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Phenol Flavor Follow-up

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Countrysquire

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I posted about a month ago looking for guidance for a very strong band-aid flavor that I was getting occasionally. The odor and taste was so strong that it made the beer just about undrinkable. A local brewing expert tasted the beer and confirmed that it was phenols. Also, he came to the house and watched my brewing process, giving me pointers along the way. The biggest changes that we made were to switch to treated water and a controlled fermentation temperature (had been about 74-76 degrees).

Brewed another batch of Ed Wort's Bee Cave Pale Ale, because the first one was ruined by the phenols. This one came out fantastic and is the best beer I have yet brewed. The next day, I brewed an Amber and everything went well, or so I thought. After 4 weeks at 64 degrees, I pulled the carboy from the fermentation chamber to do a cold crash in preparation for kegging. As soon as the airlock was removed, the strong phenol smell hit me, ruining an otherwise good day. Everything for both batches was done the same way with the same equipment... except for the carboy. Thinking back, I'm almost certain that most, if not all of the bad batches have been from the same carboy. I'm guessing that there's something living in there that the iodophor ain't killing, so it's getting soaked with bleach for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, an IPA that was in the same carboy (and same yeast cake) as the Bee Cave Pale Ale tasted fantastic when I sampled it prior to dry hopping.

The next batch will be in the suspected tainted carboy, so we'll see...
 

unionrdr

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I was wondering what you're cleaning that carboy with? What are you sanitizing it with? Oxyclean & bleach need a lot of rinsing. Oxyclean,with long soaks,needs the residue scrubbed off after soaking. Then rinse well again. Maybe that's what is giving the band-aid beer?
 
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Countrysquire

Countrysquire

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Have been cleaning with Oxyclean Free and sanitizing with iodophor. Previously had been using Cleanitizer from AHS which cleans and sanitizes. I don't normally give the carboys a long soak when cleaning.
 

RosewaterFoundation

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Was just reading Yeast, and they mention how phenols are often and indication of a wild-yeast infection. I think you're onto it with that carboy possibly being the agent, though, hell, who knows...
 

unionrdr

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Have been cleaning with Oxyclean Free and sanitizing with iodophor. Previously had been using Cleanitizer from AHS which cleans and sanitizes. I don't normally give the carboys a long soak when cleaning.
I've never found a cleaner that really sanitizes too. some LHBS's just put that on the label. And Oxyclean must be rinsed with hot water before sanitizing.
 

nefarious_1_

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What kind of "treated water" are you using? The band-aid flavor is actually chlorophenol and can occur due to chlorine/chloramine presence in water. Bleach will create this flavor if not rinsed properly too.

What other phenolic qualities are present in the beer because if it's only band-aids, your problem could just be chlorine/chloramine. Maybe you soaked the one particular carboy in bleach at one point and didn't rinse enough?
 
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Countrysquire

Countrysquire

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I thought that it was due to chlorine/chloromines due to the fact that I had only been using tap water and likely made worse by fermenting a bit too warm. For this to be the case though, it would mean that the amounts of Cl in the tap water varied as I only had this problem from time to time. The water that I'm now using goes through a 7 step process including reverse osmosis. Thinking back, I can't remember a bad batch that didn't come from this carboy, but I'm not positive about that.
 

SailorTodd

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What kind of "treated water" are you using? The band-aid flavor is actually chlorophenol and can occur due to chlorine/chloramine presence in water. Bleach will create this flavor if not rinsed properly too.

What other phenolic qualities are present in the beer because if it's only band-aids, your problem could just be chlorine/chloramine. Maybe you soaked the one particular carboy in bleach at one point and didn't rinse enough?
Phenols can also be a sign of wild yeast contamination, as stated, not just of chloramine from chlorine. The culprit, already identified, may be the carboy that has now undergone a more thorough cleaning/sanitizing. BYO Brew Wizard article covers the gamut of phenol flavors
 

nefarious_1_

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Phenols can also be a sign of wild yeast contamination, as stated, not just of chloramine from chlorine. The culprit, already identified, may be the carboy that has now undergone a more thorough cleaning/sanitizing. BYO Brew Wizard article covers the gamut of phenol flavors
Yes, I know, thanks.

I don't think I ever stated chloramine WAS the source of the problem. Just wanted to make sure everything is being taken into account ie. "treated water" and bleach as indicated in my previous post.
 
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Countrysquire

Countrysquire

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Follow-up: Brewed another of Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde 16 days ago and placed it in the suspected infected carboy, after nuking it with bleach. Sampled it tonight while testing gravity and preparing for a cold crash. The phenol off-flavor has nowhere to hide in the blonde and is nowhere to be found! Nothing but delicious, golden (uncarbonated) beer. So, while I thought the source of the problem was a combination of tap water and high-ish fermentation temps, it appears that it was an infection in a new Better Bottle carboy that iodophor just could not kill. So, if you're getting that awful band-aid odor and taste, nuke your equipment, then flush really, really well.
 
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