Author Topic: My first dumper batch...  (Read 2789 times)

Offline jamminbrew

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My first dumper batch...
« on: April 30, 2012, 05:25:59 PM »
I brewed an abbey style ale several months ago, and on the first day, the temp spiked at 78*. I got it back down to 72*  quickly. I didn't think too much of this, as I used the Wyeast 1214 and 3787 yeasts, which are tolerant of higher temps.  By the 3rd day, I smelled a sulfur/solvent odor in the fermentation chamber. Thinking this might have been a temporary deal, I didn't worry too much, figuring it would ferment out.  At bottling time, the odor was gone. But 2 weeks later, I sampled a bottle, and at first, there was no odor/off flavor, but as it warmed up, the smell and flavor became prevalent, and stronger.  It reminded me of the old Testor oils paint thinner, not like nail polish remover or solvent.  I waited about 2 more months, but it has not gone away.  Going through my notes and trying to figure what went wrong, I checked the jaggery sugar I used, and found that one of the main ingredients in it was salt! So either high fermentation temps, salt, or infection? What effect does salt have in a fermenting beer? I guess that after 30 brews, only having one dumper is not bad odds...
Here is the recipe:
10# pilsner
1.12# flaked wheat
1# aromatic
1# biscuit
1/3# special B
3# clover honey  (2 min)
1/2# jaggery sugar (10 min)
1oz hallertau  60 min
1/2 oz saaz 20 min
1/2 oz williamette 0 min
90 min mash at 152*, 90 min boil
200 billion cells 1214, 200 billion cells 3787
Pitched at 62*
OG 1.080
FG 1.006
5 gallon batch

Thanks for any info  and insight...
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 05:42:06 PM by theantipunk »
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Offline euge

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 05:47:03 PM »
I wouldn't worry overmuch about the salt.

Tolerant doesn;t mean that an acceptable result will happen. I discovered early on that- solvent if present after the conditioning phase then it won't go away no matter what or how long it is further conditioned.

If it is drinkable cold then drink it up quickly. Or dump it it's only beer.
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Offline hoser

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 05:52:18 PM »
I doubt it would be the salt that would cause the high solvent/acetone smell/taste.  My guess would be the high fermentation temps or a secondary infection.  I am going with the ferment temps.

Offline ccfoo242

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 06:47:52 PM »
If it is drinkable cold then drink it up quickly. Or dump it it's only beer.

Hehe, I was going to say that. If its already bottled then just hang onto it...for scientific purposes. If its taking up a keg then..well...  :-\

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Offline nateo

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 04:09:26 AM »
I ferment almost all of my beers at 64* or lower, and I make a lot of Belgian beers. I don't care for hot/solventy alcohols, and any phenolic Belgian yeast will provide plenty of character even at 60*. I will let them warm up into the 70's for the last 1/4 or 1/5th of fermentation if necessary, but most of the flavor compounds are already formed by then.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 06:11:18 AM »
I used 3787 once in a tripel, and it had a strong solvent aroma and fair solvent flavor for about 4-6 months after fermentation subsided. I let it set for 8 months, then kegged/bottled, and entered it into a competition (I eventually added some house wild bugs for an interesting twist, but that's neither here nor there - but it is tasting AWESOME).

POINT IS - If its 2 months old and you haven't noticed any additional off flavors that would suggest contamination (baby diaper, etc. etc.), I would stash it in a cool place and wait.

Take note, though - just because Belgian yeasts produce desirable flavors over a wide range of temps, that doesn't mean you have to be any less diligent about providing them a healthy, consistent environment to ferment.
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 01:52:17 PM »
I've had the same problem with Wyeast 1214 and I don't use it anymore.  However, one did get better with age, but I just don't have the patience for that.  I do like Wyeast 1762 (Belgian Abbey II) much better (less estery) and I start it in the low 60's.
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2012, 10:04:03 AM »
Ok, so I didn't dump it, but hung on and let the beer sit in bottles.  Tasted one last night, and the solvent-like flavor is nearly gone. Very small traces of it. Even as it warmed, I could barely taste it. Gonna let this one sit a little while longer, and try again. The flavor now is actually pretty good, it has aged well.
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Offline euge

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2012, 10:59:28 AM »
Well that is fortunate then! Two months of conditioning- was it at room temp?
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline kgs

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2012, 02:35:06 PM »
I ferment almost all of my beers at 64* or lower, and I make a lot of Belgian beers. I don't care for hot/solventy alcohols, and any phenolic Belgian yeast will provide plenty of character even at 60*. I will let them warm up into the 70's for the last 1/4 or 1/5th of fermentation if necessary, but most of the flavor compounds are already formed by then.

nateo, this is timely because I brewed two Belgians back to back this summer, a pale ale and a blonde, and they were both the most characterless beers I have ever brewed. The recipes are good ones, I watched my temps/gravity/process very carefully, but after this happened I assumed I was fermenting too cool. The last time I brewed Belgians (three years ago) I was fermenting far too warm (a sun room in Florida in the summer) and they were icky. Now I am fermenting in a garage that is about 62-64 degrees most of the year.

I haven't dumped the Belgians... I sample now and then. So bland I pour them out. Haven't given up on them.

Is it the yeast? I used WLP500 (I don't remember why, may have been a sub) -- made a starter the first time, reused the yeast the second time. I assume I'm getting the right grain at the LHBS, but I have to say yesterday I bought grain for a stout at a different store where you are encouraged to measure it out yourself... that gave me a little more assurance I was getting what I requested, not some convenient sub.

Anyway, it's interesting you posted this. Oh, and where I find jaggery, it's just sugar -- no salt, just palm sugar.
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Offline nateo

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2012, 03:09:43 PM »
WLP 500 is the Chimay strain, IIRC. I'm not a big fan of that. I have easier access to Wyeast, and I believe 1214 is comparable. I used to use 3787 a lot, now I'm more likely to go with 3522. I have a Blonde I fermented at 58* with 3522. I'll take a look at that and get back to you.
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Offline nateo

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2012, 05:42:47 PM »
To try to avoid being vague, here's my latest recipe and some notes. I'm not the best at tasting, and I doubt I'm very objective, so take this FWIW:

OG: 1.060 on 6/27
FG: 1.011 on 7/20 (bottled on)

5kg Rahr pils
3kg Golden Promise
400g homemade crystal ~120-150
mash pH - 5.4

20g Magnum @ -60min
15g Vanguard @ -10min
15g Vanguard @ -0min

1.5L starter of two-month-old 3522
Johnson controller on freezer set for 58* (real fermentation temp tends to peak about ~3-4* higher than set point at high kraeusen, controller cycles down -4* from set-point before kicking off again.) I doubt peak was above 62* and was probably close to 58* for most of the ferment.

Water profile:
Ca - 62, Mg - 8, Na - 2, SO4 - 6, Cl - 4, CO3 - 99

Carb'd to 2.7 vol w/142g dextrose

Here are my biased, subjective tasting notes:
aroma - malty, no hops, bubblegum
appearance - amber, good clarity
flavor - mostly fruity, bubblegum, spicy clove in the background. Pretty malty underneath, "graham cracker" type malt character. Low bitterness, moderately sweet.
mouthfeel - full, medium carbonation, smooth warming alcohol
overall - Pretty much was I was aiming for. It has the balance I like between malty, fruity, spicy, and bitter. The gravity was a bit high and the alcohol a bit warmer than I intended, but solvents/fusels are kept below taste threshold. I think plenty of yeast character came through on this beer, despite the low ferm temp. I gave it to my wife to try without telling her what it was or trying it before, and she said, "Oh that's good. A Belgian, yeah?"
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Offline kgs

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Re: My first dumper batch...
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2012, 05:23:53 PM »
Thanks. That's helpful. I guess I can always be happy that I don't have off-notes and so forth. My recipe isn't that far from yours. Yours has more hops but I don't think that's the issue. I'll do a little more book-larnin' and try again. 
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