Medicine Taste - Water test shows chlorophenals not to blame. What is?

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Here's my recipe:

5.5 lbs muntons wheat
5.5 lbs muntons wheat

2 oz german hallertau 60
2 oz german hallertau 30
Irish moss 15
1 oz saaz 10

6.1 ABV (16 to 9 brix). Beer Smith predicted 6.6.

This is the third recipe in which I've had a medicine-y taste. Some smart people here suggested chlorophenols, so I tried campden tablets. The result was still medicine-y.

I next had my water tested.

Any ideas...??

pH 7.7
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est, ppm 191
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.32
Cations / Anions, me/L / 3.1 3.4 ppm
Sodium, Na 10
Potassium, K 1
Calcium, Ca 37
Magnesium, Mg 14
Total Hardness, CaCO3 151
Nitrate, NO3-N 0.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 9
Chloride, Cl 14
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3 126
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 104
Total Phosphorus, P 0.36
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01
 

tjmac5071

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I had this happen recently, I think it was due to my new ssbrewtech fermenter having machine residue despite tsp clean. My previous one had no problems but this one ruined 10gal bc I transfer first 6 gallons to one, then split it and then topped off both
 

BrewSomeMore

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Seems like plenty, unless they are old packs. Brettanomyces will give off band- aid flavors initially some times. Make sure fermentor, and tubing is super clean and sanitized. Let it soak in oxyclean/ pbw overnight.
 

Shawn3997

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Buy water from your local store for your next batch. That will eliminate your tap water as an issue. Did you have a good taste before bottling and then bad after? Where does it start to taste medicine-y? Taste your beer every step of the way to see where the weird taste pops up. Make some small 1-gallon batches instead of large ones. Whole Foods has 1-gallon jugs that fit a 6.5 bung/airlock (same size as the carboys) and are filled with good apple juice for like $9; they are great for small batches plus if you put some yeast in the apple juice it makes good cider. Good luck!
 
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Buy water from your local store for your next batch. That will eliminate your tap water as an issue. Did you have a good taste before bottling and then bad after? Where does it start to taste medicine-y? Taste your beer every step of the way to see where the weird taste pops up. Make some small 1-gallon batches instead of large ones. Whole Foods has 1-gallon jugs that fit a 6.5 bung/airlock (same size as the carboys) and are filled with good apple juice for like $9; they are great for small batches plus if you put some yeast in the apple juice it makes good cider. Good luck!
I force-carb, so no bottling issue. I've tasted it after boiling and transfer but the sweetness of the malt hides the medicine taste. The medicine taste arrives after fermentation (before transfer to keg). It's on what I think people call the "back-end."

I should just try store-bought water to control that variable.
 

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I got the same taste when I was a nube, it was the plastic valve on the bucket. I didn't know it came apart , I couldn't believe the crud inside there. Take apart all the valves. I wash all new equipment in Dawn dish soap first to remove manufacturing residue, then a alkali soak.
 

seatazzz

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What was the temperature of your wort when you pitched? Pitching yeast (and it does seem you used plenty) on hot wort will kill off a bunch of cells, leaving the remainder struggling to keep up. This equates underpitching (as mentioned above) and will definitely cause that medicine-y off flavor. Trust me, I KNOW. Been there many times.
 
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What was the temperature of your wort when you pitched? Pitching yeast (and it does seem you used plenty) on hot wort will kill off a bunch of cells, leaving the remainder struggling to keep up. This equates underpitching (as mentioned above) and will definitely cause that medicine-y off flavor. Trust me, I KNOW. Been there many times.
Since these replies, I tried two more batches (have had much less time to brew in the last few years). The same thing occurred. The last two times I used beer kits (Oberon from Bells and Furious from Austin home brew). This last time I used a yeast starter (flask and magnetic mixer). I always pitch yeast at 80 F. I clean with PBW and sanitize everything in starsan and double-sanitize with starsan in a spray bottle as I brew. As noted above, I lab-tested my tap water and found no polyphenols.

The taste is not terrible. It's just that my beer (the Oberon and the Furious) tastes a little sweeter (very light medicine type flavor) than compared to the bottled versions purchased from the beer store.

I don't want to give up on home brewing, but I am quite perplexed. Is it possible the off taste is in my head? Any ideas would be welcome.
 
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That's pretty warm. Could cause the yeast to throw higher fusel alcohols which can taste 'solventy'.

Is there a reason you're pitching so warm? What temp is it fermenting at?
I followed the instructions on the kits. I wanted to get to a baseline to make sure my process isn't FUBAR. Furious said 80 F. The Oberon Kit said 64-72, so I would have done that. I have an insulated fermenter with temp control that I keep at 69 F.

I do single stage in a bucket.
 
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The Imperial recommends 65-72F.
SafAle says 53-77F for US-05, but my experience with that yeast is it's best to keep it on the low end of that range. Higher temps can throw off some weird esters.
Yikes, I wouldn't have thought to double-check their work. Could just a few degrees create the same off taste across various types of yeast?

This is tough stuff.

Thanks for the insight.
 

seatazzz

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80f is quite high for US-05. Some of the yeasts can be forgiving at higher temperatures, but I've never had good luck with US-05 over 70°. More to that, how did you create your starter? Water, or wort (what some of us call a "vitality" starter)? At what temperature? That may also be your culprit. Also, dry yeast doesn't really "need" a starter; liquid yeast does better with one, unless you're pitching into a fairly low-to-medium SG beer.

Yeast is a hardy beast, but just like some humans can get quite pissy at higher temperatures, and not do what you expected/wanted it to do. Kveik yeast is the exception to that rule, but kveik (to me) is like your crazy cousin that does what he/she wants (apologies to those with no crazy cousins. I have plenty). Work on getting your pitching temperature in the mid 60's/ max low 70's (both wort & yeast starter, if you use one) and I bet you see an improvement. I do speak from experience; back in my early days I routinely pitched yeast at about 90° and could not understand why I was making a LOT of bandaid beer, until I read more on HBT and got schooled.
 

MaxStout

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Yikes, I wouldn't have thought to double-check their work. Could just a few degrees create the same off taste across various types of yeast?

This is tough stuff.

Thanks for the insight.
I've never used the Imperial, but I wouldn't want to push that 8 degrees above its top end. And, as I mentioned above, US-05 at 80 could create some bad off-flavors at that temp.

Will high temps cause the same off flavors from 2 different yeasts? I suppose it's possible. Stressed yeast can throw off some bad tasting by-products.

Another thought: are you aerating the wort when you pitch? Low O2 at the beginning can stress yeast.
 

MaxStout

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Fermentation is exothermic, it generates heat. That means the inside of the fermenter can become several degrees above the room temp. Ferm temps are very important, but it doesn't have to be tough stuff. You could set the fermenter in a tub of cool water and throw in a couple ice packs a couple times a day to maintain lower temps. It's called a "swamp cooler."
 
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I've never used the Imperial, but I wouldn't want to push that 8 degrees above its top end. And, as I mentioned above, US-05 at 80 could create some bad off-flavors at that temp.

Will high temps cause the same off flavors from 2 different yeasts? I suppose it's possible. Stressed yeast can throw off some bad tasting by-products.

Another thought: are you aerating the wort when you pitch? Low O2 at the beginning can stress yeast.
Yes, I aerate pretty good. Either manually, or with a stirrer attached to a drill. Usually by hand.
 
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80f is quite high for US-05. Some of the yeasts can be forgiving at higher temperatures, but I've never had good luck with US-05 over 70°. More to that, how did you create your starter? Water, or wort (what some of us call a "vitality" starter)? At what temperature? That may also be your culprit. Also, dry yeast doesn't really "need" a starter; liquid yeast does better with one, unless you're pitching into a fairly low-to-medium SG beer.

Yeast is a hardy beast, but just like some humans can get quite pissy at higher temperatures, and not do what you expected/wanted it to do. Kveik yeast is the exception to that rule, but kveik (to me) is like your crazy cousin that does what he/she wants (apologies to those with no crazy cousins. I have plenty). Work on getting your pitching temperature in the mid 60's/ max low 70's (both wort & yeast starter, if you use one) and I bet you see an improvement. I do speak from experience; back in my early days I routinely pitched yeast at about 90° and could not understand why I was making a LOT of bandaid beer, until I read more on HBT and got schooled.
Hahaha. Thanks for the great description.

I used the propper starter and followed directions. I don't recall the temp, but I think it was somewhere around room temp.

I will definitely try a lower starting temp next.

Thanks!
 
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