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Author Topic: Help me with a strange flavor...  (Read 5870 times)

Offline beersk

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2016, 05:49:15 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.
Interesting...thanks for the info, Ken!
Jesse

Offline toby

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2016, 09:58:24 am »
Not temp then. Any chance you got hallertau mixed up with a high AA hop?

I had literally that happen to me on a batch of my Kolsch last year.  Bags were labeled Hallertauer, but I suspect were actually Hallertau Magnum since I didn't notice that they were over 8% AA until after I was cleaning up.  Needless to say, my Kolsch was more of a Kolsch/Pils hybrid at that point.

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2016, 11:00:39 am »
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.

The only info I have is that I've never heard that before and I've been around a while.  There is no reason for stainless to be any different than most other metals.  Sure, it's gonna be dirty, but that's about it.  What is the issue that cleaning/boiling/etc.solves?
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2016, 11:59:55 am »
I am the guy that Ken spoke to.
I ruined a batch of helles, by not properly cleaning my new stainless components.
I had done a quick cleaning...But, I definitely didn't do as good a job, as I should have.
I theorize that a coating of machining oil/grease & who knows what other heavy metals & filth was on some of my new components & that boiling coupled with the pH of the wort cleaned the components, far better than the lackadaisical cleaning I had done.
Consequently, the resulting beer turned out slightly darker in color & contained an astringent, metallic quality that was absolutely awful.
In talking to Ken, I'm fairly confident that he discovered the same type of problem that I had on that batch.
I don't know for 100% certain, but it seems to be a safe bet.

I traced my problem to the new stainless components, by a process of elimination.
Sodium Metabisulfite was not used in my ruined batch, so I know that was not a contributing factor.
My water filtration system was used prior & following...Also showing no contribution.
I used hops from the same 1 lb bag, on previous & subsequent batches, so I know they were not my cause.
I used grain from the same bags prior & following...Not a factor.
In truth, I later brewed the exact same recipe & found nothing like the ruined batch.
The same kettles, chiller, pump, fittings, heating element, controller, spoon, mash paddle, mash tun, etc. were all used on subsequent batches, with no ill results.

If you look into some of the processes that are used in the manufacturing of stainless components, you'll see a LOT of things used that you don't want in your beer. Greases that contain heavy metals & toxins are fairly common. Cutting oils are used, frequently.

It's not unrealistic to think that a dunk in an Oxyclean or PBW solution might not do the job.

If you can think of a better explanation, you're welcome to continue trying.
But, I believe I found the culprit in my system & have since decided to do a deep cleaning on all new parts.

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2016, 12:09:42 pm »
Good explanation and pretty much what I expected.  Thanks.  I guess I've never added anything new to my system without a thorough cleaning first, so I didn't think of it here.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2016, 12:12:27 pm »
The next time I see a pro friend, I will ask him about the new kegs at the new brewery. I visited before they opened and he was doing a cleaning cycle wit hot caustic then hot acid IIRC.

Denny, ask Oakshire what they do with new kegs.
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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2016, 12:34:55 pm »
The next time I see a pro friend, I will ask him about the new kegs at the new brewery. I visited before they opened and he was doing a cleaning cycle wit hot caustic then hot acid IIRC.

Denny, ask Oakshire what they do with new kegs.

Will do, Jeff.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2016, 02:50:19 am »
I just got a new stainless steel chiller. You can bet I will clean it thoroughly!  Maybe I'll give it a lick first, for science.

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2016, 06:19:23 am »
I just got a new stainless steel chiller. You can bet I will clean it thoroughly!  Maybe I'll give it a lick first, for science.

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This is exactly why I wanted to share this.  As I said, this may not happen with ALL stainless parts that are introduced but I'm quite sure this is what happened to me.  Kit's description of the flavor is very similar to mine.  I plan to brew again one day next week and as a precaution I will be cleaning and boiling this stainless chiller again.  Thanks again to Kit for shedding some light on this... it's a relief to know.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2016, 06:36:28 am »
Interesting and good to know for future references.  This is why this forum is so helpful. One person's issue becomes everyones problem to solve.  I love it and will learn from it.  Thanks and sorry for your helles loss.

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2016, 07:03:49 am »
Interesting and good to know for future references.  This is why this forum is so helpful. One person's issue becomes everyones problem to solve.  I love it and will learn from it.  Thanks and sorry for your helles loss.
Sometimes we run across something that seems tough to solve or that very few people have experienced let along figured out.  I don't know if I can say that this is 100% solved but I do agree with Kit that this is what happened and I really wanted to save anyone else from this.  The helles... yeah, it actually smells awesome as it ferments right now but I have tasted it now 2-3 times and it's going to be undrinkable.  The kicker is that the primary has the last of my 2352 Munich Lager 2 in it and I really wanted to make something else with it.  I mentioned in our FB group that I have a "pale bock" in secondary and there is a thin layer of 2352 at the bottom of it.  Time to rack that beer to a keg and make a starter with that yeast since it's a seasonal strain and no longer available.  Cheers Beerheads.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2016, 08:13:51 am »
I just got a new stainless steel chiller. You can bet I will clean it thoroughly!  Maybe I'll give it a lick first, for science.

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Licked it. Nothing.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2016, 07:22:05 am »
Googling for "stainless steel machine oil PBW" pulls up several similar stories and a few articles. Seems quite plausible.

Since I always went through a full passivation step with my new stainless gear I ended up with several rounds of cleaning and scrubbing (PBW, TSP, then StarSan). Between that and the initial boil I do to clean my pump loop not much could have survived.

SS BrewTech publishes instructions for cleaning and passivation of a new kettle or BrewBucket that cover this in more detail.

Offline PAYCHECK

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2016, 09:24:48 am »
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.

Is it at all possible that your connection to the MT filtration device had some sort of metal on it, IE a hose clamp, brass or copper fitting, or even stainless plating that has failed and is reacting to the PH or even the MBS you added upon extraction.  It only takes a second for the wort to come in contact with something like that to cause a reaction.
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Offline PAYCHECK

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Re: Help me with a strange flavor...
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2016, 09:27:30 am »
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.

Is it at all possible that your connection to the MT filtration device had some sort of metal on it, IE a hose clamp, brass or copper fitting, or even stainless plating that has failed and is reacting to the PH or even the MBS you added upon extraction.  It only takes a second for the wort to come in contact with something like that to cause a reaction.
This is a great piece of advice, I have the SS brewtech fermenter 14 gal conicle and noticed after several ferms, that the walls, even though i cleaned with BPW adn hot water, were feeling rough.  I filled it with a solution of PBW and hot water and let it sit over night and to my amazement after scrubbing with a plastic scouring pad the residue which i really did not even notice was gone and the container was once again slick as oil.  This could be a problem as well.
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