Odd Consistent Off Flavor

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stocktires

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Hey guys,
I have brewed about 12 batches so far. I have had some great brews, but a lot of them have not turned out so well. In all of the lighter and not so hoppy brews I have done (2 blondes, lager, hefe, & amber), I get what I would call an astringency. It makes your mouth cringe and is harsh. I am really becoming aware of this as my palate gets more refined.
A pro brewer noticed it in a stout I made, but was much harder to pick up on because of the style.
Aroma is great. At first the off flavor doesn't come on as much, then it really hits towards the end.

I mini-mash. I have done one all extract hefe and the same off flavor was there, so that makes it hard for me to think it's my mash. I use the same water every time, spring water from the dollar store. I have checked PH in the mash before and I believe it was pretty close to 5.3 or so. My sanitation is great

Any ideas? What to try next?
please help, my brews are not near what they can be.
 

LuxAeterna

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Can you be a little more descriptive of the taste? What does it remind you of? Also, make sure you aren't pitching the yeast at too hot of a temperature.
 

lumpher

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do you ferment them at a high temp? lighter beers are less forgiving.
 

chumpsteak

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what's your fermentation temp? Can you control the fermentation temp? If not you may be fermenting too hot and getting the funk.
 
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stocktires

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Sorry, it's hard for me to describe. It's not really a funky flavor. It's maybe like the bite of a coca-cola, but not that extreme. All of the other nice flavors become restrained. I will try to taste again when I get home and post more.
My fermentation temps are typically mid 60's to very low 70's. I use a converted freezer with temp controller. The most recent blonde got to about 72 with S-04 at peak fermentation. This off flavor is overwhelming it that brew.
 
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stocktires

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good suggestion, but no. 30 psi for one day to force carb is all, rarely much more.
 

shutupjojo

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Do you adjust your sparge water ph ? It sounds to me that you may want to clean the dip tube in your kegs and maybe replace all the o rings if you haven't done that already.
 

CeJ

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I had a similar problem and it was my water. I know you said you use the same spring water but maybe try a different brand or something just to eliminate that possibility.
 

ultravista

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stocktires - I too am getting an off flavor across my beers, one that I cannot pin point. It seems more pronounced when I pull a few glasses every now and again. My thoughts are yeast settling but not sure.

I filter my water with a charcoal filter but will try campden (to eliminate chlorine) for the next batch. It can't hurt.
 

ayoungrad

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Sorry, it's hard for me to describe. It's not really a funky flavor. It's maybe like the bite of a coca-cola, but not that extreme. All of the other nice flavors become restrained. I will try to taste again when I get home and post more.
My fermentation temps are typically mid 60's to very low 70's. I use a converted freezer with temp controller. The most recent blonde got to about 72 with S-04 at peak fermentation. This off flavor is overwhelming it that brew.
How are you measuring your fermentation temps? If you are measuring with a thermowell, then 72 is top-normal (75 is posted highest temp on Fermentis site). If you are measuring the temp with a probe, insulated, on the side of the fermenter, you are PROBABLY also ok. If you just measure ambient in the freezer, your temps are probably too high during fermentation.

Even assuming you were top-normal in your S04 temps, you will get more esters if fermenting that high with S04.
 

unionrdr

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Ok,on this site http://www.bblodge.info/Homebrew-Resources/off-flavors-in-home-brew.html Astringent flavors are like sucking on a tea bag. It's caused by steeping grains too long &/or at too high a temp. or for partial mash or AG,over crushing,over sparging,or sparging with boiling hot or alkaline water. Also to much oxidation or bacterial infection.
So sanitize properly,& keep an eye on temps when steeping or mashing. Not to mention sparge water no higher than about 170F. And mind the PH,particularly with PM or AG. And keep racking to a minimum,with your rack tube curved around the bottom of the vessel being racked to.
 

LVBen

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Hey guys,
I have brewed about 12 batches so far. I have had some great brews, but a lot of them have not turned out so well. In all of the lighter and not so hoppy brews I have done (2 blondes, lager, hefe, & amber), I get what I would call an astringency. It makes your mouth cringe and is harsh. I am really becoming aware of this as my palate gets more refined.
A pro brewer noticed it in a stout I made, but was much harder to pick up on because of the style.
Aroma is great. At first the off flavor doesn't come on as much, then it really hits towards the end.

I mini-mash. I have done one all extract hefe and the same off flavor was there, so that makes it hard for me to think it's my mash. I use the same water every time, spring water from the dollar store. I have checked PH in the mash before and I believe it was pretty close to 5.3 or so. My sanitation is great

Any ideas? What to try next?
please help, my brews are not near what they can be.
Try using RO water instead of spring water.
 

t-bear

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could you possibly be having oxidation problems, i know i had that problem with my first few batches since i was using a 6.5gal for secondary and had a lot of headspace
 
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stocktires

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I have checked my water for chlorine, and found none.

My tap water is about 5.8 PH if I recall correctly...which is what I sparge with.
I will definitely change that next time. Does that sound alkaline enough to cause problems though?

I use a digital thermostat to keep the temps low, but I use the stick-on stripes on the carboy to check temps. I know that's not the most accurate, maybe 2-3 degree lower than actual at peak fermentation.

I will change the water I use next time, I think this is a very possible culprit. I will try RO and maybe brew a different batch using adjusted tap water.

I mash for 60 minutes. I have some trouble keeping my temps perfect the entire mash. If I mash at 152*, my range could be 150-160 easily.

Austin Homebrew crushes my grains. They seem to do ok, anyone else notice they crush them too fine?

Would hot side oxidation be a possibility? I don't believe I have any cold side issues, I am pretty cautious about that.
I secondary in kegs with oxygen purged.
 

chumpsteak

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I'm still betting its your fermentation temps. Try keeping the beer at 65 degrees for the first week and see what happens. Like mentioned previously, if you're not monitoring and controlling your primary temp you are probably drifting too hot in the first couple critical days and getting off flavors. Just putting the primary in a 65 or even 60 degree fridge isn't enough. You have to be able to drive the primary temp back down when the yeast get active.

My beers have improved 100% since building a fermentation chamber. I use a probe insulated and taped to the primary and have excellect clean beers now. I had horrible nail polish remover tasting and smelling beers before controlling temps.

Good luck and don't give up!
 
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