HELP. Strange beer taste.

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Eric Wann

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So I have made about 6 or 7 homebrews now and I have found that all of them, regardless or recipe, malts, hops, or yeast, all have one thing in common. It is a very distinct flavor in the background that taste almost papery. I have only done extract brewing, and after fermentation, I do a 2 week bottle condition for most of the varieties. Does anyone have any insight as to where this strange flavor may be from?
 

kartracer2

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Well I am sure the group can help you through this but some more info on your brewing process, (batch size,,ferment temps etc) recipes, beer styles, yeast and such. It helps if we know what you have going on.
Cheers,:mug:
Joel B.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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Oxidation
Tastes/Smells Like:
Stale or old, wet cardboard, sherry, papery, pineapple, decaying vegetables, Increased bitterness, harshness

Possible Causes:
Oxidation occurs when oxygen negatively reacts with the molecules in the wort or beer. An excessive level of oxygen being introduced to the beer, especially while wort is still warm or after fermentation is complete, can create cardboard of sherry-like flavors. Too much headspace in bottles can lead to oxidation as well. On the other hand, aeration of wort before pitching yeast is necessary for yeast and good fermentation.

How to Avoid:
Oxidation is almost always a result of unnecessary splashing of fermented beer. When transferring beer from one vessel to the next, prevent splashing by transferring beer with tubing rather than pouring straight in. Keep the end of the transfer tubing beneath the liquid line and avoid getting air pockets in the transfer tubing. Also, keep exposure of wort to outside air at a minimum. Hot side aeration refers to wort becoming oxidized while it is hot. Warm liquid is more inclined to absorb oxygen and therefore, it is recommended that when wort is over 80ºF, splashing be avoided. During and directly after the boil splashing is not much of a concern, as oxygen can’t really dissolve into liquid that hot. Cool wort as quickly as possible and do not aerate wort until it is under 80ºF. When bottling, only leave about ½” of headspace. The use of “oxygen absorbing” bottle caps may help keep oxygen out of the bottle. When kegging, purge kegs with Co2 to flush oxygen out of the headspace.
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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Well I am sure the group can help you through this but some more info on your brewing process, (batch size,,ferment temps etc) recipes, beer styles, yeast and such. It helps if we know what you have going on.
Cheers,:mug:
Joel B.
Well I am sure the group can help you through this but some more info on your brewing process, (batch size,,ferment temps etc) recipes, beer styles, yeast and such. It helps if we know what you have going on.
Cheers,:mug:
Joel B.
Batch size: 5 gal
Fermenter: 7 gallon plastic ferm bucket
Temperature range: 68-76. Avg. 70 (just room temp ferm)
Beer Style: Imperial stout. (though it finished @ 6%) 1.072 - 1.026
Yeast: wyeast 1028, London Ale

3 weeks Primary
2 weeks bottle condition

Tasted Friday 2/12 (exactly 2 weeks after condition)
 

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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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Oxidation
Tastes/Smells Like:
Stale or old, wet cardboard, sherry, papery, pineapple, decaying vegetables, Increased bitterness, harshness

Possible Causes:
Oxidation occurs when oxygen negatively reacts with the molecules in the wort or beer. An excessive level of oxygen being introduced to the beer, especially while wort is still warm or after fermentation is complete, can create cardboard of sherry-like flavors. Too much headspace in bottles can lead to oxidation as well. On the other hand, aeration of wort before pitching yeast is necessary for yeast and good fermentation.

How to Avoid:
Oxidation is almost always a result of unnecessary splashing of fermented beer. When transferring beer from one vessel to the next, prevent splashing by transferring beer with tubing rather than pouring straight in. Keep the end of the transfer tubing beneath the liquid line and avoid getting air pockets in the transfer tubing. Also, keep exposure of wort to outside air at a minimum. Hot side aeration refers to wort becoming oxidized while it is hot. Warm liquid is more inclined to absorb oxygen and therefore, it is recommended that when wort is over 80ºF, splashing be avoided. During and directly after the boil splashing is not much of a concern, as oxygen can’t really dissolve into liquid that hot. Cool wort as quickly as possible and do not aerate wort until it is under 80ºF. When bottling, only leave about ½” of headspace. The use of “oxygen absorbing” bottle caps may help keep oxygen out of the bottle. When kegging, purge kegs with Co2 to flush oxygen out of the headspace.
I have taken great care each brew day to avoid everything outlined above. But I do not disagree that it taste like I have made an error during this step in some way. Truly every beer I have made has had the same strange flavor once complete so even though I have used wildly different ingredients and some varying temps. So it does lead me to think that either its an error in handling the beer in oxygen, something to do with using extracts and not all grains, or the lack of being able to control the ferm temp to a specific degree,
 

kartracer2

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The recipe reads 6.6lbs. LME, 2lbs DME. Might be old / mis-handled LME but if off flavor is in every batch it almost has to be process IMO. But I'm no expert.
Have you made a batch with all or mostlyl LME?
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 

camonick

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What kind of water do you use? If it weren’t for your description of “papery”, I’d wonder about chlorophenols from untreated tap water. The taste from that can be described as: plastic, vinyl, iodine. I can sometimes taste it in beers I get in trades from guys who don’t treat their tap water with campden tablets. I have lived on a farm with a private well my whole life and I’m very sensitive to the taste and smell of “city” water.
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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The recipe reads 6.6lbs. LME, 2lbs DME. Might be old / mis-handled LME but if off flavor is in every batch it almost has to be process IMO. But I'm no expert.
Have you made a batch with all or mostlyl LME?
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
I agree that since the weird flavor has been so distinct and present in several batches that it seems more likely to be a process rather than ingredient.

I have not made a recipe with ALL LME. and coultn tell you the specific ratio of LME v. DME in the previous batches. but they are all from the same homebrew shop so they are similar
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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What kind of water do you use? If it weren’t for your description of “papery”, I’d wonder about chlorophenols from untreated tap water. The taste from that can be described as: plastic, vinyl, iodine. I can sometimes taste it in beers I get in trades from guys who don’t treat their tap water with campden tablets. I have lived on a farm with a private well my whole life and I’m very sensitive to the taste and smell of “city” water.
Thats a terrific question. I do not treat my water with anything prior to the brew. I always use these gallon jugs of crystal geyser water for both brew and fermentation water.
 

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Jag75

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If your room temp is about 70 then Id expect the beer to be over the preferred temp range (60-72). Fermentation can even cause a 10 degree swing .

Could be old ingredients , old stale tasting ? Could be oxidation. But in an imperial stout not sure if that would be so noticeable.

What are you using as a fermenter? How are you bottling ?
 

BrewZer

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What sanitizer(s) and cleaners are you using?
Are you disassembling and cleaning/sanitizing every component, including valves and spigots?
How old are your hoses?
Is your brew pot stainless or aluminum?
Does the lid on your fermenter seal tight enough to bubble a fermentation lock? Are you opening the lid during fermentation for anything?
 

bobtheUKbrewer2

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"""Warm liquid is more inclined to absorb oxygen and therefore, it is recommended that when wort is over 80ºF, splashing be avoided. During and directly after the boil splashing is not much of a concern, as oxygen can’t really dissolve into liquid that hot"""

I don't think this makes sense- contradiction ?
 

VikeMan

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^ The colder the water/wort/beer, the more readily O2 dissolves into it, given equal pressure/agitation/etc.
 
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Eric Wann

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The LME already has minerals in it. So using bottled mineral water is doubling the minerals you need. You might be getting a mineral twang in the flavor.

If using LME, use distilled or RO water instead.
That makes sense to me. Ill try a distilled water source next time and see where I end up
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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If your room temp is about 70 then Id expect the beer to be over the preferred temp range (60-72). Fermentation can even cause a 10 degree swing .

Could be old ingredients , old stale tasting ? Could be oxidation. But in an imperial stout not sure if that would be so noticeable.

What are you using as a fermenter? How are you bottling ?
Using a 7.5 gallon plastic bucket fermenter this time around. Though I have used glass carboys with the same result to taste. I am botting with an auto-siphon. I siphon the beer into a bottling bucket with the priming sugar, then siphon into bottles from there. When transferring to the bottling bucket, I ensure the tubing is below the liquid line and no splashing occurs to mitigate some of the oxygen exposure.
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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What sanitizer(s) and cleaners are you using?
Are you disassembling and cleaning/sanitizing every component, including valves and spigots?
How old are your hoses?
Is your brew pot stainless or aluminum?
Does the lid on your fermenter seal tight enough to bubble a fermentation lock? Are you opening the lid during fermentation for anything?
I am using five star saniclean, and pbw respectively.

I am cleaning everything that would come into contact with the beer very thoroughly.

Hoses are one year old now.

Brew pot is stainless steel.

The seal on the brew bucket is annoyingly strong and the airlock is snug, and bubbles well. Does not appear to have issues with air getting in. I also never open the lid during fermentation for fear of contamination.
 

madscientist451

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I really don't like the taste of extract beer unless it has lots of hops. Try getting a BIAB bag and some grain and then you'll know if its the extract that you're tasting. BIAB is really easy, like someone on here once said, its like a giant tea bag. You can also streamline the bottling process by bottling directly from primary.
 
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Does anyone have any insight as to where this strange flavor may be from?
The recipe in #4 does a "concentrated" boil (all the DME/LME at the start of the boil with 1/2 the water). There is a suggestion in HtB (chapter 8) to not do that - as it leads to 'off flavors' (no specific flavors were listed).

The brand of DME/LME was not specified. Each brand will have a different mineral profile (different source water) and so it will have a different flavor. Brewing Engineering has more information on this. Also, one of the /r/homebrewing mods has talked about (in his opinion) which styles of beer work better with DME/LME when he brews extract+steep.

@Beermeister32 already mentioned using distilled or RO water (known mineral content) in place of spring water (unknown mineral content).

Here at HBT, 'stale' LME seems to be competing with 'oxidation' for most frequent "auto-response" recently. Meanwhile, over in AHA forums, the talk has been around sources of fresh LME (for example).

Finally, 'stale' LME comes with a set up common flavor descriptions - so if one is going to raise the possibility, please include the off flavor descriptors.
 

Emmanuez

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Did you find a solution to this? I am having the same exact problem. Last 2 batches have gone to sh*t, with the same exact taste. I’m thinking it has something to do with not aerating the wort enough after pitching the yeast. (?)
HELP! 😩
 

hundel

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I’m thinking it has something to do with not aerating the wort enough after pitching the yeast. (?)
Just a friendly note that while this is almost certainly not the cause of a "papery" off flavor (especially if you are using dried yeast), and while aerating after pitching is not a known problem, it's also not well studied and is not a common practice. Aeration of wort is generally performed prior to pitching yeast.
 
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