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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: jwiltse on September 17, 2011, 04:37:45 AM

Title: Flawed classic stout
Post by: jwiltse on September 17, 2011, 04:37:45 AM
I recently made a classic stout which has some serious flaws - but unfortunately I can't quite decide what is wrong.  I entered the stout in a contest to get some additional feedback.  Judge #1 described it as vegetal, and judge #2 marked it as astringent, estery, musty, solvent, sour/acidic, and yeasty (but not vegetal).   It was a simple recipe: 9 lbs 2-row, .75 lbs roasted barley, and 1 lb flaked barley.  I used 2 oz cascade hops for boiling.  Yeast was Wyeast London Ale (3056). 

I guess it could be an infection - but it doesn't really taste that way.  It isn't hazy, and the carbonation is appropriate (not gushing, not flat).

Any thoughts about what could be the problem?
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: euge on September 17, 2011, 06:28:00 AM
Did you use fresh yeast with the proper temps? More importantly how does it taste to you after hearing the feedback? Is it a good beer in your opinion or are their comments way off?

Maybe the beers got mixed up. ;)
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: tubercle on September 17, 2011, 12:38:26 PM
More importantly how does it taste to you after hearing the feedback? Is it a good beer in your opinion ......

What Euge said. That's all that is important.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: idbrew on September 17, 2011, 06:29:20 PM
Yeast was Wyeast London Ale (3056).
Wyeast 3056 is Bavarian Wheat Blend, London Ale is 1028. If you used the former that could definitely be part of the problem  :)
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: nateo on September 18, 2011, 05:35:36 PM
Judge #1 described it as vegetal, and judge #2 marked it as astringent, estery, musty, solvent, sour/acidic, and yeasty (but not vegetal).  

Vegetal might be a DMS thing? I know the taste threshold for that varies. Astringent might be improper vorlaufing. Was the wort heavily clouded going into the boil? IT doesn't need to be crystal clear, but I've had some astringent beers I traced back to getting too much draff in the boil.

Estery, musty, solvent, yeasty, sour could be yeast health, including fermentation temp, pitching rate, viability, and vitality. In my experience, yeast health is the single biggest factor in making good beer, and the one that most brewers (myself included) have the most room to improve.

And sometimes, you just need to ignore what judges said. I had a witbier with about 3g of coriander that the judge said tasted like I had dumped dishsoap into the beer. Some people taste coriander as soapy. I don't. So there's definitely a genetic component to taste you can't account for.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: oscarvan on September 19, 2011, 01:03:00 AM
Quote
And sometimes, you just need to ignore what judges said. I had a witbier with about 3g of coriander that the judge said tasted like I had dumped dishsoap into the beer. Some people taste coriander as soapy. I don't. So there's definitely a genetic component to taste you can't account for.

Big time.... I've gotten "the Soap" in my beer, but also in a bottle of SNPA....a LOT of it is very personal.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: skyler on September 19, 2011, 05:37:45 PM
Based on the description you mentioned, I assume that the beer was too carbonated for the style (IMO, dry stouts don't fare well on CO2), fermented too warm with an undersized pitch of yeast, and that there was still too much suspended yeast.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: jwiltse on October 06, 2011, 02:02:34 AM
Did you use fresh yeast with the proper temps? More importantly how does it taste to you after hearing the feedback? Is it a good beer in your opinion or are their comments way off?

Maybe the beers got mixed up. ;)

No, unfortunately the comments are not way off.  The beer doesn't taste good to me, but I just can't put my finger on it.  It just tastes the opposite of how a good stout should taste - instead of warm and roasty, it's cold and harsh, if that makes any sense.  Regarding the yeast, as I recall, the yeast was a few months old, but not too bad.  My fermentation temperature was a little cool - 60-65 F.  Incidentally, it was London Ale yeast, not 3056 (Bavarian Wheat).
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: euge on October 06, 2011, 05:02:53 AM
Now I must ask you how long was the beer on the yeast. Was it a repitch? And mash temp.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: davidgzach on October 06, 2011, 06:30:29 PM
I had a witbier with about 3g of coriander that the judge said tasted like I had dumped dishsoap into the beer. Some people taste coriander as soapy. I don't. So there's definitely a genetic component to taste you can't account for.

First on this, a judge should NEVER make comment like this!  Poor choice of words......

Secondly, here is a link to Palmer's online version of How to Brew.  I use this a lot when I'm trying to identify flaws.  Hope it helps you as well.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

Dave
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: Hokerer on October 06, 2011, 06:55:37 PM
And sometimes, you just need to ignore what judges said. I had a witbier with about 3g of coriander that the judge said tasted like I had dumped dishsoap into the beer. Some people taste coriander as soapy. I don't. So there's definitely a genetic component to taste you can't account for.

Interesting this thread should get bumped right now.  Just saw this on another board...

http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/05/8171303-your-cilantro-love-or-hate-may-be-genetic (http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/05/8171303-your-cilantro-love-or-hate-may-be-genetic)

...yeah, it's about cilantro, but that's just the leaves and coriander are the seeds.  Seems to support the
genetic component.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: richardt on October 06, 2011, 07:05:09 PM
Why not breed cilantro/corriander plants that don't have the ability to create the "soapy" compounds yet still create the dodecenal -- characteristic flavor and aroma of cilantro?
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: tomsawyer on October 06, 2011, 07:41:47 PM
I love cilantro and it does have a soapy component.  Id' rther they bred it to be sterile, I'd give up coriander before cilantro.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: jwiltse on October 07, 2011, 01:36:40 AM
Now I must ask you how long was the beer on the yeast. Was it a repitch? And mash temp.
The beer was on the yeast for about a week, then I reracked to a secondary.  It stayed in the secondary for about 2 weeks.  The mash temp was 122F/155F/170F.  What does repitch mean?
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: Hokerer on October 07, 2011, 02:10:08 AM
What does repitch mean?

I believe he's asking if it was fresh yeast or did you re-use (repitch) yeast from a previous batch.

And if it was a first pitch and not a repitch from a previous batch, did you make a starter?  If, as
you said earlier, the yeast was a couple months old and you didn't make a starter then you
underpitched which can lead to a lot of the issues you're seeing.  Oh and 60-65F is fine for
fermentation temps.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: oscarvan on October 07, 2011, 02:27:45 AM
After re-reading this thread I did notice there was no oats in the grain bill..... Stout needs body...if it's too thin the mind wanders....
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: tomsawyer on October 07, 2011, 03:52:09 PM
A week in primary is kind of marginal.  GRanted the beer isn't real big, but I like to give any ale 10 days to finish out on the yeast cake.

Estery beer suggests a too-warm fermentation temp.  You get all kinds of odd/nasty flavors from fermenting warm.

Estery beer can also come from underpitching, but if its not a big beer then I wouldn't think this is a cuase of the problem unless the yeast was fairly old and lost a lot of viability.

And others have already said or hinted about these possible problems, just getting back on track after the coriander debate.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: jwiltse on October 08, 2011, 01:37:35 AM
What does repitch mean?

I believe he's asking if it was fresh yeast or did you re-use (repitch) yeast from a previous batch.

And if it was a first pitch and not a repitch from a previous batch, did you make a starter?  If, as
you said earlier, the yeast was a couple months old and you didn't make a starter then you
underpitched which can lead to a lot of the issues you're seeing.  Oh and 60-65F is fine for
fermentation temps.

It wasn't a repitch, it was fresh yeast.  I did not make a starter.  Do you think that could be the problem?  I've actually never made a starter - how important is that?  (I've never understood why it's necessary - yeast seem to multiply so fast that even without a starter my carboy is always vigorously fermenting after 24-48 hours)
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: Hokerer on October 08, 2011, 01:55:52 AM
It's when they're 'multiplying so fast' that bad things happen.  The strain of them trying to multiply enough to chew through your wort causes them to kick out off flavors and such.  You want to pitch enough yeast that they don't have to strain so much.

Assuming you were about 1.056 or so, the yeast pitching calculator at mrmalty.com says that, in order for you to have pitched enough yeast, you should have either made about a half gallon starter or pitched two yeast packs.  You only pitched one pack (and a slightly old one at that) so yeah, you underpitched.
Title: Re: Flawed classic stout
Post by: davidgzach on October 10, 2011, 05:36:05 PM


It wasn't a repitch, it was fresh yeast.  I did not make a starter.  Do you think that could be the problem?  I've actually never made a starter - how important is that?  (I've never understood why it's necessary - yeast seem to multiply so fast that even without a starter my carboy is always vigorously fermenting after 24-48 hours)
[/quote]

Pitching the correct amount of yeast is VERY important to making great beer.  Especially higher gravity ales and any lager.  Underpitched yeast will struggle to multiply and produce off-flavors.  You'll see your carboy vigorously fermenting after 2-3 hours versus 24-48!     ;)