Maris Otter tastes like diacetyl?

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kserfass

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So I was listening to the most recent Can You Brew It podcast for Meantime English IPA and the brewer (can't remember his name at the moment) said something really interesting. He mentioned that they had an all 100% Maris Otter beer and he had to eventually back it down from 100% because he "swore to God" that much Maris Otter "has a distinct flavor very similar to diacetyl".

I think this idea might have some ground because I recently did a bitter with probably 90% Maris Otter and a little dark crystal and I swore it tasted straight up like butter. Is this an old idea or has anyone else experienced this?
 

blkandrust

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I have zero first hand experience with this subject but am very curious as I just picked up 110lbs of marris otter.
 

bierhaus15

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That's utter nonsense. Maris Otter will give you a robust toasty or biscuit quality, which to some could be taken as cracker or breakfast toast - but it is not buttery or similar to diacetyl in flavor. However, most English yeasts are prone to producing some amounts of diacetyl. I suspect the buttery flavor they got was from their fermentation, rather than the grain.
 

Golddiggie

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I'm going to agree with bierhaus15 on this too... I've made brews with up to 90% MO (that one is still carbonating) and even in ones with only 50-60% MO they were damned great... The one with 90% should be ready for sampling in another few days to a week (it's approaching the two week mark in bottles)... So in 7-12 days I'll have a better idea of what that much MO does for a brew... Going to be interesting since I have a full sack of MO that I have yet to start using...
 
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kserfass

kserfass

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That's utter nonsense. Maris Otter will give you a robust toasty or biscuit quality, which to some could be taken as cracker or breakfast toast - but it is not buttery or similar to diacetyl in flavor. However, most English yeasts are prone to producing some amounts of diacetyl. I suspect the buttery flavor they got was from their fermentation, rather than the grain.
Yeah, that's what I have always thought but it was weird to hear a pro brewer saying this stuff. He seemed to know what he was talking about and I think he must because he's an American head brewer in a London brewery. I wish I could find a transcript of his interview.

And just for the extra knowledge, I used WLP002 in my bitter.

""Wait before separating yeast from beer"
By: Dr. Evil
Date: June 04, 2007
Beer brewed: English Ales
Comments: This yeast can produce diacetyl (butter scotch flavor) if you do not leave the yeast in contact with the beer long enough. Wait 3 days after your air lock stops bubbling before separating the yeast from the beer."

Taken from customer reviews section on WLP002
 

Golddiggie

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Sounds more like another reason to taste the brew before you decide to pull it off the yeast... OR, give it more time in primary and toss racking to a bright tank... :rockin:

I'm going to try and either bottle, or put on some oak, a strong scotch ale I've had on the yeast since 2/13/11, today... I'm thinking that I'll put it on oak (in a 5.16 gallon Sanke keg) for about a month and then bottle it up... Since it's just passed the 5 week mark, on the yeast, it should be 'done' there... Still, a reading and taste will tell all. That brew was almost 82% MO, and I used Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast...
 
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kserfass

kserfass

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I guess what I also find weird about that CYBI episode is that no one addressed the Maris Otter diacetyl statement after the interview played. I guess it technically didn't have to do with the beer they were trying to clone, so whatever.
 

SamuraiSquirrel

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That's a load of crap. I've made super clean tasting beers with Marris Otter. I actually prefer it over 2-row in my pales and IPA's.

I'm going to go with fermentation or some other factor being the cause of the buttery taste.
 

HotbreakHotel

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I don't get that from MO, but it's interesting to me...I once brewed an IPA with MO as the base malt and it seemed to come out pretty good, winning a gold medal in a local competition. One guy tried it and said it tasted like butterscotch, but the others at the table said he was nuts. Maybe some peoples' tasters are such that that taste that in MO? It's just the guy's opinion...
 

jfowler1

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I also heard the interview, and your description of what you heard was completely accurate; no transcript needed. He went as far as saying that he wished he could go back and apologize to people he dinged for "diacetyl flavors" because he now believes that it was a result of their malt, not their "poor" fermentation.

I have been using WLP007 with domestic 2-row for about 6 months now with absolutely zero detectable diacetyl. I am bottling a dry stout this weekend, and it will be the first beer I've made with UK pale base malt and the WLP007. I'll follow up in a week if this thread is still alive and relay my experience.

FWIW, I have not smelled anything unusual when I open up the chamber. The stout may be a bad example because of how dominating the roasted barley can be, but it is the best I can do.

Joe
 

mklawz

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FWIW, I agree with the comments in the first post. Just once have I made a 100% MO english bitter. It had a very odd syrupy taste to it. I entered it in a comp and all the judges said the same thing. I wouldn't describe the taste as diacetyl though. More of a syrupy / light molasses flavor to it. Personally, I will never do it again. It was one of the worst beers I've ever made. But people swear by it so oh well.
 

Swedoz

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Ive used maris otter in the past without the diacetyl taste but they were stouts mainly. Recently bought a 25kg sack and used MO in higher % of the grain bill, 3 brews have had butter flavour and they were with american ale yeasts. 2 brews i did with s-33 and lower % maris otter showed no butter flavour whatsoever. Have done diacetyl rests to no avail.
Are there any maltsters out there that know if it could be batch dependent? Are some batches of malt more prone to diacetyl?
 

ESBrewer

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MO itself should not taste like diacetyl and malt is not known to contain diacetyl or its precursors. If the malt/batch for some reason is less modified, the wort may contain less free valine than usually (an amino acid). Thus, yeast needs to synthesize valine and these reactions will produce alpha-aceto-lactate, which is precursor of diacetyl. Protein rest and nutrient supplementation could help if this is the case. I don't think this is a very common problem these days (or typical to MO) when most malts are said to be well modified, but could be a bad batch?

But yeast health, strain, proper diacetyl rest, succesful mash that effectively releases nutrients and low enough initial fermentation temp are factors, too. Plus avoiding contaminations.
 
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mattdee1

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Interesting... I made a MO smash a while back and noted that my earliest samples of it had a distinct diacetyl note to them. The only other time that happened was on yet another beer that was heavy in MO, but not a smash.

Doesn't prove anything I guess, but I can say that the observations in the OP are consistent with my own. In both cases, for me, the diacetyl note went away after about 4 weeks in the bottle.
 
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