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farrout

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Hey guys, I am supremely dissapointed. I had to throw out a scotch ale a couple months ago becasue it had a funky taste to it. the best way I could describe it is "plasticy". my roomate said it reminded him of silly putty. So anyway I just tasted my honey kolch and it has the exact same tast :mad:. I have now idea what it is, has anyone ever experienced anything like this. I use star-san, could I have used a too concentrated solution and have it affect the beer? any imput of ideas are much appreciated. thanks
 

double_e5

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We are going to need to know more of your process. What are you fermenting in? What temps? What are you cleaning with? etc.
 
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farrout

farrout

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kit brewing, sanitizing with star san, I ferment in a glass carboy, fermenting temps between 65-70 degrees. The scotch ale i used tap water and bottled drinking water for the kolch. Pretty basic meathod, 60 min boil with appropriate hop addition and specialty grain addition times depending on style of beer. I know its hard to find a problem without being there during the process. I was just wondering if i am doing something obviously wrong. the fact that the taste remindes me so much of a plastic taste, makes me wonder if star-san can impart a flavor if you accidentally use to much.
 

Revvy

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There is a rule: if you don't know what it is, it is an infection :)

Really??? Boy, I've never heard that rule before.

In fact, just the opposite....it is actually very hard to infect beers, most of the time an off flavor is due to greeness...that's why we recommend over and over and over, not to dump a beer right away, but stick them away for a few weeks or months .

This thread illustrates how despite our boneheaded moves, our beer manages to turn out fine..

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/wh...where-your-beer-still-turned-out-great-96780/

And this one discusses infections a bit...https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/has-anyone-ever-messed-up-batch-96644/

And this one is full of stories about NOT dumping batches and having them turn out decent if not exceptional...
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ne...virtue-time-heals-all-things-even-beer-73254/


Most new brewers actually often can't discern the difference between simple greeness and a true infection....true infections happen but most of the time not to a brand new brewer....and sadly there is probably a great deal of beer abortion of perfectly good beer, if the brewer hadn't panicked and had waited a bit...

Sometimes even plastic tastes are simply greeness, how long did you let your beer bottle carb and condition before first opening them, and how long did you wait and try them before dumping the whole thing?
 
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farrout

farrout

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Thanks Revvy, I kegged the beer about 2 weeks ago, so it is still a bit green. I dumped out the scotch ale right away(mistake). maybe I am making to much out of this since I have never had this problem before. I usually start drinking my beer while it is fairly green stll and never and they have always been fine(they also have gotten better with age). I will definitely take your advice and let it sit for a while, maybe pour another glass in a month and see how it is.

no I don't use any PVC or anything similiar in my process.
 

Revvy

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Thanks Revvy, I kegged the beer about 2 weeks ago, so it is still a bit green. I dumped out the scotch ale right away(mistake). maybe I am making to much out of this since I have never had this problem before. I usually start drinking my beer while it is fairly green stll and never and they have always been fine(they also have gotten better with age). I will definitely take your advice and let it sit for a while, maybe pour another glass in a month and see how it is.

no I don't use any PVC or anything similiar in my process.
I can't find anything 'wrong" with any of your process that I read....unless you have bad kegs lines that are givin a plasticky taste...I was going to point you to a buildup of chlorephenols from too much chlorine, but It looks like you said you are using some bottled water...

Try using only bottled water for the next brew and see.
 

Stef1966

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Like Revvy said, you cant judge a beer while it's still green, and sometimes they stay green for quite some time.

I had one with Euro Ale yeast (White Labs) that took a full month bottled until it started tasting decent. but then this beer only got better and better.
 

Figbash

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Star San is just acid. At the low concentration it's used, there is no way it can change the flavor of an entire batch of beer.

Do you boil in an open pot? A covered boil can add an off taste by not allowing Dimethyl sulfide to escape.

Make sure your fermentation temperature doesn't get over 70F. A few degrees warmer can impart an off flavor to the beer.

Tom
 

SumnerH

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Star San is just acid.
Not _just_ acid. Phosphoric acid, propylene glycol, and DDBSA.

And it's not the acid that sanitizes--the acid lowers the pH enough for the anionic surfactant to do its work. Google "acid anionic sanitizer" if you want the gory details.

But the other ingredients are in even smaller amounts. Star-San at recommended dilutions (or reasonably near them) isn't going to affect the flavor of your beer.
 

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I agree with others, nothing looks blatantly wrong with your process. Unfortunately, maybe you just threw out a green batch of beer.

Next brew days just make sure you clean everything well and go overboard on sanitation so you can mentally assure yourself you're not going to have an infected brew. Then brew away and let it ferment! See what flavors you get this time but wait until the end product is ready to judge. I still like to sample during transfers though ;)

It really just gives you a feeling how the beer is coming along and the aging process. The first time I really did this was with an oatmeal stout, which tasted really bitter going into secondary. After a month and a half in secondary, going into bottles the bitterness had mellowed out and was well balanced with the brew. Letting it sit in bottles only made it better.
 
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If you suspect you used an over concentrated Star-san solution, to me that's code for... hmm, I didn't really clean like I should have because I got tired/need to get done soon/I'm in a hurry so maybe I'll use a strong solution of Star-san to be safe.

It's a typical guy thing to do. I mean if 2 is good 4 is better right.

BTW, we're all spitballing. Anyone who read the 2 paragraphs you wrote and has all the answers is just taking and educated or an enthusiastic stab.
 

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Plastic-like flavours and aromas in your beer are from unwanted phenolic compounds, and they are a very common problem in homebrew. I had a really bad run with this off-flavour after my plastic brewing equipment got infected by a wild yeast strain. I have become quite sensitive to it now.

Anyways, infection isn't the only cause. Fermentation temperatures that are too high, particularly in combination with under-aeration/under-oxygenation of the wort, are also a common cause.

Actually, any problem where poor yeast health is involved can lead to this off-flavour. I have even heard some knowledgeable brewers say that it is can be one of the first off-flavours to rear its ugly head once yeast autolysis begins.

Without tasting your beer or knowing more about your process it is hard to guess at your exact cause. But these would all be good starting points.
 

Saccharomyces

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Chlorine in the brewing water, or residual chlorine from cleaning equipment can cause chlorophenols and is very common in homebrew. I have also had this off flavor from pitching saved yeast. I don't know if the saved yeast had wild yeast contamination, if it was autolysed, or both, but the beer was undrinkable. The worst case I ever saw I helped another homebrewer diagnose as having used bleach to clean equipment without getting all the residual chlorine off.

I'll second the recommendation of sticking with the bottled water until you nail down the source, since the water is a common source of chlorine. I would also give all of your equipment a good hot oxyclean soak and rinse everything thoroughly with hot tap water.
 
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farrout

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Yes, olllllo. I would say it has a band-aid like taste. so that off-taste can be an indicator of a contamination?
 

SumnerH

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Yes, olllllo. I would say it has a band-aid like taste. so that off-taste can be an indicator of a contamination?
Or bad water (chlorine/chlorophenols):

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Common Off-Flavors

"These flavors are often described as mediciney, Band-Aid™ like, or can be spicy like cloves. The cause are various phenols which are initially produced by the yeast. Chlorophenols result from the reaction of chlorine-based sanitizers (bleach) with phenol compounds and have very low taste thresholds. "
 

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"plasticy" can never, in my exp, be attributed to green beer. Try letting your water sit out over night. The chlorine will dissipate into the air and thus out of your brewing water.

Also, if you do not pitch properly or handle the yeast in an unsanitary manner you can pick up wild yeasts and bacteria that will produce the phenols mentioned above and give you the plasic/medicinal/bad tastes and smells.

Do you use a plastic bucket? if so, might be time to get a new one. Replace all of your plastic tubing used to rack and transfer. Take a good hard look at all items that touch your post boil wort and if they can not be confidently sanitized, replace them.
 

FlyGuy

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If your beer has a strong medicinal or band-aid flavour, then that narrows down the possibilities considerably. The probable cause is chlorine in your brewing water. Try treating your brewing water with a campden tablet (available at any shop that sells wine-making supplies). It will remove chlorine and related chloramines (that are tough to remove using boiling or off-gasing). Or just use bottled water, as suggested previously.

It is less likely that the medicinal off-flavour is caused by an infection. Unfortunately, you won't know for sure until you confirm that the chlorine in your water was eliminated in the next brew first.

Best of luck. :mug:
 
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farrout

farrout

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I used tap water for my scotch ale, so that could be the problem. However for the honey Kolsch I used bottled water(which I normally do).
 

FlyGuy

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If you got the plastic taste with bottled water and you aren't using bleach as a sanitizer, then it may not be chlorophenols you are tasting. Was the taste strongly medicinal, or just more of a plastic/vinyl sort of flavour/smell?

Out of curiosity, what yeast did you use, did you use a starter and/or aerate the wort, and did you measure your fermenting beer temperature directly (i.e. not assume what it was by measuring air temp or some other indirect method)?
 

yeoldebrewer

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Is it safe to assume that if the problem is wild yeast it will get worse with aging? Whereas if it is a fermentation issue it might improve over time?
 
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Is it safe to assume that if the problem is wild yeast it will get worse with aging? Whereas if it is a fermentation issue it might improve over time?
Hard to say. Is the beer in the fridge?

What yeast did you use?

Where did you get the bottled water from? Most places are RO but you never really know unless you ask or it says on the bottle. Chloromine is really hard to get rid of and does not boil off.

Did you top off the carboy with tap water at all on the second beer?

How long did you wait before kegging/chilling it?
 

944play

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The worst case I ever saw I helped another homebrewer diagnose as having used bleach to clean equipment without getting all the residual chlorine off.
Hm, who is this mysterious homebrewer you type of?;)

If it's chlorine, it will be its most noticeable in the burning-band-aid burps (tks Sacc). Also, I get an awful hit of plastic when I taste beer that's been sitting in my picnic tap line. I just dump the first ounce of the session.
 

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It is less likely that the medicinal off-flavour is caused by an infection. Unfortunately, you won't know for sure until you confirm that the chlorine in your water was eliminated in the next brew first.
It is possible to distinct those flavours, they are close, but a bit different:

- wild yeast most often produce a phenol called Eugenol, it has the flavour of old-style dental fillings (are you old enough to remember this taste?). Other dental flavour produced by wild yeast is 4-vinyl-guaiacanol (clove, herbs).

- off-flavours from external surces (chemicals) cause production of Chlorophenol (smell of hospital, lysol) it is caused by contact with Cl (bleach etc).

Shortly speaking: if is smells of dentist, it is infection; if hospital - it is bleach.
Both off-flavours will get worse in time, plus wild yeast will cause overcarbonation.
 

snailsongs

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Plastic-like flavours and aromas in your beer are from unwanted phenolic compounds, and they are a very common problem in homebrew. I had a really bad run with this off-flavour after my plastic brewing equipment got infected by a wild yeast strain. I have become quite sensitive to it now.

Anyways, infection isn't the only cause. Fermentation temperatures that are too high, particularly in combination with under-aeration/under-oxygenation of the wort, are also a common cause.

Actually, any problem where poor yeast health is involved can lead to this off-flavour. I have even heard some knowledgeable brewers say that it is can be one of the first off-flavours to rear its ugly head once yeast autolysis begins.

Without tasting your beer or knowing more about your process it is hard to guess at your exact cause. But these would all be good starting points.

This is the problem I've been having and your post here makes me think that I should probably ditch my bottling stuff and start over, as my brews seem fine until bottled, then turn up with that band-aid flavor a week in the bottle. but one question, won't wild yeast ferment your beer down to nothing and give you bottle bombs, etc? I thought they brought more than just phenols, but apocalyptic slash and burn to your brew.
 

Saccharomyces

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This is the problem I've been having and your post here makes me think that I should probably ditch my bottling stuff and start over, as my brews seem fine until bottled, then turn up with that band-aid flavor a week in the bottle. but one question, won't wild yeast ferment your beer down to nothing and give you bottle bombs, etc? I thought they brought more than just phenols, but apocalyptic slash and burn to your brew.
Not always. If you have a wild yeast infection, the progression depends on a lot of things -- the strain of sacc or brett you picked up may be more or less attenuative, how you store the bottles, how much contamination occurred, the wort composition, % alcohol, etc. All have an effect on the speed and degree of infection. Soperbrew had a single bad batch infected with wild yeast a few months back, we suspect it came from his bottling equipment, we are almost certain it came from the spigot. He soaked all his equipment overnight in OxyClean and soaked everything after that in StarSan prepared with RO water, including the spigot, no problems since. I had a wild yeast infection that ruined two batches, I turned the fermenter into a grain bucket and replaced my racking tubing. Everything else I soaked overnight in OxyClean and again overnight in StarSan. No problems after that.

I would replace your racking tube, since it's very soft plastic, I replace mine every 10 batches or so anyway when it starts to discolor or pick up odors, but from my experience tossing everything out isn't necessary...
 

snailsongs

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I would replace your racking tube, since it's very soft plastic, I replace mine every 10 batches or so anyway when it starts to discolor or pick up odors, but from my experience tossing everything out isn't necessary...
What about the vinyl tubing? I seem to have a problem with soaking those too long and they get cloudy really fast. is that cloudiness a problem or an indicator that I need to replace the tubing?

BTW, thanks for your help Sacc, both here and on my "band-aid" post.
 
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Hm, who is this mysterious homebrewer you type of?;)

If it's chlorine, it will be its most noticeable in the burning-band-aid burps (tks Sacc). Also, I get an awful hit of plastic when I taste beer that's been sitting in my picnic tap line. I just dump the first ounce of the session.
Are you using beer line or generic pvc?
 

yeoldebrewer

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I seem to have a problem with soaking those too long and they get cloudy really fast. is that cloudiness a problem or an indicator that I need to replace the tubing?
I've noticed vinyl tubing usually clears over time as it completely dries out. An acid wash (vinegar, Starsan) is sometimes needed to remove mineral crusting left over from some cleaners.
 
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