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Author Topic: Help me with a strange flavor...  (Read 5868 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2016, 07:14:57 am »
Really hard to explain but it's super sharp and very unpleasant.

Is it astringent? That's like sucking on a teabag: mouth dries out.
Is it metallic? Put some of the liquid on the back of your hand and sniff/taste it. If it smells/tastes like a copper coin, it's metallic.
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Offline charles1968

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2016, 07:23:14 am »
Mouth-puckering astringency might be due to tannins from grain husks in the mash. Maybe something about the new mashing routine caused the temp or pH to be higher than normal.

Offline beersk

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2016, 07:28:54 am »
Mouth-puckering astringency might be due to tannins from grain husks in the mash. Maybe something about the new mashing routine caused the temp or pH to be higher than normal.
He said he checked the pH and it was 5.22 in the mash and 5.31 in the sparge. So that can't be it.
Jesse

Offline troybinso

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2016, 07:54:03 am »
Is it a very hoppy beer? I find hopped wort to taste pretty unpleasant. The hop bitterness usually seems very harsh and aggressive, even in beers that have lots of late hops but not a ton of bitterness.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2016, 08:22:41 am »
Thanks guys.  Not hoppy... it's a helles.  1 ounce of Hallertau as a FWH and another at 60.  IBUs are only 22.  This is a new 25' stainless chiller.  I did submerge it in hot water and Oxi and then in Starsan solution prior to dripping it into the kettle for the chill.  That dropping of the chiller into the kettle would have been the first time the chiller was placed into a boiling liquid so I do wonder if there is something there.  Yesterday when I ran some experiments, I placed the chiller into a pot of boiling water to see if I could detect anything.  I thought I got a very faint metallic flavor when I tasted that water.  Is it possible that some amount of metal/oil/fabrication material went into the beer when it hit a boiling liquid for the first time?  On the mash and sparge, everything went really smoothly pH-wise and I had just calibrated my meter the day of the brewing.  I had just milled my grain prior to mashing as well.  The wort LOOKED fantastic and smells really nice from the airlock but after the taste yesterday, I know the beer will be undrinkable.  I just wish I knew how I got this flavor.  I once had my carbon filter go out on me... I should have replaced it.  I filtered water and the cartridge was coughing up everything it had filtered out and the water tasted VERY similar to this.  I lost a couple of batches (this is like 5-6 years ago) because I brewed with that water without tasting it first.  This is NOT the issue here as I checked the filter and it's working fine and the water it's filtering is delicious.  But the flavor is really similar.  Is there a clue there? 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2016, 08:32:17 am »
Ken, Assuming that the new chiller didn't have some manufacturing residue on it, I'd also consider over-sparging as a contributor to the astringency. I have to stop my runoff at a brix of 3 to 4 in order to avoid tannin extraction when I brew. The common lore for stopping runoff is 2 brix.

I now use less water for sparging and top off my kettle to the proper pre-boil volume with the remaining sparging volume.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2016, 08:43:46 am »
It's hard to say what kinds of flavors might be created by manufacturing oils, especially if the SMB reacted with it, but I don't think what you describe is inconsistent with what I would expect.

Isopropyl alcohol is good at dissolving oils. I'd clean the outside with it and run as much as you can through the chiller to get out any residues that might be present. Then wash it like heck with water at least until it no longer smells like isopropyl alcohol. Then try testing it in water and see if that tastes different from prior tests. If it's different then that strongly suggests that as your cause.

Unfortunately if that's the case you probably can't cure that batch of beer. If the filter barfed up a bunch of sludge into the beer then maybe it will settle out with time.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2016, 08:49:34 am »
Ken, Assuming that the new chiller didn't have some manufacturing residue on it, I'd also consider over-sparging as a contributor to the astringency. I have to stop my runoff at a brix of 3 to 4 in order to avoid tannin extraction when I brew. The common lore for stopping runoff is 2 brix.

I now use less water for sparging and top off my kettle to the proper pre-boil volume with the remaining sparging volume.
Thanks Martin.  Can I assume this only applies to fly-sparging?  I'm a batch sparger and use about 60-65% of my water in the mash and the rest in the sparge.  That piece of my process has been pretty solid once I understood that I should acidify my sparge water before adding it back to my MT.

Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2016, 08:51:28 am »
It's hard to say what kinds of flavors might be created by manufacturing oils, especially if the SMB reacted with it, but I don't think what you describe is inconsistent with what I would expect.

Isopropyl alcohol is good at dissolving oils. I'd clean the outside with it and run as much as you can through the chiller to get out any residues that might be present. Then wash it like heck with water at least until it no longer smells like isopropyl alcohol. Then try testing it in water and see if that tastes different from prior tests. If it's different then that strongly suggests that as your cause.

Unfortunately if that's the case you probably can't cure that batch of beer. If the filter barfed up a bunch of sludge into the beer then maybe it will settle out with time.
The chiller didn't really smell or feel like anything was on it.  The thing about chillers is that a brewer uses them for MANY years so I honestly don't remember if I did anything with my original copper chiller.  This new one has now been in boiling wort and also in boiling water (as a test) and my guess is that if there was something offensive on it, it's gone now.
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline charles1968

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2016, 11:04:43 am »
Mouth-puckering astringency might be due to tannins from grain husks in the mash. Maybe something about the new mashing routine caused the temp or pH to be higher than normal.
He said he checked the pH and it was 5.22 in the mash and 5.31 in the sparge. So that can't be it.

Unless a faulty instrument gives the wrong reading. I'd check the thermometer - easy and takes seconds.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2016, 11:33:51 am »
Mouth-puckering astringency might be due to tannins from grain husks in the mash. Maybe something about the new mashing routine caused the temp or pH to be higher than normal.
He said he checked the pH and it was 5.22 in the mash and 5.31 in the sparge. So that can't be it.

Unless a faulty instrument gives the wrong reading. I'd check the thermometer - easy and takes seconds.
My meter has been spot-on solid since I got it (an Omega 7111, just calibrated before the brewday) and my thermometer is a Thermapen which has also been a thing of beauty since I got it.  I got them both specifically because I'm tired of guessing about whether my readings are correct.
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline charles1968

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2016, 01:12:33 pm »
I'm a big fan of thermapens - love the speed and accuracy. Might still be worth a check in boiling water in case it's developed a fault. If it undetestimates the BP then your sparge water would be too hot.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2016, 01:28:13 pm »
I'm a big fan of thermapens - love the speed and accuracy. Might still be worth a check in boiling water in case it's developed a fault. If it undetestimates the BP then your sparge water would be too hot.
I hear this.  2 things:  I use a dial thermo to determine the temp of my sparge water and I intentionally only heat the sparge water to about 140° since there is no real reason to heat it further.  Also, I heat my strike (mash) water to about 160 on a dial thermo and then transfer it to the MT and then check it with the Thermapen to fine-tune the mash temp.  So in that case, both the dial AND the Thermapen would have to be out of whack in the same direction.  On the sparge, highly unlikely that it was too hot based on the fact that I add it in the 140-150 range.  Plus... I have brewed other batches lately and those have been fine.  I'm pretty sure this is a NEW thing that was just introduced.  Thanks again to all for the responses.
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline charles1968

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2016, 03:05:04 pm »
Not temp then. Any chance you got hallertau mixed up with a high AA hop?

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2016, 03:56:41 pm »
Not temp then. Any chance you got hallertau mixed up with a high AA hop?
Well.  My bags were marked 3.2% Hallertau and smelled like Hallertau.  How about this...

I just spoke with another brewer who had replaced some of the parts in his brewery with stainless (some valves and a chiller).  He ended up having the exact same issue I did... nasty, metallic, harsh flavor in his wort.  Turns out that stainless (I'm not sure if this is ALL stainless... maybe some is made differently, maybe some is cleaned up before it's sold, etc.) needs to be cleaned, boiled, etc. before using it.  I had never heard this but I am sharing it for whatever it's worth so no one else experiences this and loses a batch.  I have very little stainless in my brewery.  I have an old-school SS racking cane that I use and my kettle is SS as well and I don't remember having issues with those two things.  If anyone else knows any additional information on this, please post.  Cheers.
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.