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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: hulkavitch on February 06, 2013, 10:50:11 PM

Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 06, 2013, 10:50:11 PM
Two recent beers I have made (a bavarian hefe and a wit)  finished with a heavy sulfur aroma and taste. It was almost discourage from making another wit and since it is my second failed bavarian hefe I dont think I will make another soon (aside from the sulfur my bavarians have been all clove and no banana).

wyeast 3944 and 3068 were used respectively. Fermented at 65 F with a chest freezer and johnson.

What is wrong? What can be done to avoid this in the future?

Thanks
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: kramerog on February 06, 2013, 10:51:56 PM
Going forward, please remove your johnson from any beers.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: morticaixavier on February 06, 2013, 11:14:58 PM
Two recent beers I have made (a bavarian hefe and a wit)  finished with a heavy sulfur aroma and taste. It was almost discourage from making another wit and since it is my second failed bavarian hefe I dont think I will make another soon (aside from the sulfur my bavarians have been all clove and no banana).

wyeast 3944 and 3068 were used respectively. Fermented at 65 F with a chest freezer and johnson.

What is wrong? What can be done to avoid this in the future?

Thanks

can you give us more details Re: your recipe and process?

Sulfur can be from the yeast, particularly if it not a super healthy hearty fermentation, underpitched etc.

there are some hop varieties that can leave an onion/garlic/sulfer thing behind.

An experiment to try is to stir the offending beer with a piece of copper (a bit of copper pipe or similar) and see if the sulfer compounds go away at all.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: davidgzach on February 06, 2013, 11:27:35 PM
+1 to Mort.  If you keg, you can purge the headspace every couple of hours with CO2 for a couple of days.  That usually helps too.

Dave
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 06, 2013, 11:44:10 PM
the wit recipe:

5 lbs pils
4 lbs flaked wheat
1 lb flaked oats
8 oz rice hulls
4 oz munich
1 oz hallertauer added at 60 mins

.4 oz corriander (indian) lightly cracked
.03 oz chamomile flowers egyptian
and 1.5 oz of fresh orange zest
all added with 5 mins left.


1.5 L starter with pils dme gravity of starter around 1.040, yeast nutrient added to starter. wyeast 3944 package was only 2 weeks old

water distilled with 0.8 g gypsum, .6 epsom, 0.2 canning salt 1.6 cacl,  added to mash water
sparge: 1.1 gypsum, .9 epsom, .2 canning salt, 2.2 cacl,

finished water profile: 51 ppm ca, 5 ppm mg, 5 ppm sodium, 56 ppm sulfate, 72 ppm chloride, ra -39, so4/cl ratio .78  mash ph 5.4

mashed 60 mins single infusion with a batch sparge. intended 152 landed about 150
sparge water 168 F

pre boil gravity spot on post boil missed target low by i think 4 points 1.046. 60 min boil. chilled with immersion chiller quickly outside in freezing cold 30 mins down to 165.

transferred to fermenter and back and forth between two buckets 5-6 times to aerate. pitched and sealed.

fermented for three weeks at 65 degrees. with my johnson....not my penis


Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 06, 2013, 11:46:23 PM
bottled didnt keg. next on my list: kegging sysytem.

the bavarian was pretty similar in process water profile not much different.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: morticaixavier on February 06, 2013, 11:55:18 PM
Other than what seems to me overcomplicated water additions (but to each their own) I don't see anything inherent. maybe someone else will be able to chime in.
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 07, 2013, 12:04:33 AM
in defense of my water i live in a very hard water zone and it was the simplest way i could find im order to get my ra down to an appropriate level for this beer. People around here tend to have good success with their dark beers but their lighter beers tend to miss the mark.


Which I tend to correlate with the water they are using. My cream ale and american hefes come out great. But i use kolsh and cal ale yeast with them.

I think it is the yeast strains? I just want to figure out how to avoid or correct this sulfur problem. I thought about trying white labs instead?   Maybe it is the ferm temperatures?
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: erockrph on February 07, 2013, 12:18:45 AM
I don't have experience with these particular yeast strains, but some throw a whole lot of sulfur and it just takes time to clear it out. Raising the temp a few degrees at the end of fermentation may help clear out the sulfur a bit quicker.

Try opening the bottles and letting them "breathe" for a minute or two before pouring. It could be that the sulfur has continued to off-gas in the bottle and just needs to clear out of the headspace.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: dmtaylor on February 07, 2013, 01:46:00 AM
What is the age of these beers?  Sulfur always disappears with age, even if it is really strong.  Normally this takes 3 to 4 weeks, but it can sometimes require several months.  If it is still fairly young, then relax, it will surely age out.  Just needs some time.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: a10t2 on February 07, 2013, 01:55:42 AM
Could they be light struck?
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 07, 2013, 03:13:49 AM
the beers fermented for about three week in primary and then were bottled. The wit beer only has a few weeks in the bottles. The tricky thing about aging out sulfur is that I have been told wheat beers have a shorter shelf life and are intended to be drunk early. I dont know if that means a month or 2 or what?
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 07, 2013, 03:15:07 AM
not light struck that is for sure. fermented in basement and went into brown bottles and then put back in the basement.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: dmtaylor on February 07, 2013, 04:44:25 AM
Wheat beers are indeed best young.  Figure about 6 months before the flavors start to fade.  But your sulfur will probably be gone long before then.  I guess I can't say for sure, but probably about a 90% chance the sulfur will be gone or almost gone in one month to where you can enjoy the beer without issues.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: anthony on February 07, 2013, 03:25:59 PM
Both of those strains are notorious sulfur producers. You can take measures to reduce it during fermentation (increase gas exchange surface area of the beer i.e. ferment in more shallow container, make it as easy as possible for the blow off to actually blow off). If you have to rush the beer into being ready, there are sometimes things you can do post-fermentation too. Like employing copper during a racking process, etc.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: kramerog on February 07, 2013, 03:51:22 PM
A possibility is that you are smelling DMS, a sulfur-containing compound that smells like canned corn or a corn refinery, or that the yeast reduce DMS to hydrogen sulfide, which has the classical eggy sulfur smell.  You may not be boiling enough to drive out all the DMS-precursor compounds since you are using a Pils malt and you missed your post-boil gravity. 
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 07, 2013, 04:55:16 PM
boiled for 60 mins in cold cold weather I wasnt surprised that i missed my gravity. Next time I would do a 90 min boil but I dont know if I would do 90 in the summer.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: mabrungard on February 07, 2013, 04:55:53 PM
I don't see a reason why the water would contribute to excessive sulfury notes.  It is probably the yeast.  Another good practice is to make sure that wort contacts copper during the brewing process.  Copper complexes with sulfurous compounds in the wort and removes them as a precipitate.  I piece of copper tubing may be all you need.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: morticaixavier on February 07, 2013, 05:03:32 PM
I don't see a reason why the water would contribute to excessive sulfury notes.  It is probably the yeast.  Another good practice is to make sure that wort contacts copper during the brewing process.  Copper complexes with sulfurous compounds in the wort and removes them as a precipitate.  I piece of copper tubing may be all you need.

I didn't mean to imply that the water might have anything to do with the sulfur. I am just not used to seeing so many different salt additions. but I also use RO instead of Distilled so perhaps you need the extra sodium in that case. I'm also lazy so if I don't need it for the calcium or the chloride/sulfate balance I don't add it. (or pH of course)
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: Delo on February 07, 2013, 05:15:21 PM
I used 3068 in a hefe and it had a sulfur smell while fermenting. Without looking at my notes I had it in the primary for about the same time, but probably a little higher temp. I cant remember how strong the sulfur smell was when I bottled it, but after conditioning in the bottle a few weeks it was not there.  As far as the banana goes the lower temp may have not produced as many esters as I did have banana flavor. Also according to their website, overpitching the yeast may reduce the banana flavor.

Also if it was cold outside and you did not have a rigourous boil could the sulfur compounds from the mash not have boiled off?
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 07, 2013, 05:18:01 PM
I have also had mild sulfur with 3068 during primary.  Always dissipates quickly for me.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: topher.bartos on February 07, 2013, 06:59:21 PM
+1 to conditioning the beer longer.
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on February 07, 2013, 09:03:34 PM
would a tranfer to secondary help with this problem? Getting the beer off of the yeast cake...
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: kramerog on February 07, 2013, 09:22:38 PM
would a tranfer to secondary help with this problem? Getting the beer off of the yeast cake...

If you are getting the eggy sulfur smell, a transfer to secondary can be helpful as the eggy odor will be stripped out by the carbon dioxide that will be lost during the transfer.  However, getting the beer off the yeast cake is generally not helpful for green home brews as the yeast reabsorbs some undesirable taste/odor compounds at the end of primary fermentation like diacetyl.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: topher.bartos on February 07, 2013, 11:56:58 PM
Well, increasing the yeast activity prior to bottling will help as well.

1. Agitate the beer without oxidation.
2. Increase the fermentation temperature.

I've heard of brewers injecting some CO2 into the bottom of the fermentor. CO2 helps to allow off-flavors to escape. Just don't confuse CO2 with Oxygen, you'll oxidize your beer and you'll end up drinking cardboard.

Both of those things might help to increase the yeast activity. When yeast are more active more CO2 will escape releasing the sulfur compounds. Perhaps you are bottling too early for this to happen?
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: mpietropaoli on April 29, 2013, 11:57:26 PM
Regular poster on  here, but found this thread on a google search (I am having a similar problem)...though I was originally trying to turn this beer around in about 9 days for a party...not looking too good right now.  The beer has a real clean, fresh, wheaty, citrusy aroma, but I am getting a weird sulfury, almost papery/cardboardy oxidized aroma.  The taste starts out really bright, but ends with a strange (and slight) farty thing thats somewhere between eggs and paper. 

Not contained in the notes below:
-1L starter, decanted, made additional 1L starter and pitched when active (entire starter with starter beer of 2nd step)--borderline overpitch so the beer would finish quicker
-cold-pitched at 66* (partially due to the fact that I likely pitched about 1.3x the recommended amount), fermented there for 3 days, raised to 68, checked sample, gravity was down to 1.011, ramped to 70 after 5 days (today), might consider going to 72* tomorrow
-15min Protein rest @ 122, 5 min decoction to 155*, sacc rest 65 minutes, decoction to mash out, single batch sparge
-used centennial to try to get some citrus in the beer from another 'angle'
-the wort smelled so amazingly delicious when I pitched (almost like a fruity muffin of some sort), I ran to a buddy's to pick up some distillery-grade fermcap, which I was convinced would help keep some of the post-boil aroma goodness in the beer (it didn't....would love to know how to retain more of the aromas this beer had). 

Even in tasting between today and yesterday, it seems as though the sulfur might have dissipated a bit.  Or maybe it was the silicone fermcap of death that I added that's going to kill me. 

Would love to hear if the OP's sulfur problem subsided...


Wit and Wisdom
16-A Witbier
Author: mcp

Size: 6.0 gal @ 68 °F
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 174.35 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.052 (1.044 - 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.008 - 1.012)
Color: 4.58 (2.0 - 4.0)
Alcohol: 5.15% (4.5% - 5.5%)
Bitterness: 13.4 (10.0 - 20.0)

Ingredients:
5.5 lb (45.8%) Bohemian Pilsner Malt - added during mash
5 lb (41.7%) Wheat Flaked - added during mash
.5 lb (4.2%) Munich Malt - added during mash
1 lb (8.3%) Oats Flaked - added during mash
.25 oz (50.0%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m
.25 oz (50.0%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 30 m
1.5 oz Orange zest - added during boil, boiled 1 m
.4 oz Corriander crushed - added during boil, boiled 1 m
.5 oz Chamomile (dried) - added during boil, boiled 1.0 m
1.0 ea White Labs WLP410 Belgian Wit II Ale

Schedule:
Ambient Air: 70.0 °F
Source Water: 60.0 °F
Elevation: 0.0 m


Notes
added chamomile tea and zest in muslin bag at 30 seconds wort smelled great, seems like a lot of aroma blew off with fermentation (though silicone added to cap krausen)

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.24
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: tschmidlin on April 30, 2013, 12:02:22 AM
Regular poster on  here, but found this thread on a google search (I am having a similar problem)...though I was originally trying to turn this beer around in about 9 days for a party...not looking too good right now.  The beer has a real clean, fresh, wheaty, citrusy aroma, but I am getting a weird sulfury, almost papery/cardboardy oxidized aroma.  The taste starts out really bright, but ends with a strange (and slight) farty thing thats somewhere between eggs and paper. 

Not contained in the notes below:
-1L starter, decanted, made additional 1L starter and pitched when active (entire starter with starter beer of 2nd step)--borderline overpitch so the beer would finish quicker
-cold-pitched at 66* (partially due to the fact that I likely pitched about 1.3x the recommended amount), fermented there for 3 days, raised to 68, checked sample, gravity was down to 1.011, ramped to 70 after 5 days (today), might consider going to 72* tomorrow
-15min Protein rest @ 122, 5 min decoction to 155*, sacc rest 65 minutes, decoction to mash out, single batch sparge
-used centennial to try to get some citrus in the beer from another 'angle'
-the wort smelled so amazingly delicious when I pitched (almost like a fruity muffin of some sort), I ran to a buddy's to pick up some distillery-grade fermcap, which I was convinced would help keep some of the post-boil aroma goodness in the beer (it didn't....would love to know how to retain more of the aromas this beer had). 

Even in tasting between today and yesterday, it seems as though the sulfur might have dissipated a bit.  Or maybe it was the silicone fermcap of death that I added that's going to kill me. 

Would love to hear if the OP's sulfur problem subsided...


Wit and Wisdom
16-A Witbier
Author: mcp

Size: 6.0 gal @ 68 °F
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 174.35 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.052 (1.044 - 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.008 - 1.012)
Color: 4.58 (2.0 - 4.0)
Alcohol: 5.15% (4.5% - 5.5%)
Bitterness: 13.4 (10.0 - 20.0)

Ingredients:
5.5 lb (45.8%) Bohemian Pilsner Malt - added during mash
5 lb (41.7%) Wheat Flaked - added during mash
.5 lb (4.2%) Munich Malt - added during mash
1 lb (8.3%) Oats Flaked - added during mash
.25 oz (50.0%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m
.25 oz (50.0%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 30 m
1.5 oz Orange zest - added during boil, boiled 1 m
.4 oz Corriander crushed - added during boil, boiled 1 m
.5 oz Chamomile (dried) - added during boil, boiled 1.0 m
1.0 ea White Labs WLP410 Belgian Wit II Ale

Schedule:
Ambient Air: 70.0 °F
Source Water: 60.0 °F
Elevation: 0.0 m


Notes
added chamomile tea and zest in muslin bag at 30 seconds wort smelled great, seems like a lot of aroma blew off with fermentation (though silicone added to cap krausen)

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.24
I think it is from your yeast and pils malt.  I would warm it up to 75 for a day, then crash cool.  That will help drive off the H2S (which is what I think you have).
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: gymrat on April 30, 2013, 12:11:08 AM
Isnt pilsn malt supposed to be boiled a minimum of 75 minutes because of DMS which contains sulfer?
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: mpietropaoli on April 30, 2013, 12:26:40 AM
90 minute boil probably would have been advisable.  I usually go that long, but was running low on gas and didn't want to risk it.  So instead I decided to risk having vegetable beer. 

Mordecai, H2S is hydrogen sulfide?  Would raising it to 75 for a few days help more than one day?
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: majorvices on April 30, 2013, 01:12:40 AM
One great trick to remove sulfur from beer is to run the beer through a line of copper. You can even take a copper pipe and stir the carboy/bucket/keg.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on April 30, 2013, 02:30:08 AM
Two recent beers I have made (a bavarian hefe and a wit)  finished with a heavy sulfur aroma and taste. It was almost discourage from making another wit and since it is my second failed bavarian hefe I dont think I will make another soon (aside from the sulfur my bavarians have been all clove and no banana).

wyeast 3944 and 3068 were used respectively. Fermented at 65 F with a chest freezer and johnson.

What is wrong? What can be done to avoid this in the future?

Thanks

I had similar issue with 3068. I always used wlp300, and decided to use my same recipe with 3068. Never got any sulfur smell from wlp300 even at 65-67f. 3068 the first time I used it i also fermented 65-66f first 72 hours, then let it rise up to 70. While at lower temps, the sulfur was very noticeable. I was hoping it would go away but after 6 weeks it was still there and I couldn't stomach it, so I dumped it. Tried it again on another batch, and started fermentation at 68f and held for 72 hours. Sight sulfur that quickly dissipated and was gone by end of 2 weeks.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: reverseapachemaster on April 30, 2013, 03:13:23 AM
Sounds like at least part of both problems raised in this thread comes from DMS. The other issue seems yeast driven, like everybody else said.

I've brewed with both WLP300 and WY3068 and while both produce lots of sulfur during fermentation I've never had it carry through to the bottle. I've opened bottles of weizen that were only 10 days old (and were carbonated) with no sulfur issues. The sulfur will naturally come out of the beer with time but you don't want to lose the fresh character of either the wheat or yeast in these beers. I've never tried the copper method but I always let my beers sit at room temperature for a day or two before bottling to make sure everything is cleaned up. The warmer temperatures will allow more CO2 to come out of the beer which seems to help push any remaining sulfur out.

If it's already bottled it sounds like letting the bottle breathe for a little while after opening will allow carbonation to push most of the sulfur out. Otherwise I guess drop a penny in the bottom of your glass.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: mpietropaoli on May 02, 2013, 01:57:16 AM
One great trick to remove sulfur from beer is to run the beer through a line of copper. You can even take a copper pipe and stir the carboy/bucket/keg.

I heard on BrewStrong that if added post-fermentation, copper can be a catalyst in oxidation reactions. 

Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: kramerog on May 02, 2013, 02:35:29 AM
One great trick to remove sulfur from beer is to run the beer through a line of copper. You can even take a copper pipe and stir the carboy/bucket/keg.

I heard on BrewStrong that if added post-fermentation, copper can be a catalyst in oxidation reactions.

That is correct.  The copper is oxidizing the sulfur.
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on May 08, 2013, 03:27:16 PM
The sulfur never did totally leave this beer. By the time it had diminished significantly in the bottle all of the other flavors you are looking for in a wit had also minimized.

I talked to wyeast and they told me that this is common, but more typically with yeast that is not fresh. I did not document the date on the yeast pack but I doubt it was older than a month. I enquired if there was a yeast that could be used in a wit with less sulfur production and they told me to use 3463 forbidden fruit.

So in summation, next time i am going to leave the beer at room temp for 48 hours or more post fermentation (14 days), I will probably use 3463, draw a sample prior to bottling, if it smells let it sit longer at room temp and swirl it. I would advise against bottling a beer that smells of sulfur.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: mabrungard on May 08, 2013, 04:09:20 PM
One great trick to remove sulfur from beer is to run the beer through a line of copper. You can even take a copper pipe and stir the carboy/bucket/keg.

I heard on BrewStrong that if added post-fermentation, copper can be a catalyst in oxidation reactions.

I think you are better off with having the copper contact at a pre-fermentation stage.  That way, the yeast will consume all the dissolved copper and keep it out of your finished beer.  The does its work with the sulfur almost immediately, so it will have done its work before the yeast gobble it up. 
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: duboman on May 08, 2013, 05:56:29 PM
I've used both those strains and have not had any issues with sulfur. I make proper sized starters of healthy yeast, ferment in buckets and use  a blow off tube . The Hefe yeast I start at 60 and allow to rise to 65 and the other I start at 65 and allow to rise to 70.

My opinion is stressed yeast and under pitching producing excessive sulfur notes which is a somewhat inherent byproduct of these strains.
Title: Re: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 08, 2013, 06:00:01 PM
I've used both those strains and have not had any issues with sulfur. I make proper sized starters of healthy yeast, ferment in buckets and use  a blow off tube . The Hefe yeast I start at 60 and allow to rise to 65 and the other I start at 65 and allow to rise to 70.

My opinion is stressed yeast and under pitching producing excessive sulfur notes which is a somewhat inherent byproduct of these strains.
+1.   I've used both strains multiple times and not had the sulfur carry over to keg.
Title: 2 beers, 2 yeasts, same nasty sulfur smell and taste
Post by: hulkavitch on May 11, 2013, 04:44:51 AM
I pitched an appropriate starter for the wit beer. The bavarian hefe I did not in hopes that stressing the yeast would produce more banana and clove flavors.