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Okay, Community, here goes.

The last two batches I have made (1 lager, 1 APA) both have come down with the same off flavor. Dull, cardboardey, faintly metallic, essentially nasty. Lagering does not help. I poured the lager into the garden after almost 6 weeks of no change, but the APA is new (1 week from fermentation + 3 days cold-crashing) and has the same flavor, so I am going to vote for infection.

While the lager was my first lager ever, and I could think that maybe I just suck at making them since I don't like drinking them; I cannot make the same claim with the APA. It's a recipe I have been making at least once every 2 months for the last 2 years+ with different hops in order to test out hop flavors (essentially a SMaSH recipe).

If the bugs were in the mash to boil kettle part of the process, they would die in the boil, so I am eliminating that as my point of infection. All things get soaked in One Step and Star Sanned for cleaning, just maybe not as religiously as I think. I may need to soak my stuff in cleaning solutions longer.

So please assist me in not missing anything post-boil.

1. Ball valve on boil kettle could be dirty inside.
2. IC should be ok as it gets boiled for 15 minutes before cooling.
3. Once cooled, aeration is done by flowing wort and gunk into a chinois (fine mesh SS cone filter-could be harboring crud) before dropping into the fermentor.
4. Silicone washers in fermentor ball valve assembly could be infected (where it attaches through fermentor wall), as could the ball valve itself on the inside.
5. Different kegs have been used for both beers, so probably not the keg seals or anything else in them.

Suggestions?

Thank you!

Reevesie
 
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JAReeves
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Nothing changed in the water. I carbon filter for chlorine, apparently my Torrance, CA community water does not have chloramine. I have had band-aid flavored beers from either unfiltered or badly filtered water in the past, but this was not vinyl-flavored beer in either case. The APA got my burtonizing method which is a lot of mash & kettle mineral additions based upon Burton-on-Trent's mineral profile and my water profile. I have used this method for my pale, hoppy beers for over a year, and so I think I have the minerals dialed in successfully.

I did walk over to the LHBS this afternoon and Dan Our Local Guru suggested that I boil the poopies out of my equipment, preferably do a boil with PBW, and see what crud finds its way out of the ball valves and such. For the equipment/parts that can't be boiled directly, he recommended putting 170-190F PBW in those items (like the Anvil Bucket Fermentor) to soak.

Thank you for your response @Funky Frank! I appreciate the assist with my problem!
 

Sammy86

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Okay, Community, here goes.

The last two batches I have made (1 lager, 1 APA) both have come down with the same off flavor. Dull, cardboardey, faintly metallic, essentially nasty. Lagering does not help. I poured the lager into the garden after almost 6 weeks of no change, but the APA is new (1 week from fermentation + 3 days cold-crashing) and has the same flavor, so I am going to vote for infection.

While the lager was my first lager ever, and I could think that maybe I just suck at making them since I don't like drinking them; I cannot make the same claim with the APA. It's a recipe I have been making at least once every 2 months for the last 2 years+ with different hops in order to test out hop flavors (essentially a SMaSH recipe).

If the bugs were in the mash to boil kettle part of the process, they would die in the boil, so I am eliminating that as my point of infection. All things get soaked in One Step and Star Sanned for cleaning, just maybe not as religiously as I think. I may need to soak my stuff in cleaning solutions longer.

So please assist me in not missing anything post-boil.

1. Ball valve on boil kettle could be dirty inside.
2. IC should be ok as it gets boiled for 15 minutes before cooling.
3. Once cooled, aeration is done by flowing wort and gunk into a chinois (fine mesh SS cone filter-could be harboring crud) before dropping into the fermentor.
4. Silicone washers in fermentor ball valve assembly could be infected (where it attaches through fermentor wall), as could the ball valve itself on the inside.
5. Different kegs have been used for both beers, so probably not the keg seals or anything else in them.

Suggestions?

Thank you!

Reevesie
Cardboard flavor is generally oxygenation...what is your process from end of boil to fermentor? What FV are you using? Also, how are you packaging?

Metallic can sometimes be a cause with contact to metal...I would go with what the guru said and soak everything in PBW is nice hot water for an hour and see if that doesn't fix you up.
 

BrewZer

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How old are your hoses?
What's your IC made of?
What's your brew pot made of?
What's your fermenter made of?
Have you checked the pH of your water lately? Since it's just the last two batches, maybe something changed with your water supply...
 

ba-brewer

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I agree with @Sammy86 about the cardboardy and oxygen exposure. Dull flavors also sounds like oxygen exposure. Did you cold crash your beers and did you do anything to stop suck back?

Most wild yeast have phenolic flavors, did you get any clove or spicy like flavors? I have had wild yeast get into my system before and it seem to build over several reuses of the yeast. I first notice a slight funk, then slightly more with low level phenolics, then finally it took over the last beer.

I would take apart your boil kettle valve and boil the pieces. Boil the other mounting hardware as well.

Look at the common pieces of equipment post boil to both batches.
 
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Cardboard flavor is generally oxygenation...what is your process from end of boil to fermentor? What FV are you using? Also, how are you packaging?

Metallic can sometimes be a cause with contact to metal...I would go with what the guru said and soak everything in PBW is nice hot water for an hour and see if that doesn't fix you up.
I use a copper IC to cool post-boil, I have been using it for about 3 years now. I tried to use a plate chiller, but it never got my wort below 80F, so I stopped using it and went back to the IC. I have had great batches with the IC.

I use an Anvil 7.5G bucket, and have had great batches come out of it. Packaging is fermentor -> keg, sometimes I bottle from the keg. No real issues in the past with this either.

Equipment-wise, I have not added anything new that I wasn't using successfully before.

Thank you, @Sammy86!
 
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How old are your hoses?
What's your IC made of?
What's your brew pot made of?
What's your fermenter made of?
Have you checked the pH of your water lately? Since it's just the last two batches, maybe something changed with your water supply...
I asked the Guru about the hoses and he recommended I boil my silicon hoses in PBW before I come back to him and buy more. IC is copper, but has been great for almost 3 years, so not sure why it might be a factor now. All pots, mash tun, and fermenting vessels are either SS or glass.

If the water supply changed, I'm screwed, because they only post the water report once per year, and so I won't know of any changes until it's too late. That may be an issue, though. I think I am going to do my next batch after the deep cleaning with my normal ingredients, and if that doesn't work, I will try the RO as the next change.

Thank you, @BrewZer!
 
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I agree with @Sammy86 about the cardboardy and oxygen exposure. Dull flavors also sounds like oxygen exposure. Did you cold crash your beers and did you do anything to stop suck back?

Most wild yeast have phenolic flavors, did you get any clove or spicy like flavors? I have had wild yeast get into my system before and it seem to build over several reuses of the yeast. I first notice a slight funk, then slightly more with low level phenolics, then finally it took over the last beer.

I would take apart your boil kettle valve and boil the pieces. Boil the other mounting hardware as well.

Look at the common pieces of equipment post boil to both batches.
I normally cold crash in the keg while the CO2 is on, so no suck back possible. I want to move to eliminating the O2 exposure when I move from fermentor to keg, but I have made good beers without worrying overmuch in the past.

I cultivate sours and brett, but these are not the flavors I get from my wild yeasts/bacterial cultures. It's something else.

I will be boiling, PBW'ing, and deep cleaning one of these nights so I can brew this weekend and see if the problem is solved or if I need to look at something else.

Thank you, @ba-brewer!
 

ba-brewer

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I wish you success in finding the source of your trouble.

I normally cold crash in the keg too, does not amount to much extra stuff sediment and less messing around with things. I used to open transfer beer and never had oxidation issues but I do closed transfer now as it can't hurt and is easy to do. I have not had issues with cardboard flavors in my corny kegs but I have some small mini kegs that had it happen even with closed transfers. Still have not figured it out and does not happen every time.

If you are worried about your chinois you could always toss it into the brew kettle at the end of the boil.

If you built starters for those beer maybe take a look at that equipment too.
 

V-Fib

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How old are you supply lines in the kegerator? Any chance of beer getting sucked into the regulator? I have had a slightly noticeable sour/metallic taste for 3 batches in a row. It could have been all in my head cause between me and my wife I was the only one that picked up on it but she also only has 2 pints out of 10 gallons. Once I swapped out my gas and beer lines the issue has been gone for now. The beer I have on now is only about 9 days on the gas.

My gas lines were probably 6 years old and the liquid side was around 2 years old. When I replaced them the gas lines did have a smell that was similar to the taste I got but there was no noticeable build up. No idea if I was just smelling the CO2 or some funk.
 
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I wish you success in finding the source of your trouble.

I normally cold crash in the keg too, does not amount to much extra stuff sediment and less messing around with things. I used to open transfer beer and never had oxidation issues but I do closed transfer now as it can't hurt and is easy to do. I have not had issues with cardboard flavors in my corny kegs but I have some small mini kegs that had it happen even with closed transfers. Still have not figured it out and does not happen every time.

If you are worried about your chinois you could always toss it into the brew kettle at the end of the boil.

If you built starters for those beer maybe take a look at that equipment too.
Thank you again!
 
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How old are you supply lines in the kegerator? Any chance of beer getting sucked into the regulator? I have had a slightly noticeable sour/metallic taste for 3 batches in a row. It could have been all in my head cause between me and my wife I was the only one that picked up on it but she also only has 2 pints out of 10 gallons. Once I swapped out my gas and beer lines the issue has been gone for now. The beer I have on now is only about 9 days on the gas.

My gas lines were probably 6 years old and the liquid side was around 2 years old. When I replaced them the gas lines did have a smell that was similar to the taste I got but there was no noticeable build up. No idea if I was just smelling the CO2 or some funk.
My lines are not that old, but I am pretty sure that beer has been sucked up the gas lines from the kegs at different times. That is not something that I considered, but swapping out the gas lines and cleaning the CO2 line splitter may not be a bad idea. The liquid lines regularly get an overnight soak in One Step, but that might not be enough.

Thank you, @V-Fib!
 
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