Why do amber/brown ales always taste like metal?

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OopsMD

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Hi all,

This is something I only find to be true of amber and brown ales. I'm not sure why. It has a metallic, penny-type taste. I've noticed this in several different beers from several different breweries. I've never made a brown due to this. However, I want to brew a beer with caramel notes. I was wondering if anyone knew what this could be from.

Possibly related, I find that some stouts (none that I've made) also have an overwhelming chalk flavor.

Could I possibly just taste minerals very well?
 

lightningbug

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I dont taste metal from them, but I’m very sensitive to the burnt-caramel/raisin taste from the caramel 80 malts that are often used in them.
 

NickTheGreat

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I don't know, but I get this from time to time. Generally when the beer is past its prime.
 

dmtaylor

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This is most likely a pH thing.

Dark malts inherently reduce pH. Brewers will often use baking soda or high carbonate spring water, etc., to balance out this pH effect. In a finished beer, low pH can end up tasting metallic to some, or to me sometimes tends to taste like canned olives.

On the opposite end, if you are tasting chalk, that's actually from pH that is much too high, which leads me to wonder whether the brewer over-compensated for the natural low pH by using way too much baking soda or pickling lime to balance the pH. These salt additions actually chemically generate chalk in the beer, which is why it then tastes like chalk -- it really *IS* chalk!
 

monkeymath

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I don't have much insight on this, but I often get this metallic taste in Munich Dunkel, which presumably uses mostly Munich malt (but could also just be a Helles with a lot of Sinamar; I've read a number of breweries do this, but I don't know which ones). Occasionally, I'll also find it in a Helles or even Pilsner , for example Flensburger Pils.
 

ghpeel

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Maybe some of us are more sensitive to that flavor than others because I feel like I come across it a lot myself, especially in Dunkels and other amber lagers. I used to think the bottle caps had rust on them perhaps, but I don't believe that to be the case anymore.
 

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