Oxidation?

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PearlJam

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I have brewed a good couple of batches of lager style beers and keep getting the same cardboard off-flavour. When I sample whilst fermenting, it is always a good taste, once I bottle I end up with this off-flavour. I recently tried a tip to place a cap on the bottle and wait for 30 mins before crimping the cap, but that also didn't work. I use a typical "little bottler" to bottle and I can't think of why I get this problem.

Any ideas?
 

flars

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I watched a You Tube video on using the Little Bottler. It is the same type of spring tip bottling wand I use. The guy in the video did stop the flow of beer before there was a little overflow which leaves excess head space.

Your problem does sound like oxidation. The bottling wand isn't doing it unless you are leaving a large amount of head space. Problem may be introducing air into the beer before bottling.
Could be:
Splashing while siphoning to the bottling bucket.
Opening the fermentor too often to check the beer.
Siphoning to a secondary clearing vessel with excessive head space.
Too vigorous of stirring in priming sugar in the bottling bucket.

Check over all your brewing steps once active fermentation has ended.
 
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PearlJam

PearlJam

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Thanks for the reply.

My current process is as follows:

I only use primary at this stage. Therefor, after a few weeks of lagering I bottle directly from the fermenter attaching the bottler to the bottom tap. I add priming sugar to each bottle and fill to the top and remove the wand which leaves a bit of head space.

Whilst fermenting I do take close to 10 samples to check gravity during fermentation which could create some headspace. But mostly it is during the fermenting period which in my mind creates enough co2 to fill the gap. When I prepare to bottle I move the fermenting bucket very carefully to the bench from which I bottle. When I bottle I can see tiny air bubbles in the pipe leading to the wand. I am on another bottler also as I suspected that at first, but it still continues.
 

flars

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I would say you are taking too many SG readings. Wait 10 days after active fermentation has begun to take your first SG sample. Take another one a few days later. Most likely you will find you are at FG with the first sample. Waiting for excess yeast and sediment to drop out after FG had been reached will give you clearer beer to bottle. That is the reason I don't rush SG readings to get the beer into the bottle.

When you see bubbles bottling that is air being introduced into the beer. Do you have the vent in the lid open when filling bottles. A closed vent could cause air to be drawn up through the bottling wand by the vacuum created in the bucket as the volume decreases. How long is the pipe/tubing between the buckets spigot and your bottling wand? A two inch or less piece of tubing is all that is needed. Lift the bottle to the wand instead of moving the wand to the bottle.

I hope this is of some help.
 

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Thanks for the reply.

My current process is as follows:

I only use primary at this stage. Therefor, after a few weeks of lagering I bottle directly from the fermenter attaching the bottler to the bottom tap. I add priming sugar to each bottle and fill to the top and remove the wand which leaves a bit of head space.

Whilst fermenting I do take close to 10 samples to check gravity during fermentation which could create some headspace. But mostly it is during the fermenting period which in my mind creates enough co2 to fill the gap. When I prepare to bottle I move the fermenting bucket very carefully to the bench from which I bottle. When I bottle I can see tiny air bubbles in the pipe leading to the wand. I am on another bottler also as I suspected that at first, but it still continues.
Are you lagering in a fermenter with a wide headspace like a bucket? Especially after taking multiple SG readings?

If you're going to leave the beer in a fermenter for a long-ish period, make sure it is a carboy with no headspace.
 

Lefou

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If you're going to leave the beer in a fermenter for a long-ish period, make sure it is a carboy with no headspace.

I'm going to second this statement and define "long-ish" to some degree.

From my experience I've messed up at least two of my recent all grain, low IBU brews by allowing too much headspace in the primary. I did this to avoid using a blow off and left the wort in a week to two weeks after the active krausen ceased and the yeast dropped.
Ambient temp stayed about 60F in a glass carboy using two different types of yeast. Both worts were below expected FG and went sour even though the carboys had a good seal and airlock.

FWIW, I've made high ABV mead and stored in secondary for almost a year now with little to no airspace. No souring problem with the mead observed, it's still clearing.

My solution ... more bittering hops, less headspace in the primary, and being more careful cooling my wort before putting it into the primary should keep the chances for spoilage down.

Does this sound OK?
 
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PearlJam

PearlJam

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I would say you are taking too many SG readings. Wait 10 days after active fermentation has begun to take your first SG sample. Take another one a few days later. Most likely you will find you are at FG with the first sample. Waiting for excess yeast and sediment to drop out after FG had been reached will give you clearer beer to bottle. That is the reason I don't rush SG readings to get the beer into the bottle.

When you see bubbles bottling that is air being introduced into the beer. Do you have the vent in the lid open when filling bottles. A closed vent could cause air to be drawn up through the bottling wand by the vacuum created in the bucket as the volume decreases. How long is the pipe/tubing between the buckets spigot and your bottling wand? A two inch or less piece of tubing is all that is needed. Lift the bottle to the wand instead of moving the wand to the bottle.

I hope this is of some help.
The reason I take all the readings is because I am following the quick lagering method as per Brulosophy and need to determine when I am at 50% attenuation. I can try and better guess to reduce the amount of readings as I didn't think it will be a problem. As an example, the last batch that I made which I pitched onto a yeastcake fermented as follows (the first reading was OG):

Date Temperature (C) Gravity
2017/01/09 19:00 20 1,053
2017/01/10 7:00 12 1,046
2017/01/10 19:00 10 1,04
2017/01/11 7:00 10 1,035
2017/01/11 19:00 10 1,029
2017/01/12 7:00 12 1,02
2017/01/13 7:00 16 1,012
2017/01/14 14:00 18 1,01
Currently I have approx 2ft tube to the wand. I will reduce it for my next batch that is fermenting at the moment

Are you lagering in a fermenter with a wide headspace like a bucket? Especially after taking multiple SG readings?

If you're going to leave the beer in a fermenter for a long-ish period, make sure it is a carboy with no headspace.
Yes, I use a typical bucket at the moment and try to do a batch that fills it to approx 2in from the top (although I have done batches before that was quite a bit less volume than this) I will also get a carboy for my next batch. The longest I have had a beer in the fermenter was 6 weeks. Which was my last batch that I bottled.

Is there any value considering where I am now to rack to a secondary for the 2-3 weeks lagering period?

Thanks to all for the help!
 
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PearlJam

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Does a lagering period worsen the problem? Will it help to bottle without lagering?
 
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PearlJam

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Interestingly today I opened a bottle that was completely flat of my last batch. Must've missed it when doing the priming sugar (per bottle). It had no off-flavour. The taste was exactly what I was after apart from the fact that it wasn't carbonated. Can the dextrose make a flavour impact?
 

PADave

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Thanks for the reply.

My current process is as follows:

I only use primary at this stage. Therefor, after a few weeks of lagering I bottle directly from the fermenter attaching the bottler to the bottom tap. I add priming sugar to each bottle and fill to the top and remove the wand which leaves a bit of head space.

Whilst fermenting I do take close to 10 samples to check gravity during fermentation which could create some headspace. But mostly it is during the fermenting period which in my mind creates enough co2 to fill the gap. When I prepare to bottle I move the fermenting bucket very carefully to the bench from which I bottle. When I bottle I can see tiny air bubbles in the pipe leading to the wand. I am on another bottler also as I suspected that at first, but it still continues.
This just makes me cringe. Leave things sealed up.
 
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PearlJam

PearlJam

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I changed something with my previous batch which was to siphon the wort out of the mash tun gently into the boil kettle as opposed to dropping from above. So far this beer (Edwort's Pale Ale) doesn't have the oxidation taste. I have a NEIPA in the fermenter at the moment which I will be bottling over the weekend and will soon be able to tell if that one is also clean.
 
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