Author Topic: Plastic Phenolic Flavor  (Read 538 times)

Offline Michael Baker

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Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« on: June 08, 2019, 11:17:46 PM »
I switched to all grain years ago but came upon a recipe that i really wanted to try.  However, it is an extract recipe with steeping grains.  I brewed it twice and got a plastic off flavor both times.  I use un-adjusted R.O. water and nothing but StarSan touches anything once I start brewing so I know it's not chlorine.  I used White Labs WLP001 which I have used several times before with no issues.  The only thing I can think of is my plastic fermentation bucket but, again, I have used it before and since without issue.  Any help out there?

Offline Megary

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 12:13:51 AM »
Bottling or kegging?
Plastic usually means chlorine, but if you have ruled that out and if you are hitting all your numbers, is there any chance you have an infection in your end of the line distribution?  Old hoses, bottles...etc.  Just a thought.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 11:55:48 AM »
Whenever I taste something that doesn’t seem right, I turn to an app called “BeerJudge”.  I typed in the word “Plastic” and the app offered several different possibilities that cause a plastic-like flavor.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beer-judge/id666120064?mt=8

Hopefully the above link works.

Good luck!
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline Michael Baker

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 12:10:05 PM »
Bottling or kegging?
Plastic usually means chlorine, but if you have ruled that out and if you are hitting all your numbers, is there any chance you have an infection in your end of the line distribution?  Old hoses, bottles...etc.  Just a thought.

I force carb in the keg and then bottle with a beer gun.  Flavor is present in both.  I have been told that I am paranoid with my level of sanitation.  Maybe I should try a different yeast?

Offline Michael Baker

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 12:14:26 PM »
Whenever I taste something that doesn’t seem right, I turn to an app called “BeerJudge”.  I typed in the word “Plastic” and the app offered several different possibilities that cause a plastic-like flavor.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beer-judge/id666120064?mt=8

Hopefully the above link works.

Good luck!

Only available on iTunes for Apple.  I use Android

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2019, 01:05:35 PM »
Whenever I taste something that doesn’t seem right, I turn to an app called “BeerJudge”.  I typed in the word “Plastic” and the app offered several different possibilities that cause a plastic-like flavor.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beer-judge/id666120064?mt=8

Hopefully the above link works.

Good luck!

Only available on iTunes for Apple.  I use Android

Shucks!
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline denny

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2019, 02:29:57 PM »
Bottling or kegging?
Plastic usually means chlorine, but if you have ruled that out and if you are hitting all your numbers, is there any chance you have an infection in your end of the line distribution?  Old hoses, bottles...etc.  Just a thought.

I force carb in the keg and then bottle with a beer gun.  Flavor is present in both.  I have been told that I am paranoid with my level of sanitation.  Maybe I should try a different yeast?

Yeah, I think that's a good place to start.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2019, 07:03:05 PM »
Don't think that it can't be chloromines or chlorine in you water, even though you say RO water. At my brewery we once had a batch that turned out phenolic and we ruled out contamination (nice to have a full lab with a PCR that can check for infection at the genetic level.) Finally we determined that the day we brewed the batch the electricity had gone off. Our high tech water filter uses electricity to operate. We filled the HLT not realizing that our water wasn't getting filtered. So let's say the RO water you used (maybe you got it from the grocery store) had a similar issue... just a thought

Offline Bilsch

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2019, 02:07:50 AM »
The carbon filter on your RO could be on it's way out and passing chlorine. It's happened to me.

Offline Robert

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2019, 11:40:49 AM »
The carbon filter on your RO could be on it's way out and passing chlorine. It's happened to me.
Good thought.  I've been using a chlorine test kit to confirm that my filters are still working acceptably. 
Hach 223101 Chlorine (Free &... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N3ZCNEU?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Trust but verify.

Another off the wall thought.  Could this perceived flavor actually not be chlorophenol, but from some other source, such as an unfamiliar hop or other ingredient?  Was there anything novel about the recipe?
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2019, 02:52:44 PM »
Wild yeast infection will often be the culprit of a phenolic plastic aroma/flavor.

This can come from a variety of sources including contaminated yeast if repitching slurries.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2019, 04:11:18 PM »
Wild yeast infection will often be the culprit of a phenolic plastic aroma/flavor.

This can come from a variety of sources including contaminated yeast if repitching slurries.
This is a good point. I ruined two batches a couple of years ago from some contaminated reused yeast. It had a distinct nasty phenolic taste.


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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2019, 09:19:47 PM »
Wild yeast infection will often be the culprit of a phenolic plastic aroma/flavor.

This can come from a variety of sources including contaminated yeast if repitching slurries.
This is a good point. I ruined two batches a couple of years ago from some contaminated reused yeast. It had a distinct nasty phenolic taste.


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And yet the OP seemed to indicate that he used WLP001 and did not mention re-pitching.  FWIW, it could have been contaminated with airborne wild yeast, especially at this time of the year and if brewing outdoors ... in the time it takes to cool wort to pitching temp, if left uncovered, there is a distinct chance of contamination.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2019, 04:23:13 AM »
While I would not definitely rule out contamination I think switching to a different RO water source is a better first step. Contamination can be a tough problem to identify while testing water as the culprit is as simple as buying RO water from a different source. No added cost to your brewing or need to change your brewing practices.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Plastic Phenolic Flavor
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2019, 11:13:55 AM »
While I would not definitely rule out contamination I think switching to a different RO water source is a better first step. Contamination can be a tough problem to identify while testing water as the culprit is as simple as buying RO water from a different source. No added cost to your brewing or need to change your brewing practices.

Good point, for sure, and if the OP uses a small batch approach, there is less beer to dump as he works toward pinpointing the source of the problem.
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