This is a follow-up to a post I made a while back. I have been brewing for a long time and was producing good to fantastic beers. Then, suddenly, about 18 months ago, I started producing crap. I looked at sanitation, equipment, water, yeast health and pitching rates, temperatures, etc. I still keep producing a product that doesn't really taste like beer...it's tastes very muddled and has an odd aftertaste that I would describe as caramel-like and sweet (although NOT cloying. It's not an attenuation issue, according to my hydrometer) although that's really reaching(unfortunately, I could go down an extensive list of common off-favors and say "no" to each and every one of them).
One thing I want to ask about is oxidyzation...the beer does not taste like cardboard, but I suppose I COULD describe the aftertaste as slightly-sherry-like (please don't get into a debate about how I said caramel and now I'm saying sherry...like I said, I'm really clutching at straws here). After looking closer at my process, I realize that I have been lazy in one respect where I didn't used to be: purging the keg with CO2 before adding the beer. I've been skipping that lately (yes, I know it's lazy) and just purging the headspace. However, would oxydized flavors set in that quickly....say 3 days after kegging?
Any feedback is welcome...getting super-frustrated.