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Camden Tablet Neglect - Did I Just Botch my Brew?

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Omahawk

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After 8 years and nearly 100 successful brews under my belt, I might have made my first fatal brew error ever. I mashed with tap water for 10 minutes before I remembered my Camden tablet. I remembered my mineral and pH adjustments, just forgot the freaking Camden tablet. I quickly got a couple of cups of water up to temp, dissolved my Camden tablet in it, then stirred that into my mash. But, there was ~15 minutes of contact with grain.

Does anyone know whatever that byproduct is when chloramines come into contact with grain (chlorophenols?) tastes like? I took a sample for my hydrometer, and it's was a little bitter although I had lots of hops in the sample. It's a new recipe, so I have no real basis for evaluating the wort (plus I rarely sample the wort).

Also, all valid responses should include the line "use a brew day checklist, you stupid idiot." :D
 

doug293cz

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Chlorophenols are generally described as plasitc or band aid tasting. Might as well let the beer ferment out, and then taste it before packaging. If you have an excessively offensive plastic/band aid taste, you might want to dump rather then spend the effort bottling. If you keg, then it might be worth kegging, and giving it some time, to see if it gets better. Your call.

Brew on :mug:
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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Chlorophenols are generally described as plasitc or band aid tasting. Might as well let the beer ferment out, and then taste it before packaging. If you have an excessively offensive plastic/band aid taste, you might want to dump rather then spend the effort bottling. If you keg, then it might be worth kegging, and giving it some time, to see if it gets better. Your call.

Brew on :mug:
You left out the "make a checklist, moron" part. :)

Sounds like how I've heard a typical "phenol" taste described. I might have lucked out as I didn't detect that in the wort.

I pitched my yeast about 7 hours ago, and will let this run its course. This was intended to be a "drinking beer" so I am planning to keg regardless. My first attempt at a British Golden Ale, so there's not a any roast or much hops for it to hide behind.

I'll post updates.

:tank:
 

Jim311

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I did this recently. Also, like a gallon of rain water fell into my brew pot and screwed up my gravity. It still made a pretty solid beer.
 

kh54s10

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I have always used a Brita filter or a charcoal filter for my water. My municipal water seems to be very good for brewing. I don't know what levels of treatment my town does. I have the reports but I have never really deciphered them. I have never used Campden tablets and have never had an associated problem.
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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I did this recently. Also, like a gallon of rain water fell into my brew pot and screwed up my gravity. It still made a pretty solid beer.
Both happened on the same batch? Sounds like a magical brew session.

48 hours in, and the fermentation is rolling. Only good smells coming from my carboy.
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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I have always used a Brita filter or a charcoal filter for my water. My municipal water seems to be very good for brewing. I don't know what levels of treatment my town does. I have the reports but I have never really deciphered them. I have never used Campden tablets and have never had an associated problem.
I have alkaline municipal water with a neutral taste, so I need some additions and acid in my light beers. I've considered filtering or doing RO in the past. I've always used a Camden tablet to be safe. It costs a few cents a batch and figure better safe than sorry.

How big of a Brita system do you have? I used to have one of their pitchers, and I recall having a limitation on how much it would filter in a day. I'm sure they've advanced since then.
 

kh54s10

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How big of a Brita system do you have? I used to have one of their pitchers, and I recall having a limitation on how much it would filter in a day. I'm sure they've advanced since then.
I used a Brita filter that attaches to your kitchen sink faucet. It reduces the stream coming from the faucet from over 1/2 inch wide to about 1/4 inch. It takes about 10 minutes to filter 2.5 gallons for an extract brew. Then longer to get the top up water.
 

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@Omahawk, it's likely too late now, as primary fermentation has completed since your original post, but for anyone in the future who stumbles upon this thread having also failed to "use the stupid checklist" ;) my advice is to really control your fermentation as much as possible. The Band Aid taste associated from Chlorophenols is exacerbated by very active fermentation. Staying on the low side of yeast starter volume and keeping the fermentation temp and activity low and slow is the best way to avoid the defect if you used untreated water.

When I started I had several "successful" brews under my belt without the use of Campden. It wasn't until I brewed an ESP with a very healthy starter and very active fermentation did the dreaded Band Aid rear it's head.

I now have 4 stage RO with a chlorine filter. I never use Campden anymore.
 

ncbrewer

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When I started I had several "successful" brews under my belt without the use of Campden. It wasn't until I brewed an ESP with a very healthy starter and very active fermentation did the dreaded Band Aid rear it's head.
Interesting. I've always wondered why chlorine/chloramine doesn't consistently ruin a brew.
 

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Interesting. I've always wondered why chlorine/chloramine doesn't consistently ruin a brew.
I'm by no means an expert or chemist, so others with more "real" knowledge please chime in, but my basic understanding of what's happening is that certain yeasts strains and under conditions (ie very active and warm fermentation) yeasts produce more phenols for the chlorine/Chlormine compounds to bind with, hence producing more chloraphenols.

Once there it's quite obvious and no amount of aging or dry hoping will mask it.
 
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Omahawk

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@Omahawk, it's likely too late now, as primary fermentation has completed since your original post, but for anyone in the future who stumbles upon this thread having also failed to "use the stupid checklist" ;) my advice is to really control your fermentation as much as possible. The Band Aid taste associated from Chlorophenols is exacerbated by very active fermentation. Staying on the low side of yeast starter volume and keeping the fermentation temp and activity low and slow is the best way to avoid the defect if you used untreated water.
Interesting. I happened to slightly under pitch (no starter for a 1.046 SG with a 6 week old Wyeast 1968 smack pack) and kept the temp in the 67-69 range for the first 4 days. It was a pretty typical ferment - I was down to 1.022 after 4 days, on my way to 1.011. I haven't checked it for several days, but would guess I'm there probably.

Also, thanks for chastising me for my lack of a checklist.:mug:

I'll post an update when kegged. The hydro sample on day 4 was pretty clean, slightly fruity and biscuity, as hoped.
 
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Omahawk

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So it’s kegged and carbed. The taste is fine, but there is a subtle harshness present on the backend of the taste. It’s not a plastic flavor like phenols are described - it tastes almost tannic like tea leaves. Not a flavor from any of my grains, and my mash temp was never high enough to expect tannins from that.

I’m going to make this again and use a Camden tablet this time.
 

ncbrewer

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Maybe the chlorophenol taste isn't the same for everybody. I say that because there was a consensus at a brew club meeting that a particular beer had chlorophenols. I just tasted it as what I would call a "bite".
 

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I have always used a Brita filter or a charcoal filter for my water. My municipal water seems to be very good for brewing. I don't know what levels of treatment my town does. I have the reports but I have never really deciphered them. I have never used Campden tablets and have never had an associated problem.
A charcoal or Brita filter will not remove chloramine, unless you pass the water through it painfully slowly (like 1 gal/hr or something).

But not all municipalities use chloramine, or chlorine. And there's a threshold for tasting it. Where chloramine is used, levels can vary.
 

ba-brewer

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So it’s kegged and carbed. The taste is fine, but there is a subtle harshness present on the backend of the taste. It’s not a plastic flavor like phenols are described - it tastes almost tannic like tea leaves. Not a flavor from any of my grains, and my mash temp was never high enough to expect tannins from that.

I’m going to make this again and use a Camden tablet this time.
Too high of mash ph can also extract tannins, do you do anything to control the ph of your mash and sparge water?


Maybe the chlorophenol taste isn't the same for everybody. I say that because there was a consensus at a brew club meeting that a particular beer had chlorophenols. I just tasted it as what I would call a "bite".
I use RO water which runs through a chloramine reducing filter and thought I was OK until someone identified/tasted I had chloramine still present. It was a slight funk to me, but the guy that could taste it said it was plasticy. I got a kit to measure the chlorine/chloramine and the level was one step from being unmeasurable. I had other batches that had a slight clove flavor and aroma too but just thought I had cross contamination from some of the Belgian yeasts I use. I think those may have been caused from chloramine now. I now add Camden to play it safe.
 

Nosybear

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After 8 years and nearly 100 successful brews under my belt, I might have made my first fatal brew error ever. I mashed with tap water for 10 minutes before I remembered my Camden tablet. I remembered my mineral and pH adjustments, just forgot the freaking Camden tablet. I quickly got a couple of cups of water up to temp, dissolved my Camden tablet in it, then stirred that into my mash. But, there was ~15 minutes of contact with grain.

Does anyone know whatever that byproduct is when chloramines come into contact with grain (chlorophenols?) tastes like? I took a sample for my hydrometer, and it's was a little bitter although I had lots of hops in the sample. It's a new recipe, so I have no real basis for evaluating the wort (plus I rarely sample the wort).

Also, all valid responses should include the line "use a brew day checklist, you stupid idiot." :D
Start with the obligatory: Use a checklist you freakin' idiot. There, that's out of the way. Answer, likely no. Unless your water is very highly chlorinated, you may get a bit of an off-flavor but nothing fatal. Chlorophenols - the by-product you are talking about - taste like you'd imagine a band-aid would from the smell at high concentrations. Again, depends on the amount of chloramine in your water - if you can smell it before the Campden tablet, you might be in trouble. Otherwise you're into a RDWHAHB situation - ride it out and see what you get.
 
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Omahawk

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Too high of mash ph can also extract tannins, do you do anything to control the ph of your mash and sparge water?
Yes, I have alkaline brewing water here, so on lighter beers like this I use 2%-3% acid malt.
 
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Omahawk

Omahawk

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Start with the obligatory: Use a checklist you freakin' idiot. There, that's out of the way. Answer, likely no. Unless your water is very highly chlorinated, you may get a bit of an off-flavor but nothing fatal. Chlorophenols - the by-product you are talking about - taste like you'd imagine a band-aid would from the smell at high concentrations. Again, depends on the amount of chloramine in your water - if you can smell it before the Campden tablet, you might be in trouble. Otherwise you're into a RDWHAHB situation - ride it out and see what you get.
Thanks for the negative reinforcement! :D

Actually, now that it’s kegged and carbonated, I’m getting some bitterness on the backend. It’s pretty subtle l, but tannic. It shouldn’t be a recipe, mash temp or pH issue.
 

dyqik

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Yes, I have alkaline brewing water here, so on lighter beers like this I use 2%-3% acid malt.
Do you sparge though? Sparge water also needs to be acidified to pH < 6.0 to avoid the possibility of extracting tannins during the sparge. This is more of a concern for fly sparging, but could show up in multiple batch sparges with alkaline water.
 

WhoDatDad78

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Is it possible that the chlorophenol or band-aid taste would show up 3 months after bottle conditioning? I remember tasting a seriously un-agreeable taste in a few batches I brewed and fermented around 68F. They werent there at the 5 week mark.
 

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I've found that the chlorophenol taste occurs pretty early on - within weeks and aging didn't help. I'd describe the taste as "dishwater, band-aid, plastic" and it was none too subtle.
 

dyqik

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Yes, that was my experience as well. However, the taste did become a bit clearer as the green beer taste aged out.
 
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Omahawk

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Do you sparge though? Sparge water also needs to be acidified to pH < 6.0 to avoid the possibility of extracting tannins during the sparge. This is more of a concern for fly sparging, but could show up in multiple batch sparges with alkaline water.
I batch sparge and do not add acid to the sparge water. I've always been in the camp that over-sparging chances are negligible with my simplistic homebrew sparging method. I could be wrong, and that's the source of the mild tannin taste.
 

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