diacetyl in an early barleywine tasting

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Orthobrewsky

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I brewed a 3.5 gallon batch of 1.090 barleywine on December 30. 23 days later, I transferred to a 3 gallon better bottle and, with the extra, bottled 3. I usually bottle down to that last little bit which gets air in it, so I mark that one and drink it early. Friday, I had some friends over and we all had a few ounces of that bottle. They had been in my basement closet (with the secondary) with a steady temp. in the upper 50's. It had carbonated to about what I would expect--this was one reason I wanted to check one of the bottles, to confirm a finished fermentation.

Anyway, after a few sips, I realized that it tasted like someone had slipped a stick of butter in there. I had always wondered what diacetyl would really taste like in a beer and if I would recognize it, so now I know.

It raises some concerns about the main batch which is still in the secondary. I fermented in the mid 60's, raising it to upper 60's toward the end. I guess I could take out the stopper and smell it, but I'm not sure it was so noticeable in the nose. My hydrometer sample taken after primary fermentation had no strange flavors and tasted great. I know it's too early to expect a good barleywine, but can this be part of the normal weirdness that mellows out after months?
 

hough77

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I personally have not experienced this, but I raise my temp up to 70 to 72 F for a few days after the main ferment has slowed down almost to a stop. The higher temp will wake them back up to clean up their mess.
 

michael.berta

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i personally have not experienced this, but i raise my temp up to 70 to 72 f for a few days after the main ferment has slowed down almost to a stop. The higher temp will wake them back up to clean up their mess.
+1
 
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Orthobrewsky

Orthobrewsky

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Sounds like good advice in general, but I think I've probably found my answer, in this case, here:
http://beersensoryscience.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/diacetyl-1/

Take a look at the second graph which tracks the affect of oxygen in the bottle. I usually bottle to the last bit of beer, which gets a lot of oxygen in it, but I've never had this before, probably for 2 reasons. 1) I mark that bottle and drink it in 1-2 weeks, but I waited a month for this one 2) it's normally a much lower gravity beer with less fermentation by-products which could be oxidized to diacetyl.

The bulk of this batch in secondary smells fine. I'll crack another of the 3 that I bottled in another month and hope to not taste this again.
 
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