Author Topic: Help me with a strange flavor...  (Read 2311 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Help me with a strange flavor...
« on: May 23, 2016, 08:08:25 PM »
Gang:  I was working on a low(er)-O2 batch on Saturday.  In my attempts to lower O2, I racked my mash water from pot to MT using high-temp tubing (white, opaque, very rubbery and bouncy), I also added a very small amount (half a gram) of sodium metabisulfite to my mash water in an attempt to scavenge O2.  This is a suggestion from the German Brewer's paper and I was a little concerned to use it since I have no experience with it and I only used about a third of what was suggested.  I also stirred my mash much slower and quieter.  I made a small hose/hose connection device so I could recirc without splashing, I racked the sparge water to the MT the same way and added another pinch of SMB.  I boiled, chilled with a brand new SS chiller I bought (I cleaned it in hot water and Oxi and then sanitized it in Starsan solution.  I stirred very slowly while chilling so O2 pickup would be minimal.  I let the kettle settle in the sink with ice and water and eventually racked (quietly) to primary.  I was curious to see if the wort tasted any different and when I took a sample sip... HO LEE SNOT... it was the most harsh and astringent taste I have ever had.  I chugged a pint of water afterwards and could still taste it.  I have no idea where it came from.  I have brewed for 17+ years and I have no clue.  I first thought my carbon block filter could be regurgitating everything it had filtered out over the past 6 months but I checked it and the water being filtered was just fine. 

This morning I did a couple tests with the new stuff (tubing, chiller, SMB).  I brought some water to strike temp (about 160°) and racked it from the pot to a glass measuring cup using the new tubing thinking the tubing was not high-temp and plastic leeched into my wort.  I let that water cool and I tasted it.  Fine.  Then I brought the water in the pot to a boil and then put my chiller in there thinking that something was up with this new SS chiller.  I turned off the heat and left the chiller in there for 10 minutes and then grabbed some of that water, let it cool and taste it.  Fine.  Then I took a pinch of SMB and added it to the hot water, stirred, grabbed a sample, let it cool and tasted it.  Fine.  Then I thought my tastebuds were failing me on Saturday when I tasted the wort so I sanitized a bottling wand and took a sample of this beer that is now fermenting (a helles with 2352) and sure enough... harsh, face-wrinkling, astringency.  I can't tell if it's metallic, chemical-like or what but when you swallow it... oh my God, it's awful.  Anyone see any reason why this would happen?  Are new SS chillers supposed to be prepped or seasoned before the first use?  Sorry for the length and thanks for reading.

Offline beersk

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 08:16:14 PM »
I don't know, Ken, that is quite odd. Only thing I can think that would cause that kind of astringency is pH but it doesn't sound like that's the case here. I doubt it's anything to do with the chiller. Do you taste wort much? It is often a little bitter and sweet tasting. Try tasting the stuff you skim off the top when skimming yeast! Yuck!

Hope someone else chimes in with something more than what I offered.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 08:19:55 PM »
Thanks Beersk.  Yeah, everything else went as planned.  Milled grain right before mashing, mash temp was 150, I got the mash pH (5.22) and the sparge pH (5.31) to line up nicely and everything else seemed totally normal.  I picked this recipe because I make it A LOT and I know how it's supposed to go.  No, I'm not in the habit of tasting wort all the time but I know what you mean... it tastes like $h!t.  But I did want to taste this wort just to see if anything seemed different because of the steps I took.  Boy did it taste different!  :D

Offline denny

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2016, 08:58:39 PM »
It is divine retribution for not following their method to the letter...;)

Seriously, though, I can't think of anything in particular.  The amount of SMB you used is so small that I doubt it will do anything, either O2 wise or flavor wise, but that's a WAG.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2016, 09:36:52 PM »
I was starting to focus on the chiller because I seem to remember there being some sort of prep for a new, first-time used chiller.  Of course I got my old chiller 16+ years ago and have no idea if I did anything.  Some Google results say that people soak theirs in water and vinegar (I assume for the low-pH but I soaked mine in Starsan which I would think would have the same affect) and other cleaning rituals for using a chiller for the firs time.  Otherwise, I see nothing else that could have caused this but I'm a little concerned about brewing again if I haven't found the cause of this.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2016, 09:59:30 PM »
I bet its a lack of oxygen.  ;)

Sorry, had to go there. I really can't see anything that would give you that astringency either. Does it come across as metallic or more chemical in nature?

Offline denny

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2016, 10:01:18 PM »
I bet its a lack of oxygen.  ;)

Sorry, had to go there. I really can't see anything that would give you that astringency either. Does it come across as metallic or more chemical in nature?

HAHAHAHAHA!

Astringency is a dry mouthfeel, so I don't see either metallic or chemical as being pat of it if it's truly astringency.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2016, 10:06:01 PM »
I bet its a lack of oxygen.  ;)


Undoubtedly.  ;D
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2016, 10:07:06 PM »
I bet its a lack of oxygen.  ;)

Sorry, had to go there. I really can't see anything that would give you that astringency either. Does it come across as metallic or more chemical in nature?

HAHAHAHAHA!

Astringency is a dry mouthfeel, so I don't see either metallic or chemical as being pat of it if it's truly astringency.

Good point. I was just going by his descriptions using metallic/chemical (more flavor based, I guess).

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2016, 10:19:01 PM »
Really hard to explain but it's super sharp and very unpleasant.  I suppose that I will have to taste the wort all the way through the process which I know is a good idea anyway but I generally don't.  After the mash, taste it.  After the sparge, taste it, after the boil, let some cool and taste it, after the chill, taste it.  I don't know what else to do.

Offline jimmykx250

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2016, 10:57:32 PM »
Let us know if u figure this one out!
Jimmykx250

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2016, 11:12:31 PM »
Really hard to explain but it's super sharp and very unpleasant.  I suppose that I will have to taste the wort all the way through the process which I know is a good idea anyway but I generally don't.  After the mash, taste it.  After the sparge, taste it, after the boil, let some cool and taste it, after the chill, taste it.  I don't know what else to do.

I wouldn't say I taste the wort that much through the brewing process. I do taste it after taking an initial gravity reading post boil just to check for notable astringency (if any) and malt flavors/additions.

And you are even getting this flavor in the fermenter now too?  Any off aroma along with that?

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2016, 01:23:52 AM »
Maybe some residual manufacturing oils or other residue that did not get totally removed in the initial cleaning?  With the acidic mash, it may have lifted some off the outside of the coils?
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2016, 12:49:23 PM »
Maybe some residual manufacturing oils or other residue that did not get totally removed in the initial cleaning?  With the acidic mash, it may have lifted some off the outside of the coils?

Its possible, but I think he stated that he ran it through some PBW and starsan after that prior to adding it to the kettle. I would think that would remove everything that was there.

Offline beersk

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2016, 01:10:42 PM »
Maybe some residual manufacturing oils or other residue that did not get totally removed in the initial cleaning?  With the acidic mash, it may have lifted some off the outside of the coils?

Its possible, but I think he stated that he ran it through some PBW and starsan after that prior to adding it to the kettle. I would think that would remove everything that was there.
I would also think this would make the beer oily and have no foam retention rather than astringent...I don't know though...
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