Author Topic: Soapy off flavor  (Read 6027 times)

Offline beersk

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2013, 01:10:34 PM »
I have a Rogue Yellow Snow last night and it definitely has a soapy flavor. So I'd say it's coming from the hops and sulfate level of the water. That style of IPA is not how I roll.

Personally, I liked Yellow Snow.  I didn't detect the off flavors you noted.  I see from scanning some of the reviews that some people seemed to not like it, but they all seemed to question its freshness*.  How fresh was it?

Not that I have any agenda when it comes to getting people to like Rogue (or any other) beer.  I just personally found that one tasty, and wonder why the pDev (13.65) is so high on that particular brew, and why some people seem to love it, other tend to dislike it pretty strongly.  Is it the hops?  Freshness?  Something else?

*caveat: n=pretty small
I think it's just how some people's palates are. I wouldn't say it was an overly strong soapy flavor, or even and off flavor. I'm pretty sure that's how the beer is intended to taste. Just that I don't like my beer that bitter, so it seemed soapy to me. Pretty sure it's fairly fresh. I did have a Fuller's ESB right after that (after drinking some water first) and enjoyed the hell out of it.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2013, 01:13:10 PM »
I think it's just how some people's palates are. I wouldn't say it was an overly strong soapy flavor, or even and off flavor. I'm pretty sure that's how the beer is intended to taste. Just that I don't like my beer that bitter, so it seemed soapy to me. Pretty sure it's fairly fresh. I did have a Fuller's ESB right after that (after drinking some water first) and enjoyed the hell out of it.

Fair enough.  I find Rogue's beers to be somewhat hit or miss, so I was curious if you had tried to ascertain why it tasted soapy. 

Since my last homebrew was an ESB...

Cheers! :D

Offline jeffy

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2013, 03:30:20 PM »
Let us know if this works.
Yes, please do.
Yes.  I have tasted beers in competition with soapy flavors but have never understood the cause.  I mean, I know it is hop-related, but why?
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 07:43:24 PM »
George Gix attributed soapy esters to lipids in the beer.  I have noticed soapy aromas especially when using EKG and Challenger hops.  Both were high in beta acids, and I have wondered if the oxidation of betas produced the soapy aroma. 

Also, I keep cognizant that sometimes we associate a flowery aroma with soap because soaps all use flowery fragrances and additives.  It may just be a normal hop aroma or flavor that over time we have come to associate with soap. 

Do you have a reference for autolysis producing soapy off-flavors?
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 08:50:18 PM »
This thread is very interesting to me because I had a lb of Cascade hops that I swore gave my beer a "soapy" flavor, then I just attributed it to myself being overly critical. 
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Offline mugwort

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2013, 11:10:45 PM »
The only truly soapy commercial beer I've encountered was a very soap-tasting sixer of Avery IPA a few years back--a first and last purchase of that.

Tried the second bottle the next day to make sure it wasn't just my dirty mouth needing some soap.  Had to give the last four to that guy at work who will drink anything.

I wondered (and still do) how such an obvious flaw could see commercial release.  Guess it could have been mistreated severely before I purchased it.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2013, 06:17:28 AM »
I'm here for the results - I've had this in competitions, but besides autolysis, I haven't had a good answer. I would love to have a better one.
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Offline majorvices

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Soapy off flavor
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2013, 08:05:34 AM »
George Gix attributed soapy esters to lipids in the beer.  I have noticed soapy aromas especially when using EKG and Challenger hops.  Both were high in beta acids, and I have wondered if the oxidation of betas produced the soapy aroma. 

Also, I keep cognizant that sometimes we associate a flowery aroma with soap because soaps all use flowery fragrances and additives.  It may just be a normal hop aroma or flavor that over time we have come to associate with soap. 

Do you have a reference for autolysis producing soapy off-flavors?

The yeast break open and release their fatty acids into the wort. I believe it is in How to Brew, don't have a copy in front of me.

Tried an unscientific taste test last night and I swear, just the edge of a knife with a bit of gypsum mixed into the beer fixed 80% of the problem. Going to try a blind taste test tomorrow.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2013, 09:34:27 AM »
When I have tasted the soapy flavor it is almost exactly like ivory liquid dish soap.  I have smelled and tasted strong autolysis before when I left some starter wort rest for several months and it is nothing like this.
Nice trick with the gypsum!
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Soapy off flavor
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2013, 09:46:20 AM »
Yeah, autolysis usually tastes "meaty" to me, but supposedly the fatty acids that the yeast spill out into the beer resembles the molecular structure of soap .... or some BS like that. ;)
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Offline troybinso

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2013, 10:42:57 AM »
Can you be more specific with your dosing? I want to try this tonight with an IPA just to see what happens. I am thinking one control, one with Calcium Chloride, one with Calcium Sulfate.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2013, 10:52:32 AM »
Yeah, autolysis usually tastes "meaty" to me, but supposedly the fatty acids that the yeast spill out into the beer resembles the molecular structure of soap .... or some BS like that. ;)
I've never gotten soapy from autolysis either, but then I think significant autolysis off flavors in beer are really rare.  I've left yeast on plates for a long time though, and they have never smelled soapy.  Meaty or brothy is a better description, although in my case at least some of that is from the media.

Anyway, fatty acids can be involved in the formation of esters and aldehydes and such.  Fatty acid salts are soap-like from a chemical standpoint, but they are also fairly insoluble so it doesn't seem likely to carry over to aroma.

I really think when people say "soapy" they mean "perfumey in a way that reminds me of scented soap", because plain soap has virtually no smell.  I think it is linalool.  It is used widely in soaps, perfumes, and cleaning products, is present in cilantro, coriander, and hops (and some people think they smell soapy), and is also present in yeast.  If autolysis smells soapy to some people, I think it's probably the linalool or a related molecule.  Different sensitivities to different forms of terpene alcohols could explain why some people find it offensive at certain levels that others find it wonderful.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2013, 11:39:41 AM »
Yeah, autolysis usually tastes "meaty" to me, but supposedly the fatty acids that the yeast spill out into the beer resembles the molecular structure of soap .... or some BS like that. ;)
I've never gotten soapy from autolysis either, but then I think significant autolysis off flavors in beer are really rare.  I've left yeast on plates for a long time though, and they have never smelled soapy.  Meaty or brothy is a better description, although in my case at least some of that is from the media.

Anyway, fatty acids can be involved in the formation of esters and aldehydes and such.  Fatty acid salts are soap-like from a chemical standpoint, but they are also fairly insoluble so it doesn't seem likely to carry over to aroma.

I really think when people say "soapy" they mean "perfumey in a way that reminds me of scented soap", because plain soap has virtually no smell.  I think it is linalool.  It is used widely in soaps, perfumes, and cleaning products, is present in cilantro, coriander, and hops (and some people think they smell soapy), and is also present in yeast.  If autolysis smells soapy to some people, I think it's probably the linalool or a related molecule.  Different sensitivities to different forms of terpene alcohols could explain why some people find it offensive at certain levels that others find it wonderful.

I have meet a few that hate cilantro, as all they taste is soap due to their genetics.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2013, 12:00:48 PM »
I have meet a few that hate cilantro, as all they taste is soap due to their genetics.

I can smell soap from my cilantro/coriander plants as soon as I walk out on my deck in the summer. I can tolerate it once it has been incorporated into a dish, but I'm generally not a big fan of fresh cilantro because the soap is so powerful to me. Having said that, I've never really picked up soapiness from any hops or hoppy beer.

I really think when people say "soapy" they mean "perfumey in a way that reminds me of scented soap", because plain soap has virtually no smell.

Ivory soap, specifically (at least when I refer to it - that's what I get from cilantro)
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Offline mugwort

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Re: Soapy off flavor
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2013, 01:08:39 PM »
When I have tasted the soapy flavor it is almost exactly like ivory liquid dish soap.  I have smelled and tasted strong autolysis before when I left some starter wort rest for several months and it is nothing like this.

That triggers it.  The soapy brew flavor I encountered in Avery IPA was as close to Ivory as anything.  The opportunity to do a very occasional Ivory tasting in childhood (bar soap, courtesy of my grandma) has me certain of that.

I know Ivory is perfumed/scented, but it has such a mild floral subtly many still associate with "pure" soap, in contrast to numerous heavy-handed, fake-smelling, modern soap scent formulations.
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