Gunpowder flavor in stout - yeast or grain bill?

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I'm hoping this is the best section to ask this question, I think I have an ingredient issue.

Oatmeal stout, recipe as follows:
8.0 lbs Golden Promise
2.0 lbs Munich
1.0 lbs Oatmeal flakes
1.0 lbs Pale Chocolate
1.0 lbs Flaked Barley
0.50 lbs Roasted Barley
0.25 lbs Crystal 40
0.25 lbs Crystal 80
0.5 lbs Lactose
2 oz. Williamette 4.2% for 60 minutes to give ~ 32 IBU estimated
Safale S-05 (on top of failed Wyeast 1335 British II)
First run in an Anvil Foundry which I'd cleaned and rinsed pretty well I think
Filtered water with minor additions to approximate numbers agreed upon here in earlier threads by the masters

Brew day seemed to go well. Mashed an hour at 155, boiled an hour, cooled quickly, etc. Hit 1.065 OG and 1.022 FG (expected 1.018 but add a few points for the lactose = hit my numbers). Around 6% ABV. Taste tests along the way indicated I'd have a yummy stout coming up.

The only issue was that the 1335 British II yeast, smacked the night before, didn't swell up. I pitched it anyhow, hoping it was just a little lazy, but 24 hours later (at 68F) there was no activity. I had a couple backup packets of S-05 just in case, and threw them in (online calculator I believe recommended a yeast amount that came right out to be 2 packets). Had activity in 12 hours and full fermentation rocking within 24. Tapered off after about 3-4 days. Let it sit in the primary at about 70 degrees for 3 weeks, watched it get quite clear. Then kegged it, force carbed, chilled, and served my first glass last night (with a bent dip tube to ensure I didn't suck up a bunch of yeast). So far so good.

But it's got a gunpowder smell and flavor. Like... a toy cap gun. Maybe small fireworks.

S-05? The failed Wyeast 1335? I've never used flaked barley before, could that be it? Any chance I didn't clean my fancy new electric brewer well enough? Researching seems to say gunpowder is a yeast issue, and just wait it out, so I will. I know 3 weeks is a bit early for a 6% stout to be great, but I didn't expect it to flat out suck. Just hoping to identify something I can be sure to NOT repeat the next time.
 
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Miraculix

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My guess is, that you're describing a sulphur smell. This can happen if yeast gets stressed. Some yeasts tend to produce it more easily than others, us05 however shouldn't produce it, at least I have never had this with this yeast and also never read about it. I don't know the other yeast you used but my guess is, that this one was the problem as it already sounded stressed due to the non swelling package.

Sometimes it's dissipating with time. Sometimes people gently stir the finished beer with a sanitised copper pipe which will bind the sulphur in one or two minutes. You can do this before bottling or kegging. But I would first try to wait it out. Stout is anyway mostly better when aged a bit.
 

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If it were me, I'd cold crash it and let it condition for a few weeks.

The more appropriate and more conventional approach for style would be to condition for a while at "cellar temp" , as best you can do between 40 & 60 F.

My guess sulfur is likely from yeast and how it reacted to given ingredients. Whatever the cause, stouts, like other dark & complex ales, benefit from conditioning as much as lagers.
 
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Thanks guys for the responses. After the 3 weeks (2-1/2 of them post any noticeable fermentation happening) at around 70 degrees, I kegged it (closed transfer), force carbed overnight, and then chilled it down to the upper 30's. It was a day later that I had my first pour.

I actually brought it back up to room temp, figured that would help speed up any reactions still going on. Normally things happen faster warmer than they do cooler. As for beer specifically, I know it's complex so I'm not sure which way is "best". I do live in MN so maybe I'll place it in the back of a cabinet at ground level against an interior wall, and let it sit a while. It's as close as I can get to 40 - 60, the alternative is to go in the garage where it dips below freezing at night, sometimes well below.

I'm pretty curious about the copper thing. I have access to some small copper rod and it'd be easy enough to swirl around. Follow up with a few CO2 purges I suppose. But no idea how much time is the right amount of time. Minutes? Hours? I'll try to be patient though and give it a few more weeks. I do know beer changes, just didn't expect it to basically suck right off the bat. I too think yeast is the culprit in some manner or another. Maybe the Wyeast did eventually get going, and let me know how underpitched it was.
 

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I'd just just leave it alone and let it rest, assuming it is carbonated already, in as cool place as is convienient. Check it out in a few weeks, if you like the way it is going, give it some more time, drink when needed.
 

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Thanks guys for the responses. After the 3 weeks (2-1/2 of them post any noticeable fermentation happening) at around 70 degrees, I kegged it (closed transfer), force carbed overnight, and then chilled it down to the upper 30's. It was a day later that I had my first pour.

I actually brought it back up to room temp, figured that would help speed up any reactions still going on. Normally things happen faster warmer than they do cooler. As for beer specifically, I know it's complex so I'm not sure which way is "best". I do live in MN so maybe I'll place it in the back of a cabinet at ground level against an interior wall, and let it sit a while. It's as close as I can get to 40 - 60, the alternative is to go in the garage where it dips below freezing at night, sometimes well below.

I'm pretty curious about the copper thing. I have access to some small copper rod and it'd be easy enough to swirl around. Follow up with a few CO2 purges I suppose. But no idea how much time is the right amount of time. Minutes? Hours? I'll try to be patient though and give it a few more weeks. I do know beer changes, just didn't expect it to basically suck right off the bat. I too think yeast is the culprit in some manner or another. Maybe the Wyeast did eventually get going, and let me know how underpitched it was.
A I said, minutes should suffice. You should actually be able to smell the result as the sulphur smell should be completely gone by then.
 
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2 weeks later, the smell has greatly diminished (but still there), and the flavor has slightly diminished (tastes like a stout for a half second then the gunpowder, though less than before). It's getting better and so I'll keep it until it gets good or I need the keg. I'm certain it's not normal in any way, and I suspect the dead yeast, but if it eventually tastes OK I suppose I will go with it.

I did try a test last night, I hooked up CO2 at about 1 psi to the keg, unscrewed the pressure relief from the lid (so CO2 gently blew out, and inserted a copper dowel that just managed to fit through there (could hit the keg bottom). Cleaned of course first. Stirred it around for a good 5 minutes to try the sulfur pick-up thing but no luck, couldn't tell a difference before / after. Was worth a try, might again sometime.

Lessons learned - the copper trick might sometimes work but it seems it did not for me, and even if sometimes yeast can "wake up" and get going I for one will certainly not pitch a pack again that doesn't swell within 24 hours.
 

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2 weeks later, the smell has greatly diminished (but still there), and the flavor has slightly diminished (tastes like a stout for a half second then the gunpowder, though less than before). It's getting better and so I'll keep it until it gets good or I need the keg. I'm certain it's not normal in any way, and I suspect the dead yeast, but if it eventually tastes OK I suppose I will go with it.

I did try a test last night, I hooked up CO2 at about 1 psi to the keg, unscrewed the pressure relief from the lid (so CO2 gently blew out, and inserted a copper dowel that just managed to fit through there (could hit the keg bottom). Cleaned of course first. Stirred it around for a good 5 minutes to try the sulfur pick-up thing but no luck, couldn't tell a difference before / after. Was worth a try, might again sometime.

Lessons learned - the copper trick might sometimes work but it seems it did not for me, and even if sometimes yeast can "wake up" and get going I for one will certainly not pitch a pack again that doesn't swell within 24 hours.
Then it's not sulphur related
 
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Seems to be the case. I'll probably try it again, cause I'm like that, but will expect it to again not make a difference. Hate to have not done it long enough or something.

I'll need the keg in a few weeks so I guess we'll see if it's a keeper or tosser.

Thanks for your help.
 
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Final report in case anyone hits this on a future search. I tried the copper swizzling again for another 5 minutes through the PRA valve hole in the keg lid, with CO2 flowing. No change to the beer whatsoever.

It's possible that the Munich, oats, and flaked barley added up to a malty / graininess I didn't like. I really think the beer was "bad" due to the dead yeast package, but it's possible this combo didn't help.

I knew that since I still didn't like it I was never going to drink it, and dumped it to make room for a porter I brewed yesterday.

My lesson learned - don't pitch a Wyeast pack that didn't swell. It might actually be fine, but it might not. Have a couple packages of dry yeast on hand for if / when that happens.
 
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Bumping my old thread.

For the 2nd time ever, I tried the 1335 British II yeast. Put it in a porter recipe I've brewed several times. Subbed my usual 1968 ESB yeast for this 1335 as the only recipe change. And again, I have this firecracker / gunpowder taste.

The yeast was less than a month old, I used a 1L starter, and in that starter it multiplied like crazy and flocculated in about 24 hours. In the actual beer, airlock activity and thin krausen was there in about 6 hours, it went nuts for a few days, and was all but done by 72 hours. Gravity only got down to about 1.020 from an OG of 1.060. I slightly underpitched but not terribly so. Clearly fermentation took place with active yeast. A week after brewing, I sipped on my gravity sample and hated it. I think the yeast is flocculated, the beer's quite clear, I don't' think that's what I'm tasting.

How the heck did I get this flavor again? I'll give it some time of course, but I'm very confused and not optimistic. Maybe I'm a 1 / 1000 person that picks up on some characteristic of the yeast and my brain perceives it in a strange way (like how some people hate cilantro).
 
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I'm a slow learner, apparently. I made a Brown Ale yesterday and used 1335 in it. Smacked the pack the night before pitching, it didn't swell, but I know that isn't necessarily saying it's bad so I threw it in. Nearly 24 hours later there's no activity whatsoever (I'm used to things being active the same night, the following morning at worst / slowest).

I come searching here for 1335 experiences, and of course found my old thread about it.

I just don't get it. I do actually get that I forgot I had bad experiences with it, but I don't get why I consistently have bad experiences with it.

This pack didn't expire until next February. It came from the LHBS refrigerator, spent 20 minutes in a cold car, then went into my refrigerator. It was pitched into 1.056 gravity wort, 3 gallons of it at 67 F. Nothing funny here. I also recall smelling the yeast when I pitched it, and thinking it smelled good. My brain said "cool, some yeast sort of stinks, but I like this one, it'll be yummy".
 

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Perhaps try to find a dry yeast that is close to equivalent. While there is a great selection of yeasts in liquid form, one has no control of how they were handled before in ones possession.

In the old days, one had to buy smack packs to get a good selection of beer yeasts, this is less true these days.
 
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Agreed. I'll probably run to my alternate LHBS later this morning and get a reasonably equivalent White Labs or Omega.

I'm probably being impatient with it, I'd tell someone else to let it go a bit longer. I'm just so used to all my beers taking off within a few hours that it's making me nervous.

Also my last beer, a Pale Ale, also with Wyeast made a few weeks ago had the same problem. Yeast was pitched, and somethign like 48 hours later there was zero activity (American II). I ran to the alternate store for more and it seemed to behave normally. I wonder if a whole shipment for my primary store froze or was otherwise mistreated. It's part of the reason I'm already concerned about this.
 

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I've had very reliable results with Fermetus dry yeasts, pretty much all I use now. Besides working every time with no starter, the shelf life is in years rather than weeks if stored in cool dry place.

Just reminiscing, .. I remember when Wyeast products first became available around here in late '80's. I used to travel pretty far to get them from a not so local home brew shop, and store carefully in 'fridge. I forget how much they cost, maybe $8-10 a pop, which was a lot more money back then than it is now. But it was what one had to do if one wanted to get much better than bread yeast, or what came in starter kits.
 
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My thing is I've used Wyeast for SO long I feel like I know what I'm going to get and so I tend to already know that I want a certain yeast in a certain beer, because I like the result. I typically change malt %ages or hops form one brew of a recipe to the next. I may need to add yeast to that mix as well.

I'm not "done" with Wyeast by a mile, and the issue could simply be my impatience or the LHBS handling process (or something upstream of them). Or it could be my imagination. But I do know, as made very clear right now, I need to start looking at other options. And dry is actually very appealing.
 
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It's a good question, but I haven't used it in so long prior to the experiences above I do not specifically remember. I believe so, I'm truly think that I've used it a few times in the past and not had a problem. But I can't guarantee it, things get a bit hazy the farther back I go especially when I didn't record my recipes.

There could be a thing with me and 1335, as in taste perception, also it could be that it's a bit slow and overly influenced by its treatment history. I've got a pack of OYL014 British VII about to go in after I've let it finish warming 3 hours as suggested.
 
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Do others detect this flavor in the beer , or just you? The reason I ask is after having Covid some people are perceiving smells and tastes differently . Ever had Covid?
 
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Good question / suggestion. To my knowledge I have managed to avoid Covid so far. And no I haven't had anyone else try the beer, it was so bad to me I figured it would mean it would be to others as well. My wife hates beer and I didn't have any neighbors or friends give it a go.

If I ever use 1335 again I've got some things to look for and to try. I somewhat doubt however that I will.

The current brown ale got the Omega yeast dumped in it at about 7PM last night, and my 10PM it was clearly active and by 7AM this morning it's fermenting like crazy.
 
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