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Where are the fruity esters coming from?

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I'm trying to figure out where the fruity ester taste of the batch I currently have fermenting came from. 

I brewed a Munich Dunkel a few weeks ago (2/20).  10 gallon all grain.  18lbs of Munich 10l, 5 lbs Munich 25l. 

Mash Schedule:
Infuse 5.75 gallons dough-in rest at 95 F 15 mins
Infuse 4 gallons rest at 134 Ffor a 30 min rest
Pull 4 gallons of a thick mash boil 30 min
Add back to main mash rest at 149 F 25 min
Pull 4.75 gallons of medium thick mash and took it to boil in about 15 minutes
Add back to mash rest at 158 F for 30 min (iodine test showed complete conversion)
Pulled 4 gallons of very thin mash brought to a boil mash out at around 165
This was my first decoction since some equip changes, I missed a few temps.

I boiled 90 minutes, added 2 oz Hallertau for 60, 1 oz Tettnanger for 30.  Whirl pooled and cooled via CFC in about 15 mins to 58F. OG was 1.070, my efficiency was better then expected (1.056).  I allowed it to sit overnight and cool to 50.  Transfered off cold break and pitched a 2000ml starter of WYeast Munich Lager @ 65F.  The started was started 2 days prior and I pitched the whole thing, liquid and all.  Two 5 gallon glass carboys. Steady ferment, beer in a fridge @ 48 - 50 F.  A few days ago on sampling gravity (down to 1.028) I picked up a medium fruity ester.  I will never pitch the liquid from a starter again, I have decanted two batches since then, but could that overpower the entire batch?  My gravity is currently at 1.024 and I've taken the beer up to 55 for a diacetyl rest.  Once my gravity gets below 1.016 I plan to start lagering. 

Any other thoughts? I was expecting very malty, not very fruity. 


--- Quote from: gtoothaker on March 15, 2010, 10:02:48 PM ---Transfered off cold break and pitched a 2000ml starter of WYeast Munich Lager @ 65F.

--- End quote ---

That's what I suspect to be the culprit. Try pitching the wort when it is at or below primary fermentation temperature

--- Quote --- The started was started 2 days prior and I pitched the whole thing, liquid and all.

--- End quote ---

You can test this next time you make a starter by tasting the starter beer. I always do this since it is a cheap insurance against a random infection.


Sorry, I should have been a little more clear.  The wort was at 50F, the starter was at 65F.  I'm concerned that the liquid in the starter developed the esters from the warmer ferment temps and has carried this to the beer. I did a Munich Helles the next weekend and decanted the liquid portion from the starter, everything was at 50F and this one has no esters, sweet pilsner malt flavor.

Well, you pitched a tiny little starter, relative to the beer. That wouldn't even be enough for 5 gallons. So that might have resulted in excessive esters.

Yeah, 2L starter is about 1/2 the size what you needed for a 5-6 gallon batch. Cell growth = ester development. Next time for a 1.050 beer pitch at least the slurry from a 4L or 1 gallon starter per 5 gallons of beer. 2 vials per 3-4L even better. So for an 11 gallon batch of beer you would need at least 2 gallons of starter.

Also, don't pitch the entire starter. Decant the spent starter beer. You are carrying the esters over from the starter wort otherwise.


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