Author Topic: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma  (Read 1521 times)

Offline redzim

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belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« on: September 14, 2013, 05:30:55 AM »
I brewed Jamil's Belgian Blonde. It went thru primary in about 1 week, then I kegged it and it's been carbing for 2 weeks. I tapped it yesterday and there are ferocious cider and green apple aromas, not so much in the taste, but certainly in the aroma. Some quick reading of Palmer, etc, says that the primary cause is usually too much cane/corn sugar, and too high a fermentation temp.

Well this is exactly what the recipe called for: 1.5# sugar per 5 gals (and I've found a couple sites saying the 1# is general considered the upper limit per 5 gals) and Jamil also says to start the fermentation at 64F and let it rise to 68F, which I did.  The beer went from 1.065 to 1.011,  and I used dry T-58 yeast.

This being my first non-Witbier Belgian attempt, is this normal? Is Jamil's recipe messed up? Should I just keep tasting it every week and see if it dissipates (Palmer suggests that it will...)? Is this (gasp) my first dumper in 6 years?

-red

Offline andyi

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 06:43:18 AM »

I'm not familiar with T-58 but I have done many Belgians with lots of sugar and not had those issues. I think that one week in primary may be the culprit based on the aromas you report.  FWIW I ferment my Belgians around three weeks to give the yeasts time to finish, clean-up and floc out.

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 06:45:59 AM »
I'd suspect acetaldehyde from short time on yeast cake.

Offline redzim

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 06:50:57 AM »
I just checked my notes, and I crash cooled it after 8 days in primary; there was no airlock activity for the 48 hours prior to that... so I figured it was done...  incorrect assumption?

(I pitched a pretty large healthy yeast culture and it took off like mad, only about 6 hours lag time)

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 06:59:38 AM »
I don't know how others do it but I taste or smell test my for acetaldehyde if I think I'm rushing it. But in most cases if it's on the yeast more than 21 days it's gone.

Offline duboman

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2013, 07:04:50 AM »
8 days is pretty short and not sure if you under pitched but that combination is enough to cause the issues you're having. I oils give it some time to condition and it may improve and clean up a bit.

I like to keep my Belgians a good 2-3 weeks primary as some strains are slow to finish. Proper pitch rate and aeration is always a good practice for any beer and not to rush things
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 07:05:39 AM »
+1 to the good advice from both.  A beer of that gravity (or most any gravity) benefits from an extra week on the yeast, to clean up fermentation byproducts such as the acetaldehyde you are experiencing.  My last Belgian Blond (OG 1.068) was served at a month, so I left it in primary for 3 weeks, kegged it and carbed it for a week.  I've never brewed a beer that didn't get 2 weeks on the yeast, and I get clean beers on a regular basis. It helps.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 07:08:05 AM »
By the way, that amount of sugar contributed in no way to your problems.  Stronger Belgian styles like Dubbel, Tripel, BDSA/Quad use even more sugar and come out amazing.
Jon H.

Offline erockrph

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 07:11:10 AM »
I'd suspect acetaldehyde from short time on yeast cake.

+1 - I've gone up to 25% simple sugar in my big Belgians and I've never had a hint of cider. Green apple and a relatively short time in primary says Acetaldehyde to me.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 07:16:37 AM »
I just checked my notes, and I crash cooled it after 8 days in primary; there was no airlock activity for the 48 hours prior to that... so I figured it was done...  incorrect assumption?

(I pitched a pretty large healthy yeast culture and it took off like mad, only about 6 hours lag time)
Yep - bad assumption.  No airlock activity doesn't mean fermentation has stopped, just that it's stopped in its most vigorous form.  There is NO substitute for a hydrometer here.  Check for 2 to 3 consecutive days - if your hydrometer reads consistent on 2 -3 days, then you're done.
Jon H.

Offline redzim

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 07:20:59 AM »
thanks for helping diagnose the problem... now for the "solution" I guess I wait another couple weeks to see if a cold-conditioning period helps it out? which I'm guessing is a coin-flip seeing as how I screwed up the process...

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 08:25:47 AM »
If my understanding is correct, acetaldehyde is removed one of two ways. Yeast converting to alcohol or boil off. Acetaldehyde has a boiling point of 68° but is not very volatile. So, time in a bottle may not help much. Seems like a week or so at room temp with a vent, or reyeasting it are the only options.

Offline erockrph

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 08:28:57 AM »
thanks for helping diagnose the problem... now for the "solution" I guess I wait another couple weeks to see if a cold-conditioning period helps it out? which I'm guessing is a coin-flip seeing as how I screwed up the process...

If you didn't filter then there should still be a little yeast left to help remove the acetaldehyde. I'd recommend bringing the beer up to 68F or so. Give it a few days to a week and check if the acetaldehyde character has diminished. If that's not enough on its own, you can also try adding a bit of priming sugar to the keg to wake up whatever yeast is left in suspension. And if that doesn't work, then you may need to add some yeast.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 08:41:06 AM »
Acetaldehyde.  Caused by too cold too fast.  Bring the temperature up past 70 F for a couple of weeks.
Dave

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Offline jeffy

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Re: belgian blonde cidery/acetaldehyde aroma
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 09:45:28 AM »
Good advice from all above ^
I wonder where John Palmer got the idea that too much corn sugar causes this issue?  It's pretty obvious that insufficient time on the yeast is the culprit.  I've used over 20% corn sugar in a Belgian Strong with no problems. 
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