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Yeast Phenols vs. phenolic flavors in beer

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SpanishCastleAle

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I thought 'phenolic' flavors were plastic-like or band-aid-like and thus were bad flavors to have in beer. But in reading some style guidelines from BJCP they mention 'peppery, spicy phenols' or 'Yeasts prone to moderate production of phenols' (these are both from the Belgian Pale Ale style guideline).

Are they referring to the plastic-y/band-aid flavor or something else?

I'm not very familiar with Belgian beers but I did brew a BPA (or sorts) with WY3787 and it does have a flavor that I have been calling 'spicy' and I think it's from the yeast (at least I hope so...otherwise it's a very prominent off-flavor that I've never tasted before). Is this the 'phenol' flavor? It doesn't taste like plastic or band-aids to me though...peppery/spicy is a better description.
 

SmugMug

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I've never tasted a bandaid. But in all seriousness...I find it to be more of a medicinal smell. Don't think I would consider it as spicy or peppery.
 

ChrisKennedy

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There are a few different phenols in beer. The medicinal/bandaidy ones are typically the chlorophenols, which occur when chlorine from the water or from bleach chemically bond with the normal phenols produced by the yeast. Some people also perceive phenols from smoked malts as bandaidy/medicinal, particularly when they are young.

The main "good" phenol (in certain beers, such as many belgians and hefeweizens") has a clove flavor. In many beers it is a flaw, but it is indeed often intentional.
 

Catt22

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I recently brewed a beer using Wyeast 9093 Imperial Blend. The resulting beer tasted of yeast based phenolics and it was overt, not subtle. Initially, I thought my beer might be contaminated, but some of my friends using this yeast had nearly identical results. What I found to be rather odd was that Wyeast mentions nothing about this in the description for this yeast. I won't be using it again, except maybe in a Belgian where the phenolic attributes might be desirable.
 
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I recently brewed a beer using Wyeast 9093 Imperial Blend. The resulting beer tasted of yeast based phenolics and it was overt, not subtle. Initially, I thought my beer might be contaminated, but some of my friends using this yeast had nearly identical results. What I found to be rather odd was that Wyeast mentions nothing about this in the description for this yeast. I won't be using it again, except maybe in a Belgian where the phenolic attributes might be desirable.
Are you confusing phenolic with esthers?

This unique blend of strains is designed to ferment higher gravity worts used in producing any style of Imperial beer. The results will be a rich, malty, full bodied beer with notes of citrus & fruity esters. Even with a high starting gravity your Imperials will have a relatively dry finish.
 

carnevoodoo

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Are you confusing phenolic with esthers?
Phenols can present themselves as anywhere from a band aid to clove-type spiciness. They are desirable in Belgian style beer at the spice-end of the spectrum.

And so you know, phenolics are phenols. They're the same thing. The proper term is phenols, and a beer can be phenolic.
 

Bobby_M

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I associate phenols to Belgian yeasts but the typical bandaid off flavor is probably more specifically a chlorophenol that is sometimes derived from chloramine in the brewing water.
 
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Someone else correct me about this, but my understanding is that Phenols and Esters are detected by smell and cannot be tasted per se. Smell influences taste, but you are really tasting something else and the smell influences your perception.

Certain artificial flavorings use esters, but I'm not sure that esters are used exclusively. There are other flavor compounds at work.

Or am I reading the flavor wheel incorrectly.
 

remilard

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Someone else correct me about this, but my understanding is that Phenols and Esters are detected by smell and cannot be tasted per se. Smell influences taste, but you are really tasting something else and the smell influences your perception.

Certain artificial flavorings use esters, but I'm not sure that esters are used exclusively. There are other flavor compounds at work.

Or am I reading the flavor wheel incorrectly.
I believe that is correct.

People tend to confuse taste with flavor a lot. Flavor is the confluence of odor and taste.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks for the responses...cleared it up for me big time.

Someone else correct me about this, but my understanding is that Phenols and Esters are detected by smell and cannot be tasted per se. Smell influences taste, but you are really tasting something else and the smell influences your perception.
Ah, that makes perfect sense then. I occasionally get light allergic reactions to pets/etc. so my nose might get stopped up for a few hours. Happened just the other night and I couldn't really taste the 'spice' in that brew.

That brew just ain't the same without the spice...kinda boring actually.
 

Catt22

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Are you confusing phenolic with esthers?
I don't think so, but I could be mistaken. This was definitely not a chlorophenol thing, meaning not from chlorine or plastic. I definitely could taste it in the beer. Has anyone else had this experience with the 9093 yeast?
 
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Catt22, I guess I am asking which of these you experienced. If Class 1 then that strain is known to be estery. Perhaps solventy.

Note that Class 5 is Phenolic

Class 1 - Aromatic, Fragrant, Fruity, Floral
  • 0110 Alcoholic OTW The general effect of ethanol and higher alcohols
    • 0111 Spicy OTW Allspice, nutmeg, peppery, eugenol. See also 1003 Vanilla
    • 0112 Vinous OTW Bouquet, fusely, wine-like (White wine)
  • 0120 Solvent-like OT Like chemical solvents
    • 0121 Plastics OT Plasticizers
    • 0122 Can-liner OT Lacquer-like
    • 0123 Acetone
  • 0130 Estery OT Like aliphatic esters
    • 0131 Isoamyl acetate OT Banana, peardrop
    • 0132 Ethyl hexanoate OT Apple-like with note of aniseed. See 0142 Apple
    • 0133 Ethyl acetate OT Light fruity, solvent-like. See also 0120 Solvent like
  • 0140 Fruity OT Of specific fruits or mixtures of fruits
    • 0141 Citrus OT Citral, grapefruit, lemony, orange-rind
    • 0142 Apple
    • 0143 Banana
    • 0144 Blackcurrant OT Blackcurrant fruit. For Blackcurrant leaves use 0810 Catty
    • 0145 Melony
    • 0146 Pear
    • 0147 Raspberry
    • 0148 Strawberry
  • 0150 Acetaldehyde OT Green apples, raw appleskin, bruised apples
  • 0160 Floral OT Like flowers, fragrant
    • 0161 2-Phenylethanol OT Rose-like
    • 0162 Geraniol OT Rose-like, different from 0161. Taster should compare the pure chemicals
    • 0163 Perfumy OT Scented
  • 0170 Hoppy OT Fresh hop aroma. Use with other terms to describe stale hop aroma. Does not include hop bitterness (See 1200 Bitter)
    • 0171 Kettle-hop OT Flavor imparted by aroma hops boiled in the kettle.
    • 0172 Dry-hop OT Flavor imparted by dry hops added in tank or cask.
    • 0173 Hop oil OT Flavor imparted by addition of distilled hop oil.


Class 5 - Phenolic
  • 0500 Phenolic OT
    • 0501 Tarry OT Pitch, faulty pitching of containers.
    • 0502 Bakelite
    • 0503 Carbolic OT Phenol.
    • 0504 Chlorophenol OT Trichlorophenol (TCP), hospital-like.
    • 0505 Iodoform OT Iodophors, hospital-like, pharmaceutical.
 

Catt22

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Class 5 - Phenolic

* 0500 Phenolic OT
o 0501 Tarry OT Pitch, faulty pitching of containers.
o 0502 Bakelite
o 0503 Carbolic OT Phenol.
o 0504 Chlorophenol OT Trichlorophenol (TCP), hospital-like.
o 0505 Iodoform OT Iodophors, hospital-like, pharmaceutical.

I don't know if any of those descriptions fit. What is Carbolic OT? I also don't know what OT or OTW means. I also was not aware that Bakelite had a favor or aroma. The best way I can describe the taste is that it had a Belgian character. I'm not very good at pinning down these things, as you can see.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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I think we are all in various stages of learning this.
Where is the stuff you referenced above from ollllo? Is that BJCP material?
Bakelite...you never ate a vintage radio before? Live a little.
lol. The early Fender guitars used Bakelite for the knobs and pickguards IIRC. It fades, cracks, and wears like crap...so of course vintage guitars that still have it fetch a pretty penny.
 
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[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Google
Morten Meilgaard's Flavor wheel.

There are flavor wheels specific to wine and to beer.

It's referenced in some of the BJCP material on the BJCP site as well. Still reading a ton of it and more to go.

I also read Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher. Have to re-read some sections.
There are a few good tips on neutralizing smells-- smell your arm.
Why bitterness is a follow on sensation.
Why you should smell like a dog sniffs and not in long draws.




[/FONT]
 

carnevoodoo

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Where is the stuff you referenced above from ollllo? Is that BJCP material?

lol. The early Fender guitars used Bakelite for the knobs and pickguards IIRC. It fades, cracks, and wears like crap...so of course vintage guitars that still have it fetch a pretty penny.
Lots of bakelite back then. You can get new replacement knows that are made of bakelite. They look really nest.
 

Saccharomyces

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I thought 'phenolic' flavors were plastic-like or band-aid-like and thus were bad flavors to have in beer. But in reading some style guidelines from BJCP they mention 'peppery, spicy phenols' or 'Yeasts prone to moderate production of phenols' (these are both from the Belgian Pale Ale style guideline).

Are they referring to the plastic-y/band-aid flavor or something else?

I'm not very familiar with Belgian beers but I did brew a BPA (or sorts) with WY3787 and it does have a flavor that I have been calling 'spicy' and I think it's from the yeast (at least I hope so...otherwise it's a very prominent off-flavor that I've never tasted before). Is this the 'phenol' flavor? It doesn't taste like plastic or band-aids to me though...peppery/spicy is a better description.
Westmalle strain you mentioned, the DeKoninck strain (WLP515) and to a lesser degree the Duvel strain (WY1388) all produce these peppery/spicy phenols they are describing in my experience. Any of those three strains would produce a decent Belgian Pale Ale, WLP515 is my favorite but a Cali Ale blend with either of those trappist yeasts would also work. There are some notes to this effect in the recipe in my dropdown.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Westmalle strain you mentioned, the DeKoninck strain (WLP515) and to a lesser degree the Duvel strain (WY1388) all produce these peppery/spicy phenols they are describing in my experience. Any of those three strains would produce a decent Belgian Pale Ale, WLP515 is my favorite but a Cali Ale blend with either of those trappist yeasts would also work. There are some notes to this effect in the recipe in my dropdown.
Thanks for that info. Lots to sort out among these Belgian yeasts. I'm in the middle of a 'Belgian yeast comparison'; 3 BGSAs all with 12# Pils and .5# Carapils and 1.5# cane sugar (all 1.088 OG). With all three I'm brewing a BPA/Enkle (of sorts) to propagate enough yeast for the BGSA brews (washing then saving some and pitching the rest). First yeast was the WY3787 (Westmalle) and I've tapped that Enkle. Second was WLP570 (Duvel) and I haven't tapped that Enkle yet but when I racked it there was quite a bit of floral/fruit aroma. Third will be WLP500 (Chimay) and that Enkle will be brewed this weekend. WLP500 is supposed to be the fruitiest.

Do you tend to go for a slightly sweeter malt profile with the peppery/spicy yeasts compared to the fruity ones?

Hopefully I'll have a better grasp of these big Belgians for the 10/10/10 brewing later this year.
 

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