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Whats up with all the fruit?

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fishersfirst

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So I've had a problem with fruity flavours in my beer, pretty much since I started brewing.
I've done about a dozen brews of different kinds since I started, firstly extract, then part extract and now AG.
To a lesser or greater extent in each, I'm still getting fruity flavours (even in an espresso stout!!) it's starting to really p!ss me off.
Mainly I'm getting peach/apricot type flavours.

At first I figured my fermentation temps were too high, but in the last few batches I've been really careful in fermenting within the recommended temps for each yeast type.

Any ideas??
 

Yooper

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So I've had a problem with fruity flavours in my beer, pretty much since I started brewing.
I've done about a dozen brews of different kinds since I started, firstly extract, then part extract and now AG.
To a lesser or greater extent in each, I'm still getting fruity flavours (even in an espresso stout!!) it's starting to really p!ss me off.
Mainly I'm getting peach/apricot type flavours.

At first I figured my fermentation temps were too high, but in the last few batches I've been really careful in fermenting within the recommended temps for each yeast type.

Any ideas??
Esters are related to yeast. There are a few things that can influence it- stressed yeast, yeast strain, and temperature.

If you're getting unwanted esters, the first thing is to consider the yeast strain. Some strains are fruity, mostly English and Belgian strains.

The next thing is the proper pitch rate. Consult mrmalty.com to see how many packages of yeast to use in each batch, or how big of a starter to make. Proper pitch rate is crucial.

And of course temperature. A good way to avoid those unwanted esters to make sure you pitch the yeast at the proper temperature and ferment on the low end of the yeast strain's optimum range. As an example, I brewed a stout yesterday, using Denny's Favorite. I checked Wyeast's website, and this is what it says about that strain:

This terrific all-round yeast can be used for almost any beer style, and is a mainstay of one of our local homebrewers, Mr. Denny Conn. It is unique in that it produces a big mouthfeel and accentuates the malt, caramel, or fruit character of a beer without being sweet or under-attenuated..

Flocculation: Low
Attenuation: 74-76%
Temperature Range: 60-70F 15-21C
Alcohol Tolerance: ABV 10%

------------------------------------------------------

Since the temperature range is 60-70F, ideally the yeast would be pitched at 58-60 degrees, and kept at the low end of that range throughout fermentation. I couldn't get it below 66 degrees before pitching, though. I'd like to have it cooler but my chiller didn't get it quite cool enough. I ended up pitching at 66 degrees, but it did cool down overnight.

Yeast health is really crucial to the best tasting beer, and pitching rate and pitching/fermentation temperature makes a big difference. If you're using a "clean" strain, and still getting esters it's related to yeast health.
 

AnOldUR

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My money is on US-05 below 64 degrees.






Edit to say:
Looks like I lost my two cents.
Pitch at 80, heat belt and what seems to be a concern with ambient temps rather that wort temperatures.
That'll be the winner.

Find a way to pitch low and raise the wort to the low end of the range and avoid any swings.
(basically everything that Yooper said!)
 
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fishersfirst

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I've mainly used S04 dry yeast which I've either pre hydrated, or just sprinkled on the aerated wort head.
Recently I used Wyeast London Ale 1028 and Mr Denny's favourite. I see these are more likely to accentuate the Esther.

I think my pitching temp might be the main problem though.
In attempts to cool the wort quickly to keep it clear, I've probably been a bit impatient and pitched it too soon. I've usually pitched when I've reached around 80F. This seems a lot higher than you're suggesting, Yooper.

Will the temperature fluctuation cause problems?
I fit a heating belt around my primary at night when the temp dips below 60. During the day it's around 70F. The heating belt feels quite hot though and I wonder if its too hot?

Anyway, your comments have made a lot of sense!
Cheers!!
 
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fishersfirst

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AnOldUR said:
My money is on US-05 below 64 degrees.

Edit to say:
Looks like I lost my two cents.
Pitch at 80, heat belt and what seems to be a concern with ambient temps rather that wort temperatures.
That'll be the winner.

Find a way to pitch low and raise the wort to the low end of the range and avoid any swings.
(basically everything that Yooper said!)
Yep, the penny has dropped.

Incidentally, how can I measure my fermentation temps (as you're suggesting they're different from my ambient room temps?
 

Yooper

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Yep, the penny has dropped.

Incidentally, how can I measure my fermentation temps (as you're suggesting they're different from my ambient room temps?
Keep ales under 70 degrees, and they will be better, I promise!

To monitor, they sell those temperature strips (called "fermometers") that stick onto the outside of the fermenter. Or you can buy aquarium strips from a pet store or Wal-Mart, just make sure they read at ale temperatures, generally 57-72 degrees.

Yes, I said "57" degrees. Cooler is almost always better, and some ale yeast strains are fabulous at under 60 degrees (nottingham is one), but almost all of them are perfect at 65 degrees.
 

billl

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"Incidentally, how can I measure my fermentation temps (as you're suggesting they're different from my ambient room temps?"

They sell little stick on strip thermometers at every brewing store. Just peel and stick.
 

AnOldUR

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Incidentally, how can I measure my fermentation temps (as you're suggesting they're different from my ambient room temps?
I use glass carboys in a temperature controlled water bath. I've tested it with a thermowell in the wort and found that the wort temperature is never more than one degree away from the bath (they are the same most of the time.) Now I only monitor the bath temperature rather than mess with a thermowell.

Right now I have an American Wheat fermenting with Denny's. Pitched at 60 degrees. Set the bath at 62 and held it there for almost a week. Been raising it one degree a day with plans to transfer it tomorrow.
 

Yooper

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I've mainly used S04 dry yeast which I've either pre hydrated, or just sprinkled on the aerated wort head.
Recently I used Wyeast London Ale 1028 and Mr Denny's favourite. I see these are more likely to accentuate the Esther.
I found that S04 is especially fruity if it gets above 65 degrees, and is really great at 62 degrees. The heating belt was a big mistake for that yeast strain- an ambient temperature of about 60 degrees is actually perfect and my preference for S04!
 
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fishersfirst

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Thanks for all the comments and feedback. I can't believe I've not figured this out sooner.
My next beer will be outstanding:)

Yooper you should write a book! (And I don't mean a romance novel), very insightful, thank you!
 

Yooper

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Yooper you should write a book! (And I don't mean a romance novel), very insightful, thank you!
Thanks for the compliment, but I'll leave the book writing to the experts and science geeks.

I just have brewed over 300 batches, so I've seen a lot. I've brewed my share of fruity beer, believe me, before I really got serious about taking care of the yeast.
 
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