Flavor Change Over (Short) Time

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Plastic Brewkettle

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Hey everybody. First post. So I've got this pale ale I brewed on 7/29/21 and bottled on 8/5/21. It's an all grain recipe with 1 oz Centennial at boil, 1 oz Cascade at 20 minutes left and 1 oz Centennial at 5 minutes left (60 minute boil). It tasted nice and fruity at first, but it has developed a very bitter flavor and then almost a burnty flavor (as of today, 01-15-2022). Are the hops going bad? Do I have a bad hop profile? Infection, maybe? I am very careful about sanitation. This was my 16th batch since restarting the hobby during the pandemic. I brewed extract batches 25 years ago before I had kids and had to put it aside for a while. Thanks for any input.
 
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Might be good to know volume of batch. That aside, if it tasted good at one point and now does not, hops should have not been a problem UNLESS you left them in. Then that is another kettle of wort.
 
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Plastic Brewkettle

Plastic Brewkettle

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It was a 7.5 gallon boil down to 5 gallons in the fermenter. I did not leave the hops in. So you're suggesting infection, right? I used idophor sanitizer on the bottles, bucket, tubes, filler, and whatever else. I boiled the sugar solution for 5 minutes before use. I used a wort chiller that recirculates ice water (with no leaks). I boiled the wort chiller coil for 10 minutes before chilling. All tubes and utensils were continually bathed in idophor solution during the brew. I guess I'm wondering where the chink in my armor is.
 
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If it continues to take a change for the worst it might be an infection. But do not assume it is because it does not taste good now.

There could be factors we don't know, recipe wise, or water issues that could also affect taste. However, I'd advise letting the brew condition at a cool or cold temp for a while before you pass final judgement. Many times I've judged one of my brews sup par only to have them be quite enjoyable after a month or two.
 

RM-MN

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My guess (and that is all it is) would be oxidation. Hop aroma and flavor are quickly lost due to oxidation. When you open the fermenter to take the final gravity reading you introduce oxygen. When you siphon from the fermenter to the bottling bucket you introduce oxygen, and when you bottle the beer you introduce oxygen. It isn't much but it is enough to destroy the aroma and flavor of the hops. I notice that starting at about 3 months and by 5 months there is no aroma left. Now days I simply make smaller batches on a rotation so the hoppy beers are mostly gone in 3 months.

Look for a thread on Low Dissolved Oxygen (LODO) and see if that tells you anything.
 
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Yeah, oxidation possible too, especially if experiencing the "wet cardboard" taste.

One does not need to go totally "LODO", regarding hot side that is. That said, excluding oxygen from wort/beer after fermentation has got going until serving is critical if one wants to make and enjoy good beer.
 
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Plastic Brewkettle

Plastic Brewkettle

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Dland: My water is tap water that has a whole house filter. I do not test PH as I am not that sophisticated yet. I have beers that are older that still taste great so I don't think it's the water. The grain bill is:
10 lbs 2 row
.5 lb Munich
.5 lb Honey Malt I used 1 tab of Whirlfloc at 10 minutes left. No other additives. Thanks for the input!!

RM-MN: My problem is additional (unwanted aroma and flavor. Is it possible for hops to go bad in the bottle?

Thanks for the input!!
 
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Plastic Brewkettle

Plastic Brewkettle

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So, the only place I can think of to introduce oxygen is the racking process. I really try to keep the oxygenation to a minimum, but there are always minor instances of oxygenation during that process. There always is a bit as the flow begins from the fermenter into the bottling bucket. Then, I usually siphon off excess oxygen from the bottling bucket by filling my Hydrometer tube with the first fillings using the bottle filler. Should I be priming the siphon from the fermenter to the bottling bucket into a run-off bucket first to eliminate oxygen?
 

marc1

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I don't think that oxidation is the main cause of the flavor turning extra bitter and burnt. This wasn't a highly hopped NEIPA, so it shouldn't be super sensitive to it. That would be more likely to have it go extra sweet and darken noticeably along with the hop flavor loss. Has the beer turned a lot darker?

However, I would expect the hop flavor to fade quite a bit, as it is 5 and a half months from bottling day. I wouldn't call almost half a year a short term change.

It could be an infection - are the bottles becoming more carbonated and foaming a lot when opened? Is it consistent with all bottles, or sporadic with just some? Do you disassemble your spigots for cleaning and sanitizing?

It could be a combination of several things. It could be that the hops faded, allowing a water problem to become noticeable, with a concomitant infection. What's your water like and how do you treat it?

Do you want to start chasing cold side O2 reduction? If you have been happy with your other 15 batches up until now, and it's just this one batch that has problems, oxidation probably isn't the problem you are noticing unless you did something different this batch. I have gone fairly aggressive in my cold side O2 mitigation, and it made a difference for me, but like everything in homebrewing, everyone has their own preferences that they should brew towards.

People here are pretty passionate about homebrew, so you are likely to get some good troubleshooting help from several perspectives.
 
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Plastic Brewkettle

Plastic Brewkettle

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@marc1 : The beer's color has not changed (dramatically). Yes, some bottles are over-carbonated. This did alarm me. It is with only some bottles, but the flavor problem seems to be with the rest of them (I only have 3 left). I disassemble everything to clean and but not to sanitize. Perhaps I'll break things down further during the sanitizing process. My water is whole-house filtered and I do nothing additional to it. It seems things are leaning toward infection. Thanks for the input.
 

marc1

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@marc1 : The beer's color has not changed (dramatically). Yes, some bottles are over-carbonated. This did alarm me. It is with only some bottles, but the flavor problem seems to be with the rest of them (I only have 3 left). I disassemble everything to clean and but not to sanitize. Perhaps I'll break things down further during the sanitizing process. My water is whole-house filtered and I do nothing additional to it. It seems things are leaning toward infection. Thanks for the input.

If it's municipal water, the sources can change without notice and you could get something not good for brewing without notice. Even if it's not the issue now, you should look into that for future consistency.
 

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@marc1 : The beer's color has not changed (dramatically). Yes, some bottles are over-carbonated.
This fits with what @hottpeper13 and @Cyclman suggested about you bottling too early. It probably wasn't done fermenting and certainly wasn't done clearing. Your lesson is patience, not sanitation. :) (And, I think you're right about oxidation muting hops and bitter flavor, so I don't think oxidation is the problem.)
 
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IslandLizard

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So I've got this pale ale I brewed on 7/29/21 and bottled on 8/5/21.
[Revised] Most likely that! ^ Could some extra trub in the bottles play a role in long term flavor stability? Absolutely!

That's a tight schedule, especially when bottling! You must have done quite a few things right for not ending up with bottle bombs.
How much trub is in those bottles? 1/4"?

Not saying it can't be done, I've brewed 3-day IPAs from grain to glass, but they're kegged. Good solid timing of each "stage" plays a big role for a process like that to be successful in the end. When to add dry hops, when to cold crash, etc.
Could those 3-day IPAs have been bottled, instead? I think so. I know they were fermented out and well crashed. There was very little trub transferred, no more than usual.
 
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Plastic Brewkettle

Plastic Brewkettle

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Alright, thanks. I've had patience issues with other stuff as well. I always want to rush on to the next batch. I think I'll just buy another carboy so I can get that Oatmeal stout going that's next on the list.
 

RM-MN

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Alright, thanks. I've had patience issues with other stuff as well. I always want to rush on to the next batch. I think I'll just buy another carboy so I can get that Oatmeal stout going that's next on the list.

Instead of a carboy, buy buckets. They won't shatter, have big openings for pouring the wort into and for cleaning, have nice handles for easy carrying. They're also cheaper than carboys. Don't limit yourself to just one more carboy, buy 3 bucket fermenters so you can have more batches going at once. Filling those extra fermentes and bottling will keep you busy enough that you won't feel nearly the need to rush getting the beer bottled.
 

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