Author Topic: Nasty Off-Flavor  (Read 1497 times)

Offline Phil_M

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Nasty Off-Flavor
« on: July 08, 2015, 12:18:22 PM »
A few of you might remember I brewed a Saison a while back, where the mash pH was REALLY low due to using too much phosphoric acid in the mash water. Beer tasted fine while fermenting, though pretty acidic. After bottling though I feel like it has a nasty stomach-acid like character. I can't think of any other descriptor.

They're all still sitting in my "cellar," in hopes they'll improve.

Meanwhile, fast forward to my next bottled batch, my recent hefeweizen. The first few bottles were fine, but now I'm noticing a similar off-flavor. Now this batch did use more phosphoric in the acid than normal, but still nowhere near amount from the saison screwup. I didn't measure the mash pH, after several beers that mashed really close to the Bru'n water predictions I stopped bothering.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of off flavor? I thought phosphoric acid was tasteless, but could it be a factor? Have my beers developed some sort of infection while bottling? I've brewed a few batches in between these beers, but they've all been kegged.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 01:35:35 PM »
How did the kegged beers come out?  Same acidic flavor?  When you say nasty stomach-acid flavor it really reminds me of acetic acid (vinegar-like).  Do you get that in the aroma or flavor or is it more butyric (vomit like?)

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 01:40:58 PM »
It's reminiscent of puke, so I'd say butyric. Certainly isn't vinegar-like, to me that's a more pleasant sort of acidic flavor.

Kegged beers were fine, no such acidic flavor.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 01:43:06 PM »
Unfortunately, butyric is typically produced by infections (bacteria). Maybe the bottling bucket or bottles weren't completely cleaned all the way. 

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 01:57:47 PM »
Interesting. I'd wondered if the saison's flavor was an infection, so I bottled this last batch from the keg. Basically just used a keg like a bottling bucket, added priming solution and beer to the keg and used CO2 pressure and a picnic tap to fill the bottles.

Same transfer hoses were used for all my recent beers, including the kegged ones that weren't acidic.

Could it be my bottles? They get rinsed out when empty, then soaked in PBW and rinsed again, then star sanned prior to filling.

Usually when I leave beer/wort out it develops a vinegar small as it sours/goes off, only place I've noticed butyric aromas/flavors have been these two beers.

I remember someone saying that Star San isn't the greatest against bacteria, maybe I need to try something stronger.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 02:01:01 PM »
Maybe a quick scrub with a bottle brush to the insides of each bottle would help as well in your regimen.  If you hold up a bottle to the light do you see any white rings where the head space and beer interface?

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 02:03:54 PM »
I'll check that when I get home.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 05:12:05 PM »
Phosphoric acid may have a mild flavor but you will still taste the impact of the ph reduction. Did you follow the same water treatment process with the batches that were kegged?
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 09:40:50 PM »
Maybe a quick scrub with a bottle brush to the insides of each bottle would help as well in your regimen.  If you hold up a bottle to the light do you see any white rings where the head space and beer interface?

There's no ring stuck to the bottle, but there is something floating in the beer, right on the edge like. Both beers have this.

Phosphoric acid may have a mild flavor but you will still taste the impact of the ph reduction. Did you follow the same water treatment process with the batches that were kegged?

Kegged beers had the same path to different water treatments, I targeted a mash pH of 5.4, and did whatever mineral additions/acid additions needed for the style/grist. The saison used a TON of acid, 70 ml in 8.75 gallons of water.

Two beers were brewed in between the saison and the hefewiezen, one didn't need any acid, the other got 40 ml in 8.75 gallons of water. The hefewiezen got 45 ml in 9 gallons, so doing the math it got less acid per water than the in-between beer.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 01:23:06 AM »
Got a pic of the saison, you can see the ring, as well as the "floaters."



Pretty sure it's an infection at this point, now to figure out exactly where it came from. Thankfully kegged beers seem to be fine, but cold cold storing them be preventing this from becoming apparent? The last beer I kegged was on draft for about a month, stored at 50ºF.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline bboy9000

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Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2015, 01:36:06 AM »
Your bottle cleaning process seems fine.  I used to do that when I bottled, plus I would visually inspect the bottles by holding them up to the light.  The only time I had an infection it was only in two bottles from the same batch and I got lazy and didn't visually inspect them before bottling.  The beers had a lactic sourness and when I looked at the bottles they had some dried crud from the previous batch.

Edit:  I does look like an infection though.  Do you use bacteria in your brewery?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 01:51:18 AM by bboy9000 »
Brian
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2015, 10:47:00 AM »
Nope, I've never brewed with any sort of bacteria, or wild yeast for that matter.

Something I just realized...these are the only two beers I've ever used my blowoff tube on...

These are the two most recent batches I've bottled, but I've bottled in the past and never had any issues.

Thinking I need to try and bottle a "regular" batch and see if that shows signs of infection, see if I can pin down the issue to that blowoff tube.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 10:53:45 AM by Phil_M »
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2015, 11:08:54 PM »
Definitely looks like some sort of pellicle on the top of the bottle line there.  Make sure to really scrub those bottles out well before using them again. 

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2015, 04:44:49 PM »
Yeah, I'll definitely scrub these. Might even let them soak in a bleach solution for a while.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Nasty Off-Flavor
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2015, 05:00:22 PM »

Yeah, I'll definitely scrub these. Might even let them soak in a bleach solution for a while.

Slightly off topic for a moment- isn't Star San better than bleach?  I thought I heard or read that Star San needs a minute of contact time to sanitize and bleach needed 20 minutes.
Brian
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