Author Topic: Phenolic off-flavour issue  (Read 1277 times)

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2013, 07:39:33 AM »
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.

I was a huge fan of plastic for 12 years before it bit me square in the buttocks.  One day your luck may run out.  Take it from a guy who's been there.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2013, 07:48:54 AM »
After knowing two people with severe ligament damage, I use plastic 99% of the time. I have been using the same two six gallon better bottles for 3 years without issue.

Offline dkfick

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2013, 07:52:25 AM »
to further derail this... I don't use plastic fermenters not because of fear of infection but because of flavor and aroma absorption.  I was finding I would get flavor carry overs from the buckets.  Even after doing things like 3 month long PBW soaks etc...  I switched to almost all stainless.  I will say that the better bottle plastic seems less porous than the bucket plastic and doesn't seem to absorb as much.

The phenolics could be due to a seasonal water change? Perhaps more chlorine being used?  Ferm temps?  Or it could just be said infection.  I would take the kegs apart wash with PBW and then fill about half way with sanitizer and leave them upright for a few days...and upside down for a few days (add pressure to the keg so they don't leak).
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2013, 08:41:23 AM »
I'd also wonder whether water had a part to play in those off flavors.

I find phenolic off flavors are usually related to a wild yeast contamination but that doesn't necessarily mean it can't be bacterial. As others have said, careful and details cleaning and sanitation will resolve the problem.
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Offline ajk

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2013, 09:15:43 AM »
Wild yeast is my guess. When it has happened to me, it has been pretty persistent.

I do an annual equipment refresh, replacing all hoses, boiling everything small, and hitting everything big with a different sanitizer (Iodophor instead of StarSan, as AmandaK suggested). I think the temporary sanitizer switch is important if it's wild yeast, which I think is harder to kill with those products than bacteria.

I dislike both plastic and glass for all the reasons mentioned. I ferment in Cornelius kegs. They're not trivial to clean, but still easier than carboys in my opinion.

Offline denny

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2013, 09:19:14 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.

And I've gone the opposite way.  No offense, Dave, but I look at it as a technique problem, not an equipment problem.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2013, 09:36:40 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.

And I've gone the opposite way.  No offense, Dave, but I look at it as a technique problem, not an equipment problem.

I'm with Denny on this one.  I don't use buckets, but I do use Better Bottles and have had some of them for close to 10 years.  They work great.  I've had only a couple batches get infected over the years and I don't think it's related to the fermenters as I still use them and have no persistent problems.

I used to love my glass carboys but I got rid of them all last year after I cracked one with one of my kids nearby.  I just don't need the risk.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2013, 09:43:40 AM »
Graham, on the kegs a deep clean, use a dip tube brush, and soak in PBW. Replace all of the o-rings, or boil.
When you have the posts off, boil them, which will kill anything lurking in them. Don't forget to remove the lid o-ring and clean it and on the lid's lip where gunk can build up. Remove the PRV, clean, sanitize.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2013, 01:46:38 PM »

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.

And I've gone the opposite way.  No offense, Dave, but I look at it as a technique problem, not an equipment problem.

I'm with Denny on this one.  I don't use buckets, but I do use Better Bottles and have had some of them for close to 10 years.  They work great.  I've had only a couple batches get infected over the years and I don't think it's related to the fermenters as I still use them and have no persistent problems.

I used to love my glass carboys but I got rid of them all last year after I cracked one with one of my kids nearby.  I just don't need the risk.

Nice to know I'm with good company on this one:)
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Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2013, 02:35:22 PM »
Thanks all.
You should have seen the great reply I just spent 20 minutes crafting only to have it disappear somehow during the preview process.  It was brilliant.

Short version:
Water is well, no chlorine or chloramine, grain is fresh and other batches were fine.

Denny's right, my process is the problem but now I've got the problem so I need to get rid of it.
I'm now doing 15 gal batches so I have too many pails to lug around as it is.  I bet I have a bad pail but last night everything was tasting like band-aids in my mind.  It may be our new house and the fact that I brewed a lot more in winter than summer this year and it gets cold here in winter.  I've had a brett issue and now this since moving here and no issues at the old place and used plastic almost entirely.  I love the ease of cleaning etc with plastic and if it works for you, great.

Kegs will get washed thoroughly with dairy cleaners ( http://www2.dupont.com/Glycolic_Acid/en_US/assets/downloads/k16081_dairy_cleaner.pdf ) and PBW and Star-San.  I've got access to the dairy cleaner so why not?  Will remove beer stone if nothing else.

My fermentation area is getting a pool chlorine/water spray down (find it better than household bleach).
I'm gonna invest in some stainless to reduce the amount of buckets I have to move.  I'll be doing a modified gravity system with no pump. 

Thanks all for the comments and help.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2013, 03:29:35 PM »

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.

And I've gone the opposite way.  No offense, Dave, but I look at it as a technique problem, not an equipment problem.

I'm with Denny on this one.  I don't use buckets, but I do use Better Bottles and have had some of them for close to 10 years.  They work great.  I've had only a couple batches get infected over the years and I don't think it's related to the fermenters as I still use them and have no persistent problems.

I used to love my glass carboys but I got rid of them all last year after I cracked one with one of my kids nearby.  I just don't need the risk.

Nice to know I'm with good company on this one:)
+1.  I use buckets and BBs exclusively (have for years) and make consistently clean beers.
Jon H.

Offline gmac

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2013, 11:21:02 PM »
Listen, I'm trying to convince the wife that I need to spend some big bucks on stainless here. Don't go screwing it up with facts and reality.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2013, 08:01:36 AM »
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Offline beersk

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Re: Phenolic off-flavour issue
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2013, 08:02:55 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.

And I've gone the opposite way.  No offense, Dave, but I look at it as a technique problem, not an equipment problem.
Well, if he switched to glass and the issue went away, then I'd say he made the right choice. I don't like plastic either, not just in brewing, but with almost anything, like water bottles. I use them for tuperware, but I wish there was another option...there's glass, I suppose. A bit pricey though.

I've fermented in carboys for years, dig them. Just need to be careful handling them, but that's not difficult. I tried fermenting in kegs for a few batches, that was kinda cool, but I felt like the beer tasted a little different. Maybe because of the geometry of the fermenter and being under slightly more hydrostatic pressure? Also, they were more of a pain to clean out. But I guess I just do an over night soak with PBW for my carboys, so that's easy. Guess I could've done that when I fermented in kegs, too...

Joe, do you cold crash in your better bottles? That may be the one thing that holds me back from going to them; the negative pressure and the flexing when you move them around.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 08:06:55 AM by beersk »
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