Author Topic: Where are the fruity esters coming from?  (Read 1237 times)

Offline gtoothaker

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Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« on: March 15, 2010, 10:02:48 PM »
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. 


Offline Kaiser

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 10:07:25 PM »
Transfered off cold break and pitched a 2000ml starter of WYeast Munich Lager @ 65F.

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.

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.

Kai

Offline gtoothaker

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 10:19:01 PM »
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.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 10:37:45 PM »
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.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2010, 05:52:36 AM »
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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Offline brewmichigan

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2010, 05:54:11 AM »
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.

He actually made a 10 gallon batch and only used a 2 liter starter.
Mike --- Flint, Michigan

Offline blatz

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 06:33:08 AM »
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.

He actually made a 10 gallon batch and only used a 2 liter starter.

yup - that's no doubt the culprit.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 06:43:10 AM »
According to Mr Malty you need 482 billion cells. How did you make your starter?
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Offline blatz

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 06:46:33 AM »
According to Mr Malty you need 482 billion cells. How did you make your starter?

ahem, 964bn. (10gal)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2010, 06:57:00 AM »
According to Mr Malty you need 482 billion cells. How did you make your starter?

ahem, 964bn. (10gal)

I calculated as an ale. 10gal of 1.070 lager requires 964. I stand corrected.

BINGO! ....this is a big part of your problem.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 07:02:21 AM »
Good point about the pitching rate. I totally missed that. And the OG was also high enough to call this a Bock instead of a Dunkel.

BTW, how was the wort aerated? Low pitching rate alone does not necissarily lead to estery beers.

Kai

Offline gtoothaker

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 08:54:51 AM »
Thanks for the help guys, to answer the outstanding questions:

I made the starter two days before pitching, I boiled 200 grams of light DME in 1800 ml of water for 15 mins, allowed to cool to 65F and transferred an Activator WYeast smackpack 2308 Munich Lager.  I also added in 1/8 tsp of yeast nutrient.  It was at high krausen when pitched.  How far ahead of time do you all typically start your starters, do you allow them to ferment fully, do you build them up?  If anyone can point me to more info on this, it sounds like I need to read up.

I aerated the wort during both transfers (from CFC, later after allowing cold-break to drop) by allowing it to splash from the top of the carboy to the wort surface.  I also shook each carboy for 5 minutes.  I think an aeration setup is in my future.

On the gravity, I designed the recipe with my typical efficiency, 65%.  I got a lot more out of my system as I tightened the gap on my mill and I think the decoction added quite a bit.

So now I've got an estery bock strength brown beer.  I'm at 1.024 gravity.  I was planning to push this down to 35F to lager as the gravity drops.  I know the lager period will diminish the esters slightly, but not a majority of them.  I may try to get creative with this batch, does anyone have experience souring a beer like this, or oaking it.  I've been experimenting with oaking different beers lately and have liked the results.  From what I've read, there may be enough sugar left to add some sour with the appropriate culture.  I'm open to suggestions.

Offline denny

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 08:58:34 AM »
How far ahead of time do you all typically start your starters, do you allow them to ferment fully, do you build them up?  If anyone can point me to more info on this, it sounds like I need to read up.

For a standard ale starter, I do 2-3 qt. at least 5 days ahead of time.  I let that ferment out, cold crash the yeast, and decant the spent wort before pitching.  For 10 gal. of lager, I'd start at least 10 days ahead of time, make the same 2-3 qt. starter , let it ferment out, decant, and re-feed with another 2-3 qt/.  I might even do that once more before cold crashing, decanting, and pitching.
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Offline akr71

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Re: Where are the fruity esters coming from?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2010, 05:34:16 AM »
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.

+1  I just brewed up 5 gallons of Dunkel and used a 6 quart starter (roughly 6000ml) which was cold crashed in the fridge before pitching.  Its still fermenting, so I can't say for sure I don't have any fruity esters, but sniffing the airlock I'd guess no.
Andy

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