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Off flavors in IPA but not brown ale

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Greynolds16

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Hi everyone,

I am brand new to home brewing and just finished my third batch ever. The first was a disaster for a lot of reasons (old yeast, sucking up the trub during bottling, maybe infection, etc.) but my second batch was a brown ale that turned out to be drinkable! I just tried my third batch last night and it seems to have the same off flavor as the first attempt.
My suspicion is diacetyl but I don’t perceive the flavor as buttery, just sort of...off.
Any help is appreciated!
 

camonick

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What was the first batch? Judging by the styles of your second and third batches, I’m going to guess it’s an oxidation problem. The hoppier the beer, the more sensitive it is to oxygen exposure.
 

Dgallo

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You haven’t described it yet, all you said was it taste off. There’s many things that can cause off flavors and they can have numerous causes based on what they are.

please post the exact flavor you’re picking up or do your best to describe it. Then post the recipe and your process from start to finish including what you did for yeast health of cell count, fermentation temperatures, dryhop method if used, etc..
 
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Greynolds16

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What was the first batch? Judging by the styles of your second and third batches, I’m going to guess it’s an oxidation problem. The hoppier the beer, the more sensitive it is to oxygen exposure.
The first was a Brooklyn brew shop everyday ipa, the second was a local brew shop’s brown ale, and the third was another Brooklyn brew shop kit for the brew dog punk ipa.
I don’t have any kind of wort chiller so it is exposed right after the boil but I have tried to minimize oxidation during bottling since the first batch
 
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Greynolds16

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How are you controlling fermentation temperature and what yeast are you using ?
Not a lot of control over fermentation. I am in my apartment and if I had to guess I’d say the temperature in my hall closet ranges from 65-78 or so.
 
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Greynolds16

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You haven’t described it yet, all you said was it taste off. There’s many things that can cause off flavors and they can have numerous causes based on what they are.

please post the exact flavor you’re picking up or do your best to describe it. Then post the recipe and your process from start to finish including what you did for yeast health of cell count, fermentation temperatures, dryhop method if used, etc..
The recipe was the Brooklyn brew shop version of punk ipa. The flavor is sort of metallic and the beer is darker and cloudier than the store bought version of punk ipa. I think I did a decent job during bottling not to suck up the trub and the carbonation in the bottles from the honey and water mixture wasn’t bad.
Yeast was the generic packet that comes with the kit (a difference from my successful batch which used a yeast recommended by the brew shop for that style of beer). Temperature control of fermentation is basically nonexistent - whatever temp my apartment is. No dry hopping or even opening the carboy until after the recommended two weeks.
 
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Greynolds16

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If it helps diagnose the problem I also found that the beer has taken on an Amber color when it is supposed to be pretty light. Maybe oxidation in the bottling process?
 

Konstantianus

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Was the off flavor apparent while you were bottling? From what I understand metallic flavors typically come from dissolved metals in the wort/beer. I'm assuming the color was lighter when bottled and has turned darker. If that's the case it would point toward oxidation.
 

Dgallo

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If it helps diagnose the problem I also found that the beer has taken on an Amber color when it is supposed to be pretty light. Maybe oxidation in the bottling process?
Going to say you have a mix of oxidation and fermentation by products from fermenting at 78. Especially if you pack had us04 As the yeast. It doesn’t like to get hot and will throw fusel alcohol which is a very “hot” alcohol note, paint thinner like. Oxidation could also cause acetaldehyde which could give you a tart cider like flavor and when combined I could see “medicinal” to describe it
 
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Greynolds16

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So I’ve done some research but there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer - in Homebrewing in an apartment, what do people use for temperature control?
 
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Greynolds16

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Was the off flavor apparent while you were bottling? From what I understand metallic flavors typically come from dissolved metals in the wort/beer. I'm assuming the color was lighter when bottled and has turned darker. If that's the case it would point toward oxidation.
It tasted pretty close to the beer it was supposed to be modeled after before bottling - albeit a flat version with no carbonation. I really tried to reduce splashing but maybe also got some problems with temp fluctuation while in the bottles as well
 
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Greynolds16

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Going to say you have a mix of oxidation and fermentation by products from fermenting at 78. Especially if you pack had us04 As the yeast. It doesn’t like to get hot and will throw fusel alcohol which is a very “hot” alcohol note, paint thinner like. Oxidation could also cause acetaldehyde which could give you a tart cider like flavor and when combined I could see “medicinal” to describe it
Thanks for the help! I’m thinking I need to do some more learning. I’m essentially a scientist in my day job and the number of variables and the time it takes to go from brew day to drinking is so long it drives me nuts
 

Konstantianus

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It tasted pretty close to the beer it was supposed to be modeled after before bottling - albeit a flat version with no carbonation. I really tried to reduce splashing but maybe also got some problems with temp fluctuation while in the bottles as well
This leads me to believe that significant oxidation occurred, and as @Dgallo stated above you could have fusels from hot fermentation. For temperature "control" I try to cool my wort to the lowest temperature stated for the yeast I'm using, and then let the temperature naturally rise to whatever the room temp is. It's a down and dirty approach but I get acceptable results from it. For a truly controllable fermentation you'd be looking at a fermentation chamber or a cooling coil in the fermenter/carboy.
 

Sacred Knot Brewing

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So I’ve done some research but there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer - in Homebrewing in an apartment, what do people use for temperature control?
I’m one batch ahead of you and the last 3 (one is lagering right now but when I took a sample going into the keg it tasted great) turned out each better than the last. My first was a neipa from a lot like yours where I also didnt control temp. Ended up oxidized from the bottling process I think. I now use a mini keg. For temp control: I put my carboy in a large cooler bag and swap out ice packs every morning and evening. I was even able to warm ferment (Low to mid 50s) a lager with this method.
 

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If you are in a small space and on a budget you could always Google Swamp Cooler Fermentation and that should help keep temps lower than 78°. I used it for my first couple of brews and worked pretty well.
 

Taket_al_Tauro

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No one mentioned water chemistry yet, and I know this is maybe not the first issue a beginning homebrewer would want to tackle... fermentation temp control is generally recognised as more important (and I agree to an extent, especially if temps were creeping up to 78 or so).

That being said, the wrong water profile, especially a very alkaline one, could also be the cause of harsh/metallic/astringent notes, combined with a diminished and muddled hop character and overall beer flavor. High hopping rates such as in IPAs would accentuate this problem even more (that might be a part of the reason your brown ale turned out better).

As others have stated, oxidation is almost certainly a player too here, since your beer turned out much darker than expected (but high alkalinity, and as a consequence too high pH during the whole brewing process, can also be a cause of darker beer color).
 

downzero

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Did you use tap water? If so, what you're tasting.....is chlorine. Malty beers hide it more.
 
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Greynolds16

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Did you use tap water? If so, what you're tasting.....is chlorine. Malty beers hide it more.
It’s weird, I’m in NYC which has very good tap water for brewing and I have since gotten a little better at brewing and had some pale beers turn out great.

I think it might have had to do with using honey instead of brewing sugar per the recipe. Another thought I had was perhaps the yeast wasn’t great? I have made a few batches from brooklyn brew shop and some from the local Homebrew shop and the local ship’s brews have all turned out better.
 

bracconiere

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in carpentry, the thininer trim you can use to cover up cuts....the better you are.....to make good beer i have to use like pounds of black patent.....;)

no shame in a brown ale! :mug:
 
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