Author Topic: Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?  (Read 1027 times)

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Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« on: November 18, 2011, 07:49:10 PM »
So I am not sure where exactly this fits, because it covers quite a few things.

I brewed a high gravity IPA in late August. I fermented for two weeks, and then racked to a secondary. After about 5 weeks in the secondary, I put the beer into a keg. My OG was 1.070 and my current is 1.017.

Here is my 1st issue, last night I tried a sample and I ( and my girl friend who isn't big on beer) both tasted the dread flavor of medicine. There is just enough sweetness that this beer actually tastes kind of like medicine. I had planned on dry hopping and/or potentially trying to pitch some champagne yeast. I was thinking that if the champagne yeast took care of some of the sweetness or if the dry hopping covered up some of the off-flavors that this beer might be drinkable.

Why would the fermentation stop with so much seemingly left to go?

Is it worth trying to save? It was a pretty expensive recipe to just throw it away now. I also am not sure at which point the contamination happened. I normally don't age beer this long, but I was really hoping to see a further drop in gravity.

Thoughts? Other than replacing tubing is there a common technique issue that could cause this? FWIW I have a Kolsch at the end of fermentation that has no noticeable off flavor, so I don't think it is my plastic fermenter.   

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2011, 08:26:47 PM »
The FG is normal for a 1.070 OG, thats 76% attenuation.  The medicinal note makes me think the fermentation temp was too high and you got fusels.  With a higher gravity wort you have to really keep the temp down in the mid to high 60s, and that is counting the extra heat from the fermentation.  That or you have chlorine in your water and it created chlorophenols that are detectable at very low levels.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

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Re: Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2011, 08:35:47 PM »
The temperature comment definitely makes sense. This was a 'moving' beer. Meaning, I moved right in the middle of this fermentation, so it had lots of time to get sloshed around and heat up. I guess the only consolation is that maybe my brew and transfer technique wasn't so bad.

What about dry hopping to help mask some of the off-flavors? I have some Cascade I could throw in. In the end, should I just chill it and serve it a football game where no one will really notice, or is there something I can do to save it?

Offline euge

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Re: Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2011, 09:27:25 PM »
Not really. :-\ That's my experience.

Except maybe save it for blending or mixing with fruit juice.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2011, 02:21:07 AM »
Yeah, it's usually pretty hard to cover up a phenolic aroma and flavor.  Make sure the water has no chlorine/chloramine, you are using food grade hoses, etc.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Phenol Contamination... Can I save it?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 07:38:08 AM »
If you're in Champagne you should look up some of the guys in the BUZZ brew club, they have some real expertise and are very friendly and helpful.

Not sure sloshing would hurt but if the beer gets over 70F in the first few days, it takes off and really warms up.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO