Author Topic: Phenolic Off Flavours  (Read 995 times)

Offline gmac

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Phenolic Off Flavours
« on: March 15, 2012, 09:43:21 AM »
On a couple score sheets, I have been dinged for having "phenolic" off flavours in a couple different beers.  I don't detect this at all but I am not a trained judge.  Most recently, an APA that I really liked was downgraded pretty heavily for it and an allusion of infection was made by the judge.  Again, I don't get it but maybe it was in the bottle that was judged.

So, my question is what could cause this, is this a common comment (meaning is it accurately perceived or is it a "go-to" for people when they don't know what else to say) and what can I do to prevent it? 

I am not sure about the infection comment because I have yet to notice any infection in any of my beers so it must be a darn low incidence if its there.  My standard kegging cleaning routine is:  Hot water and soap, extensive rinse with hot water, star-san soak, siphon out 1/2 the star-san to sanitize my siphon, charge the keg with CO2, run the remaining star-san out through the tap until empty.  Admittedly, I don't pull the tubes each time but maybe I should start.

For bottles they get a strong bleach rinse to remove labels and any "chunks" in the bottom, thorough rinse with a bottle sprayer and then soaked in star-san prior to filling.  I also soak the caps, tub and picnic tap I use in star-san before bottling.  Probably missing some key step here but it's hard to describe.

Thoughts?

Offline bo

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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2012, 10:42:13 AM »
some people have more sensitivity to certain things than others. Could very well be possible your taste buds dont detect phenolics very well.  Did the judge note what kind of phenolics? Clove? Peppery? etc.  Also mind posting your mash schedule recipe and yeast strain choice as well as if you made a starter or not and how much starter.

That can give us more info on your specific beer and possible causes without having tasted it.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 10:54:38 AM »
If there are chunks to be removed from your bottles I would say there is a chance you had an infected bottle. try to rinse your empties as soon as they become empty.

I don't think it relates to your problem but using soap to clean your kegs is riskly, youc an rinse an aweful lot and still leave a bit of residue behind.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2012, 11:00:07 AM »
Of the things you actually describe, the only one I'd worry about it bleaching the bottles.  You've got to really rinse the crap out of them to get every shred of bleach gone as chlorophenols have an extremely low human taste threshold.  Instead of bleach, it'd be simple enough to give Oxiclean a shot and see if the problem goes away.
Joe

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2012, 11:28:59 AM »
For my NHC entries, I have new bottles.  Those got foil put on them, and baked in the oven at 375F for an hour.  Take the temp up and down slow from there to keep the bottles from getting brittle.  Going down you can turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven overnight - that is what I do.

I had a bad score recently, and it had to be a cruddy bottle that people always bring back.  Thought I had got those clean, but no I did not.  So for a competition it will be bottles with known handling, or knew bottles.  I tell people if they bring bottles back - no bad science experiements please.  But they still do and I am too busy when the crowd arrives for a party to inspect.

Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2012, 01:53:01 PM »
I've ordered 100 new bottles for my NHC entries (not going to enter that many).

I worry about the bleach too.  I will try oxyclean instead.  As for the soap, I also worried but I am really thorough and I actually use a dairy soap that is intented to be easily rinsed for food grade uses (it's for cleaning milking equipment).

Maybe I just don't pick up the phenols but I was sort of put out that my entry was marked "significantly flawed" when it was imperceptible to myself and everyone else who tried the beer.  I would think significantly flawed would be something that a lay person would be able to pick up on as being "not right".  Probably being too sensitive.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2012, 01:58:26 PM »
Maybe I just don't pick up the phenols but I was sort of put out that my entry was marked "significantly flawed" when it was imperceptible to myself and everyone else who tried the beer.

If "myself and everyone else" are trying beer that you pull from your keg and the comp judge is trying beer from the bottles you entered, that would sure seem to point to something in the bottles/bottling-process.
Joe

Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2012, 02:08:03 PM »
Maybe I just don't pick up the phenols but I was sort of put out that my entry was marked "significantly flawed" when it was imperceptible to myself and everyone else who tried the beer.

If "myself and everyone else" are trying beer that you pull from your keg and the comp judge is trying beer from the bottles you entered, that would sure seem to point to something in the bottles/bottling-process.

Yeah, after reading the BYO article, I'm wondering if the issue is related to not rinsing the bottles enough.  I am rinsing well with both hot water and Star-San but maybe I'm leaving some chlorine in the bottle and that is leading to some sort of chlorophenol off flavour.  Like I said, I just don't taste it from the keg.  How about this, everyone come over and try beer from the keg and let me know if you taste any problems. 

Offline tom

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2012, 02:39:44 PM »
What time?   :)
Brew on

Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic Off Flavours
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2012, 02:40:32 PM »
I'll be here anytime after 6.