Quantcast

Question regarding Green Flavors and Timing

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
I am brewing a Coopers LME can kit. My beer is on week 4 of bottle conditioning, and at week 3 it still had a noticeable green flavor to it; the 'homebrew' taste. I know that time cures all, especially after scouring google and reading the countless replies from Revvy regarding the subject (and his of patience blog).

But one thing I find that isn't discussed (or my google searches missed the key words) is how time in the primary/secondary affects how much time in the bottles is needed to remove green flavors.

Revvy suggests 3-4 weeks in primary before bottling, then a minimum 3 weeks in the bottles to produce a desirable flavor. For me, at 3 weeks, I still had a green beer taste, but I only had 1 week in primary, and 1 week in secondary before bottling.

So I'm wonder, since I both racked off the primary in 1 week, as well as only had a total of 2 weeks in primary and secondary, should I be expecting a longer bottle conditioning time to remove the green flavors, than if I were to follow the 3-4 weeks primary only before bottling advice (or in general, a longer primary/secondary duration)?

I will be trying primary only for 3-4 weeks then bottle for my next brew, and will see how the bottle conditioning lines up with this brew, but I'm curious if anyone has any experience with this so far.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
Time carbing & conditioning in the bottles can't really be shortened by more time in primary or secondary. It'll still take a few weeks to carbonate & the flavors/aromas to meld into their final form. 1 week in primary most often isn't enough. Never rack the beer anywhere till it's at a stable FG. Next time, leave it in primary till it's done fermenting & settles out clear or slightly misty. during this time of settling, it's also cleaning up by-products of fermentation we perceive as off flavors. Some of these can clear up in the bottles, but mostly accomplished in primary. Green beer taste is not extract related. It's a name given to describe immature beer. Extract twang is that cooked extract sort of flavor. I think you just moved it out of primary way too soon.
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Time carbing & conditioning in the bottles can't really be shortened by more time in primary or secondary. It'll still take a few weeks to carbonate & the flavors/aromas to meld into their final form. 1 week in primary most often isn't enough. Never rack the beer anywhere till it's at a stable FG. Next time, leave it in primary till it's done fermenting & settles out clear or slightly misty. during this time of settling, it's also cleaning up by-products of fermentation we perceive as off flavors. Some of these can clear up in the bottles, but mostly accomplished in primary. Green beer taste is not extract related. It's a name given to describe immature beer. Extract twang is that cooked extract sort of flavor. I think you just moved it out of primary way too soon.
I had stable gravity readings of 1.005/6 when I removed from the primary. The carbonation isn't an issue, its just the flavor, and I was wondering if leaving it on the yeast in the primary longer will help remove the green flavor, or if it all has to be done in the bottle.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
Always give it time in primary to clean up the by-products of fermentation. It's still on the yeast & will clean up naturally in 3-7 days on average. Unless ferment temps (internal, not ambient) went really high, then the yeast won't be able to clean all of them up. Also remember that off-flavors, extract twang & green beer are different things.
 

Homercidal

Licensed Sensual Massage Therapist.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
33,317
Reaction score
5,711
Location
Reed City, MI
I may be going against the grain with this, but I think that LME is generally going to have a "green" or "homebrewed" flavor because of it's processing. Using the freshest LME you can get can help this a lot, as will using good water, a good boil, late extract addition (for color), pitching plenty of yeast, and fermenting at the best temps. I don't think it will always be noticeable with good methods, but it's something to be mindful of so you can avoid it if you can.

Generally 1 week in primary is not enough. If you pitched plenty of yeast and ferment a lower gravity beer warm, it can certainly finish quickly, but what yeast prefer for a temp, and what gets them the most active, is not the same as what is good for the beer. Fermenting in the mid-60s will generate a slower fermentation, but also a cleaner fermentation. In this case 1-2 weeks for an average gravity brew is not uncommon, but it's probably going to be closer to 10-days to 2 weeks. This can be lessened if you pitch plenty of yeast (Always look up the pitch rate on an online calculator if you are unsure).

After the initial fermentation, the krausen will drop as the yeast become less active. They will start to settle and clear the beer. This is the time to rack to secondary if you are going to. The yeast will still be in suspension long enough to do any clean up activities, and the first dead cells will be left behind in the primary. Note that many people simply leave the yeast in primary and don't worry about the old cells for the short secondary period. People that keg will often simply rack to the keg and give it a couple of days of conditioning before chilling and clearing the beer in their kegerator.

If you bottle, as uniondr says, there is no shortcut to carbonation. The yeast will still take 2-3 weeks to get a good carb in the bottle.

So, IMO, it's 2 weeks primary for fermentation, 1-2 weeks secondary for clearing (conditioning), and 3 weeks bottle for carbonation. The beer will change it's flavors a lot during this entire process. Keggers have an advantage in that they can burst carb their beer and get it ready quicker if it's a style that requires minimal clearing/conditioning, such as a wheat ale, or a Witbier, and sometimes a well made IPA.

I your case I would not expect it to take any longer than it takes, no matter what you do. Leaving the yeast on the bottom of the primary as you let it clear won't help anything since they are the cells that aren't doing anything. It's the yeast in suspension that will be clearing up the off-flavors. When that's done, then they will drop out and clarify the beer.

The worst thing is that you may have bottled with a lot of yeast in suspension, meaning you have more sediment in your bottles, and a better chance of pouring a cloudy beer. And there is a better chance that the beer won't stay fresh as long, but that's probably not a concern if you are going to drink it all in a month or two, or if you keep it chilled.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
It just sounds to me like the op is confusing green (immature) beer with extract twang or other off-flavors. That green immature muddled flavor wouldn't hang around forever. Off-flavors can.
 

Beernik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
3,969
Reaction score
737
Location
Camano Island, WA
When I started brewing, I found I had the best flavor with 2 weeks primary, 2 weeks secondary, 4 weeks in the bottle. Then I started moving to 3 - 4 weeks in a primary and 3 weeks in the bottle.

The more I've brewed and gotten better pitch rates, better ingredients, and better temperature control, I really only have green beer flavors in the first two weeks of primary and the first week in the bottle. If it's a low floccing yeast or a lager, it might be yeasty for another two weeks in the bottle.

Leaving it in the primary longer can help with some off flavors. You have a large population of yeast in there looking for something to much on. Sometimes they will go after fermentation byproducts like acetaldehyde (green apple) and diacetyl (buttery).
 

kaconga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
990
Reaction score
147
Location
Rathdrum
Fermentation times are yeast dependant as well as temp and wort composition dependant. Some yeast are fully capable of fermenting a 1.054 OG beer in 5 days whilst others may take 3 weeks. The cleaning up of off flavors by the yeast is typically done in 1-2 days. So a one week fermentation is definitely possible and is actually easy to accomplish.

Bottle conditioning can be done in as little as 7-10 days. Once again this is a big variable because yeast strain and alcohol level as well as type of sugar will dictate the time to carbonate. People say 3 weeks because at 3 weeks 90% of beers will be carbed up and ready to go.

As for the original question, each beer has its own sweet spot and aging it is the only way to find it. My IPAs are at their peak 6 weeks in the bottle. I do a 2 week primary for them simply because I like that time frame. They are clearing by day 7 and clear enough by day 10 to bottle. So 8 weeks from grain to glass. Stouts take 10-12 weeks from grain to glass to hit their peak in my house. But longer primaries have never reduced that green beer flavor for me. In fact if a beer is on the cake for longer than 4 weeks then I pretty much don't care for it. Get some temp control and you can turn beers over faster as there will be less harsh notes to mellow out. Other than that it is just a waiting game. I advocate aging on the bottle so that when the beer does hit its sweet spot it is already carbonated and ready to drink. Bottling is also going to free up fermenters faster so you can build your pipeline.
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
It just sounds to me like the op is confusing green (immature) beer with extract twang or other off-flavors. That green immature muddled flavor wouldn't hang around forever. Off-flavors can.
It is distinctly a fruity/sweet/yeasty flavor, not bitter or metallic, which is why I don't think its extract twang. It is also diminishing with time.

Nonetheless, this isn't the point of the post; the question is about whether bottle conditioning time is extended when primary/secondary time is shorter.
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Fermentation times are yeast dependant as well as temp and wort composition dependant. Some yeast are fully capable of fermenting a 1.054 OG beer in 5 days whilst others may take 3 weeks. The cleaning up of off flavors by the yeast is typically done in 1-2 days. So a one week fermentation is definitely possible and is actually easy to accomplish.

Bottle conditioning can be done in as little as 7-10 days. Once again this is a big variable because yeast strain and alcohol level as well as type of sugar will dictate the time to carbonate. People say 3 weeks because at 3 weeks 90% of beers will be carbed up and ready to go.

As for the original question, each beer has its own sweet spot and aging it is the only way to find it. My IPAs are at their peak 6 weeks in the bottle. I do a 2 week primary for them simply because I like that time frame. They are clearing by day 7 and clear enough by day 10 to bottle. So 8 weeks from grain to glass. Stouts take 10-12 weeks from grain to glass to hit their peak in my house. But longer primaries have never reduced that green beer flavor for me. In fact if a beer is on the cake for longer than 4 weeks then I pretty much don't care for it. Get some temp control and you can turn beers over faster as there will be less harsh notes to mellow out. Other than that it is just a waiting game. I advocate aging on the bottle so that when the beer does hit its sweet spot it is already carbonated and ready to drink. Bottling is also going to free up fermenters faster so you can build your pipeline.
Exactly the experience I was looking for. Thanks for this!
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
When I started brewing, I found I had the best flavor with 2 weeks primary, 2 weeks secondary, 4 weeks in the bottle. Then I started moving to 3 - 4 weeks in a primary and 3 weeks in the bottle.

The more I've brewed and gotten better pitch rates, better ingredients, and better temperature control, I really only have green beer flavors in the first two weeks of primary and the first week in the bottle. If it's a low floccing yeast or a lager, it might be yeasty for another two weeks in the bottle.

Leaving it in the primary longer can help with some off flavors. You have a large population of yeast in there looking for something to much on. Sometimes they will go after fermentation byproducts like acetaldehyde (green apple) and diacetyl (buttery).
This is my first brew and it pretty much is just going at room temperature which is low to mid 70s and just going by the instructions. I'm currently at 6 weeks (2 weeks primary/secondary, 4 weeks bottle, but have yet to try week 4), so I'll keep sitting by and trying it week by week. Thanks!
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
It is distinctly a fruity/sweet/yeasty flavor, not bitter or metallic, which is why I don't think its extract twang. It is also diminishing with time.

Nonetheless, this isn't the point of the post; the question is about whether bottle conditioning time is extended when primary/secondary time is shorter.
Fruity could likely be a yeast ester. some ale yeasts naturally produce it. In some ales it's actually preferable.Sweet tells me it may even have some crystal malts used in producing the extract used. Yeasty can be from too young a beer or one that's been on the yeast too long. And I already answered the bottle time vs primary or secondary question. The answer is still no, you still need a couple weeks bottle time, even if you skip secondary & do 2-3 weeks in primary. They are separate parts of the process & longer in one can't shorten the other.
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Fruity could likely be a yeast ester. some ale yeasts naturally produce it. In some ales it's actually preferable.Sweet tells me it may even have some crystal malts used in producing the extract used. Yeasty can be from too young a beer or one that's been on the yeast too long. And I already answered the bottle time vs primary or secondary question. The answer is still no, you still need a couple weeks bottle time, even if you skip secondary & do 2-3 weeks in primary. They are separate parts of the process & longer in one can't shorten the other.
Great info! The taste isn't bad, it just isn't preferable for a beer. I'll look into yeast esters and see if it fits the description, thanks!
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
I was hoping that'd clear things up a might. I like to read up on yeast performance, besides the grains, hops, etc. It can really help to put all the flavor contributions together.
 

Beernik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
3,969
Reaction score
737
Location
Camano Island, WA
Hey, don't worry. My first beer was a green apple bomb. The yeast produced a lot of acetaldehyde from way too warm of a pitch temperature.

I agree that fruity is probably the yeast. Some do it more than others. All tend to do it more at higher temperatures. Fermenting at room temperature. They will probably age out a little bit. But they will probably always exist a little in the background.

Bready is probably the yeast not fully floccing out yet. Some yeasts are slower at this than others. It should go away.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
Bready flavors can also come from some grains, like English or German varieties. although the German ones seem a bit toastier, even toasty/nutty to me.
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Okay I tried my beer again yesterday after letting it chill for 48 hours, which was 4 weeks (+2 days fridge) in the bottles, and it still had that sweet off taste. My two friends who came over to give it a try both, immediately after taking their first sip, said it tasted sweet and cidery, like wine. For me, it made me think of apple juice, but not necessarily a green apple taste.

I'm hoping this flavor will go away with time and that it's not permanent. I have been doing some reading and I think I found a few points where I may have messed up:


  • I pitched the yeast and let it ferment at room temperature, which is about 76f.
  • I racked to secondary after a week, which sat at the same temperature above.
  • I bottled after a week in the secondary.
  • I've only let the bottles condition for 4 weeks.

So I'm starting to think that the high fermentation temperatures plus taking it out of the primary so quickly produced and left a lot of off flavors in the beer. Is this something that can be remedied by letting it condition in the bottles for a bit longer?
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
High initial fermentation temps & short primary can cause this one. Also, higher temps during a long lag time are now said to be where it all starts. So getting a healthy yeast pitched at high krausen shortens lag time quite a bit in my experiences. But also giving the beer 3-7 days after FG is reached to clean up any by-products of fermentation can help a lot too. By the time it's in bottles, only so much clean up will happen.
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
High initial fermentation temps & short primary can cause this one. Also, higher temps during a long lag time are now said to be where it all starts. So getting a healthy yeast pitched at high krausen shortens lag time quite a bit in my experiences. But also giving the beer 3-7 days after FG is reached to clean up any by-products of fermentation can help a lot too. By the time it's in bottles, only so much clean up will happen.
Any chance you could explain this point (bolded) a bit more? I'm not quite sure what a long lag time is referring too.

I've been reading about fermentation temperature and, thanks to your suggestion of fruity esters, I have seemed to pinpoint where most of the off flavors are coming from, which is most likely fermentation temperature.

While I knew temperature was important, the instructions that came with the can said 70-80f are ideal. What I've read has led me to believe that not only is this incorrect, but that also the ambient temperature of the room is often 5-10f lower than the actual wort during initial fermentation. So with a room of 76f, I seemed to have probably fermented at 81-86f which is ridiculously high, especially when considering that I'm using an ale yeast (kit yeast from Coopers Australian Lager) trying to create something akin to a lager, which was suggested around 60-65f.

So this time around I'll be skipping the secondary, leave in the primary for 3-4 weeks then bottle, and rigorously check the temperature and ensure it is around 60-65f. I hope this sounds like a good plan to help get away from the off-tasting esters.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
Any chance you could explain this point (bolded) a bit more? I'm not quite sure what a long lag time is referring too.

I've been reading about fermentation temperature and, thanks to your suggestion of fruity esters, I have seemed to pinpoint where most of the off flavors are coming from, which is most likely fermentation temperature.

While I knew temperature was important, the instructions that came with the can said 70-80f are ideal. What I've read has led me to believe that not only is this incorrect, but that also the ambient temperature of the room is often 5-10f lower than the actual wort during initial fermentation. So with a room of 76f, I seemed to have probably fermented at 81-86f which is ridiculously high, especially when considering that I'm using an ale yeast (kit yeast from Coopers Australian Lager) trying to create something akin to a lager, which was suggested around 60-65f.

So this time around I'll be skipping the secondary, leave in the primary for 3-4 weeks then bottle, and rigorously check the temperature and ensure it is around 60-65f. I hope this sounds like a good plan to help get away from the off-tasting esters.
Lag time refers to the time between when the yeast is pitched & it starts visibly fermenting. At this time, temps are critical, as the yeast cells are using up the o2 from aerating the wort to reproduce in sufficient numbers to visibly start fermenting. Pitching at high krausen simply means stirring & pitching the re-hydrated dry yeast while it still has krausen foam on top. The yeast cells are far more active at this point & start reproducing at a more rapid rate & start visible fermentation in as little as 3 hours in my experiences.
Cooper's ale yeast starts getting sluggish at 64F on down. 66F is a better temp for it. And being an English-derived yeast, it naturally produces fruity esters. A good thing in some styles. Done the way I've described, off-flavors shouldn't be a problem. And again, the fruity esters in it aren't an off-flavor. Different yeasts produce different esters depending on temp range.
 
OP
R

Rezer

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
0
Lag time refers to the time between when the yeast is pitched & it starts visibly fermenting. At this time, temps are critical, as the yeast cells are using up the o2 from aerating the wort to reproduce in sufficient numbers to visibly start fermenting. Pitching at high krausen simply means stirring & pitching the re-hydrated dry yeast while it still has krausen foam on top. The yeast cells are far more active at this point & start reproducing at a more rapid rate & start visible fermentation in as little as 3 hours in my experiences.
Cooper's ale yeast starts getting sluggish at 64F on down. 66F is a better temp for it. And being an English-derived yeast, it naturally produces fruity esters. A good thing in some styles. Done the way I've described, off-flavors shouldn't be a problem. And again, the fruity esters in it aren't an off-flavor. Different yeasts produce different esters depending on temp range.
Interesting, thanks for this! I haven't done any yeast hydrating before; just get the wort to the correct temperature then sprinkle the yeast in. Is this a critical step? I'll be doing the next batch on the weekend so I can be home to monitor the temps closely during the lag time/first 48 hours. But if you suggest this step, and have a link to a guide or video on how to properly do it, I'll be happy to give it a go.

Coopers says 18c as the bottom of the range which is right in line with the 64-66f that you suggested so I'll definitely do that. And yeah, I should really refrain from calling the esters an off-flavor; I just let the yeast run wild and over produce them in my first batch.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,161
Reaction score
3,782
Location
Sheffield
Here's a good re-hydration video from Northern Brewer;
I use spring water for this, works great! I do this while chilling the hot wort in the kettle. Pitching the foamy yeast cream is the "high krausen" I referred to. I like to get it within 10 degrees of current wort temp. Cutting lag time, or the reproductive phase, goes a long way to preventing off flavors & can ferment out faster. I did this with the S-04 in the video, & my ESB was done & clearing in 10 days flat!:mug:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top