Author Topic: Phenolic off-flavour issue  (Read 1280 times)

Offline gmac

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Phenolic off-flavour issue
« on: November 05, 2013, 07:37:21 PM »
Not sure where to put this so I guess here will do.

I've had my 2nd batch that has a strong phenolic off-flavour.  One was a lager, this one was an APA.  The hops are almost non-apparent and the phenols are dominant.  It's going down the drain.
But any idea what bacteria would be causing this?  I've gotten rid of most of my plastics and I'm going to get rid of the rest (what ticks me off a lot is that I re-pitched this into a 10 gal batch recently after kegging the APA.  I didn't notice any issues then but I'm pretty sure I'll eventually be dumping that too).

Any advice on how to clean both of the kegs that have had this?  The lager is actually still sitting in the keg.  I have new rings etc so I will be replacing these but is there a preferred cleaner etc for bacterial issues? 

Going to stainless, I'm done with plastic!

Offline dordway29

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2013, 10:34:09 PM »
Plastic probably isn't your issue. As long as you're using food grade plastic which is what most homebrew shops sell.
Phenolics can come from a few different sources such as fermentation, grains, water source, infection, chlorine etc. What kind of phenolic flavors are you getting? Spicy? Clove? Band-aid? Tannic? That could help narrow it down. My guess, since the beer is an APA and you aren't getting any hop character, is infection. And if you don't notice it prior to kegging, I'm assuming it's happening somewhere in the keg. I would always take apart the posts and dip tubes to clean, sanitize and reassemble between each batch. There are quite a few good cleaners and sanitizers out there. I use PBW to clean and Star San to sanitize. Hope that helps.

Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 10:39:44 PM »
I have no doubt it's an infection. I have a contaminated plastic bucket. Flavour is akin to a Belgian style beer but with the wrong yeast. I don't believe it came from the keg.

Offline dordway29

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2013, 10:50:23 PM »
Alright, I was under the impression you wanted help diagnosing it. I suppose a thorough cleaning is in order. Like I said before, the pbw/star san combo has never failed me.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2013, 12:25:51 AM »
Yeah, nuke it with pbw and starsan.  Completely disassemble and clean everything.  Brush out the diptubes.  You may not have to replace the o-rings if they look like they are in decent shape, but they're cheap so you might as well.
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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2013, 12:29:28 AM »
Oh, and as for what is causing it - hard to say.  It could be wild yeast or some contaminating bacteria.  Either way, it should die with a good cleaning.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2013, 05:17:20 AM »
I recently joined the "I hate plastic" club after way too many contaminated batches.  I switched to glass carboys last year and will never look back again.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2013, 05:45:27 AM »
Alright, I was under the impression you wanted help diagnosing it. I suppose a thorough cleaning is in order. Like I said before, the pbw/star san combo has never failed me.
Sorry it was pretty late when I replied and the whole situation has me ticked off.
I will order some PBW. I thought maybe something stronger might be needed.

Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2013, 05:48:21 AM »
I recently joined the "I hate plastic" club after way too many contaminated batches.  I switched to glass carboys last year and will never look back again.
Trouble is, I'm also in the I hate glass camp too. Heavy and hard to clean.
We had a good bonus year so I think a couple Brewhemoth conicals are coming. Will keep some carboys for one off brews.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2013, 05:56:36 AM »
Yeah, I see your point there... but I use 3-gallon carboys, which are still a bit of a pain but not nearly as heavy.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2013, 06:14:04 AM »
Any advice on how to clean both of the kegs that have had this?  The lager is actually still sitting in the keg.  I have new rings etc so I will be replacing these but is there a preferred cleaner etc for bacterial issues? 

If I get the phenolic infection (about once every two+ years), I switch my sanitizer from Star San to Iodophor along with replacing my hoses.
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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2013, 06:16:09 AM »
I recently joined the "I hate plastic" club after way too many contaminated batches.  I switched to glass carboys last year and will never look back again.
+1 Tried buckets for a couple years. Back to glass. Heavy is not an issue for me. With a carboy brush and drill-mounted scrubber, cleaning is no problem. Safety? Haven't broke one in 20 years of brewing and I do more dangerous things than handling glass carboys(like driving) every day. I still make clean beer in those 20 year old carboys regularly. And I just love to watch the fermentation!

Offline duboman

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2013, 07:10:32 AM »
I recently joined the "I hate plastic" club after way too many contaminated batches.  I switched to glass carboys last year and will never look back again.

Not to raise the debate but I'm a huge fan of plastic, been using the same buckets for over 5 years with no infections in a single batch. They get soaked in OXY, sanitized with Star San and work perfectly fine. IME I find that infections are usually associated with something else in the process like spigots, tubing, keg set ups, infected starters, bottles, etc.
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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2013, 07:27:25 AM »
I recently joined the "I hate plastic" club after way too many contaminated batches.  I switched to glass carboys last year and will never look back again.

Not to raise the debate but I'm a huge fan of plastic, been using the same buckets for over 5 years with no infections in a single batch. They get soaked in OXY, sanitized with Star San and work perfectly fine. IME I find that infections are usually associated with something else in the process like spigots, tubing, keg set ups, infected starters, bottles, etc.
You're absolutely correct, of course. But you can still join the club if you change your mind! :D

Offline factory

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2013, 07:37:58 AM »
Any advice on how to clean both of the kegs that have had this?  The lager is actually still sitting in the keg.  I have new rings etc so I will be replacing these but is there a preferred cleaner etc for bacterial issues? 

If I get the phenolic infection (about once every two+ years), I switch my sanitizer from Star San to Iodophor along with replacing my hoses.

+1  I was going to reply, "Replace your hoses".  I also have a plate chiller that I forgot to sanitize once.  Don't know what your setup is, but the hoses are what has gotten me in the past.  I think my garage has its own Wild Yeast hanging out in there.  :(