Same funky taste in every batch

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
I just tasted a cream stout I brewed about a month ago with a kit from Midwest. It's been in a temperature controlled fridge at about 60F.

It has this same distinct taste as 3 other batches I've brewed that almost makes it undrinkable. I find it hard to describe but it's almost cidery and lingers on the back of the tongue. I thought it was from a lack of temperature control but I've sorted that out with my new fridge. My FG is a bit high in this batch so I don't know if that is it. I don't know what it is but it's making me want to quit brewing.

Cream stout recipe specifics:
8 oz black malt
8 oz caramel 80L
6 lb dark LME
8 oz lactose.

Steeped grains at 155F for 30 minutes. Hour boil with 1 oz northern brewer for 60 minutes with 2.5 gal water. Fermented at 60F for 3.5-4 weeks. OG 1.040 (expected 1.044-1.048) FG 1.026 (expected 1.012-1.016). Topped off with water from tap.
 

iron_city_ap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
808
Reaction score
12
Location
Valparaiso, Indiana
It very well could be your cleaning/sanitizing. Other than that, it could be your water. Those would be the only 2 consistent things from batch to batch in most cases. I would guess its the cleaning/sanitizing side of it. What all have you been doing for cleaning?

<EDIT> What temp have you been fermenting at? That could cause some off flavors too. Did you boil your top off water before using it?
 
OP
GatorBeer

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
I just switched to star san from an iodine based sanitizer. I filled up a spray bottle with about 1/4 oz star san and something like 24 oz water. I spray everything and let it sit for 30 seconds. My better bottles are cleaned as soon as i get the beer out with oxy clean then stored away.

I've been using only tap water, but I find it OK to drink. Maybe I'll switch to bottled water.
 

iron_city_ap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
808
Reaction score
12
Location
Valparaiso, Indiana
How do you clean your equipment? What all do you use oxi clean on? Are you letting your better bottles soak overnight? 30 seconds of sanitizer probably isn't enough time. I try to let my stuff soak in sanitizer for AT LEAST a minute. Longer isn't going to hurt it either. It could be that your stuff just needs a good overnight soaking in oxi clean and a good scrubbing (for any SS or aluminum).

Also, are your better bottles getting exposed to light during fermentation? I've found that I just have REAL bad luck with using my BB for a primary. I've still ended up with beer, but no matter what I do, it just tends to give me bad beer if I primary in it and I've tried quite a few different places/ techniques with it. It has worked great for a secondary, fruit additions, and dry hopping though.
 

flabyboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Messages
940
Reaction score
16
Location
Dover
could it be that it just needs more time?? don't stouts need 6-8 weeks to condition in the bottle?
 
OP
GatorBeer

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
The oxyclean sits for at least a day then I rinse it out and make sure it gets everything clean. The better bottles sit inside a refrigerator so there's no light getting at them. I don't have a very expensive pot, it is this one http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-12-Quart-Stockpot/13377929 . Could this be a reason?

I would say that it is still green beer but this taste has been in every one of my beers, even 3 months after i've bottled them.
 

iron_city_ap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
808
Reaction score
12
Location
Valparaiso, Indiana
How about cleaning your bottles? What all do you do there? I'm not picking here, just helping trying to narrow it down. Looking for something that stands out.

It the pot scratched or gouged? If that coating chips, that could do it.

What are you using for H2O? Is it tap water, city water, well water, hard, soft? For some reason, it seems to be a common topic today. Then again, could just be that I keep looking at water threads.

Don't give up on brewing. It may be frustrating at the moment, but at least to me, solving issues is part of the fun.

You may want to soak your stuff in a little bleach/water combo overnight to really be sure it is all nice and super sanitized. I have yet to use any StarSan, so I can't really say anything good or bad about how strong or weak you are mixing it. That could be part of it. I'm still thinking 30 seconds isn't near enough time. Give it all a really really good soaking for longer.
 

Tiber_Brew

It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
276
Location
Upper Peninsula
This may or may not be the solution to your problem, however....

...when I first started brewing, I had a 3 or 4 batch bout with a wild funk taste. I was using a proven sanitizer and thorough cleaning methods that had worked for my first several batches. I was puzzled, so I soaked all my equipment in a bleach solution for a couple days, rinsed very well, then started cleaning/sanitizing as usual. That took care of it. Whatever it was that was funking my beers died with that bleach soak. To me, that's a last resort, but it's better than wasting 15+ gallons of precious homebrew and your valuable time.

TB
 

logan3825

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2010
Messages
1,029
Reaction score
53
Location
Madison
I filled up a spray bottle with about 1/4 oz star san and something like 24 oz water.

I am not sure it is your problem but that is way to much star san for that amount of water. It is supposed to be mixed one ounce to 5 gallons water or 1/5 per gallon(128 ounces), just under the 1/4 mark.
 

BrewMoreBeers

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2010
Messages
395
Reaction score
4
Location
Ohio
The oxyclean sits for at least a day then I rinse it out and make sure it gets everything clean. The better bottles sit inside a refrigerator so there's no light getting at them. I don't have a very expensive pot, it is this one http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-12-Quart-Stockpot/13377929 . Could this be a reason?

I would say that it is still green beer but this taste has been in every one of my beers, even 3 months after i've bottled them.
I had this pot and got terrible of flavors after my third brew... The coating got micro cracks and made the brew taste like metal. I bought a nice SS pot and that fixed everything.

Also, plus one on the over use of StarSan comment above.
 

BrookdaleBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
Messages
834
Reaction score
11
I've been using only tap water, but I find it OK to drink. Maybe I'll switch to bottled water.
Just because it tastes good doesn't mean that it isn't full of chlorine or chloramine, which can cause harsh, astringent off flavors. Are you doing anything to treat your tap water? I would try a batch with all bottled water and see how that turns out.
 

Dogphish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
651
Reaction score
7
Location
Beach
are your beers carbonated fully, or are they a little flat? i'm guessing that they are a little flat. i think that you are tasting the bottling sugar you added.

isn't 60 degrees a little low for short term bottle conditioning? maybe that is why sugar isn't being converted into carbonation quickly enough.

next time, taste some of the uncarbonated beer before you add the bottling sugar, then taste again right after you add the bottling sugar. i think you will say, "aha! that's it".
 

Clann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Messages
1,334
Reaction score
18
Location
Edmonton Ky
I had this pot and got terrible of flavors after my third brew... The coating got micro cracks and made the brew taste like metal. I bought a nice SS pot and that fixed everything.

Also, plus one on the over use of StarSan comment above.
I have the same one but mine is the 15 quart pot. Over a year old and still making good beer:mug: No cracks yet, I'll keep my fingers crossed :D
 

Justibone

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2010
Messages
2,022
Reaction score
32
Location
Indianapolis
You're boiling your bottling sugar and putting that in the bottom of the bottling bucket, correct? Most kinds of sugar have bacteria and/or spores in it that can't grow (it's too dry) until you add water. :(

Also, fermentation is better/faster closer to 70, but after 12 weeks you should still be getting decent fermentation even in the 60's.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Location
Austin
I have had the same thing. After a month in the bottle they were ALL better. After 2 months they were fantastic. The standard "3 weeks aging" after bottling is baloney in my opinion. Minimum 5 on most or 8 if you can wait.

The only caveat to this was a Vanilla Porter that was great after 4 weeks and everyone loved it. It had Vanilla extract added immediately prior to bottling. After 8 weeks the vanilla started to fade, after 12 weeks you can barely taste it. The porter is still good, the vanilla extract just does not last.
 
OP
GatorBeer

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
Wow I appreciate all of the help. Some things: The beer tastes this way before I put the sugar in, so I don't think it's that. I'm using corn sugar and the carbonation has been consistent and fine in each of my bottles. I have some bottles from 3-4 months ago and they all taste this way, so it's not that I'm not waiting long enough. And they bottle condition at higher than 60, more around 70.

In answer to some of your questions:

-Water: I haven't gotten a water test, but next batch I'm going to use bottled water to see if that fixes anything.
-Pot: I'm going to look into getting another pot but I will bleach it before I do another batch.
-Sanitizer: I'll drop the concentration of this.

A quick question concerning this stout. My target FG is 1.012 - 1.016. It's been almost 4 weeks and it's only at 1.026. Assuming it stays constant at this FG over the next couple of days, is it OK that i'm pretty far off the expected FG?
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,624
Reaction score
12,227
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I think bottled water will solve your problem.

Don't use bleach on a brewpot! Clean it with oxiclean or detergent or something- no bleach- and rinse well.

Mix the sanitizer according to the directions, no more and definitely no less! Use a one gallon jug of distilled water to mix, and then save that star-san for use in spray bottles, etc. It can be used and reused a long time, if you start with distilled water.

If the SG isn't dropping anymore despite swirling the fermenter to rouse the yeast, keeping the temperature near 70, and adding fresh yeast, then it's done. I'd be nervous about bottling this beer at 1.026, unless I tried everything to lower it first. If I tried everything and it still didn't budge, then I'd be ok with bottling it.
 

Dogphish

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
651
Reaction score
7
Location
Beach
use soap to clean a brew pot instead of soap? can anyone confirm that advice. i have been told to never use soap on a brew pot or fermenter.
 

BrookdaleBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
Messages
834
Reaction score
11
Oxyclean Free (or your favorite store's generic, scent free oxygen cleanser) is your best option. It is a cheaper version of PBW, which is what the pros use.
 

logan3825

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2010
Messages
1,029
Reaction score
53
Location
Madison
I use Barkeepers Friend to clean my brewpot. get the pot wet, put some on the wetted areas, wait 30 seconds and wipe the whole pot off. I rinse and rinse and rinse some more.
 
OP
GatorBeer

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
I checked my gravity today and it's the same 1.026 when it should be 1.012-1.014. I tried agitating it a few days ago but it obviously didn't change anything. Should I pitch more yeast or increase the temperature or what? I'd like to bottle soon as it has been in the fermenter for a little over a month.
 

barrooze

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
2,359
Reaction score
148
Location
Pearland
I checked my gravity today and it's the same 1.026 when it should be 1.012-1.014. I tried agitating it a few days ago but it obviously didn't change anything. Should I pitch more yeast or increase the temperature or what? I'd like to bottle soon as it has been in the fermenter for a little over a month.
1st thing: I had that pot also. It got a sharp dent that exposed the tin and all my batches had an awful "house" flavor. I switched to a 10g Al pot and all has been good since.

2nd: It could be that you're fermenting too cool and you're not giving your yeast a chance to clean up after themselves. Can you raise the temp of the fridge 1 degree a day until you get to 75? That could help your attenuation and also clean up some off flavors in your brew.

Also, there's nothing wrong with keeping the beer in primary for over a month. Just warm it up, that'll get the yeast doing their thing again.
 
OP
GatorBeer

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
So I'm slowly raising the temperature every day, but I was just reading the forum and had a question.

What are the negative effects of not aerating? I'm going to assume that it slows the start of fermentation, but would this lag time result in some off flavors? I haven't done a very good job at aerating, I typically just pout the wort (complete with trub) through a funnel into my better bottle and then I'm done.
 

barrooze

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
2,359
Reaction score
148
Location
Pearland
I'm not an expert on aeration (or really anything homebrewing-wise, I'm just passing info I've read or heard), but I believe when the lag time between flame-out and active fermentation gets longer, the more of a chance that there could be an infection in your beer. Aerating your wort gives the yeast more oxygen so they can get to eating those sugars faster. Yeast are living organisms and require oxygen just like you and me. By boiling your wort, you are removing oxygen from the liquid and if you don't re-introduce it into the wort prior to pitching, you may not get complete attenuation and may get a longer lag time.

I normally just wash and sanitize my hands, pick up my carboy with the wort in it, cover the opening, and shake the heck out of it for 3 minutes or so, stopping briefly to allow more air into the vessel. I've heard this is also not an effective method for getting oxygen into the wort, but it's better than nothing and is free! :)

Here's a couple small pieces of equipment that could help you aerate the wort. I've seen the drill accessory in action and it's pretty sweet. http://www.midwestsupplies.com/the-stainless-steel-mix-stir.html
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/siphon-sprayer.html
 

mb2696

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
409
Reaction score
7
Location
charlottesville, va
something is very wrong with the fermentation. OG/FG of 1040/1026 is only 35% attenuation. even for a weak dark beer, that is an incomplete fermentation.

what was the OG/FG in other batches that had the same taste? did you use S-04 in those as well?

i associate cidery flavors with acetaldehyde which an interim product of fermentation. you should expect strong cidery flavors in an incompletely fermented beer
 
OP
GatorBeer

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
Amber ale OG/FG - 1.048/1.010 - safale us-05
Hefeweizen OG/FG - 1.053/1.010 - safbrew wb-06
Pale Ale OG/FG - unknown OG/1.018 - safale us-05
 

mb2696

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
409
Reaction score
7
Location
charlottesville, va
yea the attenuation looks fine on the amber and hefe. if those had the same off flavors and you weren't tasting them too young, it probably isn't acetaldehyde.

maybe it's extract twang? maybe you could try DME and/or a full boil on your next batch
 

Downhillfromhere

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2010
Messages
60
Reaction score
0
Location
Los Angeles
Putting every penny I have on using tap water on topping off the beer. It's going to have a chlorine based chemical in it from just about every source you get it from, sans a well. I know you said you're going to only use bottled water, good call, that should do the trick.
 

barrooze

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
2,359
Reaction score
148
Location
Pearland
I don't know for sure, but when I went to full wort boils and used a new 10g Al pot instead of the ceramic-covered steel stoneware pot, it all went away. I also think I got better attenuation at that point that helped clean up the "twang" flavor...
 
OP
GatorBeer

GatorBeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
128
Reaction score
9
Location
Gainesville, FL
I meant to ask what are the off flavors that are associated with a longer lag time (due to lack of aeration) before fermentation really kicks off, if any.
 
Top