Author Topic: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste  (Read 1454 times)

Offline scooteroo

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« on: February 12, 2010, 01:34:49 PM »
Hi all.

I'm a new homebrewer, working with ingredient kits from a reputable brew shop (The Beverage People in Santa Rosa, CA), but so far both of my first two batches have an off taste.

The first batch was an American lager, which I thought was perhaps skunked because I didn't thoroughly enough clean my new equipment. Since it was my first batch, I figured it wasn't surprisingly that I might do something wrong.

I'm just transferring the second batch, a Belgian Strong Ale, from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter. I tasted it and, is seems to already have a similarly off taste -- something along the lines of an overly-yeasty, slightly metallic taste. Because I followed the recipe exactly, cleaned the equipment meticulously and worked with pre-measured ingredients, I just can't figure out what I could be doing wrong. It's possible that after the 2nd fermenter and bottling, it will taste alright.

I'm working with Papazian's book, but troubleshooting's difficult. I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts about what might be happening here.

Thanks so much in advance.
Freda


Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2450
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2010, 01:37:42 PM »
welcome to the forum, Freda.

first thing that comes to mind - what source are you getting your water from (i.e. tap, spring, RO, etc.)?

BTW, check out the book "How to Brew" by John Palmer - its a little more in depth and up to date than Charlie's book.

Cheers!
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11643
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 01:38:07 PM »
First, just to clear up a misconception, skunking comes from exposure to light....

Next, how about your water?  Was it chlorinated?  Did you do anything to remove the chlorine if it was?

EDIT: great minds, Paul....
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline scooteroo

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2010, 02:20:26 PM »
Thanks so much Blatz and Denny.

I'll check out Palmer's book.

About the water: I used filtered tap water from our well (we live in rural Northern California), so the water is unchlorinated and, with the filtration, I would think fine to use. Unless there are other issues with well water that may be of concern?

There was no exposure to light -- so not skunked. Just "off," I guess.

Perhaps temperature issues? We have a drafty, rural house with lousy heat (the house temp often drops into the low 50s).

Any other thoughts?

Thanks so much for the warm welcome to the forum.


Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11643
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 02:34:42 PM »
Man, you're not making this easy....;)

In general, low temps are better than high ones, so let's not worry about that for now.  I assume these were extract kits?  And I also have to assume that the lager didn't use a real lager yeast?  Could we get some more details?
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6301
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2010, 02:40:53 PM »
Well water could be a huge concern depending on what kind of minerals are involved. Do yourself a favor and start with distilled or RO water. All the minierals that were present in the original brewers (ie: extract manufacturers wort) will still be wrapped up in your extract - and if you are adding your well water you could be bumping the minerals up to an unexceptable level. Also, well water isn;t always great brewing water because it has a tendency to be high in minerals.

As far as yeasty flavors and a drafty, 50 degree house goes - fermentation is CRITICAL to the brewing process. IMO more so that making the wort. My recommendation is that, since you are new, start out with a good dry yeast such as US-05. Liquid yeast needs a yeast starter for proper fermentation, but dry yeast does not. US-05 is very clean and will give you an idea how your beer taste without a lot of yeasty flavors that can mask or accentuate other problems. Pick a good, simple recipe like an American Pale ale, and try to keep an eye on fermentation temps. Basically, fermentation needs to be fairly cool and steady - you don;t want drastic temp fluctuations. US-05 works great at around 58-64 degrees ambient. If you need to refulate a more constant temp try immersing the fermenter ina  larger body of water - the extra thermal mass will help you control temps - you can use an aquarium heater to raise the temps, or rotate frozen water bottles to lower temps. Cool you wort to at least below 70 degrees before pitching, preferably at or a  few degrees below intended fermenation temp, never let fermentationt emp (which will be 4-6+ degrees over ambient) get much warmer than 68 and don;t let the temp spike and crash and you should be good.

And +1 to Palmer's book. Papazian's book is great, but a bit outdated.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline scooteroo

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2010, 03:14:58 PM »
Okay, just ordered How to Brew. Thanks for the recommendation, all.

In the meantime, still trying to figure out where we've got astray.

It sounds likely that the well water is the problem. Our water is very good for drinking, but I suspect high in minerals. That might well be the culprit. Too bad, I was hoping it might be something fixable (like temp, which perhaps we could up in the hopes of reactivating the yeast).

If water was the problem, there's no fix, is there?

About the kits: I don't believe they're extract kits (since I don't know what that is, I'm assuming that's not what they are). The ingredients are all dry, except the yeast, which is a liquid pack.

Any other thoughts on possible fixes, or should I just throw out these two batches and try a third using distilled water? I hate to do that, since it's about $70 of ingredients down the drain -- but that may just be the way it is.

Best,
Freda

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11643
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 03:31:51 PM »
Okay, just ordered How to Brew. Thanks for the recommendation, all.

In the meantime, still trying to figure out where we've got astray.

It sounds likely that the well water is the problem. Our water is very good for drinking, but I suspect high in minerals. That might well be the culprit. Too bad, I was hoping it might be something fixable (like temp, which perhaps we could up in the hopes of reactivating the yeast).

If water was the problem, there's no fix, is there?

About the kits: I don't believe they're extract kits (since I don't know what that is, I'm assuming that's not what they are). The ingredients are all dry, except the yeast, which is a liquid pack.

Any other thoughts on possible fixes, or should I just throw out these two batches and try a third using distilled water? I hate to do that, since it's about $70 of ingredients down the drain -- but that may just be the way it is.

Best,
Freda


Hi Freda,

Yeah, it sounds like they're dry extract kits.  I have well water also, so I sent a sample to Ward Labs (www.wardlab.com) for analysis.  Test W6 for about $16.50 will fill you in on exactly what's in there.  Although, if it tastes good to drink, that may not be the issue.  How long ago did you do the 2 batches?  It's possible that they might just be young and need some time.  Also, could you take some beer to the shop and ask their opinion?  IIRC, that's a pretty well respected place and should be able to give you some info.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2450
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 03:35:28 PM »
If water was the problem, there's no fix, is there?

sure there is - store bought RO water.  

when you decide to go all-grain, you'll need to get your water tested (Ward Labs) and you can perhaps use some well water/some RO to get the proportions in line, but while you are doing extract, I suggest just using the RO since as major said, all the minerals/salts from the extract makers mash will already be present.

your call on throwing it out - I personally feel that its not worth it to force yourself to drink something, but if its just a little off, why waste it?
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6301
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 04:48:30 PM »
About the kits: I don't believe they're extract kits (since I don't know what that is, I'm assuming that's not what they are). The ingredients are all dry, except the yeast, which is a liquid pack.


If you are not buying grain, grinding it, mashing it for an hour, sparging and collecting your wort then the kits are extract. There's DME (dry malt extract) and LME (liquid malt extract.)

As far as the liquid yeast, its great but you would probably be better off with dry yeast for your first several batches - check out the safale US-05. With dry yeast you don't need to make a starter and oxygenation is not as big of a concern.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline tubercle

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1639
  • Sweet Caroline
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 05:02:27 PM »

...cleaned the equipment meticulously...

 Are you using an aluminum boil kettle? If so, don't "clean meticulously". Clean but don't scrub away the seasoned (grey) coating. 1. It's not necessary for sanitation to clean to this extent. The next boil will take care of that.
 2. If you scrub away this protective layer each batch will be just like it is boiled in a new pot with fresh metal exposed.

 Just wipe clean with a soft cloth, rinse and turn upside down to drain. Then you're through.
Sweet Caroline where the Sun rises over the deep blue sea and sets somewhere beyond Tennessee

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7214
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2010, 12:42:53 AM »
High Iron in your well-water?

Send off some samples to get tested as previously suggested so you know what you're dealing with. Also could it be the hops? Some can give a metallic hint to the brew IME.

Personally, when I get (buy) a beer with metallic qualities it's a real disappointment. Just doesn't belong there. I feel your pain.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline alohaarizona

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2010, 07:50:35 PM »
Hi Freda,

I'm also pretty new at all this but did get a metallic taste on one batch due to tannins. Tannins entered the batch because I let the temperature of the water exceed 170 degrees when heating the grain bag. Keep a close eye on water temperature when heating that grain bag, measure it every three minutes or so, and make sure it stays below 170. My original beer making kit came with a floating thermometer which was pretty useless; I replaced it quickly with a long stemmed metal one that was easy to dip into the deep 8 1/2 gallon brew pot and registered quickly.

Temperature for me was an issue because my Fermentap brew pot has a thermometer built right into it - but it doesn't work when you only have 2 1/2 gallons of water in the pot. When there's that little in the pot the thermometer is just sticking out into thin air. I was checking it regularly though, and then suddenly I realized that I was checking the temperature of air (AAGGHH!). I pulled the grain bag out quickly and kicked my own backside for several minutes.

Most forums say there's no way to remove tannins from beer, but you may be able to reduce their impact by letting the beer bottle age for a longer period.

Not sure if you made the same beginner mistake I did, but when you said "metallic taste" that sure sounded familiar.  :-\

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11643
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2010, 08:53:18 AM »

I'm also pretty new at all this but did get a metallic taste on one batch due to tannins. Tannins entered the batch because I let the temperature of the water exceed 170 degrees when heating the grain bag. Keep a close eye on water temperature when heating that grain bag, measure it every three minutes or so, and make sure it stays below 170.

I'm wouldn't be so sure it was tannins.  For one things, tannins have no taste....they show up as a dry mouthfeel.  For another, temps over 170 do not necessarily extract tannins unless your pH is too high.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline alohaarizona

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Advice for a beginner: Yeasty, metalic taste
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2010, 06:49:45 AM »
Denny, excellent info and contrary to some other I've heard. Appreciate the voice of experience!