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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: majorvices on January 10, 2013, 08:08:59 am

Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 10, 2013, 08:08:59 am
My last 2 IPAs have both had a soapy off flavor. I realize that this can be caused by autolysis but I don't think this is the case. The only thing different I did in these last 2 recipes was swap our cascades for centennial since I was out. The cascades weren't super fresh but they smelled fine.

Anyone have any ideas?
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: davidgzach on January 10, 2013, 08:20:19 am
Any change in sanitizing/rinsing process?  Did you repitch slurry?  That's all I got.

Dave
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 10, 2013, 08:22:17 am
They were from two different pitches - in fact, I switched yeast strains on the last one. Definitely not a contamination flavor I am picking up.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: troybinso on January 10, 2013, 08:25:06 am
I think some hops come off as a little soapy. Maybe the floral aroma of the cascades smells a little soapy.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: erockrph on January 10, 2013, 08:51:11 am
I think some hops come off as a little soapy. Maybe the floral aroma of the cascades smells a little soapy.

Sometimes a particular grain/hop combo will bring out a weird flavor. I recently did a Riwaka IPA and ended up using CaraMunich III for my crystal malt. I ended up getting a very distinct sunflower seed flavor that seemed to be coming from a combo of some savory notes from the hops and graininess from the malt. Maybe the floral notes of the hops is combining with something else (grain bill, water chemistry, yeast byproduct, etc.) to end up with something that seems soapy in the finished beer.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 10, 2013, 09:46:22 am
Noonan stated that higher sulfate levels balance hop soapy flavors.

"Hoppy beers sometimes have an unpleasant soapy flavor. Calcium sulfate eliminates soapy flavors and accentuates a clean, piquant hop bitterness."

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/56-water/313-brewing-water-tips-from-the-pros
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: beersk on January 10, 2013, 10:33:28 am
I have a Rogue Yellow Snow last night and it definitely has a soapy flavor. So I'd say it's coming from the hops and sulfate level of the water. That style of IPA is not how I roll.
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 10, 2013, 11:02:25 am
Noonan stated that higher sulfate levels balance hop soapy flavors.

"Hoppy beers sometimes have an unpleasant soapy flavor. Calcium sulfate eliminates soapy flavors and accentuates a clean, piquant hop bitterness."

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/56-water/313-brewing-water-tips-from-the-pros

I'm betting you hit the nail. I have not had my water tested in a long, long time and the local water is sourced differently.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 10, 2013, 11:06:33 am
Noonan stated that higher sulfate levels balance hop soapy flavors.

"Hoppy beers sometimes have an unpleasant soapy flavor. Calcium sulfate eliminates soapy flavors and accentuates a clean, piquant hop bitterness."

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/56-water/313-brewing-water-tips-from-the-pros

I'm betting you hit the nail. I have not had my water tested in a long, long time and the local water is sourced differently.

You could add some gypsum to water to dissolve well, then do a little experiment adding sulfated water to a pint.
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 10, 2013, 11:16:23 am
Noonan stated that higher sulfate levels balance hop soapy flavors.

"Hoppy beers sometimes have an unpleasant soapy flavor. Calcium sulfate eliminates soapy flavors and accentuates a clean, piquant hop bitterness."

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/56-water/313-brewing-water-tips-from-the-pros

I'm betting you hit the nail. I have not had my water tested in a long, long time and the local water is sourced differently.

You could add some gypsum to water to dissolve well, then do a little experiment adding sulfated water to a pint.

I was wondering if I could just add the gypsum directly to the pint, but I'll try the dissolving idea. Thanks!
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 10, 2013, 11:38:44 am
Noonan stated that higher sulfate levels balance hop soapy flavors.

"Hoppy beers sometimes have an unpleasant soapy flavor. Calcium sulfate eliminates soapy flavors and accentuates a clean, piquant hop bitterness."

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/56-water/313-brewing-water-tips-from-the-pros

I'm betting you hit the nail. I have not had my water tested in a long, long time and the local water is sourced differently.

You could add some gypsum to water to dissolve well, then do a little experiment adding sulfated water to a pint.

I was wondering if I could just add the gypsum directly to the pint, but I'll try the dissolving idea. Thanks!

I would try and get a high ppm dissolved, so that you don't dilute the beer too much when you add the solution. Though I am now thinking it might be too much dilution. Another thing is to put some gypsum in a bottle, add the beer, cap it so you can shake to disolve. Let it settle down for a day or so, then taste.

Let us know if this works.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on January 10, 2013, 11:49:08 am
Let us know if this works.
Yes, please do.
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 10, 2013, 12:38:18 pm
I may try filling a corny nd letting it dissolve. I was thinking the gypsum would dissolve better in beer than water due to the lower pH.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on January 10, 2013, 12:51:39 pm
For as little as you're using I wouldn't worry about it.  I would do some initial tests in a glass and stir it in.  Stir a non-gypsum sample for a control (in case the control seems less soapy after you knock out some CO2)
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: alcaponejunior on January 10, 2013, 01:01:55 pm
I have a Rogue Yellow Snow last night and it definitely has a soapy flavor. So I'd say it's coming from the hops and sulfate level of the water. That style of IPA is not how I roll.

Personally, I liked Yellow Snow.  I didn't detect the off flavors you noted.  I see from scanning some of the reviews that some people seemed to not like it, but they all seemed to question its freshness*.  How fresh was it?

Not that I have any agenda when it comes to getting people to like Rogue (or any other) beer.  I just personally found that one tasty, and wonder why the pDev (13.65) is so high on that particular brew, and why some people seem to love it, other tend to dislike it pretty strongly.  Is it the hops?  Freshness?  Something else?

*caveat: n=pretty small
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: beersk on January 10, 2013, 01:10:34 pm
I have a Rogue Yellow Snow last night and it definitely has a soapy flavor. So I'd say it's coming from the hops and sulfate level of the water. That style of IPA is not how I roll.

Personally, I liked Yellow Snow.  I didn't detect the off flavors you noted.  I see from scanning some of the reviews that some people seemed to not like it, but they all seemed to question its freshness*.  How fresh was it?

Not that I have any agenda when it comes to getting people to like Rogue (or any other) beer.  I just personally found that one tasty, and wonder why the pDev (13.65) is so high on that particular brew, and why some people seem to love it, other tend to dislike it pretty strongly.  Is it the hops?  Freshness?  Something else?

*caveat: n=pretty small
I think it's just how some people's palates are. I wouldn't say it was an overly strong soapy flavor, or even and off flavor. I'm pretty sure that's how the beer is intended to taste. Just that I don't like my beer that bitter, so it seemed soapy to me. Pretty sure it's fairly fresh. I did have a Fuller's ESB right after that (after drinking some water first) and enjoyed the hell out of it.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: alcaponejunior on January 10, 2013, 01:13:10 pm
I think it's just how some people's palates are. I wouldn't say it was an overly strong soapy flavor, or even and off flavor. I'm pretty sure that's how the beer is intended to taste. Just that I don't like my beer that bitter, so it seemed soapy to me. Pretty sure it's fairly fresh. I did have a Fuller's ESB right after that (after drinking some water first) and enjoyed the hell out of it.

Fair enough.  I find Rogue's beers to be somewhat hit or miss, so I was curious if you had tried to ascertain why it tasted soapy. 

Since my last homebrew was an ESB...

Cheers! :D
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: jeffy on January 10, 2013, 03:30:20 pm
Let us know if this works.
Yes, please do.
Yes.  I have tasted beers in competition with soapy flavors but have never understood the cause.  I mean, I know it is hop-related, but why?
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: musseldoc on January 10, 2013, 07:43:24 pm
George Gix attributed soapy esters to lipids in the beer.  I have noticed soapy aromas especially when using EKG and Challenger hops.  Both were high in beta acids, and I have wondered if the oxidation of betas produced the soapy aroma. 

Also, I keep cognizant that sometimes we associate a flowery aroma with soap because soaps all use flowery fragrances and additives.  It may just be a normal hop aroma or flavor that over time we have come to associate with soap. 

Do you have a reference for autolysis producing soapy off-flavors?
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: dannyjed on January 10, 2013, 08:50:18 pm
This thread is very interesting to me because I had a lb of Cascade hops that I swore gave my beer a "soapy" flavor, then I just attributed it to myself being overly critical. 
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: mugwort on January 10, 2013, 11:10:45 pm
The only truly soapy commercial beer I've encountered was a very soap-tasting sixer of Avery IPA a few years back--a first and last purchase of that.

Tried the second bottle the next day to make sure it wasn't just my dirty mouth needing some soap.  Had to give the last four to that guy at work who will drink anything.

I wondered (and still do) how such an obvious flaw could see commercial release.  Guess it could have been mistreated severely before I purchased it.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: AmandaK on January 11, 2013, 06:17:28 am
I'm here for the results - I've had this in competitions, but besides autolysis, I haven't had a good answer. I would love to have a better one.
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 11, 2013, 08:05:34 am
George Gix attributed soapy esters to lipids in the beer.  I have noticed soapy aromas especially when using EKG and Challenger hops.  Both were high in beta acids, and I have wondered if the oxidation of betas produced the soapy aroma. 

Also, I keep cognizant that sometimes we associate a flowery aroma with soap because soaps all use flowery fragrances and additives.  It may just be a normal hop aroma or flavor that over time we have come to associate with soap. 

Do you have a reference for autolysis producing soapy off-flavors?

The yeast break open and release their fatty acids into the wort. I believe it is in How to Brew, don't have a copy in front of me.

Tried an unscientific taste test last night and I swear, just the edge of a knife with a bit of gypsum mixed into the beer fixed 80% of the problem. Going to try a blind taste test tomorrow.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: jeffy on January 11, 2013, 09:34:27 am
When I have tasted the soapy flavor it is almost exactly like ivory liquid dish soap.  I have smelled and tasted strong autolysis before when I left some starter wort rest for several months and it is nothing like this.
Nice trick with the gypsum!
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 11, 2013, 09:46:20 am
Yeah, autolysis usually tastes "meaty" to me, but supposedly the fatty acids that the yeast spill out into the beer resembles the molecular structure of soap .... or some BS like that. ;)
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: troybinso on January 11, 2013, 10:42:57 am
Can you be more specific with your dosing? I want to try this tonight with an IPA just to see what happens. I am thinking one control, one with Calcium Chloride, one with Calcium Sulfate.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on January 11, 2013, 10:52:32 am
Yeah, autolysis usually tastes "meaty" to me, but supposedly the fatty acids that the yeast spill out into the beer resembles the molecular structure of soap .... or some BS like that. ;)
I've never gotten soapy from autolysis either, but then I think significant autolysis off flavors in beer are really rare.  I've left yeast on plates for a long time though, and they have never smelled soapy.  Meaty or brothy is a better description, although in my case at least some of that is from the media.

Anyway, fatty acids can be involved in the formation of esters and aldehydes and such.  Fatty acid salts are soap-like from a chemical standpoint, but they are also fairly insoluble so it doesn't seem likely to carry over to aroma.

I really think when people say "soapy" they mean "perfumey in a way that reminds me of scented soap", because plain soap has virtually no smell.  I think it is linalool.  It is used widely in soaps, perfumes, and cleaning products, is present in cilantro, coriander, and hops (and some people think they smell soapy), and is also present in yeast.  If autolysis smells soapy to some people, I think it's probably the linalool or a related molecule.  Different sensitivities to different forms of terpene alcohols could explain why some people find it offensive at certain levels that others find it wonderful.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 11, 2013, 11:39:41 am
Yeah, autolysis usually tastes "meaty" to me, but supposedly the fatty acids that the yeast spill out into the beer resembles the molecular structure of soap .... or some BS like that. ;)
I've never gotten soapy from autolysis either, but then I think significant autolysis off flavors in beer are really rare.  I've left yeast on plates for a long time though, and they have never smelled soapy.  Meaty or brothy is a better description, although in my case at least some of that is from the media.

Anyway, fatty acids can be involved in the formation of esters and aldehydes and such.  Fatty acid salts are soap-like from a chemical standpoint, but they are also fairly insoluble so it doesn't seem likely to carry over to aroma.

I really think when people say "soapy" they mean "perfumey in a way that reminds me of scented soap", because plain soap has virtually no smell.  I think it is linalool.  It is used widely in soaps, perfumes, and cleaning products, is present in cilantro, coriander, and hops (and some people think they smell soapy), and is also present in yeast.  If autolysis smells soapy to some people, I think it's probably the linalool or a related molecule.  Different sensitivities to different forms of terpene alcohols could explain why some people find it offensive at certain levels that others find it wonderful.

I have meet a few that hate cilantro, as all they taste is soap due to their genetics.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: erockrph on January 11, 2013, 12:00:48 pm
I have meet a few that hate cilantro, as all they taste is soap due to their genetics.

I can smell soap from my cilantro/coriander plants as soon as I walk out on my deck in the summer. I can tolerate it once it has been incorporated into a dish, but I'm generally not a big fan of fresh cilantro because the soap is so powerful to me. Having said that, I've never really picked up soapiness from any hops or hoppy beer.

I really think when people say "soapy" they mean "perfumey in a way that reminds me of scented soap", because plain soap has virtually no smell.

Ivory soap, specifically (at least when I refer to it - that's what I get from cilantro)
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: mugwort on January 11, 2013, 01:08:39 pm
When I have tasted the soapy flavor it is almost exactly like ivory liquid dish soap.  I have smelled and tasted strong autolysis before when I left some starter wort rest for several months and it is nothing like this.

That triggers it.  The soapy brew flavor I encountered in Avery IPA was as close to Ivory as anything.  The opportunity to do a very occasional Ivory tasting in childhood (bar soap, courtesy of my grandma) has me certain of that.

I know Ivory is perfumed/scented, but it has such a mild floral subtly many still associate with "pure" soap, in contrast to numerous heavy-handed, fake-smelling, modern soap scent formulations.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: jeffy on January 11, 2013, 03:46:55 pm
When I have tasted the soapy flavor it is almost exactly like ivory liquid dish soap.  I have smelled and tasted strong autolysis before when I left some starter wort rest for several months and it is nothing like this.

That triggers it.  The soapy brew flavor I encountered in Avery IPA was as close to Ivory as anything.  The opportunity to do a very occasional Ivory tasting in childhood (bar soap, courtesy of my grandma) has me certain of that.

I know Ivory is perfumed/scented, but it has such a mild floral subtly many still associate with "pure" soap, in contrast to numerous heavy-handed, fake-smelling, modern soap scent formulations.
Wait, isn't ivory 99.44% pure?
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on January 11, 2013, 09:23:48 pm
When I have tasted the soapy flavor it is almost exactly like ivory liquid dish soap.  I have smelled and tasted strong autolysis before when I left some starter wort rest for several months and it is nothing like this.

That triggers it.  The soapy brew flavor I encountered in Avery IPA was as close to Ivory as anything.  The opportunity to do a very occasional Ivory tasting in childhood (bar soap, courtesy of my grandma) has me certain of that.

I know Ivory is perfumed/scented, but it has such a mild floral subtly many still associate with "pure" soap, in contrast to numerous heavy-handed, fake-smelling, modern soap scent formulations.
Wait, isn't ivory 99.44% pure?
I've read that Ivory is scented with American wild ginger root, maybe that's the 0.56%?
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 12, 2013, 07:27:39 am
When I have tasted the soapy flavor it is almost exactly like ivory liquid dish soap.  I have smelled and tasted strong autolysis before when I left some starter wort rest for several months and it is nothing like this.

That triggers it.  The soapy brew flavor I encountered in Avery IPA was as close to Ivory as anything.  The opportunity to do a very occasional Ivory tasting in childhood (bar soap, courtesy of my grandma) has me certain of that.

I know Ivory is perfumed/scented, but it has such a mild floral subtly many still associate with "pure" soap, in contrast to numerous heavy-handed, fake-smelling, modern soap scent formulations.
Wait, isn't ivory 99.44% pure?
I've read that Ivory is scented with American wild ginger root, maybe that's the 0.56%?

Dude, you shoud be on Jeopardy or something. Just sayin'.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: jjflash on January 12, 2013, 08:33:39 am
In one of my pro books I recall reading too high a final beer pH can produce a soapy flavor.
I don't recall the exact number but I believe something like >4.8

Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: denny on January 12, 2013, 09:48:59 am
Dude, you shoud be on Jeopardy or something. Just sayin'.

Drew was a Jeopardy a few years ago.  I guess Tom's next!
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: bluesman on January 12, 2013, 10:47:48 am
I've judged IPA's that had a soapy note to them. I generally attributed the "soapy" aroma/flavor to the intense hop character. This phenomenon seems to be exclusive to very hoppy beers. Perhaps the resinous characteristics and various oils present in hops will lend this "soapy" character when combined and saturated into the beer. This coupled with the calcium and sulfate levels in the beer may be working in harmony to produce this effect.
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 12, 2013, 11:50:41 am
Dude, you shoud be on Jeopardy or something. Just sayin'.

Drew was a Jeopardy a few years ago.  I guess Tom's next!

Really??? That's just awesome!
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on January 12, 2013, 12:48:38 pm
Dude, you shoud be on Jeopardy or something. Just sayin'.

Drew was a Jeopardy a few years ago.  I guess Tom's next!

Really??? That's just awesome!
Yeah, I'll leave that to Drew.  :)
Title: Soapy off flavor
Post by: majorvices on January 12, 2013, 02:19:02 pm
Dude, you shoud be on Jeopardy or something. Just sayin'.

Drew was a Jeopardy a few years ago.  I guess Tom's next!

Really??? That's just awesome!
Yeah, I'll leave that to Drew.  :)

He's got the glamour shot going anyways. You kinda look like a hobo. No offense....
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: denny on January 12, 2013, 03:38:35 pm
He's got the glamour shot going anyways. You kinda look like a hobo. No offense....

That's the difference between LA and the PNW.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on January 13, 2013, 10:08:29 pm
He's got the glamour shot going anyways. You kinda look like a hobo. No offense....

That's the difference between LA and the PNW.
Yeah, I'm PNW chic :)
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: musseldoc on January 20, 2013, 07:58:23 am
Keith, did you try the blind taste test yet?  I am interested to know if it fixed the perfume character. 

One of the things about 'lipids' is that it is all encompassing for all types of oils, fat and waxes, and includes fatty acids, sterols (phytosterols), triyglcerides, cholesterol and some vitamins.  Basically, any generic compound that is (or partially) hydrophobic.  In yeast, it includes the membrane bound phospholipids and the intracellular vitamins, sterols and free fatty acids.  I imagine if you do a standard methanol:chloroform extra with hop pellets, they would test positive for 'lipids', as hops contain many hydrophobic compounds including oils, resins, sterols, alpha acids and beta acids.  I think the hop oils should generically fall into the category of lipids, but I am not sure about the extent to which AA and BA are classified organically.  I guess my point is that I think you can still get oxidation of lipids without yeast coughing up their guts.  Oxidation of isomerized AA, or the often neglected BA, could easily occur while we oxygenate our wort prior to fermentation, or any point downstream.  Additionally, no one discusses the 'plant' parts of hops which are loaded with phytoesterols (lipids) and consequently make their way into beer.  If Fix is correct, then the soapy (perfumy) character of oxidized lipids could be coming solely from the hops.
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: AmandaK on January 21, 2013, 11:15:04 am
Keith, did you try the blind taste test yet?  I am interested to know if it fixed the perfume character. 

One of the things about 'lipids' is that it is all encompassing for all types of oils, fat and waxes, and includes fatty acids, sterols (phytosterols), triyglcerides, cholesterol and some vitamins.  Basically, any generic compound that is (or partially) hydrophobic.  In yeast, it includes the membrane bound phospholipids and the intracellular vitamins, sterols and free fatty acids.  I imagine if you do a standard methanol:chloroform extra with hop pellets, they would test positive for 'lipids', as hops contain many hydrophobic compounds including oils, resins, sterols, alpha acids and beta acids.  I think the hop oils should generically fall into the category of lipids, but I am not sure about the extent to which AA and BA are classified organically.  I guess my point is that I think you can still get oxidation of lipids without yeast coughing up their guts.  Oxidation of isomerized AA, or the often neglected BA, could easily occur while we oxygenate our wort prior to fermentation, or any point downstream.  Additionally, no one discusses the 'plant' parts of hops which are loaded with phytoesterols (lipids) and consequently make their way into beer.  If Fix is correct, then the soapy (perfumy) character of oxidized lipids could be coming solely from the hops.

So... oxidation could be the cause of soapy IPAs? (Pardon my ignorance, I'm better with numbers/figures than 'organic technical speak', if you will.)
Title: Re: Soapy off flavor
Post by: tschmidlin on January 21, 2013, 10:19:01 pm
One of the things about 'lipids' is that it is all encompassing for all types of oils, fat and waxes, and includes fatty acids, sterols (phytosterols), triyglcerides, cholesterol and some vitamins.  Basically, any generic compound that is (or partially) hydrophobic.
Many proteins are at least partially hydrophobic, and are not lipids.  Your first sentence is great ;)