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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: wingnut on July 27, 2010, 10:36:55 PM

Title: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: wingnut on July 27, 2010, 10:36:55 PM
→ The thing I am looking for advice about is beer flavor stability. 

Essentially, a LOT of batches in the past year and a half seem to be having their flavor change...relatively quickly.  The most common comments I have been getting from judges are “cardboard” or “sherry”.  Some of the beers with these comments are only 10 weeks old.... I did not used to have this issue, but now it seems to happen frequently.  Once the beer goes a little stale, however, it sees to say stable for at least 6 to 8 months (no beer has lasted past that age so far) Also, other than the notes of sherry/cardboard, the beers, when judged, receive very favorable comments, and no mention of flavors indicating bacterial infections.  (three of the beers in question were sent to NHC and scored 34,37, and 38, and the only negative notes were about the apparent “age” of the beer.   

In the past year I have started refrigerating my carbed beer, in hopes of lengthening the time (with minimal improvement, however). 

→ OTHER PROCESS NOTES
I presently prime/bottle condition my beer instead of kegging. (Would kegging help the issue?)

I batch sparge, ferment in glass, .put bottles in fridge 1 to 2 weeks after priming when carbonation is achieved.   All transfers are siphoned via boiled tubing. I use Irish Moss in the boil kettle, and that is the only fining.   Yeast is from a yeast starter/liquid yeast.

The one batch I did with extract, was a barley wine, about 6 months ago, did not have this issue. (Too bad, it would not mind it if the barley wine aged a bit fast!) The rest of the process was identical.

Any process recommendations that will increase the shelf life, or am I just expecting too much?

Thanks!

 
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: majorvices on July 27, 2010, 11:11:48 PM
IMO kegging will definitely help. The whole "bottle bucket" bottling method is not a very good way to bo9ttle beer. Ironically, having a kegging system is a far better way to bottle beers with nat. carb because you can purge the bottle with Co2.

Another thing I would recommend (though I didn't see it mentioned) is skip secondary.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: hopaddicted on July 28, 2010, 12:56:47 AM
Wingnut, it sounds like an oxidation issue to my novice ears. Majorvices' suggestions will minimize movement, but you can also look to how you are siphoning, i.e. is output tube at bottom of container, is flow slowed to minimize turbulence at the start of siphon, etc. Are you moving your carboys any distance? Just wondering if you may be splashing too much. I have to move my fermenters further than I like, so I kill myself trying to move them without splashing out of paranoia. Just some thoughts. I don't see AG as a likely cause of the issue, probably just a coincidence IMHO.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: wingnut on July 28, 2010, 03:09:04 AM
Thanks for the advice... unfortunately, I have already been taking measures with siphoning to be sure the hose is under the beer during transfers, no splashing of beer, minimize agitation of beer... etc.  (That is the kind of stuff I am looking for, however, assuming my experience is not “normal” for un-purged bottling.

If 10 to 14 weeks is normal time to get some oxidation with my method of bottling, then kegging is the next logical step.  If that is not normal, then I am hoping to find out where my process is flawed, and extend the shelf life a bit. 

I will keep thinking through the process and see if there are any other changes I can make.

Thanks for the advice!!
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: The Professor on July 28, 2010, 04:07:34 AM
IMO kegging will definitely help. The whole "bottle bucket" bottling method is not a very good way to bo9ttle beer. Ironically, having a kegging system is a far better way to bottle beers with nat. carb because you can purge the bottle with Co2.

Another thing I would recommend (though I didn't see it mentioned) is skip secondary.

I agree...set up a kegging system and you have the best of both worlds.  I have bottled some strong beers from keg and they taste fine years down the line (as long as your sanitation is good).
I do secondary all of my beers, but that's a matter of personal choice (and reflecting confidence in my procedures in that I am not introducing o2 or other contaminants o my beers during secondary and/or bulk aging.

But yes...by all means set up to keg.  You won't regret it, and you and bottle fully conditioned beer from the kegs.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: hopaddicted on July 28, 2010, 04:26:04 AM
10-14 weeks is definitely not a normal time frame for 'staling' to occur. I have plenty of bottles in my brew closet from nearly a year ago (not because I am aging them, but can't keep up on the drinking/gifting side with my production schedule) with no noticeable signs of going bad.

How are you cooling? Are you cooling in your brew kettle?
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: sienabrewer on July 28, 2010, 02:12:54 PM
Based on the sherry and cardboard comments it seems to me like you are having some oxidation issues.  What types of bottles are you using; pry off or twist off?  Twist off is said to allow oxygen in there.  You could also try using oxygen absorbing caps.  Other than that there might be a splashing issue you are just not noticing. 
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bonjour on July 28, 2010, 02:33:32 PM
The issue is oxidation.  and unless you are intentionally doing something to cause it, it should not be happening that quick.
How are you siphoning?  could you provide as much detail as possible,  everything from specifically what equipment you are using to the exact process you are using.

I had a similar problem that was traced back to an auto-siphon.

Fred
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tygo on July 28, 2010, 02:39:26 PM

I had a similar problem that was traced back to an auto-siphon.

Fred

What was your problem with the autosiphon?
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bonjour on July 28, 2010, 02:46:19 PM
They tend to develop a very small ait leak at the plunger,  I could see what i call a micro bubble bouncing at the high point.  The quality and complexity of my big beers went down (lack of oxidation) when I fixed this.

Fred
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tygo on July 28, 2010, 04:22:48 PM
Yeah, I've noticed that as well.  I'm sure it's introducing some O2 but I'm hoping its minimal.  I usually tap the line until it goes away which only takes a few seconds.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bonjour on July 28, 2010, 05:16:06 PM
Mine didn't stop, and it did make a difference
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: wingnut on July 29, 2010, 02:12:04 AM
Thanks everyone for the great feedback.  At the very worst, I have confirmed that the beers in the first three years, that did not have quick staling issues, were not just good luck, and I have a great excuse to step up to kegging!

Below is a lengthy description of the beer transfer process, any constructive advice is greatly welcome!


As far as siphoning goes, in the post fermenting setup... that was the center of my attention this past few months.  I started off using an Auto-siphon, (used this for three years of good beers, and then had 4 batches go south quickly with stale flavors).  After having some issues, I purchased a new Auto-siphon, and had similar issues for two batches.  So I tried new hoses for two more batches (using the new auto-siphon, and fresh pieces of hose for two batches.) When that did not work, I then purchased a stainless steel racking cane and ditched the Auto-siphon completely. 

I also purchased some high-temp hosing, and started to boil that for 10 minutes prior to use with the Stainless racking cane.  Using stainless, I can place a hose clamp around the hose and get a good seal on the cane... ensuring that the air bubble that often formed at the top of the cane part of the auto-siphon would not appear. 

To prime the hose I first used the method of filling the hose with starsan water and starting the siphon that way.  I found it a bit cumbersome, however, and I eventually found a turkey baster that I sanitized and used to start the siphon.  (Kind of like sucking on the tube, but more sanitary) 

As far as moving beer from primary to bottling bucket (no secondary)..  I siphon to a bottling bucket, where I have boiled and still hot sugar/water solution.  I then siphon the beer into the bucket, let it set for 10 minutes to a half hour while I finish getting the bottles ready

To bottle, I start the siphon and after the line if full of beer, I clamp the hose to stop the flow, but keep the line full of beer, and then I insert the bottle filler (non-spring tip type) and clamp that down too.  I then run off 6 to 12 oz and begin bottling.

The bottles are Sam Adams or Bells bottles with crimp caps, all bottles are pop tops, and I have used a variety of caps, but not the O2 adsorbing ones.  (I like to sterilize the caps, and some of the things I have read indicate that the caps lose their O2 adsorbing ability by doing this... but that is just here say)

So as near as I can tell, I am doing the right things on siphoning, and I do not slosh the beer around, so I am at a bit of a loss. 

My thoughts presently are to possibly take the plunge and go kegging and buy a better bottle.  Then I can push with CO2 at a very low pressure (plastic better bottle reducing the risk of exploding glass if I screw up) out of the bottle and in to a purged keg.  At the very least that would isolate if the issue is with beer transfer methods, or if the issue lies elsewhere.

I have also been reading up on some fining agents, in the hopes of finding a lower cost fix. PVP appears to be the most promising, but while PVP claims to help reduce the tannins that are part of the staling equation, I suspect it will not cover up what must be a brewer/process  issue.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tygo on July 29, 2010, 04:40:08 AM

The bottles are Sam Adams or Bells bottles with crimp caps, all bottles are pop tops, and I have used a variety of caps, but not the O2 adsorbing ones.  (I like to sterilize the caps, and some of the things I have read indicate that the caps lose their O2 adsorbing ability by doing this... but that is just here say)


I use the O2 absorbing caps but was wondering about this tonight as I was bottling.  I soak the caps in starsan while I'm bottling and I've heard the same thing:  that this may cause the O2 absorbing properties to be less effective.  Anyone have any thoughts on that?
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: hopaddicted on July 29, 2010, 04:52:57 AM
I use the O2 absorbing tops too, I can't say I taste a difference, but they barely cost anything more, so unless you really like colored caps, why not use them for a touch more insurance? Maybe I'm just a sucker, but at a fraction of a penny/bottle, seems like a no brainer to me. I was unaware of the sanitizing issue, good heads up...
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: wingnut on August 02, 2010, 12:23:49 AM
Just a quick update... it looks like the problem is either with the caps or the capper. 

I just capped a batch a few days ago, and I decided to place some balloons over the necks of the capped bottles.  I pulled 12 at random, and 10 of the 12 balloons were inflated slightly.

So... I am blaming a bad capper or bad run of caps on the issues.

   
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: hopaddicted on August 02, 2010, 04:04:12 PM
Well done Sherlock, I can hear the sign of relief through cyberspace. Enjoy!
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 08, 2010, 05:34:31 PM
If it's the caps then you should also see lower carbonation on your previous beers showing age problems. Do you see that?

I guess I don't understand what's so hard about syphoning. Put a carboy on a table with the target vessel on the floor, fill a tube with water, hold your thumb over one end, put the other end in the source, hold the thumb end below the open end, then release your thumb. Drain the water into a glass, and then divert to the target when beer starts coming out. Very simple, and it doesn't shake air into anything. If you want to slow the rate, move the two ends of the tube closer to each other. If you want to stop the flow, raise the outflow end higher.

Kegging will certainly help, and will give you more options. Plus it should save you about 2 hours of screwing around. If you subsequently want to bottle from the keg, save yourself some trouble and get a Blichman Beer Gun. Super gadget.

If you are paranoid about oxygen in headspace in your bottle, blow a little CO2 into the bottle before you cap it, or (do as I do) cap on foam. That's how commercial bottling lines work.

Kegs do a better job of keeping air out of your beer than bottles; better seals.  Just be sure you don't have any leaks.  Spray all the joints with a soapy water solution while the keg is under pressure and watch for bubbles.

Definitely store your beer cold if you want to keep it for long periods.  Every 10C difference in temperature doubles the rate of chemical reactions (like oxidation).
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: jalynn2 on August 08, 2010, 11:11:23 PM
Gordon's method of siphon starting brings back memories, but I bought a siphon starter about 10 years ago that is much easier: The racking cane has a gasket/washer on the bottom that fits snugly within a tube approximately 1" in diameter. The bigger tube has a flapper valve on the bottom that allows liquid to enter from the bottom, but prevents it from exiting back out. Take the bigger tube with the racking cane fully inserted and put it into your beer. Then pull up on the racking cane which draws liquid into the tube. Push back down again and the liquid is forced through the racking cane and out the siphon tubing. This is one of those inexpensive "wow" gadgets that makes the process much easier.

I did not see anyone mention hot-side aeration in this thread. That can cause rapid oxidation as well. While oxygen is very desirable when wort is cooled and yeast is being added, it is harmful when the wort is hot. So from the initial dough-in until the wort is cooled, be very careful about splashing when adding water, sparging, stirring, etc. If you are using a pump, watch for cavitation: use a valve past the pump output to partially close and slow down the pump flow.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 09, 2010, 12:05:10 AM
After breaking too many racking canes, I siphon with a carboy cap, a stainless racking cane, and a sterile air filter.  You just blow through the filter to get the sihpon started, and physics takes care of the rest.  You can push it with CO2 too, very gently of course.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 09, 2010, 12:08:21 AM
I don't use a cane, just a hose.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tygo on August 09, 2010, 03:26:29 AM
I don't use a cane, just a hose.

Any reason for not using a cane or is that just personal preference?
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 09, 2010, 03:54:54 AM
It's harder to start the syphon the way I do it (filling completely with water) if I use a cane.

I also like the extra control of being able to position the intake of the hose where I want it in the carboy. This lets me get a clearer beer, and often removes the need for a secondary.  Yes, I could do that with a cane, but then I'd also need a clamp.

A cane is rigid, so I can't always turn it the way I want. If I use a hose, I can see where it is in the carboy if I'm racking a dark beer.

It's one more piece of equipment to break, and to clean. Why add another piece when a single hose does what I want?  I know there are solutions to all the limitations I described, but all of those add complexity. I guess I don't see any advantages of using a cane, so I don't.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: wingnut on August 09, 2010, 04:47:42 AM
Thanks Gordon for the advice… and I agree, as siphon is really a simple thing… that is why I was able to come up with a few different ways of siphoning, without much thought.  The “water and thumb method” was not hard, but I was having issues controlling my hose when moving it between the sanitizer and the beer. (I hate it when that happens ) and I was bumping it against things, and possibly creating contamination issues. A change in my setup would have made the “thumb” method easier, but that is when I found the turkey baseter, it seemed easier than rebuilding the shelves.

As for reduced carbonation in my bottles, I was seeing a trend toward “flatter” beer over time.  It never got really flat, but while the initial bottles, just after bottling, would  give a very large head an inch or so and then die down, as the bottles got older, the head would reduce to just a thin (quarter inchish), but persistent layer.  Since I have seen similar effects in older commercial versions, I figured the effect was just age reducing either the head forming components, or a reduction of nucleation sites.  (and it still may be)

What got me thinking along the track of cap seals, however, was when I dumped some beer that was 3 to 5 years old, and their head was definitely more pronounced than the 3 month old versions of what I had on the shelf. They were different batches, but very similar recipies, and while my brewing practices have evolved greatly between batches, I could not think of any process change that should result in a change like what I had seen.  So the balloon test was attempted.

The caps may not be the only issue, but I have a new batch just about ready to bottle, and I have a variety of caps and a new capper.  After capping five bottles of each cap (three different types of caps) with both bottle cappers, I should have a decent batch to figure out if the caps or the capper is the issue. 

I also agree with the cold storage.  I have done some side by side testing of beer aged cold and aged warm (some of the dumpings were left over from that experiment), and the beers aged colder (fridge temps) did not show age nearly as bad as those stored in my 68F basement.

As for the hot side aeration thoughts from Jalynn2… that may be something to consider.  However, the process on the hot side has not changed for me over time, so while I may have hot side issues, they should be consistent over time given a consistent hot-side process.  (In my thinking) It is possible that I have changed something on the cold side, that in conjunction with hot side practices, may result in faster staling, but I would need to read a bit more on the topic to make an informed comments.


Thanks everyone for the help   
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 09, 2010, 07:20:06 AM
I don't know Gordon, I always had trouble getting the hose deep enough into the carboy, it tends to curve and get stuck on the side.  Do you ferment in something other than carboys? How do you avoid that problem?  I like the racking cane because I can set it to whatever depth I want and it doesn't move, especially with the carboy cap system I'm using.  And it doesn't break, the siphon is easy to start, etc.

I'm not saying anyone needs to change what they're doing, but this is the only way I've tried it that works every time, very simple, no mess, no skill involved.  I had issues with every other way of doing it - the hose method you use which gave me problems, so I switched to a hose with racking cane but I broke at least 2 plastic racking canes before switching to the siphon starter jalynn mentioned - I broke two and another one stopped working before I went with the stainless racking cane.

This may say more about my general spasticity and propensity to break stuff than anything else . . .
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 09, 2010, 12:32:36 PM
I usually ferment in 6.5 gal carboys.  No problem getting the hose to the bottom.  I don't coil it tight when I store it, and if it seems curved, I can stretch it out after a quick soak in boiling water.

When I fill the hose with water, I normally have it stretched out anyway in a big U shape.  I fill both ends of the hose at the same time, let the air bubbles come out, and then top off.  That process naturally has the hose stretched long.

When I put the hose in the carboy, I pay attention to the curvature and feed it in that direction. Sometimes you have to twist it a bit to get the other end where you want it, but you can also tilt the carboy to bring the liquid to the intake. That's how I get the last bits, assuming the yeast is tightly packed.

I've also heard that if you play with your hose too much, it can curve in one direction.  Just sayin'  :o

Seriously, people should use whatever works for them. This method always worked for me, and I mentioned it because some people seemed to have problems with syphons and were throwing equipment at the problem that could have been causing other undesirable side-effects.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: majorvices on August 09, 2010, 12:36:48 PM
I'm just going to add that I absolutely LOVE my auto-siphon and they work great. I used to use Gordon's method, however. I also want to say it is awesome to see Gordon Strong posting here!  8)
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tygo on August 09, 2010, 01:23:51 PM
I'm just going to add that I absolutely LOVE my auto-siphon and they work great.

Have you noted what Fred was mentioning with the micro-bubble right at the top of the hose?  After reading that I paid closer attention the last time and noticed the same thing.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: majorvices on August 09, 2010, 01:39:15 PM
Yeah, and I have seen this debate before. I don't get a micro bubble. I fasten the hose with a gear clamp. I have no problems with beer staling prematurely.

Another thing that works forr me, if you are siphoning off into kegs, is to attach a racking cane on the base of the hose so that you minimize splashing and siphon directly onto the bottom of the keg. Otherwise you will have possible issues with the hose curling. Of course, you could just purge the keg with Co2.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bluesman on August 09, 2010, 01:54:38 PM
I'm just going to add that I absolutely LOVE my auto-siphon and they work great. I used to use Gordon's method, however. I also want to say it is awesome to see Gordon Strong posting here!  8)

I also use an auto-siphon and really like the ease of use. I have used Gordon's method for years and switched to the auto-siphon. I also keg and use a Blichmann Beer Gun for bottling which mitigates the potential for beer staling plus it saves alot of time.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Gordon here too.  Welcome to the forum Gordon.  Glad to see you here!
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: tygo on August 09, 2010, 02:23:14 PM
I fasten the hose with a gear clamp.

I'm going to give this a try.  I was a little hesitant using one with the plastic cane but I'll just be careful how much I tighten it.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: majorvices on August 09, 2010, 03:02:51 PM
Yes, I have cracked the cane before.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: babalu87 on August 09, 2010, 03:28:34 PM
Yes, I have cracked the cane before.

I made my cane in 1994 out of stainless tube, bending it would even be an issue because its thick wall.

I gotta get set up so I can purge bottles with CO2 easier though.

Do they make a Cobra tap with an MFL fitting? That would be GREAT.
I suppose some epoxy and a "spare" QD would work but if anyone knows of a Cobra tap with an MFL I am all ears.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: denny on August 09, 2010, 03:33:27 PM
I guess I don't understand what's so hard about syphoning. Put a carboy on a table with the target vessel on the floor, fill a tube with water, hold your thumb over one end, put the other end in the source, hold the thumb end below the open end, then release your thumb. Drain the water into a glass, and then divert to the target when beer starts coming out. Very simple, and it doesn't shake air into anything. If you want to slow the rate, move the two ends of the tube closer to each other. If you want to stop the flow, raise the outflow end higher.

Finally, a voice of sanity!  This is what I do do...maybe that makes you the voice of insanity....
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 09, 2010, 06:55:00 PM
That's me. Cheap and easy. I don't batch sparge and I don't like rye too much so I haven't drank the full glass of koolaid.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: majorvices on August 09, 2010, 06:58:46 PM
I guess I don't understand what's so hard about syphoning. Put a carboy on a table with the target vessel on the floor, fill a tube with water, hold your thumb over one end, put the other end in the source, hold the thumb end below the open end, then release your thumb. Drain the water into a glass, and then divert to the target when beer starts coming out. Very simple, and it doesn't shake air into anything. If you want to slow the rate, move the two ends of the tube closer to each other. If you want to stop the flow, raise the outflow end higher.

Finally, a voice of sanity!  This is what I do do...maybe that makes you the voice of insanity....

I guess its kinda nice to not have to put your hands, clean though they may be, over the opening of both ends that are going to be touching your beer.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bluesman on August 09, 2010, 07:12:00 PM
I guess I don't understand what's so hard about syphoning. Put a carboy on a table with the target vessel on the floor, fill a tube with water, hold your thumb over one end, put the other end in the source, hold the thumb end below the open end, then release your thumb. Drain the water into a glass, and then divert to the target when beer starts coming out. Very simple, and it doesn't shake air into anything. If you want to slow the rate, move the two ends of the tube closer to each other. If you want to stop the flow, raise the outflow end higher.

Finally, a voice of sanity!  This is what I do do...maybe that makes you the voice of insanity....

I guess its kinda nice to not have to put your hands, clean though they may be, over the opening of both ends that are going to be touching your beer.

Maybe that's part of Gordon's secret.  ;D

A little Gordon in every pint.  :D
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: shea-arne on August 09, 2010, 07:21:17 PM
So.... Has the stale beer problem been fixed?
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: denny on August 09, 2010, 07:22:29 PM
That's me. Cheap and easy. I don't batch sparge and I don't like rye too much so I haven't drank the full glass of koolaid.

Well, you've at least started on the path to hell....;)
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: jwatkins56550 on August 10, 2010, 02:59:22 AM
I would start investing in a kegging system.  Do it slowly and it wont be so hard on the wallet.

Get your C02 first, and try flushing your bottling bucket with c02 before you put your beer in it...it cant hurt!
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: wingnut on August 10, 2010, 12:17:34 PM
So.... Has the stale beer problem been fixed?
I do not know if the problem is fixed (Unfortunately it will take a couple batches of beer and three to four months to tell), however, I have found that the caps or capper were an issue on the last batch, so I plan on running a test and see if the issue goes away.

Thanks,
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: wingnut on August 10, 2010, 12:24:42 PM
I'm just going to add that I absolutely LOVE my auto-siphon and they work great.

Have you noted what Fred was mentioning with the micro-bubble right at the top of the hose?  After reading that I paid closer attention the last time and noticed the same thing.

The thing about the autosiphon bubble that sometimes forms... I have not been able to establish if the bubble is air getting trapped, or CO2 coming out of solution and collecting. 

Something to think about if you are cranking your clamp so tight it is cracking your cane.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: majorvices on August 10, 2010, 12:29:12 PM
FYI - I get no bubble. And I have cracked the cane before but it is not a weekly occurrence.  ;) These things don;t last forever, either. Usually mine lasts about a year to 18 months before it needs replaced.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: shea-arne on August 10, 2010, 08:32:15 PM
Been reading that people have been having mixed experiences with their auto syphon... I've never used one myself, but i've seen here that an air bubble sometimes forms in the hose. My question is if this little airbubble in the hose is enough to "oxidize" the beer. Seems to me that that amount of O2 is quite minimal and shouldnt have a detectable affect on the beer. At least not enough to oxidize the beer within a couple of weeks... i would think!

If thats the case, this little staling beer problem seems to be a little mystery to me! Please keep us posted on how future batches turn out, wingnut!

If the problem is due to something in the brewing/fermenting process, or moving of the beer, it would be a little silly in spending a bunch of money on kegging equipment if the end result turns out the same. I currently only bottle my beers, and they have a shelf of about a year and counting. Dont think kegging will be a quick fix for this problem.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bonjour on August 10, 2010, 09:35:11 PM
I can assure you that that little bubble of air has a pronounced oxidized impact on my big beers, in the MOST delightful way, and within a few weeks.  Develops luscious dark fruit and sherry notes.

Though this goes against everything I was ever taught about beer.

Fred
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 11, 2010, 02:40:08 AM
Quote
I can assure you that that little bubble of air has a pronounced oxidized impact on my big beers, in the MOST delightful way, and within a few weeks.  Develops luscious dark fruit and sherry notes.

Though this goes against everything I was ever taught about beer.

Didn't Kai say something about that recently, along the lines of the German malt character that seems elusive to create on the homebrew level is some kind of small-scale oxidation of melanoidins (or Maillard reaction products)?

Seems plausible to me since darker beers will have more Maillard products/melanoidins, and those are the types of beer that develop those desirable oxidation flavors, where paler beers just seem to get papery.

Don't know the chemistry behind it or if it's been researched; I have my doubts since defining "that rich German malt character that homebrewers can't seem to reproduce" is hard to describe and quite subjective.

Anyone else see what I'm describing?
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bonjour on August 11, 2010, 03:04:16 AM
I talked to Kai  about it at the NHC as he was tasting my BW.  He said it made sense and was mentally constructing an experiment.  He said he knew of no material where research had been done.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 11, 2010, 03:09:01 AM
Ah, I knew I heard it somewhere.

I'm sure we'll hear if he does run the experiments and finds a conclusion.  I've found his papers very enlightening.  It's great to see someone testing out textbook theories at the homebrew level.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bonjour on August 11, 2010, 03:15:39 AM
your reply of Maillard products/melanoidins fits all by big beers very well.  Don't know if you tried the BW I brought to the GC meeting but that is the beer I was discussing with Kai.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 11, 2010, 03:18:29 AM
I don't usually drink 27% ABV beers before lunch.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bonjour on August 11, 2010, 03:19:10 AM
;)  only 17%
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: denny on August 11, 2010, 03:33:46 PM
Didn't Kai say something about that recently, along the lines of the German malt character that seems elusive to create on the homebrew level is some kind of small-scale oxidation of melanoidins (or Maillard reaction products)?

Seems plausible to me since darker beers will have more Maillard products/melanoidins, and those are the types of beer that develop those desirable oxidation flavors, where paler beers just seem to get papery.

Don't know the chemistry behind it or if it's been researched; I have my doubts since defining "that rich German malt character that homebrewers can't seem to reproduce" is hard to describe and quite subjective.

Anyone else see what I'm describing?

Yeah, he posted that here after a discussion we had at NHC after tasting a doppelbock of his that had that "elusive German" quality to it.  I agree that it seems plausible, but I don't know of any research, either.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: bluesman on August 11, 2010, 03:48:41 PM
I'm not sure if Kai's referring to the same elusive "German element" or not but I recently did a blind tasting of six different examples of German Pilsners.

Bitburger
Paulaner
Warsteiner
Brooklyn Pilsner
Victory Prima Pils
Samuel Adams Noble Pils

While all of the beers were good, the German varieties have a "distinct taste" that I can't quite put my finger on. I want to say it's a hop spicyness but I think it's more than that. I want to say it's in the water. One thing is for sure, it's only present in the German examples.

I'm not sure exactly what the element may be that is responsible for this distinct taste...but inquiring minds want to know.
Title: Re: Beer staling prematurely?
Post by: redbeerman on August 11, 2010, 05:10:08 PM
Ron and I did a blind tasting of Ofests as well with similar results.  Only the German examples exhibited this "taste".  The doemstic and homebrewed examples did not.