Author Topic: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?  (Read 1787 times)

Offline colinhayes

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Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« on: September 30, 2012, 01:33:54 PM »
Has anyone had any experience with getting a strong phenol presence in a beer after decocting? I recently brewed two beers one day apart, and one came out amazing while the other came out really terribly plasticy and medicinal to the point of being undrinkable.

Recipe:
10 lb floor malted bohemian pilsner malt
3 lb munich malt
1 lb vienna malt

Mash in at 98°F, pull decoction, rest at 155°F for 15 min, boil 15 min, recombine to hit 122°F. Repeat to hit 155°F, and then 170°F.

Fly sparge with 2.5 gal.

Begin 90 min boil
2 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrüh @ 60 min
0.5 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrüh @ 20 min

Chill to 60°F, put in 50°F swamp cooler, pitch wy1007 (1.6L starter, stir plate - 300 billion cells - 150% recommended cell count pitch). Ferment at 55°F for 3 weeks.

OG 1.056 FG 1.008
carbed to 2.5 vols

I'm at a complete loss as to why this one came out disgusting and the other one came out incredible. 1007 done that low should be clean as hell. The only thing that I can think of is that the decoctions made the chlorine gas that Chicago uses in their water react with the grain... but it seems like the chlorine gas would just boil off and not do anything. Everything is sanitized with fresh starsan, and no bleach ever comes close to any of my equipment.

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2012, 01:48:30 PM »
I haven't heard of that, but am open to the possibility.

Infusion mashing also extracts polyphenols. Just less than decoction mashing.

The other option would be a random infection.

Kai

Offline colinhayes

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2012, 01:54:08 PM »
What kind of infection would result in that flavor, though?

Also, is this something that may go away with time?  The previous two beers I had made were wheat beers (dunkel, wit) and they were rather plasticy-phenolic during fermentation, but that cleaned up eventually and completely went away.  This "oktoberfest" had been in the bottle for three weeks when I tried it.

Care to expand a few sentences on phenol extraction during decoction?

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2012, 05:47:32 PM »
What kind of chlorine removal are you performing before mashing with the water?  If you aren't removing chlorine or chloramine before it meets your malt, it quickly forms chlorophenols in the mash that carry through into the final product. 
Martin B
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Offline colinhayes

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 06:49:05 PM »
No chlorine removal at all, but it has never been an issue in the past, and was not an issue in the beer made the day before.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 08:31:50 AM »
sounds like they dosed the water extra hard that morning so the chlorine/chloramine levels were extra high.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 08:40:36 AM »
What kind of infection would result in that flavor, though?

Any bug that creates phenolic compounds. wild yeast or bacteria. Brewing yeast (except for German Weissbier and some Belgians) won't be able to produce phenolic compounds. But this is only one of the options.

Quote
Also, is this something that may go away with time?  The previous two beers I had made were wheat beers (dunkel, wit) and they were rather plasticy-phenolic during fermentation, but that cleaned up eventually and completely went away.  This "oktoberfest" had been in the bottle for three weeks when I tried it.

I didn't think that a phenolic character ages out. But it may if it happened to your Dunkel and Wit.

Quote
Care to expand a few sentences on phenol extraction during decoction?

all mashing extracts polyphenols (tannins) from the malt's husks. The amount that is extracted depends on the intensity and length of mashing. Decoction is known to extract more tannins, though it should not extract an excessive amount that leads to noticeable astringency.

Kai

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 09:05:24 AM »
No chlorine removal at all, but it has never been an issue in the past, and was not an issue in the beer made the day before.

This decocted mash may have been more susceptible to this problem, but I find that many brewers that haven't been made aware of or have been trained in what this flavor is may not recognize it in their beers.  Once trained or sensitized, many brewers may find that this problem has existed for some time. 

Its possible that the chlorination has been low enough in the past to avoid the effect, but I recommend removal to assure that it doesn't rear its head in the future.  There is too much time and expense involved in brewing to allow an easily correctable flaw to be removed at the beginning.  Chlorine can easily be removed with activated carbon while chloramine is not so easily removed that way.  Metabisulfite is effective on either form of disinfectant.   
Martin B
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Offline colinhayes

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 01:00:12 PM »
You know, the feedback I got on the Dunkelweizen from a competition did mention astringency...

I didn't pick up on it, but I strongly picked up on the bad phenolic flavor while that beer was fermenting, and even at bottling. After carbonation, I couldn't taste it anymore

I'm still stuck between a chlorine issue (Chicago water does have a lot of it, especially in the summer when bio activity in the lake is high) and an infection.  If it is chlorine, it's just strange that two beers made back to back would be so different in terms on phenols.  It doesn't seem that the decoction would be that much more susceptible.

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 03:57:20 AM »
At this point this is just anectodal evidence and one would have to back this up with controlled experiments to determine if the decoction caused this.

But chlorine removal is definitely something you should do.

Kai

Offline colinhayes

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 08:25:32 AM »
already on it.  Getting a 10" x 2.5" filter and hooking it up to my cold water supply on my kitchen faucet.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 08:56:36 AM »
That size filter is quite effective for removing chlorine when flow is restricted to 1 gpm.  The flow rate needs to be about 0.1 gpm to remove chloramines.  A hose plug with a 1/16 inch hole will restrict flow to about 1 gpm.
Martin B
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Offline colinhayes

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Re: Phenols/Chlorophenols from decoction?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2012, 10:47:45 AM »
Thanks for the advice, the filter itself says it has a max flow of 1 gpm so I should be good (no chloramines in Chicago water, just chlorine gas).