Soapy Tasting Beer

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bigz4ch

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Hey guys, I've now had this happen on a few random batches of beer. Everything goes as planned, I whirlpool around 140 degrees, and post fermentation the beer has a strong soapy/detergent/grassy/bleach like flavor. I have no idea how this has happened, and it's happened on totally different grain bills. I am generally adding 2g's gypsum and 6g's calcium chloride to RO water.

Any idea what could be causing this? I don't believe that any of my brew equipment is infected, and the last batch was a split batch between two different fermenters.
 

Braufessor

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some hops come across as "soapy" to me.... Centennial in particular for some reason.... Were these hoppy beers and if so, which hops?

Also - always worth mentioning that one possible cause of soapy taste is cleansers that have not been rinsed if they needed to be.
 
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bigz4ch

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This was a split batch, one with Vermont ale yeast and the other with wyeast London ale III. Both had been shipped to me from northern brewer within days of brewing.

These were both very hoppy. One whirlpooled at 115 with Vic secret then DDH with 2oz additions of Vic secret. The other was whirpooled with 2oz simcoe and dry hopped with 2oz simcoe.

As far as sanitizers go, I used starsan like usual and didn’t have much residual in any equipment
 

Braufessor

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This was a split batch, one with Vermont ale yeast and the other with wyeast London ale III. Both had been shipped to me from northern brewer within days of brewing.

These were both very hoppy. One whirlpooled at 115 with Vic secret then DDH with 2oz additions of Vic secret. The other was whirpooled with 2oz simcoe and dry hopped with 2oz simcoe.

As far as sanitizers go, I used starsan like usual and didn’t have much residual in any equipment
Beyond the possible yeast issues (which, really, unless you are leaving beer on yeast for a very long time, should not be a problem)...... I have read various threads here and there that talk about high pH, or high chloride levels contributing.... With RO water, your pH should be ok. You are using fairly high levels of Chloride for a hoppy beer. Might be worth trying the same beer and reducing CaCl with increase in gypsum. Perhaps a couple weeks will help it mellow out too.
http://discussions.probrewer.com/showthread.php?53008-Soapy-flavors-in-a-dry-hopped-IPAs
 
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bigz4ch

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Both beers fermented out in about a week, so I don't think that was a possible issue. I have also used high CaCl to gypsum ratios, usually 4:1, and haven't had any problems. I'm truly lost on how this very odd and unpleasant taste comes about, lol. Possible it's from low whirlpool temp, or pitching a full batch of fresh yeast to only a 2.5g batch?

It's killing me inside that I can't figure it out!
 

EnglishAndy

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What do you wash your equipment with and does the bad flavor go away or get worse over time?
 
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I had blowoff suckback on an IPA once that resulted in a soapy tasting beer that I had to dump. Of course, I gave it a couple of weeks, but it doesn't go away.

Regarding the suckback, I forgot to remove the tubing from my fermentors to the blowoff reservoir when I cold-crashed, and a pint or two of starsan solution got pulled back into the beer.
 

Braufessor

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Both beers fermented out in about a week, so I don't think that was a possible issue. I have also used high CaCl to gypsum ratios, usually 4:1, and haven't had any problems. I'm truly lost on how this very odd and unpleasant taste comes about, lol. Possible it's from low whirlpool temp, or pitching a full batch of fresh yeast to only a 2.5g batch?

It's killing me inside that I can't figure it out!
When you say "full batch of fresh yeast" - do you mean a yeast cake off a 5 gallon batch, or just a single smack pack/vial of new yeast. If it is just the smack pack/vial - that is not too much yeast. Probably just right if you did not make a starter.

When you say "it fermented out in a week" - does that mean you kegged it at that point? Perhaps it had fermented out in terms of gravity, but still needed some time on the yeast to clean up flavors from the hopping. I know I have had some hoppy beers that ended up disappointing me when I have tried to push them through a little faster than normal. Just another thought.
 
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bigz4ch

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Each were a fresh pack of yeast, giga yeast vermont IPA, and wyeast london III. After 7-8 days fermentation seemed to stop, so i cold crashed each for 24 hours then kegged the following day. Straight out of the fermenter the beers had the off flavor, and it didn't subside at all after being kegged for two days =[
 

Braufessor

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Each were a fresh pack of yeast, giga yeast vermont IPA, and wyeast london III. After 7-8 days fermentation seemed to stop, so i cold crashed each for 24 hours then kegged the following day. Straight out of the fermenter the beers had the off flavor, and it didn't subside at all after being kegged for two days =[
Personally, I think that cold crashing at day 7-8 might be a little quick.... especially with dry hopping and English yeasts. I know some folks do it with success - However, I have often run into problems when I have tried to push beers a few days faster than normal. I would hedge toward 12-14 days..... Yeast can do a lot of work in those couple days to clean things up.
 

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I tend to stay in the primary longer too. It's not unusual for me to go 14 days and then another 5-7 days for dry hopping before cold crashing.
 
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bigz4ch

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I use starsan. Is it possible that using too much starsan to water ratio could cause this? I usually leave the foam in the fermenters.

I don't think that it was over oxygenated, I co2 transfered from fermenter to keg, and only popped the fermenters open 1-2 times for dry hopping.

I will try and leave the beer sit in primary going forward an see if that's a possible answer.
 
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I use starsan. Is it possible that using too much starsan to water ratio could cause this? I usually leave the foam in the fermenters.

I don't think that it was over oxygenated, I co2 transfered from fermenter to keg, and only popped the fermenters open 1-2 times for dry hopping.

I will try and leave the beer sit in primary going forward an see if that's a possible answer.
No, I doubt it. I eyeball my starsan mixes, and I probably go 10x what I need.
 
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bigz4ch

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No, I doubt it. I eyeball my starsan mixes, and I probably go 10x what I need.
That's generally what I do as well. Is there any possibility that perhaps I have an infect piece of equipment?
 
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That's generally what I do as well. Is there any possibility that perhaps I have an infect piece of equipment?
My guess is it is not an infection.

I'd suggest brewing with tap water. Use campden to remove chlorine. Skip the rest of the water additions. Use fresh yeast. See what happens.

Use a new batch of hops.
 

ba-brewer

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over-oxygenation is also another culprit for soapy. although it is harder to do.
How does this work and how much is too much.

I have a batch of beers, a simple bitter that has a noticeable soapy tastes. Looking for possible causes and would like to understand your comment.

One thing of note for my beer was that mash was very low (4.75) even though it should of been about 5.4. Yeast only attenuated down to 60% after 10days, wondering if it might actually be some form of diacetyl. Fresh yeast from starter got going fairly quickly but then slowed down at day 3.
 

SanPancho

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Soapy is typically either over oxygenated or dead yeast /autolysis. I’ve only gotten it a few times so no expert.

You could be mistaking soapy for something else. My recollection of soapy vs diacetyl is they’re not similar at all.
 

ba-brewer

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I say diacetyl some say it can give a slick like mouthfeel and all it takes is a small sip of this beer and it seem the soapy taste/flavor takes over your whole mouth. You really need to rinse your mouth well to get rid of it.

Still would like to know the mechanism how over oxygenating can cause soapiness. I recall listening to one of the "can you brew it" episodes on the brewing network and they mentioned something about giving too much oxygen causing problem just don't recall the problem.
 

SanPancho

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i dont recall offhand. its probably in Yeast or you can just google overoxygenation and go through that list. im good about remembering the linkages, i.e. over-oxygen and soapy flavor, but bad about remembering the pathways/mechanism
 

ba-brewer

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I used to not give oxygen to my low and normal strength ales just stirring to aerate but started doing pure oxygen for all of beers now. This is my first soapy beer, will give over-oxygenation a google, thanks SanPancho.
 

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I've gotten soap flavor from old East Kent Goldings hops.
 

ba-brewer

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I've gotten soap flavor from old East Kent Goldings hops.
Did the soapy flavor mellow or go away?

I don't know the age of the hops because they came from a place that does not publish harvest dates. The hops could of been old as they were UK target, with a low AA of 3.5 and I do remember hearing some of the European hops from a few years back were coming in low due to poor weather.
 

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Sure thing! I didn't dump mine. The soap flavor was minimal, so I almost got used to it. Hearing that others got soap from EKG made me think that maybe it was a taste sensitivity of mine. But, with that said, I haven't tasted it since, and I brew lots of bitters.
 

seatazzz

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What temperature were you at when you pitched? I'm leaning towards autolysed yeast, which to some can taste slick, soapy, even medicine-y like chloramines. Too high a pitching temperature can kill a lot of your yeast, leaving what's left having to work too hard and maybe get the job done, but those dead ones will throw some nasty flavors at you.
 

ba-brewer

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my temp was 68F then up to 70F. There was still a little yeast in suspension when I kegged and in the sample I tasted.

I did do a forced diacetyl test and did not get any butterscotch/buttery flavors or aroma, but the soapiness seemed to lower a bit and the overall bitterness of the beer seemed to increase.
 

Northern_Brewer

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some hops come across as "soapy" to me.... Centennial in particular for some reason....
Centennial is notorious for tasting soapy to some people. I suspect, without any particular evidence, that there's a link to the way that some people find cilantro/coriander leaf "soapy" - there's a lot of similar chemicals in hops - which in part is linked to particular genetic mutants of genes like OR6A2 :
https://www.nature.com/news/soapy-taste-of-coriander-linked-to-genetic-variants-1.11398
 
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Centennial is notorious for tasting soapy to some people. I suspect, without any particular evidence, that there's a link to the way that some people find cilantro/coriander leaf "soapy" - there's a lot of similar chemicals in hops - which in part is linked to particular genetic mutants of genes like OR6A2 :
https://www.nature.com/news/soapy-taste-of-coriander-linked-to-genetic-variants-1.11398
I've had it a couple of times in beer, and I did come to the conclusion that it was from the dry hops. I believe the flavor wasn't there when I took a hydro when adding the dry hops (though I don't take notes then, so not positive). Both of them had Centennial dry hops. I'm not making any conclusions here, but the evidence agrees with your comments above.

After the most recent soapy batch, I rebrewed the same recipe without the dry hops. No soap. I've made beers with centennial and liked them, so not positive about anything. Could be the age of the hops, a different hop, some combination/reaction of hops and ?.

1. June 29, '13 - Racer 5 IPA
  • Notes: "This tastes bad. It has a tropical fruit taste, but the aftertaste is very soapy. Probably will be dumping both kegs"
  • upload_2019-2-11_12-9-22.png

2. May 3, '18 - Coast IPA
  • Notes: "Ended up pouring the keg on the grass. Soapy. I'm pretty sure it's coming from the dry hops (centennial). Need to ONLY use fresh hops when dryhopping from now on."
  • upload_2019-2-11_12-10-6.png
 
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tat2Pompadore

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I had off flavors that were soapy when I was doing extract kits. When I went all grain it eased up. But I still had a hint of it from time to time.
I have added a small water filter to my set up. And I religiously use 52 ph additive to my strike and sparse water.

I haven’t had an issue since. I associate all of my off flavors to the water I had. That’s my 2 cents.
 

Cantina De Jefe

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Centennial is notorious for tasting soapy to some people. I suspect, without any particular evidence, that there's a link to the way that some people find cilantro/coriander leaf "soapy" - there's a lot of similar chemicals in hops - which in part is linked to particular genetic mutants of genes like OR6A2 :
https://www.nature.com/news/soapy-taste-of-coriander-linked-to-genetic-variants-1.11398
I stopped using centennial altogther for this very reason. If anything only use it between 30-15 minutes. I am thinking that some bittering and dual purpose hops have a soapy flavor when used in whirlpool. Time should help it mellow out.
 
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