Author Topic: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong  (Read 829 times)

Offline newbrewer900999

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Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« on: May 05, 2017, 03:07:45 AM »
Hey all.  I started brewing a few months ago. I jumped straight to all grain and although I've been immersed in learning either hands on or through reading, I'm still at a point where I'm stumbling upon surprises quite often. In other words...if I sound half clueless, it's because I am  ;)

Anyway...I recently brewed a spiced blonde ale that utilized some flaked rice and carapils in the grain bill for mouthfeel and residual sweetness, and aged on cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans during secondary (about 4 weeks).

I racked to a keg after secondary, then ran it through a Blichmann Quickcarb for about an hour and poured myself a sample. The sample was pretty damn good. Spices, sweetness and malt flavors were well balanced and carbonation was good.

From there I took the keg and Co2 tank and put them in my chest freezer, which stays at about 38-40 degrees. The keg was never purged...stayed under the same pressure for the last 2 weeks.  I had planned to bottle it this weekend with a counter pressure filler, so I decided to pour a glass earlier and make sure it was still good. It comes out of the keg very foamy now, but the taste is what has me confused and disappointed. Once the foam settles down it tastes flat and slightly tangy, almost like a faint green apple flavor. I'm struggling to taste the spice and sweetness that were there just a couple weeks ago.

I'm stumped. What the hell happened to my beer?


Offline goschman

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 03:35:16 AM »
I am not too familiar with my off flavors but the green apple descriptor sounds like acetaldehyde. I think it is caused by fermentation issues such as underpitching or stressed yeast. I will leave it to the smart guys to chime in.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 03:37:03 AM by goschman »
On Tap/Bottled: Haze for Daze IPA, G Pils, Maibock, Kolsch, Summer Gold       

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Offline denny

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 02:25:35 PM »
Sounds like you may have a contamination issue.  Also, using both rice and carapils are kinda at cross purposes.  Carapils adds body, rice thins it.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 03:26:07 PM »
Green apple = acetaldehyde.  The primary cause of this is stress on the yeast.  Perhaps you underpitched, and/or your yeast was very old, and/or if you racked to secondary and kegged and chilled too early for their liking, the yeast basically is giving you the bird for mistreating them.

Interestingly, acetaldehyde is a chemical that boils at 70 F.  If you warm the keg up to 75 or 80 F and purge all the gas off numerous times over the course of about a week, it is possible you could make the yeast happier and get rid of most of the green apple character.  However, this is super iffy, might not work.  Might be easier to just toss the batch and start over, sorry to say.

Next batch, ensure you pitch a lot of healthy yeast (take a look at the calculator on mrmalty.com), and give the yeast sufficient time to do their thing before chilling things down, and you should be able to avoid this.  When in doubt, give the yeast more time and keep 'em warm so they don't get mad at you.  You'll know they're all done fermenting when the specific gravity stays constant for at least 3-4 days and they all settle down to the bottom of the fermenter.

Better luck next time.  Don't give up.  It's a fun hobby.  Cheers.
Dave

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Offline denny

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2017, 03:37:53 PM »
Green apple = acetaldehyde.  The primary cause of this is stress on the yeast.  Perhaps you underpitched, and/or your yeast was very old, and/or if you racked to secondary and kegged and chilled too early for their liking, the yeast basically is giving you the bird for mistreating them.

Interestingly, acetaldehyde is a chemical that boils at 70 F.  If you warm the keg up to 75 or 80 F and purge all the gas off numerous times over the course of about a week, it is possible you could make the yeast happier and get rid of most of the green apple character.  However, this is super iffy, might not work.  Might be easier to just toss the batch and start over, sorry to say.

Next batch, ensure you pitch a lot of healthy yeast (take a look at the calculator on mrmalty.com), and give the yeast sufficient time to do their thing before chilling things down, and you should be able to avoid this.  When in doubt, give the yeast more time and keep 'em warm so they don't get mad at you.  You'll know they're all done fermenting when the specific gravity stays constant for at least 3-4 days and they all settle down to the bottom of the fermenter.

Better luck next time.  Don't give up.  It's a fun hobby.  Cheers.

I don't think that's the only answer.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2017, 04:19:00 PM »
With the addition of the cinnamon and the vanilla beans in a secondary, you may have a contamination, as Denny says or it could be as Dave says, an underpitch or early racking issue... interestingly, Mitch Steele also noted:

"The other contributor to Acetaldehyde in beer is excessive aging on yeast. As the yeast cells stress, and eventually die, they can lyse (burst) and release AA from the cell interior into the beer. This happens a lot with big, high alcohol beers, because often they have trouble getting to the end fermentation, so the brewers prolong the fermentation time on the yeast-a consequence is that the yeast cells can die and release AA."

Not likely your problem here, but worthy of noting to a newer brewer.  These things can slip in to the process in so many ways.  And it could be an unusual flavor compound resulting from the particular cinnamon and vanilla combination (though I don't think that would result in the green apple flavor issue).

Don't be discouraged is the main point and brew more beer is the second point.  You will soon get into a pattern of improvement with each new beer.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2017, 05:00:01 PM »
Green apple = acetaldehyde.  The primary cause of this is stress on the yeast.  Perhaps you underpitched, and/or your yeast was very old, and/or if you racked to secondary and kegged and chilled too early for their liking, the yeast basically is giving you the bird for mistreating them.

Interestingly, acetaldehyde is a chemical that boils at 70 F.  If you warm the keg up to 75 or 80 F and purge all the gas off numerous times over the course of about a week, it is possible you could make the yeast happier and get rid of most of the green apple character.  However, this is super iffy, might not work.  Might be easier to just toss the batch and start over, sorry to say.

Next batch, ensure you pitch a lot of healthy yeast (take a look at the calculator on mrmalty.com), and give the yeast sufficient time to do their thing before chilling things down, and you should be able to avoid this.  When in doubt, give the yeast more time and keep 'em warm so they don't get mad at you.  You'll know they're all done fermenting when the specific gravity stays constant for at least 3-4 days and they all settle down to the bottom of the fermenter.

Better luck next time.  Don't give up.  It's a fun hobby.  Cheers.

I don't think that's the only answer.

Nope.  It's my primary hypothesis.  Could also be an ester.  Could be contamination.  We haven't tasted the beer but even if we did, it's still hard to say exactly what's going on without being there during the brewing, pitching, and fermentation.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline newbrewer900999

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2017, 01:47:21 PM »
Thanks for the input everyone. I'm guessing the issue is from underpitching. I used a single smack pack of Wyeast 1007 and the post-boil gravity was 1.070, which was higher than I expected. I left it in primary for about 3 weeks  but in never made it below 1.028. At the two week mark I had tried pitching more yeast and cranking the temp up a few degrees, but the gravity didn't move. When I racked to secondary, the vanilla and cinnamon I added had been soaking in vodka for a few days to disinfect. It sat in secondary for about a month, followed by cold crash for a week, then kegged it and force carbonated with the Quickcarb.

Like I said...first carbonated samples were great, so I know I'm at least in the right direction with the recipe. I'll probably try again but reduce the amount of unfermentable sugar and make a starter.

The next mystery to tackle will be figuring out if running the beer through my Quickcarb and then leaving it under that pressure for a couple weeks will actually lead to my beer retaining the carbonation level it should have.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2017, 03:06:05 PM »
Do you recall how many hours or days it took for the first krausen to appear after pitching?
Dave

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Offline newbrewer900999

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Re: Blonde Ale Gone Wrong
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2017, 04:57:07 PM »
Can't recall with certainty, but I think I checked it on day 2 and there was krausen along with plenty of bubbling in the air lock