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Author Topic: Where's the Flavor?  (Read 2526 times)

Offline dons

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Where's the Flavor?
« on: June 18, 2011, 03:47:42 pm »
Newbie question warning.  Exit now if you have as much or less patience than me.

Never minding the batch I'm currently brewing to lead me to this question, here it is:

According to Stephan Snyder ("The Brew-master's Bible"), "yeast is the most important factor in determining a beer's flavor".
As I write this, I see the double meaning of the above.  IE, does the yeast determine the KIND of flavor or determine the amount of flavor?  What I want to ask is that my current batch, as I rack to a secondary, is very devoid of much flavor at all - boding poorly for the future.  In another forum I talked about my experience with my yeast having spent a week in 100f plus degrees before being pitched and my concern there.  Bottom line was that, amongst the most mistakes I've ever made on a brew day, the yeast did become very active and is still looking good - albeit, with an OG of 1.042 versus the target of 1.068.

The problem is the taste test I did today as I racked it.  No problems, but little flavor.  So, I'm wondering.  As I made the starter, I know the "stuff" at the bottom was the yeast I needed to pitch.  But as the wort fermented in the primary, a great amount of stuff (trub?) at the bottom built up and, being anal, I figured I wanted to get the beer away from it - hence, let's move to secondary. 

Not wanting at all to start a debate of the use or non- of a secondary, I'm left contemplating whether moving it actually stopped the "flavoring" process - ie, moving it away from the "stuff" that was giving it flavor.  Or was that "stuff" dead or at least done doing it's flavoring thing?

I'm really sorry to sound stupid, but I'm trying to figure out where I should direct my attention in avoiding the dilemmas like this in the future.

Did I even get my question out? 
I've finally figured out my problem.  I have Cenosillicaphobia.

Offline denny

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Re: Where's the Flavor?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2011, 05:15:47 pm »
AFAIAC, this another fallacy from that book.  My advice would be to just get rid of it and get some better books.  Yeast is of course on component of flavor, but it interacts with other components (malt and hops as ingredients) to create flavors.  Both the amount and type of flavor yeast contributes are related to the yeast variety you use.  Some, like US-05 or WY1056, contribute virtually no flavor of their own and let the other ingredients shine through.  Other, like Belgian or wheat yeast, produce esters and phenols that contribute greatly to the flavor of the beer.  For instance, a Belgian tripel is nothing but pils malt and sugar.  Almost all of what we identify as the typical "Belgian character" come from the yeast.  English yeast makes contributions that are kind of halfway in between.  So, forget about that statement form the book (and AFAIC most of the rest of the book!).
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Offline gmac

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Re: Where's the Flavor?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2011, 06:14:50 pm »
What flavour are you looking for?  If you wanted a hop flavour, you probably needed more hops, if you wanted a malty flavour, then maybe you need some specialty malts.  I've found that beer tasted green and uncarbonated will change as you carbonate it and age it. 1.048 should give you a decent beer with good body and taste so I don't know exactly what you're looking for.  I didn't go looking for your other post although I remember it so I'm not sure what your recipe is but in my limited experience, I've found my beer to have decent flavour from the ingredients and not a lot from the yeast but I use Wyeast 1056/WLP001 almost exclusively and as Denny has said, that is neutral and doesn't give you much flavour.  Your fermentation temp seems to also play a role in how the yeast develop any potential flavours.

I'd look at your recipe and not your yeast for future adjustments.  Post it up here and see what people think and describe what flavours you are after (list commercial styles you'd like to emulate if need be) and you'll get an overwhelming amount of help to get you where you want to go. 

And finally, go buy Palmer's "How to Brew" book.  If you want to know more about yeast, Jamil Zanishef (spelling?) and Chris White have book called, surprisingly "Yeast" that is quite interesting.  And of course, the Papazian books that got most of this all started.

Offline euge

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Re: Where's the Flavor?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 12:36:04 am »
What do you mean by no flavor? Beer's gotta have flavor no matter what yeast, malt or hops are used. This is the art of zymurgy. Did you brew up some Zima by accident? 8)

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Offline dons

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Re: Where's the Flavor?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 07:39:49 am »
I do have Palmer's book, and a number of others.  The one I quoted is just the first I picked up when trying to see what was said about yeast and flavor.  I guess I'll toss that one out.

What do I mean by no flavor?  I guess the best way to say it is that it pretty much tastes like a decent beer - after being diluted by 50 percent more water.  Just very watery.  Not "chewy" at all - in my supplier's words.

Still to come is 1.5 ounces of Cent dry-hopping, so what I'm hearing here is that it is probably a grain issue.  However, with 11 pounds of domestic 2-row malt and 1 pound of Briess Caramel 40, it seems like that should have done the trick.  I'm presuming, since it was not said, that more flavor will not come with age - or will it?  I did have some issues on brew day - like losing a handful of grain on the floor, and making too much wort - necessitating tossing of nearly a gallon that would not fit into the primary.  Those might have been answers.

A specialty malt is probably what I should look into - although this was a "kit" from Northern Brewers (Dead Ringer).  One of the advantages of all-grain brewing is the option of playing around with the grain used, and I need to start working on that.  I already have been pretty successful (imho) doing the same thing with hops.

I understand that this is not a yeast issue, which was my real question - although I'm trying to absorb anything and everything said on these forums (throw enough "stuff" on a wall, SOME of it is bound to stick....).

Thanks, guys.
I've finally figured out my problem.  I have Cenosillicaphobia.

Offline seajellie

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Re: Where's the Flavor?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 07:56:40 am »
Your beer may have more of the flavor you are looking for once it is carbed. It can be surprising what flavors get enhanced once carbonation is there.

I like to think of the yeast as creating a flavor profile. That is, regardless of what beer you make with a particular strain of yeast, certain factors will remain similar. Perhaps malt is emphasized, or hops, or perhaps you detect various amounts of "pear" or "apple" in all of them. A good way to train your palate about yeast is to go to a brewpub near you and order a sampler or several of their beers. Chances are, they use only one yeast for many of them (ask to make sure). Sample each, and look for characteristics that are similar between all of them, regardless of whether they are pale or dark. They may also be using similar hops across the color spectrum, so look for similarities across hop levels too.

Offline violaleebrews

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Re: Where's the Flavor?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 01:03:54 pm »
patience is the final ingredient.  i've had asub-mediochre beer that i set aside cause i just couldn't drink them and it's against my religion to dump beer.  after they sat for a few months i decided to see if anything happened and the flavors really came thru.  it turned out to be a clean american wheat beer that i was really proud of.  i just hate the wait.  but i just keep myself busy by brewing/drinking other beers!