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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: thirdeyeo4 on February 15, 2014, 01:13:36 AM

Title: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: thirdeyeo4 on February 15, 2014, 01:13:36 AM
On all of my beers that use a phenolic yeast the character is very pronounced. It's the band-aid smell and taste, and very clove-like. I understand these styles should have some of these qualities, mostly clove, just not in this high of an amount.

The styles are
Other  info
Any suggestions getting rid of this off-flavor would be much appreciated. I've researched this up and down and I can't find anything that seems to be a source. Thanks
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: yso191 on February 15, 2014, 01:21:37 AM
My first thought is Chlorine.  You say the level is low, but...

What are you fermenting in?  Some plastics will leach.  Over hot sparging may do it too.  But I personally would try filtering the RO Water through a charcoal filter first.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: thirdeyeo4 on February 15, 2014, 01:33:18 AM
I ferment in better bottles. The RO water I use to brew with comes from the local grocery store, so I can't filter it. If it did have chlorine in it I'd think it would influence the other styles.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: troybinso on February 15, 2014, 01:49:40 AM
Have you had a commercial beers that would fit into the styles you have made? The yeasts you are using are all known for giving a clove aroma and flavor. Maybe you are just not used to having that flavor in a beer.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: thirdeyeo4 on February 15, 2014, 02:07:55 AM
No I've had plenty of brews of all of these styles and they aren't like this, this is highly band-aid like. Since I enjoy all these other styles I don't think I'm highly sensitive to it either.

What fermentation temps generally cause this? I've heard conflicting theories on this, people say high temps, but I also know low temps tend to bring out more clove and less fruit(esters).
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: troybinso on February 15, 2014, 03:07:31 AM
As far as I know medicinal phenols are not really temperature dependent. They say that fermenting a hefeweizen cold vs. warm will create more clove vs. banana, but it won't produce a highly band-aid like flavor. You must have something else going on. Bleach can cause band-aid, so can chlorine in your water. Some microbiological contamination can too. Other than that, I am out of ideas.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: dmtaylor on February 15, 2014, 04:07:40 AM
ANY chlorine is bad chlorine!  Get rid of it with Campden.  Crush 1/4 tablet and add per 5 gallons water before you brew, and the chlorine is gone instantly.  Problem probably solved, right there, easy as that.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: Stevie on February 15, 2014, 07:17:00 AM
RO machines have charcoal filters built in. Some have two, one  before the membrane and one after. I think the chance of chlorine getting through is small. Check the service date on the machine if you are worried.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: klickitat jim on February 15, 2014, 09:07:24 AM
I tried a Belgian once. (Well water, no chlorine) I got bandaid to the point if it was like drinking from an exam glove. In my view, it was fermentor temp too high. No control at the time, room temp in the winter with a SWMBO who likes to stoke the woodstove till everyone is sweating. So,, temp?

68° ambient in a big beer "could"  be 73-75, maybe higher.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 15, 2014, 02:53:13 PM


68° ambient in a big beer "could"  be 73-75, maybe higher.


That's been my thought, Jim. Any of those strains if fermented too warm could go phenol crazy. Using RO and StarSan is what I do. 62F shouldn't cause what you are describing though. What is your temp control? Override thermostat, swamp cooler? If your thermometer isn't accurate, you might not be cooling the wort to what you target as a pitching temp. FWIW I pitch all those strains ~ 64F, then ramp up after a few days.

Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: reverseapachemaster on February 15, 2014, 04:07:08 PM
I have a lot of chlorine/chloramine in the local water supply and like OP I use RO water for brewing but clean with municipal water. I do not have problems with chlorophenols in my beer although I used to when I used tap water for brewing. I would not expect OP is having that problem unless a substantial amount of water is being left behind on the equipment immediately before use.

Healthy yeast mistreated can create unpleasant levels of phenols. I'd suggest looking at your fermentation temperature, pitching temperature and aeration/oxygenation of the wort before pitching. How are you controlling temperatures during fermentation? What temperature are you pitching into? How accurate is your thermometer? A 1000ml starter should be ok for a 3-4 gallon batch of low-moderate gravity so underpitching is probably not a factor here but if the yeast are being poorly treated during fermentation then the conditions may be too stressful for the amount of yeast available.

Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 16, 2014, 04:32:42 PM
Are you treating your RO water? 
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: realbeerguy on February 17, 2014, 02:55:56 PM
You may have low chlorine, but may have a high amount of chloramines.  Like DM Taylor said, treat with campden.  I had a similar issue when I moved down south from NJ.  Our water company used chlorine there.  Here they used chloramine. 

Ask for an updated water report, and ask if they have upped the chloramine.  My water company just did recently.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: thirdeyeo4 on February 18, 2014, 10:50:01 PM
I have pretty good temp control during fermentation and pitch within 5 degrees of ferment temps. I have a temp controlled fridge with a controller, or I put the carboy in a plastic bin filled with water to prevent giant swings, this goes in a back room in my cellar that stays cooler(58F in the winter to 72F in the summer). I use the thermometers that stick on the side of the carboy. I have an ambient temp thermometer next to the carboy to watch those temps as well. I oxygenate for about a min with O2.

I don't treat my RO water, would chloramines really only show in these beers and not others?

Thanks again everyone for replies.

Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: macbrews on February 19, 2014, 01:56:01 AM
Thoughts:
1) If you have a pump, you can still filter the RO water - its a hassle but it can be done.  Maybe you should test the RO water - maybe its just from a garden hose out back? (I also assume you use food grade hoses in your wort transfer)
2) Are you using any particular equipment only for these beers that might be infected?
3) Do similar style beers by either other home brewers or commercial brewers have the same problems? - maybe you are a "super-senser" of POF
4) Has it always been this way, or was there a time when it started?  Could point to #2
5) Where does your controller sense the temp?  If it is a thermowell or taped to the side of the fermenter it will be accurate.  Anywhere else will be ambient and I have 8-10 degree differences in the 2 during vigorous fermentations - notably hefes.

Good luck,

Mac
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: macbrews on February 19, 2014, 02:05:35 AM
One other thought on the temps - Either from curiosity or OCD I sometimes attach a second temp probe to the side of the fermenter that will read the high and the low temperatures during the fermentation.  It is very interesting and sometimes surprising to see what the temps really were during the whole process.  They aren't expensive and can be bought at radio shack etc.  Might take a look at that.

Mac
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: theoman on February 21, 2014, 08:24:30 AM
Do you use any other household cleaners nearby? 409 to clean the sink? Reusing a sponge?
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: thcipriani on February 22, 2014, 05:33:35 PM
Although it's probably not a very popular thing to suggest, have you tried playing with the pitching rate at all? I had tons of problems with my hefe, felt like I tried everything—ferments from 60°F to 75°F, O2 rates from 8ppm–14ppm.

Finally, I tried 20E6 cells/mL and that was the worst yet! Then I tried pitching at 6E6 cells/mL and all my problems went away. Had a conversation with Wyeast and they said that they found the same thing—pitching much higher than 6E6 for hefes I causes problems. Just my experience.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: denny on February 22, 2014, 05:59:49 PM
Although it's probably not a very popular thing to suggest, have you tried playing with the pitching rate at all? I had tons of problems with my hefe, felt like I tried everything—ferments from 60°F to 75°F, O2 rates from 8ppm–14ppm.

Finally, I tried 20E6 cells/mL and that was the worst yet! Then I tried pitching at 6E6 cells/mL and all my problems went away. Had a conversation with Wyeast and they said that they found the same thing—pitching much higher than 6E6 for hefes I causes problems. Just my experience.

Tyler, did you count cells to verify how much you were pitching?
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: thcipriani on February 22, 2014, 11:53:21 PM
Tyler, did you count cells to verify how much you were pitching?

Yes, I do hemocytometer counts to verify pitching. I don't, however, do any viability testing for starters made from fresh smack-packs, so there is likely some variability.

I also try to keep tight controls on other measurements. My temp is controlled with a 2-stage Ranco, fridge and ferm-wrap to ±1°F and the O2 was measured with a Milwaukee DO Meter.

I posted my discussion regarding 3068 with Wyeast on this forum previously; here is the link to that thread: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=12789.msg162616#msg162616

As I said, it's not popular advice to say, "pitch less yeast", but I'd try that before I'd try buying all new equipment, especially if your other beers are coming out fine. Those phenolic yeasts are very particular about pitching rate in my experience.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 23, 2014, 01:20:16 PM
And the OP may be ultra sensitive to the particular flavors detected.  I am not big on clovey flavor, because I detect it all the time when others say that don't detect it at all...

I agree that overpitching can increase esters - I once overpitched on a light ale using US-05 and fermented very cold (54F) and felt the phenolics were much higher than expected.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: morticaixavier on February 24, 2014, 03:06:50 AM
And the OP may be ultra sensitive to the particular flavors detected.  I am not big on clovey flavor, because I detect it all the time when others say that don't detect it at all...

I agree that overpitching can increase esters - I once overpitched on a light ale using US-05 and fermented very cold (54F) and felt the phenolics were much higher than expected.

don't confuse esters and phenols. different critters. different causes.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 24, 2014, 12:44:33 PM
Correct, but both can be present and I think were due in my case to the combination of overpitching an ale and fermenting too low - which caused what, I don't know....but phenolic makes me think of antiseptic flavor (band aid), whereas esters are more fruit-like flavor (like the S-23 dry lager yeast produces abundantly).  If I am using those terms incorrectly, I am willing to be corrected.  My water contains no chlorine, so the phenolics were not due to chlorinated tap water use, for example.... :-\
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: klickitat jim on February 24, 2014, 01:29:39 PM
Aren't those called chlorophenols and just a subset of phenols? More chloroseptic ish than that latex flavor or bandaid?

Then what about all the other flavors that are having an effect on the big picture. I think these off flavors are clues when combined with other info can help us find problems. But it's really hard to diagnose based on what one person thinks tastes like bandaid and making a decision on that one point of subjective data.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: thirdeyeo4 on February 25, 2014, 12:14:54 AM
I'm currently fermenting a Wit that I brewed on Sat, I started it at 64F for a day and now I'll let it sit at 68-70F for the remainder of the fermentation. Do you think I should try pulling very small samples every couple of days to see at what point the flavor gets into the beer, if it does this time? It's only a 3g batch so I don't want to take too many samples.

To answer a couple questions above no I don't think I'm oversensitive to clove and phenolic flavors. I've had probably hundreds of different types of these beers and it's never as much as this.

Also I don't use any odd cleaners on any of my equipment, just Oxyclean Free with a good rinse and then StarSan.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: gmwren on February 25, 2014, 02:41:11 AM
Well, it sounds like your process is good, but there is a remote chance an infection could cause some issues. What about the gas lines? No one ever cleans those and if you had a back up sometime in the past, it could just now be manifesting itself.
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 25, 2014, 03:29:40 AM
Aren't those called chlorophenols and just a subset of phenols? More chloroseptic ish than that latex flavor or bandaid?

Then what about all the other flavors that are having an effect on the big picture. I think these off flavors are clues when combined with other info can help us find problems. But it's really hard to diagnose based on what one person thinks tastes like bandaid and making a decision on that one point of subjective data.

Agreed - there are tons of phenols, just that the "band aid" is one of them as is clovey, smokey, spicey, etc....  There are also flavonoids, isoflavonoids,etc...
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: klickitat jim on February 25, 2014, 07:54:38 AM
Sweet! I'm learning something
Title: Re: Another band-aid off flavor post
Post by: ddcurtis69 on March 07, 2014, 01:34:57 PM
Here is the table I use for this particular off flavor:

How is it caused?                                    How can it be avoided/controlled?
Wild yeast                                                Use pure yeast strains
Improper sanitation                                   Practice good sanitation
Some malt types                                      Use "clean" malt
Some yeast strains                                   Use yeast less prone to phenolic production
Chlorophenols in water                               Filter tap water
Improper rinse of chlorine sanitizers             use non-chlorine sanitizer
Oversparging; sparging above pH 6.0
sparging above 170°F.                                  Proper sparging while monitoring pH and temperature   


From my experience, if you are using RO water and don't have a problem with sanitation, it would probably be related to either the yeast strain or sparging issues as noted above.  RO water should not have anything left in it that would cause you a problem and I have never had an issue with StarSan.