Hey all. I need your help diagnosing a problem. I just opened the first bottle of my Blonde Ale (OG 1.052, FG 1.010) I brewed at the end of April (4/24). It turned out fine except for a strong green (acetaldehyde) off flavor
. This brew spent two weeks in primary at 62 degrees, two weeks in secondary at 60 degrees, and two weeks in the bottle. I realize it’s a little early yet, but I have seen this flaw before in my Cream Ale that I brewed last year, and it never aged off completely. This is the second time I have brewed a light ale and the second time I have gotten hit with this off flavor
. So, I’m trying to diagnosis the problem. I have come down to a few possibilities:
1. The yeast – S-05. I fermented both with S-05, but then again, I ferment a lot of things with it. It’s probably my most used yeast. Plus, everybody else raves about, so I doubt this is the problem. Nonetheless, I’m tempted to try Danstar Nottingham next time. I did manage a Wit last year that didn’t suffer this problem, which caused me to question the yeast, but I am probably looking in the wrong direction.
2. Ingredients – both used Rahr 2-Row as the base, but again, I use Rahr in a lot of things. I doubt this is the problem.
3. Water – Because of my hard-ish water, I use water from the grocery store self-serve RO/drinking water machines. Again, I used the same thing for my Wit, and many people brew with soft water. So, I doubt it, but worthy of consideration.
4. Yeast handling – With the Cream Ale, I rehydrated as usual. With the Blonde I direct pitched. Seems like no matter what I do, I’m getting the off flavor. Nothing I’m doing here is helping or hurting the situation.
5. Racked too soon. The Blonde had dropped almost clear, so I'm not sure keeping it on the yeast did it.
6. Fermentation temperature. As I mentioned, I fermented the Blonde cool, but still in S-05’s optimum window, to minimize ester production. I didn’t have my cooler and temp controller last year, so I kept the Cream Ale in a water bath that I maintained between 62 and 64. I’m wondering if fermenting so cool isn’t causing the yeast to flocculate before they cleanup their mess. This is my favorite explanation as of right now.
7. Something else I'm not thinking of??
As always, thanks for your thoughts and insights!