Author Topic: That extract "twang"  (Read 14966 times)

Offline brewmonk

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That extract "twang"
« on: February 18, 2012, 04:20:43 AM »
Just curious about the extract "twang" that kit and extract beers get dissed for.

Is the flavor mainly in LME and the prehopped kits, or does DME tend to give that flavor too?

And I'm still trying to understand what that "twang" is supposed to taste like.  I've heard "umami" "savory" or "meaty" but I'm either not that trained on the taste, or I have just never had a noticeably "meaty" beer  :o.  Is there a way to doctor a beer to understand that flavor?
Br. Francis
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Offline bigchicken

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 05:57:51 AM »
I do not notice a "twang" using LME, but a bit of unfermentable sweetness from using old LME. If your ingredients are fresh there does not seem to be a noticeable difference from an all grain beer.
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Offline euge

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 07:54:59 AM »
Just curious about the extract "twang" that kit and extract beers get dissed for.

Is the flavor mainly in LME and the prehopped kits, or does DME tend to give that flavor too?

And I'm still trying to understand what that "twang" is supposed to taste like.  I've heard "umami" "savory" or "meaty" but I'm either not that trained on the taste, or I have just never had a noticeably "meaty" beer  :o.  Is there a way to doctor a beer to understand that flavor?

That's probably from leaving it on the yeast for too long and other reasons, and why I prefer to transfer sooner than later. What I've seen with old extract is a "cidery" twang not a savory one.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 08:12:18 AM »
To me the twang tastes sort of like a combination of two things: caramel and banana.  But it's not exactly the same as either of those.  The banana-ish flavor might possibly be due to fermentation temperature more than the extract, but the unusual stale oxidized sort of character of the caramel-ish flavor is very distinctive and is the primary taste sensation.  I think it can happen with DME, but is more prevalent with LME.  I believe it is caused by a combination of concentrated wort boils that are part of the extract production process, with oxidation occurring over time in the packaging.  And then the problem might be exascerbated (sp?) by concentrated boiling when reconstituting the wort.  In other words, it helps to do full wort boils, rather than boiling concentrated wort and then diluting at the end.  Preventive measures can be taken by using the freshest and lightest extracts available, and boiling with the full volume and not concentrating in the boil.  One other key thing about extracts is they contain high concentrations of salt from the production process, so it's a very good idea to use distilled or RO water.  I think it is likely the extra salt that also contributes to detection of the extract twang flavor.  So try using purer water to see if that helps as well.

Hope this helps a few people out there.  A lot of it is theoretical (on my part), but I think it makes a hell of a lot of sense when you stop to think about it.
Dave

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Offline dannyjed

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 08:55:15 AM »
To me the twang tastes sort of like a combination of two things: caramel and banana.  But it's not exactly the same as either of those.  The banana-ish flavor might possibly be due to fermentation temperature more than the extract, but the unusual stale oxidized sort of character of the caramel-ish flavor is very distinctive and is the primary taste sensation.  I think it can happen with DME, but is more prevalent with LME.  I believe it is caused by a combination of concentrated wort boils that are part of the extract production process, with oxidation occurring over time in the packaging.  And then the problem might be exascerbated (sp?) by concentrated boiling when reconstituting the wort.  In other words, it helps to do full wort boils, rather than boiling concentrated wort and then diluting at the end.  Preventive measures can be taken by using the freshest and lightest extracts available, and boiling with the full volume and not concentrating in the boil.  One other key thing about extracts is they contain high concentrations of salt from the production process, so it's a very good idea to use distilled or RO water.  I think it is likely the extra salt that also contributes to detection of the extract twang flavor.  So try using purer water to see if that helps as well.

Hope this helps a few people out there.  A lot of it is theoretical (on my part), but I think it makes a hell of a lot of sense when you stop to think about it.
I totally agree with this.  I think it is also important to stress on having enough healthy yeast and controlling fermentation temperatures.  When I began brewing, my fermentation temps were in the 70's and my beer was mediocre at best.
Dan Chisholm

Offline EHall

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 09:10:42 AM »
2 major things cause it: under pitching yeast and stale/older LME.
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Offline brewmonk

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2012, 09:21:29 AM »
Just curious about the extract "twang" that kit and extract beers get dissed for.

Is the flavor mainly in LME and the prehopped kits, or does DME tend to give that flavor too?

And I'm still trying to understand what that "twang" is supposed to taste like.  I've heard "umami" "savory" or "meaty" but I'm either not that trained on the taste, or I have just never had a noticeably "meaty" beer  :o.  Is there a way to doctor a beer to understand that flavor?

That's probably from leaving it on the yeast for too long and other reasons, and why I prefer to transfer sooner than later. What I've seen with old extract is a "cidery" twang not a savory one.
I've heard "cidery" too.  I mentioned the "umami" because I just finished Gordon Strong's book where he mention he senses more savory than cidery.  I've never actually noticed a flavor myself.  I would say the only "difference" I notice in kit vs. my DME extract with specialty grains is a complexity and freshness compared to the kit beers.

Admittedly, I do need to work on better fermentation temp control too.  :-[
Br. Francis
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Offline The Professor

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 11:31:57 AM »
I think all of the suggestions posted above are valid. 
Back in my extract days, I would notice the "twang" in some brews, but not others.  When it did appear, I never considered it "cidery"...it came across more along the lines of Dave's description, being kind of caramel/bananna (mostly the former).  But other times (even using the same brand of extract) here would be no trace of such 'off'  flavors.  Also, 35-40 years ago, the available dry yeasts were not very consistent and unless two or even three packets were pitched, underpitching was a problem.  And I would agree with EHall that underpitching and stale extract would both contribute to problems (and if fermentation temps were too high, even moreso).

Nowadays, with much better yeast options available and assuming that one's sanitation is all it should be and that good yeast is being pitched in correct quantity, I would point the finger of blame for the dreaded "twang" squarely at the freshness of the extract. 

I'm just guessing here, but consider the following:
Extract starts out as wort, and it is concentrated to a comparatively high degree by evaporation.  That process alone certainly creates a potential for different flavors forming than what you'd get from a freshly mashed wort.  One can look at canned, evaporated milk as an example...theoretically, mixing evaporated milk with an equal volume of water reconstitutes it to whole milk (and the result even meets the legal definition for whole milk).  But while it is usable as a substitute and while it is certainly palatable, it does have a much different taste than the everyday carton of milk.
AL
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 04:24:30 AM »
In the bad old days, some of the "cidery" character from extract brews was also due to excessive sugar. Some of the cheaper liquid extracts weren't all malt, but were adulterated with sugar syrup. These days, I believe that things have gotten a lot better, although it's been a while since I've used LME.

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 06:50:03 AM »
These days extract beers can win competitions. But the bad reputation (with some) is probably due to poor quality ingredients, sanitation, yeast, fermentation, etc back in the dark ages (pre-90's?).
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Offline euge

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 08:16:49 AM »
These days extract beers can win competitions. But the bad reputation (with some) is probably due to poor quality ingredients, sanitation, yeast, fermentation, etc back in the dark ages (pre-90's?).

We're still in the dark ages but this forum and others have a vast repository of knowledge. It's far better than even just 5 years ago. The Renaissance will come Adso...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline GolfBum

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2012, 10:56:30 AM »
I have noticed it in few of my beers, and it was real prominent in the English bitter I brewed. I only tried a few about a week and two weeks after I bottled so it might have toned down a bit, will find out tonite. But most of my beers have been fine. One of them even scored well in a competition scoring a 37, and the guys in the brew club were amazed it was an extract beer. I always ferment in a big bucket of water to control temperature, if that helps.

Offline bboy9000

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 12:58:56 PM »
I'm only on my 10th batch of beer but I've noticed a flavor too. Not really a bad off-flavor that I'd attribute to contamination or anything.  The extract thing came to mind.  I've also thought it may be due to my slow cooling time (45-60mins.) using an ice bath on a full 5 gallon boil, or due to higher fermenting temperatures (68-72F).  I'm getting a wort chiller and a fermentation fridge to see if that makes a difference.  I'm also going to do a wort stability test just to make sure my sanitation is okay, but I'm confident it is.
Brian
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Offline denny

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That extract "twang"
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 01:00:31 PM »
Fermentation temp could be a factor.  But try a different brand of extract, or DME if you're using LME, and see if that helps.


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Offline bboy9000

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Re: That extract "twang"
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 09:35:28 PM »
Thanks Denny.  I bet if I do all the things I want plus your recommendation, it will be noticeable.  I'm getting ready to hop into all-grain soon, but I know great beers can be made with extracts so I want to do the best I can with them until then.
Brian
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