Author Topic: plasticky off flavor  (Read 1291 times)

Offline nateo

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #45 on: June 06, 2021, 11:30:17 PM »
@ Iliff Ave: I would certainly ensure a consistent water source but… Have you had plastic flavors before?  Sounds like you’ve not treated your water before so barring a change in your water source have you considered an infection? 

Denver water pulls from 3 watersheds, 2 of which are fairly good and one of which is the South Platte. There are two main treatment plants for each source. So there is going to be variability due to water management and capacity in the various water sources. Denver water also increased pH last year as part of lead mitigation efforts. Increased pH would make chlorine less effective so I would expect the amount of chlorine to increase to compensate. They only disclose when disinfectant is below required levels, not above. So I don't have a good answer for how much chlorine they might be pumping into the system, but I would expect it to vary throughout the year.

As Keith mentioned previously, maybe it's not chlorophenols but a $5 aquarium test kit would give a definitive answer.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #46 on: June 06, 2021, 11:39:53 PM »
The infection thing has been covered here already FWIW. Still could be the issue! But water changes and water companies change how they treat water. More and more companies are going to chloramines. They don't usually tell the public.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #47 on: June 07, 2021, 12:17:33 AM »
Cool. Just a thought. (Admittedly didn’t read each reply)



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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #48 on: June 07, 2021, 12:19:06 AM »
Sometimes when we see hoof prints we think zebras when horses would explain it. Cheers!



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Great saying!  Gonna have to borrow that.
Absolutely. Help yourself.  I heard it over the years when troubleshooting aircraft. It was coined in the late 1940s by Theodore Woodward, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who instructed his medical interns: "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra". Since horses are common in Maryland while zebras are relatively rare, logically one could confidently guess that an animal making hoofbeats is probably a horse. By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles when some were arriving at a surprising, often exotic, medical diagnosis when a more commonplace explanation is more likely.

@ Iliff Ave: I would certainly ensure a consistent water source but… Have you had plastic flavors before?  Sounds like you’ve not treated your water before so barring a change in your water source have you considered an infection? 



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Never had issues before even with my last batch that was brewed 3 weeks ago. Maybe water changes happened very recently. Considering it’s not worsening I’m assuming that it’s not an infection. The beer actually does taste better although the chlorine is still present. Time will tell. Gonna contact Denver water about ph changes and go with campden in hopes of getting another decent batch in before I dive further into water.
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Offline neuse

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #49 on: June 07, 2021, 03:31:43 PM »
Campden. How much to use and when? Can I add it to finished beer?
It doesn't need much time to work. From https://blog.homebrewing.org/using-campden-tablets-homebrewing/ - "While chlorine can easily be boiled out of the water, chloramine is harder to remove. In either case, adding half of a crushed Campden tablet to 5 or 6 gallons brewing water will break down chlorine into chloride, sulfate, and ammonia, all of which tend to be beneficial to beer in small amounts. A few minutes is all it takes."

Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #50 on: June 08, 2021, 05:59:23 PM »
So even if I use campden, I assume I should not plan on using the harvested yeast from last batch?
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Offline majorvices

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2021, 06:53:30 PM »
I'd definitely start fresh in case it was an infection

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #52 on: June 09, 2021, 10:16:52 PM »
Absolutely. Help yourself.  I heard it over the years when troubleshooting aircraft. It was coined in the late 1940s by Theodore Woodward, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who instructed his medical interns: "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra". Since horses are common in Maryland while zebras are relatively rare, logically one could confidently guess that an animal making hoofbeats is probably a horse. By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles when some were arriving at a surprising, often exotic, medical diagnosis when a more commonplace explanation is more likely.

I work for the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), which is home to the University of Maryland Medical School, so that is pretty cool.  I joined UMB after the dot-com/telcomm back-to-back meltdowns landed me on the street in 2001.  I was a principal engineer involved in asynchronous transfer mode switch embedded software design and development for ADC Telecommunications (Tommy can help decipher that for the rest of the group). I joined UMB because I planned to get a doctorate and teach. I only had a BSCS in computer systems at that point in time (equivalent to a BS in computer systems engineering today).  That was all that was needed to work in private sector R&D.  I earned my MSCS after joining UMB, but I confused my graduate advisors because they thought that I was an engineer, not a computer scientist.  I told them to review my undergraduate transcript, but, by that time, the math guys had taken over the computer science departments at most schools.  The engineers who had been teaching hardware-related CS courses took their ball and ran. They created BS and graduate programs in computer systems engineering.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 01:30:34 AM by Saccharomyces »

Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #53 on: June 10, 2021, 11:44:39 PM »
So if the off flavor hasn’t worsened can I assume it’s the water (which I’m leaning toward)? In 12 years I’ve only had a couple infections and new they were infected right away.

After speaking with a local commercial brewer, he straightened me out with a lot that has already been pointed out regarding the source. He told me that he assumed it was my water and not an infection.
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #54 on: June 11, 2021, 12:41:32 AM »
Absolutely. Help yourself.  I heard it over the years when troubleshooting aircraft. It was coined in the late 1940s by Theodore Woodward, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who instructed his medical interns: "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra". Since horses are common in Maryland while zebras are relatively rare, logically one could confidently guess that an animal making hoofbeats is probably a horse. By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles when some were arriving at a surprising, often exotic, medical diagnosis when a more commonplace explanation is more likely.
by that time the math guys had taken over the computer science departments at most schools.
That is too true.

Offline majorvices

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #55 on: June 11, 2021, 11:29:56 AM »
So if the off flavor hasn’t worsened can I assume it’s the water (which I’m leaning toward)? In 12 years I’ve only had a couple infections and new they were infected right away.

After speaking with a local commercial brewer, he straightened me out with a lot that has already been pointed out regarding the source. He told me that he assumed it was my water and not an infection.

Ni, I wouldn't say the off flavor will worsen necessarily. If it is a wild or stressed yeast you could think of it as a hefeweizen or Belgian yeast that through out its flavors and then was done. I recently woke up a Kviek strain that was slumbering in a hoppy yeast slurry for a year and while it fermented wonderfully it had a phenolic off flavor very similiar to a hefewezien but in a way that I could not enjoy. Prettty certain it was the yeast. It never got any better

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #56 on: June 11, 2021, 02:41:19 PM »
So if the off flavor hasn’t worsened can I assume it’s the water (which I’m leaning toward)? In 12 years I’ve only had a couple infections and new they were infected right away.

After speaking with a local commercial brewer, he straightened me out with a lot that has already been pointed out regarding the source. He told me that he assumed it was my water and not an infection.

Ni, I wouldn't say the off flavor will worsen necessarily. If it is a wild or stressed yeast you could think of it as a hefeweizen or Belgian yeast that through out its flavors and then was done. I recently woke up a Kviek strain that was slumbering in a hoppy yeast slurry for a year and while it fermented wonderfully it had a phenolic off flavor very similiar to a hefewezien but in a way that I could not enjoy. Prettty certain it was the yeast. It never got any better

Major, your situation has spurred me to consider a thorough dumping of old yeast that I have on hand.  I don't mind pitching a fresh re-pitch, as I can taste the beer from which it is derived to assure QC, but after storing long term, I worry about phenolics, petit mutants and wild yeast characters infiltrating.  Out the old ones will go this weekend.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #57 on: June 11, 2021, 05:06:07 PM »
I wouldn't say the off flavor will worsen necessarily. If it is a wild or stressed yeast you could think of it as a hefeweizen or Belgian yeast that through out its flavors and then was done. I recently woke up a Kviek strain that was slumbering in a hoppy yeast slurry for a year and while it fermented wonderfully it had a phenolic off flavor very similiar to a hefewezien but in a way that I could not enjoy. Prettty certain it was the yeast. It never got any better

Major, your situation has spurred me to consider a thorough dumping of old yeast that I have on hand.  I don't mind pitching a fresh re-pitch, as I can taste the beer from which it is derived to assure QC, but after storing long term, I worry about phenolics, petit mutants and wild yeast characters infiltrating.  Out the old ones will go this weekend.

I toss old yeast slurries after they hit about 8 months of age, seems a good threshold here based on my own experience over the years.  A year is too long, too dead -- whatever survives that long without special treatment is too likely NOT to be the yeast you started with, but too likely to be something else entirely.  At least, if you're as lazy about storing yeast as I am.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #58 on: June 11, 2021, 06:32:30 PM »
Yea, thanks, Dave - I would agree that 6-8 months is pretty much an outside window for me at this point.  As cheap as I am, I don't want to dump beer that would have been perfectly good, if new yeast were used.  I watch for tell tale signs of contamination/degradation (color, smell and any pellicle-like formation) and dump the yeast whenever in doubt.
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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: plasticky off flavor
« Reply #59 on: June 11, 2021, 08:32:44 PM »
Just finished brewing. Treated the water with campden. Dumped the yeast slurry I was planning to use and just went with 05 since I had it on hand.

Water company told me that my pH is somewhere between 8.5 - and 9.2 when I have been using 7.8 for years. Then change didn’t seem to impact much in brun water which confuses me but my water knowledge is obviously very limited.

Time to start thinking about using RO water. Kind of recreating my processes after a bunch of recent problems. My first issue is that my ibu estimates were far off due to neglecting the impact of higher elevation. Needless to say it’s been a frustrating few months and I was close to taking a hiatus. Hoping I can build some momentum and return to brewing good beer.

Thanks for all the advice and knowledge.
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