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Trying to Identify Off-Flavor

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Logan

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I made an american pale ale 4 weeks ago (2 weeks primary/2 weeks in bottles). I'm still waiting for it to condition in the bottle. When I tasted it two weeks ago before bottling it has a very sour/bitter flavor. I opened one to see how it had changed tonight. This sour/bitter flavor has mellowed out - but it is still detectable.

I bottled an ESB tonight and it has the same sour flavor that the APA had when I bottled it - sour enough that it doesn't taste good.

I'm assuming that since this sour flavor is balancing out with time that it is nothing to worry about - but I'm still wondering what it is. I hear of beers tasting great right out of the fermenter but that hasn't been the case with mine. Is this hop bitterness, yeast, or even infection?

-APA-
2.00 lb Amber Dry Extract
3.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract
1.50 oz Cascade [8.50 %] (60 min)
0.60 oz Cascade [8.50 %] (15 min)
SafAle S-05 Dry Yeast

-ESB-
6.00 lb Extra Light Dry Extract
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L
0.75 oz Target [13.90 %] (60 min)
0.50 oz Whitbread Golding Variety (WGV) [4.50 %] (40 min)
0.50 oz Whitbread Golding Variety (WGV) [4.50 %] (30 min)
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (15 min)
SafAle S-04 Dry Yeast
 

Dark_Ale

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I have used the safale 04 it ferments like crazy I love it....What was your fermentation temp?
What kind of water do you use?
How old are your fermentation buckets, hoses, etc?
What did you sanitize with?
I have had beers come out like that and get better over time.
But some of them dont.
You may just need to try to eliminate some possible things...
Take apart everything you can and clean it with PBW
Brew again see if you still get the sour. You may be picking up a little nasty someplace.
If you still get the sour reevaluate your sanitation process try something differant Idophor, StarSan, 30ML bleach in 5 gallons of water then add 30ML of Vinegar use this solution to sanitize. Just try something differant than you are doing now.
You may change the water your using but I doubt its the issue.
Maybe the sour will just go away
 
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Logan

Logan

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I fermented at room temp. I keep the thermostat around 68-70. So it was prob a bit cooler than that as it was in a closet. All of my equipment is new. I sanitize pretty religiously with Star San and clean with OxyClean. Do you think the sour is infection? If that were the case wouldn't it get worse over time and not better?
 

Dark_Ale

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Ya thats a good point. It might not be an infection. It could just be a young beer thing.
I would be careful with bigger beers, and ferment temp. Although your carboy or brew bucket is in the closet and your thermostat is at 68 It may be fermenting hotter than you think, or at least thats what happend to me. I dont believe that sour is an effect from high ferment temps, or the yeast your using, but hot alcohols and fruity flavors can be.

I would guess that if it were a wild yeast thing that it could taste sour and get a little better. Like a Belgian....But even some of the weizen's have that sour taste, and some I have brewed get better with time. I dont think you have sanitation issues, StarSan is good stuff I love it, I have not tried oxyclean though. Good luck!
 

zoebisch01

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Yeah, I suspect it is a matter of waiting. An acid producing infection will do a few things, mainly keep reducing the pH so it will get more and more sour and also it will dry out and overcarbonate your beer. You'll know it.

Fwiw, I can't really say I have ever had a beer taste 'great' (or even 'good') right out of the fermenter, there is just too many things still happening.
 

john from dc

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i've noticed this flavor in every one of my (maybe ten) batches so far. i'd definitely describe it as sour. i believe it's the "yeast bite" referred to in several books that's caused by a bunch of yeast that's still in suspension.

it's gone away in every batch, but for some it took much longer than others. it was still detectable in my belgian ale six weeks after bottling. but once it was gone the beer tasted great. one thing you might try is chilling a few bottles for a week in the fridge so that the yeast all settles at the bottom. then pour carefully, see if that improves things.

i now feel like i can taste when a beer is still green. and thanks to a few sloppily cleaned bottles, i know what an infection tastes like too. yours sounds like it's just a little young.
 

Glibbidy

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Is it sour like green apples? Acetaldehyde tastes like green apples.
Green beer can also taste like green apples. Time will tell.
 
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Logan

Logan

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After reading your comments I think it is the "yeast bite". I was bottling last night and tasted the last of the siphon run that had some trub in it - it tasted like a much stronger version of what I was talking about.

One more thing though - if beer is infected will it smell infected or still smell good?
 

TexLaw

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It will smell contaminated, as well, but not usually like rotton food or anything like that. Bacterial contaminations smell sour. Wild yeast contaminations often have a medicinal, band-aid smell from phenols or could get overly fruity from esters. If your wild yeast has some Brettanomyces in it, you could also get that lovely diaper pail, horse blanket aroma that only works when you want it to. Mold contaminations smell musty and often sour. Mold contaminations probably smell the worst out of the bunch, unless you're dealing with Brett.


TL
 
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