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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: homoeccentricus on March 13, 2016, 03:09:07 PM

Title: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on March 13, 2016, 03:09:07 PM
When I had almost finished my keg of "quaffable porter", I decided to bottle the remainder with my new beergun. These were only four bottles, it appeared. When I tried one yesterday, a couple of weeks later, the porter from one bottle had an unpleasant, slightly sour flavor. Today I checked another one, same flavor. Completely unlike the kegged beer.  So I wonder what has caused that. I'm pretty anal about the bottles themselves. Also, there was no additional carbonation, to the contrary, I had some CO2 loss due to bottling with the beergun. The beer did not really taste infected either, just different and a bit more sour than the kegged version. But can it be anything else than an infection? Also, I have a keg with pressurized star san that I use to clean the beergun, and I'm pretty sure the beergun line was completely empty when I started filling.

I guess you are going to say the beer picked up something, but what, and where?
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: santoch on March 13, 2016, 03:57:16 PM
I really can't speculate where the infection came from.  You can try to identify the type of problem with a bit of patience.

Warm up a couple bottles to about 21-24C for a week or two.
You should wrap them in a towel and have them in some kind of a container as a precaution against bottle bombs.  This is basically to force them to ferment at high temps to make anything that is still alive active.

An infection will become much more pronounced.   More sourness indicates a bacterial infection.  More phenolic (clove/band-aid) will indicate a wild yeast infection.
(It is also possible to have both.)

Wild yeast cannot be killed by star-san.  You should use a second sanitizer such as iodophor on all of your equipment during your process and probably should replace any plastic or rubber parts that came in contact with this batch during/after the bottling process.  Bacterial infections can take hold if the star-san's pH gets too high.  Any pH above 3.0 is considered too high and will be ineffective.

HTH-
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on March 13, 2016, 04:58:21 PM
Are you sure you sanitized the gas line going from the CO2 to the beergun?
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on March 13, 2016, 05:08:50 PM
I'm sure I didn't :(
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: denny on March 13, 2016, 05:12:14 PM
Are you sure you sanitized the gas line going from the CO2 to the beergun?

Why would that be necessary?  Or is it a joke I'm missing?
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on March 13, 2016, 07:30:32 PM
Are you sure you sanitized the gas line going from the CO2 to the beergun?

Why would that be necessary?  Or is it a joke I'm missing?

Who knows how that line was stored and what was in it?  I always sanitize my gas line connecting to my beergun.  Gives me peace of mind.  Do you have a beergun? 

If the line wasn't sanitized he could be blowing all sorts of stuff into his bottles when purging them with the gas from the hookup line.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: unclebrazzie on March 14, 2016, 09:22:48 AM
I can confirm it was not an infection. Yes, there was a sour tang to the beer, but nothing that even hinted of infection. One taster mentioned blueberries, and indeed, the first thing that comes to mind when trying to describe the sourness is a blueberry-fruitiness.
Sourness mellowed as the beer stood in the glass but remained present. Totally screwed the beer over: where it was quaffably toasty when sampled directly from the keg, it was borderline drinkable and slightly yucky from the bottle.

Mulling this over, I am reminded of a famous Belgian brewer's proclamation that a suspect batch of his should be decanted (and I'm paraphrasing but only slightly here) "to let the carbonic acid dissociate, allowing it to escape as CO2". However, HE's porter was not so excessively carbonated to even contemplate the relevance of that proclamation (about which I harbour strong reservations anyway).

Could crystal/caramel malts be responsible for this sour tang? For some reason, I'm suspecting they might, but have not found anything to back up that suspicion.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on March 14, 2016, 02:04:45 PM
If it was crystal malts, I don't see how they would taste differently in the bottle vs. the keg. Oxidation has never tasted sour to me before.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 12, 2016, 09:48:33 PM
So I tasted another of the 4 bottles that I filled with the beergun, 3 weeks later, and it's clearly an infection. 99% sure it's the beergun, what else would it be?

So what is a foolproof way of cleaning the beergun?  A couple of weeks ago I ran some caustic soda through it, let that sit for a while, and then ran Starsan through it. But Mr OCD in the back of my skull whispers in my ears (not sure how he does that) that this may not be sufficient....
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: denny on April 12, 2016, 10:37:37 PM
So I tasted another of the 4 bottles that I filled with the beergun, 3 weeks later, and it's clearly an infection. 99% sure it's the beergun, what else would it be?

So what is a foolproof way of cleaning the beergun?  A couple of weeks ago I ran some caustic soda through it, let that sit for a while, and then ran Starsan through it. But Mr OCD in the back of my skull whispers in my ears (not sure how he does that) that this may not be sufficient....

Maybe a flamethrower...;)
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 12, 2016, 10:57:03 PM
Don't laugh. I need to bottle my Roche Four and I'm going to do it the old way with priming sugar and a bottling wand.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: blair.streit on April 13, 2016, 10:22:47 PM
Are you sure you sanitized the gas line going from the CO2 to the beergun?

Why would that be necessary?  Or is it a joke I'm missing?

Who knows how that line was stored and what was in it?  I always sanitize my gas line connecting to my beergun.  Gives me peace of mind.  Do you have a beergun? 

If the line wasn't sanitized he could be blowing all sorts of stuff into his bottles when purging them with the gas from the hookup line.
You may want to e-mail Blichmann support and see if they think that it's possible that a dirty gas line could contaminate your bottles. I've always skipped any sanitizing steps with gas lines, but that's because I've always heard "nothing can live in an all CO2 environment". In fact, I take the same approach with the inside of the tubing on my oxygenation tank (choosing to believe nothing could live in there), but it's not like that thing stays pressurized with CO2 all the time.

Anyway, I think you've just made me paranoid, but it seems like at this point you're not going to come up with any clear answer to how the beer became contaminated. It seems like this is one of those rare cases in brewing where you change lots of things at once and see if the problem goes away.

Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 14, 2016, 02:47:51 AM
A buddy of mine had a beer win in one comp a couple weeks after bottling from keg and then got a terrible score a couple weeks after that - he went back to compare a couple extra bottles and found that they were infected.  The culprit - a dirty QDC on the beer side used for the Beer Gun.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 14, 2016, 06:47:19 AM
I don't see what else it could have been beside the beer gun. The keg was ok for more than a month and I've never had an infection from a dirty bottle. Plus, all for bottles I filled were infected. And your paranoia makes me even more scared.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: klickitat jim on April 14, 2016, 09:17:18 AM
So you had about 4 bottles left in the keg that had been sitting still long enough for you to drink from the tap all but those 4?

Did you wiggle the keg at all prior to bottling?

The symptoms and tasting notes sound to me like you disturbed some sedimentary yeast and dark malt particles back into solution.

When I bottle with my beergun I enjoy from the tap until its hit that "perfection" stage, then I attach the beer gun without moving the keg AT ALL and bottle what I need.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 14, 2016, 09:58:29 AM
So you had about 4 bottles left in the keg that had been sitting still long enough for you to drink from the tap all but those 4?

Did you wiggle the keg at all prior to bottling?

The symptoms and tasting notes sound to me like you disturbed some sedimentary yeast and dark malt particles back into solution.

When I bottle with my beergun I enjoy from the tap until its hit that "perfection" stage, then I attach the beer gun without moving the keg AT ALL and bottle what I need.

So you had about 4 bottles left in the keg that had been sitting still long enough for you to drink from the tap all but those 4?

Did you wiggle the keg at all prior to bottling?

The symptoms and tasting notes sound to me like you disturbed some sedimentary yeast and dark malt particles back into solution.

When I bottle with my beergun I enjoy from the tap until its hit that "perfection" stage, then I attach the beer gun without moving the keg AT ALL and bottle what I need.

Yes, I wanted to hand out a few bottles at the end of the keg. Only four could be filled. And yes, I moved the keg around to use the beergun. But the bottle I tried the other day was a slow gusher, and tasted very thin, so I'm not convinced by your explanation.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: klickitat jim on April 14, 2016, 10:34:02 AM
It was just a thought. Carry on
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: jeffy on April 14, 2016, 11:26:12 AM
All the symptoms of infection are present - sour flavor that increases over time, thin body, over carb.  It has to have been during bottling, so take everything apart and clean it.  When I got my beer gun it had instructions on that and came with a brush to clean the insides.  I always take apart the quick disconnects and clean them as well when bottling for competitions.  It amazes me how much crud grows in them.  I've never spent much effort on the gas hose, but I do soak it in sanitizer before use.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: salcedo on April 14, 2016, 02:19:30 PM
Maybe the off flavors come from the sanitizer itself?

Sent from my K01A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: zsmith87 on April 14, 2016, 08:14:29 PM
So this past weekend I actually used my beergun for the first time, bottled a very hoppy IPA. Did not even think once to clean or sanitize the C02 lines, and even used the same C02 line that I use to carbonate my kegs and attached that to the beer gun, thus thinking the C02 line in the accessory kit was unnecessary.

My processwas I cleaned the bottles with PBW, then used sanitized with starsan, then used the beergun to purge, then fill and cap. Drank the first one yesterday, 3 days after bottling, and it tasted a little funky. My first question, is any tiny amount of starsan left over going to affect the flavor? Is the consensus to sanitize and clean the c02 line going into the beer gun?

Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: denny on April 14, 2016, 08:32:34 PM
So this past weekend I actually used my beergun for the first time, bottled a very hoppy IPA. Did not even think once to clean or sanitize the C02 lines, and even used the same C02 line that I use to carbonate my kegs and attached that to the beer gun, thus thinking the C02 line in the accessory kit was unnecessary.

My processwas I cleaned the bottles with PBW, then used sanitized with starsan, then used the beergun to purge, then fill and cap. Drank the first one yesterday, 3 days after bottling, and it tasted a little funky. My first question, is any tiny amount of starsan left over going to affect the flavor? Is the consensus to sanitize and clean the c02 line going into the beer gun?

No, the sanitizer won't affect the flavor

No, you don't need to sanitize CO2 lines
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: Pinski on April 14, 2016, 08:37:19 PM
Are you sure you sanitized the gas line going from the CO2 to the beergun?

Why would that be necessary?  Or is it a joke I'm missing?

That's what I was thinking too, Denny.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: zsmith87 on April 14, 2016, 08:54:07 PM
So this past weekend I actually used my beergun for the first time, bottled a very hoppy IPA. Did not even think once to clean or sanitize the C02 lines, and even used the same C02 line that I use to carbonate my kegs and attached that to the beer gun, thus thinking the C02 line in the accessory kit was unnecessary.

My processwas I cleaned the bottles with PBW, then used sanitized with starsan, then used the beergun to purge, then fill and cap. Drank the first one yesterday, 3 days after bottling, and it tasted a little funky. My first question, is any tiny amount of starsan left over going to affect the flavor? Is the consensus to sanitize and clean the c02 line going into the beer gun?

No, the sanitizer won't affect the flavor

No, you don't need to sanitize CO2 lines

Thanks, I know that may have been a stupid question, but just reading this post start to finish had me second guessing myself.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 14, 2016, 09:06:46 PM
So I tasted another of the 4 bottles that I filled with the beergun, 3 weeks later, and it's clearly an infection. 99% sure it's the beergun, what else would it be?

So what is a foolproof way of cleaning the beergun?  A couple of weeks ago I ran some caustic soda through it, let that sit for a while, and then ran Starsan through it. But Mr OCD in the back of my skull whispers in my ears (not sure how he does that) that this may not be sufficient....

This may be a stoopid question, but you're sanitizing the outside of the beer gun, too, right?  You've run stuff through it to sanitize the inside, but isn't the beer in the bottles exposed to the outside of the gun as well?
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: narvin on April 14, 2016, 09:17:06 PM
Don't laugh. I need to bottle my Roche Four and I'm going to do it the old way with priming sugar and a bottling wand.

The best way to bottle a Belgian beer (i'm sure you know this  :) )
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on April 15, 2016, 12:35:24 PM
So this past weekend I actually used my beergun for the first time, bottled a very hoppy IPA. Did not even think once to clean or sanitize the C02 lines, and even used the same C02 line that I use to carbonate my kegs and attached that to the beer gun, thus thinking the C02 line in the accessory kit was unnecessary.

My processwas I cleaned the bottles with PBW, then used sanitized with starsan, then used the beergun to purge, then fill and cap. Drank the first one yesterday, 3 days after bottling, and it tasted a little funky. My first question, is any tiny amount of starsan left over going to affect the flavor? Is the consensus to sanitize and clean the c02 line going into the beer gun?

No, the sanitizer won't affect the flavor

No, you don't need to sanitize CO2 lines

I would agree with you if the CO2 line was constantly hooked up to gas, but I completely disassemble my beer gun every time I use it.  I then hang my CO2 line up to dry after sanitizing it after use. If it sits there for 4 months before I use it again, who knows what kind of dust, bacteria, or other wild yeast has had the opportunity to get trapped up in there?  Sanitizing it prior to use simply helps me to be sure that I have potentially eliminated any issues with my bottling process with regards to sanitation.

Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on April 15, 2016, 12:41:41 PM
So I tasted another of the 4 bottles that I filled with the beergun, 3 weeks later, and it's clearly an infection. 99% sure it's the beergun, what else would it be?

So what is a foolproof way of cleaning the beergun?  A couple of weeks ago I ran some caustic soda through it, let that sit for a while, and then ran Starsan through it. But Mr OCD in the back of my skull whispers in my ears (not sure how he does that) that this may not be sufficient....

I can tell you that I have bottled batches off my kegs that have gone into comps and gotten scores with wild yeast infections noted (plastic notes). Then a couple weeks later bottling them up from the same keg and taking best of show with the same beer. So, I have definitely picked up infections when using the beer gun before. Will I still continue to use it?  Of course, I think it is a good product.  Sometimes s**t happens and it is out of your control.  Oh well, it is just beer. And I love it!
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 15, 2016, 12:45:26 PM
So I tasted another of the 4 bottles that I filled with the beergun, 3 weeks later, and it's clearly an infection. 99% sure it's the beergun, what else would it be?

So what is a foolproof way of cleaning the beergun?  A couple of weeks ago I ran some caustic soda through it, let that sit for a while, and then ran Starsan through it. But Mr OCD in the back of my skull whispers in my ears (not sure how he does that) that this may not be sufficient....

This may be a stoopid question, but you're sanitizing the outside of the beer gun, too, right?  You've run stuff through it to sanitize the inside, but isn't the beer in the bottles exposed to the outside of the gun as well?

Yep, put the beergun in a bucket of starsan...
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on April 15, 2016, 12:47:02 PM
So I tasted another of the 4 bottles that I filled with the beergun, 3 weeks later, and it's clearly an infection. 99% sure it's the beergun, what else would it be?

So what is a foolproof way of cleaning the beergun?  A couple of weeks ago I ran some caustic soda through it, let that sit for a while, and then ran Starsan through it. But Mr OCD in the back of my skull whispers in my ears (not sure how he does that) that this may not be sufficient....

This may be a stoopid question, but you're sanitizing the outside of the beer gun, too, right?  You've run stuff through it to sanitize the inside, but isn't the beer in the bottles exposed to the outside of the gun as well?

Yep, put the beergun in a bucket of starsan...

I also run iodophor through mine prior to packaging.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 15, 2016, 12:47:43 PM
Don't laugh. I need to bottle my Roche Four and I'm going to do it the old way with priming sugar and a bottling wand.

The best way to bottle a Belgian beer (i'm sure you know this  :) )

I do! Funnily enough to me (and many others) some Belgian beers are better on draft. Two local beers come to mind: De Koninck and Westmalle Dubbel.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 15, 2016, 12:49:21 PM
OK stoopid question: how do you sanitize the gas line? Will I not have to call the fire brigade to save me when I connect it to the liquid line?
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on April 15, 2016, 12:51:55 PM
I use the beer gun gas line that came with it. I simply soak it in star san for 2 minutes prior to attaching it to the beer gun and my CO2 tank.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 15, 2016, 12:59:21 PM
Ah so not the inside of the line itself...
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: brewinhard on April 15, 2016, 01:47:09 PM
Yes, when I soak it I make sure that starsan fills the whole CO2 line sanitizing the inside.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: blair.streit on April 15, 2016, 02:58:43 PM
This conversation shows a lot about why "gas line sanitization" is just one of those things that I've never felt fully comfortable with. None of us works in a completely aseptic environment, so admittedly there is always some level of contamination in homebrew (and probably all beer if we're talking about counting cells). The trick seems to be keeping the unwanted organisms to a minimum.

With that said, the best way I can think about it is that:


Bringing it back to the OP's question, it seems like we've had several people convinced that dirty gas lines on the beer gun could be the cause of their issues. This seems plausible to me, but applying Occam's Razor it seems like a gas line at packaging is the least likely place to go looking for a contamination source unless you've thoroughly eliminated the more likely possibilities first.

As for whether I will run sanitizer through the inside of my oxygenation line after all this -- probably not. I leave it connected to the tank and clean/sanitize the wand and outside of the line already. It seems like pulling it apart might create more opportunities for contamination than leaving it alone (unless I somehow managed to get beer inside the line, in which case I'd just buy new tubing and start over).

Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: Phil_M on April 15, 2016, 03:30:15 PM
Do you have another sanitizer to try? I know most folks don't have issues with star-san, but since it doesn't work particularly well on yeast and mold there's always the possibility that this could be you issue.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: JJeffers09 on April 15, 2016, 09:36:02 PM
Maybe the off flavors come from the sanitizer itself?

Sent from my K01A using Tapatalk

This is what I thought, StarSan is extreme low pH that could lend into the sourness of the beer.  I know it is a "no rinse" sanitizer by that is why I am moving away from it in bottling.  Maybe the bottles did not drain out enough...  IDK just speculation.  next time try a different sanitizer when you bottle?  How was the Quaffable Porter? Kegged?  I don't remember your update but I remember you working out your recipe... What direction did you go for?  Brown, Baltic, Robust ??
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: Stevie on April 15, 2016, 10:13:37 PM
While starsan is low pH, the total amount of acid is quite small. I think your worrying about nothing.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 15, 2016, 11:46:38 PM
I agree that an iodophor solution is warranted on the tubing and fermenters to best avoid any prior or wild yeast - especially in warm months and when re-pitching ales.  I haven't had issues with the CO2 tubing, but it could happen.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: salcedo on April 17, 2016, 05:34:20 PM
While starsan is low pH, the total amount of acid is quite small. I think your worrying about nothing.
Yeah, it was just a thought. I sanitize my bottles with starsan then put them on a bottle tree just before filling from the keg. I've never noticed any sourness, but some people's tastebuds are more sensitive than others.
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: homoeccentricus on April 18, 2016, 02:30:59 PM
Has anyone used this? http://beverageequipmentcompany.com/caustic-beer-line-cleaners/11479-13-oz-tm-desana-max-per-packet.html

Contains:
- sodium hydroxide: caustic soda
- tripotassium ortophosphate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripotassium_phosphate
- disodium peroxodisulphate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_persulfate

The interesting aspect is that it uses "color change technology to let you know when your lines are totally clean. "
Title: Re: strange flavor after bottling
Post by: blair.streit on April 18, 2016, 05:25:21 PM
While starsan is low pH, the total amount of acid is quite small. I think your worrying about nothing.
Yeah, it was just a thought. I sanitize my bottles with starsan then put them on a bottle tree just before filling from the keg. I've never noticed any sourness, but some people's tastebuds are more sensitive than others.
If you've ever accidentally sucked any StarSan through a siphon you'll notice the taste. It's a little difficult to describe, but at the proper concentration I'd describe it as  degassed club soda that has been concentrated. More soda-like and salty than sour to my taste.