Author Topic: What causes a metallic taste?  (Read 3015 times)

Offline macphergus

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What causes a metallic taste?
« on: May 05, 2015, 08:31:20 PM »
I brew all-grain style, 5 gal. batches.  My last two IPAs have had a distinctive metallic taste...or it could be I just over battered.  In any case, I'm trying to learn what causes a metallic taste in home brews related to the process.  The water I use is very good, soft and near neutral pH...and all my malty styles never have a hint of this taste.  Anyone shed some light on this?  Thanks/Cheers.

Offline 69franx

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 08:58:59 PM »
I'm not the expert here, but I'm sure we need more info to be a le to help.  Grist, mash schedule, hops and hop schedule, ferm schedule, etc on the front side. On the taste side, what are you tasting, like kicking tin foul, etc.all will want to help
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Offline heavydeadlifts

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What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2015, 09:20:26 PM »
I got the metallic taste problem with every batch I made when I started kegging...it has since all been cured by using a Campden tablet mixed into my mash

I don't know the science behind it, however it fixed my issues and I am multiple batches later with great tasting beer
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 11:04:36 PM »
That's the problem with describing flavor by distance. Perhaps chlorophynols taste metallic to him. I can see that happening. To me they are like a latex exam glove only stronger and far more disgusting.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2015, 12:49:55 AM »
I've had that issue, ended up being rust inside the draw tube. Swapped it out and that fixed it. Haven't had any issues since, though I have also passivated everything since then as well.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

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Offline jeffy

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2015, 01:40:25 AM »
I get the perception of metallic flavor with certain hops, such as Willamette.
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Offline markpotts

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2015, 09:23:45 AM »
What is the alkalinity of your liquor and are you treating it correctly for your grist?
I had big metallic flavours in the first few pale beers I brewed.....this was before I had an understanding of alkalinity and hitting the right mash pH. My water was too high in alkalinity for pale beers and this reflected in harsh, metallic tastes in the final beers.
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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2015, 12:05:11 PM »
Sounds to me like you have already dialed it down to a hops issue. Try backing off on the bittering additions by half. Also make sure your hops are fresh and stored cold and sealed, preferably purged with co2.

Offline erockrph

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2015, 01:00:16 PM »
I get the perception of metallic flavor with certain hops, such as Willamette.
+1 - although I often wonder if it is a combination of hops + water chemistry, or something with specific hop growing/harvesting conditions. I get this from a lot of commercial brews using Nugget, but I've never gotten it from my own.
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Offline denny

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2015, 05:04:22 PM »
Oxidation often causes a metallic off flavor.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2015, 05:21:20 PM »
My last two IPAs have had a distinctive metallic taste...or it could be I just over battered.


Over battered? What does that mean? And how sure are you that it is metallic and not something else? Is the flavor similar to putting a penny in your mouth? Or similar to blood?

In any case, I'm trying to learn what causes a metallic taste in home brews related to the process.  The water I use is very good, soft and near neutral pH...and all my malty styles never have a hint of this taste.

Typically, we would look at water chemistry first. Higher concentrations of copper, manganese, zinc, or iron could cause obvious metallic tastes. These could come from the water itself or from using these reactive materials within your brewing process. But then you say that it only happens in you hoppy beers, which may make that point invalid.

Next up would be oxidation of lipids, which may cause metallic flavors like Denny said, but the science behind that isn't well understood yet. That's not to say it isn't true, it's just that the explanation hasn't caught up with us yet. Something interesting here is that removing spent hops & hot break from your kettle efficiently can ensure a lower level of lipids in the fermenter (Source: Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Sept/Oct 1985 - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2050-0416.1985.tb04349.x/pdf).

Perhaps in your hoppier beers you are not removing enough of the hop mass before the fermenter or are not getting enough hot break (combined with your water) to get below your personal taste threshold for this metallic taste.
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Offline macphergus

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Re: What causes a metallic taste?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2015, 11:29:53 PM »
Thanks for all your help on this. (should have read over "bittered" not battered). Think I found the source.  A close inspection found rust on the stainless steel screw clamp holding the kettle screen filter to the fitting going into the valve.  I scrubbed it good in a cleaner and couldn't believe how much rust came out (barely visible before cleaning).  Lesson learned, more thorough cleaning.