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DD2000GT

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I have been homebrewing for over 10 years now and have brewed literally hundreds of batches, and just recently got back into it again (after getting laid off - LOL). I am no master brewer, but have read many books and tried many different things. I have never produced what I would consider "great" beer, but usually manage decent beer for a low keyed homebrew setup. My problem is all ofg my beers have a metalic taste to it after conditioning. Beer tastes great from the boil, great out of the fermenter, but off after conditioning. I have stumped all of my homebrewing sources, a local brewpub brewer, and my local supply shops. I really don't think it is bacterial contamination - as the bottles show no "ring" at the top or surface skin.

Now, I have over-sanitized, used spring water, changed suppliers, switched between kits/extracts/dry malt, used hop pellets/whole/extract, boiled longer/shorter, switched to a keg system, etc. You can imagine all the bases I have covered after hundreds of attempts. Most just seetle with "it's a house flavor" and so I live with it.

Since finding this forum and reading through many posts, it is apparent there are many experienced brewers here - so I thought I would bounce this off the board. Any thoughts on my condition, or what I can test/change?

Setup:

Stainless brew pot
Wort chiller
5 gallon glass carboys
Stainless cornelius keg setup w/ forced CO2
Normal brewing equipment - hydrometer/thermometer/blow off tubes, etc.
Usually used dry malt and hop pellets using recipies.

I have a passion for good beer and home brewing, just wish I could get past this and produce beers I would be proud to share with my friends.

Thanks all,
Dan
 

DaleJ

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The problem is only in your bottles brews?
How do they taste from the keg? Same?
 
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DD2000GT

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The problem is only in your bottles brews?
How do they taste from the keg? Same?
It is always the same - no matter what I change. The only good beer I have brewed was when I went over to a friends house and brewed a batch (I still used my own equipment). That is why many think is is a "house flavor". I have brewed outside trying to see if it changed anything - no luck. I got a wort chiller based on advice from the local brewer that said "maybe" the wort is taking too long to cool to pitching temps - I cool my wort in about 15 minutes now, but still no change.

I won't give up - just wish I could pin down the cause and fix it.

Thanks,
Dan
 

Saccharomyces

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Things that come to mind are water quality and freshness of your extract. Extract HAS to be fresh, or it's not good... A lot of folks claim over and over AG is superior, I am an AG brewer but I know firsthand my beer is not better than that from experienced brewers who brew with fresh extract. Water high in sodium (softened water), or high in bicarbonates, chlorine, chloramine, or sulfates can lead to off flavors which are detectable in the aftertaste as a twangy, metallic, or teabag astringent flavor. I had a metallic aftertaste in my beers until I started diluting 2:1 with RO water because our water is very high in bicarbonates.
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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If it changed when you brewed at your friends house, I would really focus on your water, but you have tried bottled spring water.
Is the beer served cold enough and is the carbonation correct?
Notes -- "Metallic flavors are usually caused by unprotected metals dissolving into the wort but can also be caused by the hydrolysis of lipids in poorly stored malts. Iron and aluminum can cause metallic flavors leaching into the wort during the boil. The small amount could be considered to be nutritional if it weren't for the bad taste. Nicks and cracks ceramic coated steel pots are a common cause as are high iron levels in well water. Stainless steel pots will not contribute any metallic flavors. Aluminum pots usually won't cause metallic flavors unless the brewing water is alkaline with a pH level greater than 9. Shiny new aluminum pots will sometimes turn black when boiling water due to chlorine and carbonates in the water. The protective (grayish) oxides of aluminum can be enhanced by heating the clean pot in a dry oven at 250°F for about 6 hours." -- From John Palmer.
Some people say you can get a metallic taste from some German hops, but if this happens with all of your beers thats not it.
The only thing I could recommend is late additions of 2/3 of the extract late in the boil. Using 1/3 for the 60 minute boil, hops additions then adding the rest in the last 10-15 minutes of the boil.
 

Bruenor

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i had a funky metalic after taste in my first couple of batches. i switched to bottled spring water and made sure my equipment was completely dry after i sanitized it befor it came in contact with the wort. it must have helped because i shed the metalic after taste.
 
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DD2000GT

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Saccharomyces: I too thought it might be the extract - I usually used the liquid malt extract from my local brew supply, so I switched to dry - but no change. The brewer at our local brew pub suggested it might be the water content - so I used spring water - no change. You mentioned chlorine - I will say I stepped up my sanitation considerably after the first few dissapointments - thinking it might be bacterial contamination and the problems persisted. My sanitizer of choice is houshold bleach and I thought that might be giving the aftertaste, so I switched to Iodipher(sp) but that did not help either. I am willing to use another type of sanitizer - what would you suggest?

Orphy: I have used Spring water - no help. I do steep grains, but put them in my brewpot with cold water and remove before it reaches a boil (about 20 minutes or so).

Eddie: I do not know the iron content of our tap water - I guess I really should get this but since it did it with bottled water I dismissed the local tap water.

Kauai_Kahuna: See above. Also - over 100 batches I will say carbonation fluctuates, but I always serve the beer cold and notice this metalic tang on almost every batch. Very good suggestion on the extract, adding it late in the boil. I will say I have not tried that one. Good tip.

Bruenor: I too worried the bleach wasn't rinsed well from the equipment, so I switched to iodine with no effect. My question is how to completely dry the equipment as I usually sterilize right before use. Is there a good way to sterilize the carboy and keep it sterile while air drying?

Thanks,
Dan
 

wildwest450

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For a good sanitizer star san is hard to beat. Don't be afraid of the foam, and don't let it dry.:mug:
 

eddie

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Since you've used bottled water but the metallic taste persists, I doubt if your tap water is the source of the problem nor do I think it's the sanitizer since you've changed products but nothing's changed. I'm beginning to think it may be residue left on the surface after cleaning.

When you brewed at your friends house, did you ferment it there as well?
 
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DD2000GT

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Since you've used bottled water but the metallic taste persists, I doubt if your tap water is the source of the problem nor do I think it's the sanitizer since you've changed products but nothing's changed. I'm beginning to think it may be residue left on the surface after cleaning.

When you brewed at your friends house, did you ferment it there as well?
Yes - we did everything there to see if it was my house causing the problem.
 

eddie

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Have you tried moving the fermeneter to a different area of the house or do you ferment in the same place most of the time? If it's near an air vent or a furnace it could be temperature fluctuations causing the yeast to throw off some off flavors.

Sorry about all the questions. Just trying to nail it down. Right now I'm thinking two possibilities. One is that there is excess cleaner residue left on the equipment leading to unwanted flavors in the finished product and the other is temperature fluctuations during fermentation causing the yeast to misbehave. There are probably other potential causes I'm forgetting.
 
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DD2000GT

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Have you tried moving the fermeneter to a different area of the house or do you ferment in the same place most of the time? If it's near an air vent or a furnace it could be temperature fluctuations causing the yeast to throw off some off flavors.

Sorry about all the questions. Just trying to nail it down. Right now I'm thinking two possibilities. One is that there is excess cleaner residue left on the equipment leading to unwanted flavors in the finished product and the other is temperature fluctuations during fermentation causing the yeast to misbehave. There are probably other potential causes I'm forgetting.
I have set the fermenter in different spots, but mostly away from direct vent line and always wrapped in a blanket (mostly for sunlight protection). Once I even had it in a closet under my stairs.

I won't argue the excess cleaner residue - that is a very real possibility as I thought only a good rinsing was needed to get the bleach out.

Dan
 

DaleJ

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When you brewed at your friends, did you ferment it there as well?
During this brew, other than the equipment, what was from your supplies and what was from his(hers)?
Did you do anything different as far as process at the friends?


It is always the same - no matter what I change. The only good beer I have brewed was when I went over to a friends house and brewed a batch (I still used my own equipment). That is why many think is is a "house flavor". I have brewed outside trying to see if it changed anything - no luck. I got a wort chiller based on advice from the local brewer that said "maybe" the wort is taking too long to cool to pitching temps - I cool my wort in about 15 minutes now, but still no change.

I won't give up - just wish I could pin down the cause and fix it.

Thanks,
Dan
 

BrewWhat

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What is your sanatizer? Are you rinsing thoroughly. Some sanitizers will leave a metallic taste.
 

WBC

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Starsan is great! It is also faster to sanitize with. I use it in a spray bottle too.

What do your Friends say your beer tastes like? Do they do a blind against other beer of a similar type test when sampling your beer? Does everyone agree that it is a metallic taste?
 
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DD2000GT

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Starsan is great! It is also faster to sanitize with. I use it in a spray bottle too.

What do your Friends say your beer tastes like? Do they do a blind against other beer of a similar type test when sampling your beer? Does everyone agree that it is a metallic taste?
I'll get some - looks like most who posted on Starsan have high praises for it - that is good enough for me.

Yes, my better friends have all pitched in to give their opinions. One friend (the other home brewer) state it has a metallic off flavor, and the others simply classify it as a "tang". This "tang" is less noticable directly after bottling (and never before bottling at any point in the process) but gets more noticable as it conditions in the bottle. Higher hopped brews seem to reduce or disguise this off flavor better.

Thanks,
Dan
 

jpuf

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Just a dumb thought (the kind I'm best at), are you cooling your wort near an open window? Also, +1 on the star san. Good luck.
 
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DD2000GT

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Just a dumb thought (the kind I'm best at), are you cooling your wort near an open window? Also, +1 on the star san. Good luck.
I cool it by my kitchen window, but it is always closed.
 

WBC

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If your beer is near a window and not covered so the light is not blocked then it can get light struck and the hops will create a skunk like taste. Is that what you taste?
 
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DD2000GT

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If your beer is near a window and not covered so the light is not blocked then it can get light struck and the hops will create a skunk like taste. Is that what you taste?
No - it is definately a metalic tang. I "usually" boil at night, but sometimes it is in the day - but no direct sunlight hits the wort. Once it is in the fermenter, it is moved to a dark corner for blow-off and then covered with a blacket until racking time.
 

eddie

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I'm just going to lay out what we know so far:


  • The metallic taste occurs in both bottled and kegged beers.

  • The taste occurs whether the beer is brewed inside or outside.

  • It occurs whether you use bottled or tap water.

  • The problem persisted after you switched from bleach to iodophor.

  • When you brewed and fermented at your friends house, the problem didn't occur even though you used your own equipment and followed your standard practices.

  • You've tried moving the fermenter to different areas of the house but it didn't help.
  • You cool the wort near a window but keep it protected from the light.

  • You keep the wort protected from light during fermentation.
  • You usually use DME in your beers.
  • You use a wort chiller.

Am I missing anything?
 

eddie

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What are your pitching temps and do you use liquid or dry yeast? If you use liquid yeast, do you make a proper starter before pitching? Also, you mentioned that you have a wort chiller but you also said that you cool the wort by a window. Do you mean that you cool the wort with the chiller as low as it can get it then let it air cool the rest of the way?
 

Pi Kapp Beer Guy

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Well just throwing this out here; what is your bottleing method? Do you auto siphon or just siphon by mouth? Are you siphoning at all? Your saying that the strange taste is comming during or after the bottleing, correct? If so i would review that aspect of your brewing.
 
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DD2000GT

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Eddie - that is an acurate list, except I "usually" use LME and just switched to DME to test. I pitch at about 78 degrees and use ale yeast. I have used liquid yeast for a test and it worked good but did not eliminate the off flavor. I did not use a starter - just pitched the liquid yeast after following the directions. As far as cooling the wort - my sink is by my kitchen window - I set the brew pot in the sink, use the work chiller with the faucet to get the temps down to around 80 degrees, then pitch it into my 5 gallon carboy filled half way with cold water.

Pi Kapp Beer Guy - I never siphon by mouth. I have an orange carboy cap that lets you run a tube from the top down to the bottom of the carboy, then a flexible hose to rack. Another opening in the orange cap lets you blow pressure into the carboy to start the siphon.

Dan
 

planenut

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At the risk of it being stupid..
What about the glasses you drink it out of?
Could their cleaning or rinsing be in question?
Maybe they pick up something from the freezer if you keep them there like I do?
Just a thought..
 
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DD2000GT

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At the risk of it being stupid..
What about the glasses you drink it out of?
Could their cleaning or rinsing be in question?
Maybe they pick up something from the freezer if you keep them there like I do?
Just a thought..
No stupid suggestions on this one - this problem has stumped a lot of knowledgeable people so everything is suspect.

I have used a variety of glasses over the course of these brews, sometimes drank them right out of the bottle. Sometimes glasses out of the freezer, sometimes right out of the dishwasher.
 

g-nub

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This might not be it since you did switch to DME, but it sounds like the extract twang. Try a full boil instead of adding your wort to water. Make sure your heat is off when you are mixing in your extract. This doesn't address the fact that your beer worked at your friends house though. Do you both have gas stoves (or vice versa).
Otherwise I would do a closed transfer system using your CO2 you could very well have mold in your air (although I don't think it would taste metallic).
 
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DD2000GT

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This might not be it since you did switch to DME, but it sounds like the extract twang. Try a full boil instead of adding your wort to water. Make sure your heat is off when you are mixing in your extract. This doesn't address the fact that your beer worked at your friends house though. Do you both have gas stoves (or vice versa).
Otherwise I would do a closed transfer system using your CO2 you could very well have mold in your air (although I don't think it would taste metallic).
Not sure if you are onto something or not - but my friends house has a gas stove and I have electric. I will say however, that I have boiled out in my backyard to see if it was something in my house and used a cajun cooker that time - and it still had the metalic off flavor. I like the idea to remove the pot from the heat when adding the extract - I have never done that.

Not sure I have the setup to do a full boil batch, unless I brew a 2 gallon batch or something.

One thing I can say since reading this forum over the last few days (I only found this site last Friday) - it appears I do not let my beer sit in the fermenter long enough based on general consensus. I see most let their brew sit in the primary for 2 weeks, then sometimes in the secondary a while longer. I usually rack my brew after a week. I use ale yeast and it just sits at ambient temps of my house (usually 78 degrees), so when the yeast is really active for the first few days I'll bet the temps in the carboy are closer to 80 degrees. So, my yeast works fast and usually starts to settle in a few days. I may need to think about keeping it cooler during fermentation - but I follow the creedo of RDWHAHB and icing it down every few hours did not fit easily into my 4 teenage household LOL. Now that a few are gone and I am finally getting back into home brewing after a 3 year hiatus, I can afford more time and energy to making better beer.

I hear letting the beer sit in the fermenter a bit longer lets the yeast remove some off flavors. I may let mine sit another week just to test. I am brewing a hefe-wizen right now - so no secondary, but I will rack to a secondary for another week on my next one as it will be an American Pale Ale. It has been in the primary for a week now and is clearing nicely.

Thanks,
Dan
 

g-nub

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Yeah, you won't be able to do a full boil on the electric and if you cut the heat it will still be warm. Try moving it to a cool burner until the extract is mixed in.

As far as primary goes, I bust it out in 4 days (that is with a yeast starter or slurry from my local brewery). 2 weeks shouldn't hurt though if it will help you narrow down the problem.
 

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... then pitch it into my 5 gallon carboy filled half way with cold water.
...
Dan
Is this water bottled as well?
When you brewed at your friends was this his tap water or bottled?

Also, When you do a gravity reading of the brew from the fermenter, is the metallic taste present or only after it has been in the conditioning (bottle/keg) for a while?
 

Yooper

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The only thought I have is about ingredients. I had one beer I kegged that was a darker beer (ESB). It had an ever so slight metallic taste. One of the things I think I finally pinned down as responsible was a slight oxidation. Some darker grains taste a little metallic with a little oxidation. I take great care not to oxidize my beer, of course, but you can definitely taste a hint of metallic in that beer that used chocolate malt.

Is it possible that your beer is getting a little oxidized when bottling? Maybe some stirring or splashing?
 
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DD2000GT

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DaleJ - I have tried both tap and bottled water with no change. I believe I used tap at my friends house. I only taste the metallic taste after it has been conditioned, never after the fermenter.

YooperBrew - no splashing at bottling time. I read Charlie Papazian's books religously and per his instructions never splashed fermented beer. I do like to use steeping grains and primarily use Crystal 40 malts.
 

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Have you used the same brewpot or metallic utensils for all of these batches, including at your friend's?

If so, is it possible that the pot, spoon, etc. is leaching ions to cause the taste?

Are you on a private well?

Was the bottled water a known national brand or something else? Any idea where it was bottled?

If you're on a well, it's possible the difference between the placement of your well and your friend's well explains the difference. As for the bottled water, well...bottled water isn't as tested or regulated as a lot of people think. There could have been metallic contaminants.

(Forgive the noob for chiming in here, but my background involves experience involves a lot of water chemistry)
 
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DD2000GT

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Have you used the same brewpot or metallic utensils for all of these batches, including at your friend's?

If so, is it possible that the pot, spoon, etc. is leaching ions to cause the taste?

(Forgive the noob for chiming in here, but my background involves experience involves a lot of water chemistry)
I cannot remember if I used the same stirrer, but I know I used my brew pot. My stirrer is plastic.

Dan
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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This is a really great trouble shooting thread! Well done everyone.

My thought centers on the fermentation temps. The off flavor could be a high concentration of fusel alcohol due to the high ferment temps.

Do you get worse hangovers from your homebrew than commercial beer?

What temperature is your friends house?

My other thought is high pH or to hot of steeping temp. If your pH is too high or the temp is too high during your steeping, you could potentially be pulling strange off flavors. You could get a pH checker for this and monitor your steeping temp so you don't raise above 170. pH checkers are cheap on Ebay (~$20) so that could be an option.

Good luck!
 

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Take a sample to an extremly advanced brewer, if you know any, and i would be willing to bet they will gun down the problem in two seconds. Sometimes what i think is a problem or a specific taste is a whole different creature to someone who knows more then me and can identify it more exactly. Ive never had that paticular problem but i have made some sub par beer. The guy who owns my local homebrew shop helps me a great deal.
 
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DD2000GT

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Boerderij Kabouter: I don't think I have ever gotten a hangover off my homebrew, so I am not sure how to compare it to commercial brews (which I definately have gotten a hangover on). The temps at my friends house was actually a tad higher because at the time he was single and he is a tightwad by nature :) The steeping temps could definately be off, I know to pull them when the water temps get to about 160 degrees, but I never measured the temps - just pulled them when I started seeing the very first small bubbles appear in the brew pot. The PH could definately be an issue as I have never checked that - might need to get some strips.

tdavisii: I have done just as you suggested. Once to our local homebrew supply (but I am really not sure how much of an "expert" those guys were), and once to our local microbrewery. The LHBS guys said definately bacterial contamination (but I had absolutely no tale tell ring inside the bottle) but I seriously stepped up sanitation, and probably over-chlorination, after that. I also switched to iodipher (iodine) then as well to test. I live in Dallas, and the guys at that micro-brewery were really professionals. They are the ones that suggested the water (and why I used bottled spring water the next brew). They definately quilified it as a "metallic" flavor. They also told me to stop using my aluminum brew pot and any utensil that was made of metal in the boiling phase (why I now have a stainless brew pot and plastic stirrer). As a bonus, they took the time to get me some yeast slurry as well - really cool guys who are ALWAYS busy.

Dan
 
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