after you get the first smell of tropics… slowing down your fermentation after esters are made should lower the scrubbing rate and help retention..
 

troxerX

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#4 'Stress the yeast...' sounds a bit iffy.
Right?, kept it very vague as this is something I’ve been working with my last couple batches. I’ve been pitching yeast on the warm side to shake things up a bit. I’ve been able to make this work with no fusels so far. Still in infancy but will have more on that later. However this may not work with all yeasts or worts.

@GoodTruble I just remember few more things you can do:

1. Incorporate glucose (dextrose) in your batches - recommended by RR and other brewers.. also all literature points out as glucose being the preferred substrate for yeast ester synthesis. Con - too much dextrose will dry a beer but some glucose (1/2 - 1Lb depending on batch size) could go a long way.

2. High gravity brewing - you will have to research this more but it’s basically intentionally brewing an overly high gravity batch and then diluting it. Yeasts are known to produce more esters when fermenting high gravity batches.

3. Select high ester producing yeasts - obvious one but one catch is that some of these yeasts may be POF+ and may produce too many phenols so it may be up to the style you are brewing.
 

troxerX

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@troxerX - does it matter when you add glucose? I assume after boil/before pitching.
You can add dextrose (glucose aka corn sugar) before the end of boil around the 10 - 5 mins to make sure the dextrose is well dissolved and accounted for within your gravity reading (OG). But in practice you can add dextrose anytime during the brewing process starting with the boil. Some say dextrose (and other powder adjuncts) need to be added to the boil to be “sanitized” but in reality the ‘microbiological water activity’ of dextrose and some of these powders are way below 0.85 and therefore do not provide a hospitable environment for bacteria, yeast and molds to grow in the first place. When I’m dry hopping anytime after the fermentation has stopped, as a precaution, I will add between 1/4 to 3/4 oz of dextrose for the yeast get active and scrub any oxygen uptake. Never had any issues with this.

A lot of people know this but just to clarify, dextrose = glucose (monosaccharide) and mainly sourced from corn (corn sugar) as opposed to sucrose which = glucose + fructose (disaccharide) and usually sourced from sugar cane. Therefore, while glucose is a preferred (and easy) substrate for yeast, sucrose is not and will require the yeast to express additional enzymes to be able to separate the glucose and fructose before it can metabolize them.
 

hawkwing

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Funny as that’s exactly how I don’t want it to taste. Yeast taste is terrible. I was a a wine tasting once and it tasted like it was still fermenting. Was terrible. Like a mouthful of bread yeast.
 
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