Author Topic: Can you get rid of fusels?  (Read 22727 times)

Offline dano14041

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Can you get rid of fusels?
« on: April 28, 2011, 07:17:19 PM »
Apparently, I let my last batch of Oatmeal Stout ferment too warm. I kegged it and started carbonating it on 3/27/11; on 4/3/11 I pulled a sample and it had a sharp alcohol/solvent finish. I figured it was too young and let it sit in the fridge (40F) for a few more weeks. I pulled a sample off last night, 4/27/11, and it still has the sharp alcohol/solvent finish.

From everything I have read, I think this is fusels; and they are formed from fermenting too warm, so I must  have let it ferment too warm.

Recipe:
10 lb 2-row Pale Malt
0.5 lb Special B
0.5 lb Chocolate Malt
0.25 lb Roasted Barley
0.5 lb Flaked Oats
1 oz Cascade 90 min
1 oz Cascade 60 min
1 oz Cascade 30 min
1 oz Cascade 0 min
Irish Moss
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale (yeast cake from an Irish Red)

Single Infusion Batch Sparge with equal runnings.
90 min Boil

Chilled the wort to 59/60 degrees before racking onto the yeast cake.

Put bucket into the Fermentation fridge with an ambient temp set to 64F for 2 weeks.

I was busy at work so I didn't keep a very good eye on this batch, just made sure the fermentation started then ignored it until ready to keg it. I was doing some work on my house in the same area and it is possible that the plug for the fridge got jiggled loose, but I don't really recall.

Anyway, all of that to get to the question in the subject line.
Now that I have the fusels, can I get rid of them? Will it age out?

Any suggestions and comments are appreciated!
Thanks!
Dano
Tulsa, OK

Offline denny

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 07:23:13 PM »
I read a paper by Dr. Bill Pengelly, former head brewer at Deschutes, about how fusels can eventually age out into esters.  So hang on to the beer and hope for the best!
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 07:23:36 PM »
i have certainly noticed a reduction in the hot solventy flavour in some beers I have fermented to warm after a few months. and I have noticed with a belgian I brewed that gave be a headache when I first sampled that after a couple of months that stopped happening. I bottle continditioned those beers though so it is possible that the yeast in the bottle had something to do with it.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 07:39:19 PM »
I believe this is why people say you HAVE to age big beers. 

Time will diminish the hot character. 

Obviously it's best to not get them in the first place.
Fred Bonjour
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2011, 03:18:49 PM »
My experience is that if there is a significant amount, it won't all age out.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline homebrewgamecock

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2011, 04:47:19 PM »
From personal experience I have found they will diminish, but not disappear.  I brewed a Belgian Golden a few years ago that had some fusels.  After months of aging - about 4-6, they were less, but still there. 

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2011, 05:27:54 PM »
There are several perceptions for fusel alcohols: aroma, taste, and splitting headache.  I concur that the first 2 can diminish or dissappear.  What about the third aspect?
 
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Offline denny

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 05:29:58 PM »
Just guessing, but I think if the fusels are reduced enough to affect aroma and flavor that the headache effect would be reduced also.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 05:39:15 PM »
I have seen a heavily fusel big beers completely clear, but it took years,  the same thing with meads.
Fred Bonjour
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2011, 06:40:03 PM »
I have seen a heavily fusel big beers completely clear, but it took years,  the same thing with meads.

Do you think the oxidative effect over time ties up or reduces the fusel alcohols?

Here's an ultimate beer geek study on the formation of fusel alcohol throught the Ehrlich Pathway.  :)

edit: forgot to add the link.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2293160/
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 06:49:28 PM by bluesman »
Ron Price

Offline bonjour

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2011, 06:43:56 PM »
I do not know the mechanism.

I'd rather avoid the problem in the first place and brew a deceptively strong beer.
Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2011, 06:56:59 PM »
I do not know the mechanism.

I'd rather avoid the problem in the first place and brew a deceptively strong beer.
+1 to that!  good temp control & general brewing techniques go a long way to avoiding fusels.

I'm not too up on the mechanisms either, but I think that both yeast and oxidation play a part in reducing fusels over time. The yeast help break the fusels down into esters. Oxidation plays it's part as well, however oxidized fusels contribute to sherry and cardboard flavors.

So best to avoid or limit them up front. But if you've got a hot, fuselly beer then aging my help improve it. Be patient. Certainly don't dump it, give it time & see what happens.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline bluesman

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2011, 07:04:24 PM »
But if you've got a hot, fuselly beer then aging my help improve it. Be patient. Certainly don't dump it, give it time & see what happens.

+1

I've had a few beers over time that started out pretty bad and over time, as they aged, turned out to be pretty darn good beers.
Ron Price

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2011, 11:07:35 PM »
I brewed an imperial stout that got into the mid 80's for a day.  After 2 weeks in primary it was at FG but tasted like kerosene.  2 more weeks in primary and it was as smooth as silk.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Can you get rid of fusels?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2011, 11:32:03 PM »
Oxidize a  primary alcohol, it becomes an aldehyde.  Secondary alcohols become ketones.  They can also combine with organic acids to form esters.

I have a IIPA that was 1.100 OG and came out really hot at first.  It wasn't terribly fruity though, so I guess theres a qualitative difference in fusels.  It was pretty tasty after a year.  I just found five bottles on a shelf, its over two years old now.  I'll chill one and give it a try just for you guys.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO