Phenolic taste

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beermonsta
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Phenolic taste

Post by beermonsta » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:16 am

Hi folks,

I've now been lucky to produce many AG brews but unfortunately I have one issue that bugs me and that is most of my beers after fermenting have a phenolic taste. One of my early brews was so bad it had to be binned :cry:
Fortunately, most of late, have the taste initially but it does 'mellow' into the background with a little conditioning time.
Given that the taste only occurs after fermenting I presumed it to be down to the yeast flavour (I use S04 consistently) and I have heard that this can produce such a taste. Although after doing some research...

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour ... 1&SRETRY=0
http://www.probrewer.com/resources/libr ... enolic.pdf
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/phenol-taste-19730/

My thoughts are that it could be down to
1) my water is heavily chlorinated (I do use a campden tablets - don't they neutralise this?)
2) I use VWP, a chlorine based cleaning agent (I rinse Thoroughly with fresh water...see point 1! #-o )
3) The SO4 yeast produces these undesirable flavours (I'm going to use a brewlabs yorkshire slant for my TTL clone next brew)
4) my equipment - using a 10gal plastic boiler with electric-immersion heater is 'scorching' the wort or the plastic is leaching flavour (unlikely as its a big immersion heater - and I know many of you use the same plastic boilers..even so..As good an excuse to upgrade to the shiney stuff as any man needs :=P

My solution is to try and brew in a Stainless steel vessels, using anything but SO4, and using bottled water for strike/sparging/cleaning.
Is this excessive? Does anyone else have experience of this, and even better...have a solution [-o<
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Parva
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by Parva » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:14 am

I'd go with trying to use Asda Smartprice water and switch to Nottingham yeast. I use both Nottingham and S04 and both work fine for me.

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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by OldSpeckledBadger » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:32 am

I have heavily chlorinated water which I treat with a Campden tablet, I also use VWP, boil in a plastic boiler and use S-04. I don't get any problem with phenolics.
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OldSpeckledBadger

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beermonsta
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by beermonsta » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:51 pm

OldSpeckledBadger wrote:I have heavily chlorinated water which I treat with a Campden tablet, I also use VWP, boil in a plastic boiler and use S-04. I don't get any problem with phenolics.
Bugger! - Any other ideas what it might be?

just found this post (ironically almost the same problem as mine!)
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=27697&p=300642#p300642

I'm going to try some of the various suggestions - anyone else have a similar issue and been able to solve it?
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by Swoonara » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:03 pm

You could be mashing too hot. I had the same problem when I couldn't read my glass thermometer very well (red/green colour-blind) and kept on adding boiling water to an already hot mash. The problem went away when I got a digital thermometer. :D

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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by mysterio » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:29 pm

I would be surprised if it wasn't down to your water or use of VWP. These two are the number one culprits. SO4 is a good yeast and doesn't produce phenolic flavours (unless you were drastically underpitching or fermenting too warm, in other words stressing the yeast somehow). Do you taste your water after treating with campden tablets ? How much are you using ? Also make sure you rinse even more thoroughly anything that comes into contact with the VWP.
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quiff
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by quiff » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:23 pm

I have a similar problem BM. Whereabouts are you?
Do you preboil your liquor before use? I tried just adding cambden tablets but that didn't work so now I believe it's the water alkalinity rather than the chlorine content of the water. It's damned irritating aint it? :evil:
Fermenting: None
Conditioning: Amarillo Pale Ale
Drinking: Elderfower First Gold SMASH


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beermonsta
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by beermonsta » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:55 pm

Swoonara - I mash at the temp required by the recipe - usually between 66-69'C - and I funnily enough upgraded to a digital thermometer for the last brew - but still that nagging taste. I'm wondering though ...I have to pitch the water in at 80'C even after pre-heating the mash tun as it initially looses heat rapidly (its extra insulated coleman coolbox 600 x 400 x 350) whilst doughing-in. Do you think that the initial temp could be too high - even after 5 mins of stirring the grain in and the temp leveling out at the correct level?

Mysterio - I am going to buy plenty of bottled water for the next brew to see if it makes a difference (for both brewing & rinsing)

Quiff - I'm in Lancashire - I don't need to preboil as I believe this is only useful for people with hard water - to remove the temporary hardness (please correct me if I'm wrong someone!). Although I know from my fish keeping that by boiling water it also serves to remove chlorine from the water (as would just leaving it open to the air for a while - but I don't like the sound of bugs growing on stagnated water before brewing with it!!!)
I do use Campden tablets but I'm not convinced how effective they are. If using bottled water sorts things out I'm going to double the campden tablet use (and use it when rinsing)
I'm afraid I don't know how water alkalinity affects taste - I thought it was more to do with allowing the mash to reach full 'conversion' - but if you know more than me please tell me!
quiff wrote:It's damned irritating aint it?
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by 6470zzy » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:41 pm

I haven't heard anyone mention the' big pink elephant' in the room here ie Bacterial Infection. This is also a very ready cause of Chlorophenol taste and aroma, to be on the safe side it is always prudent to revisit your sanitation techniques.

That said, the probable cause of your trouble most likely is the chlorine in your water supply coupled with your use of a chlorine based cleaner, perhaps you should try one of the percarbonate cleaners and maybe vidine for your sanitizer. I see no reason not to boil your water to drive off the chlorine if you think your campden tablets are not working for you.

Cheers
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simple one
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by simple one » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:55 pm

I doubt the VWP or Tap water are the problems. I wouldn't have said that you get a phenolic taste from them, more a chorinated TCP tang.

It won't be SO4, as it is a pretty safe bet as a yeast (if used as per the instructions).

It won't be an infection if the taste gets better over time.

If its true phenolics (similar to the some belgian beers) then I would hazard to guess either the fermentation temperature is too high, to much trub is going through in to the boiler and FV or you are doing a rather unusual recipes (lots and lots of wheat?).

I'll go for grain and trub in boiler and FV causing a acidic taste and phenolic smell? Hows the sparging and hop filtering?
Hard to find the time.... But getting the occasional one in now and again.

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quiff
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by quiff » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:34 am

Hmmm too high a fermentation temp could certainly be my problem. I didn't realise it had that effect.
I don't have a particularly great place to ferment, either too high or too low. I have always opted for too high (about 24-26 deg but probably gets a tad higher when SWMBO puts the tumble dryer is on). I will do some tests in the garage with a heat mat and a sleeping bag. :wink:
Fermenting: None
Conditioning: Amarillo Pale Ale
Drinking: Elderfower First Gold SMASH


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beermonsta
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by beermonsta » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:12 pm

simple one wrote:Hows the sparging and hop filtering?
Seeing as you asked I made this post (it's in equipment as its better off there)

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=27778

What do you think? Do you reckon my OTT copper manifolds are letting too much trub through? The wort runs clear withing 1ltr! (by the way I persume clear means no "bits" and not mean cloudy as it is midly hasey)

Ben
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6470zzy
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by 6470zzy » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:17 pm

quiff wrote:Hmmm too high a fermentation temp could certainly be my problem. I didn't realise it had that effect.
I don't have a particularly great place to ferment, either too high or too low. I have always opted for too high (about 24-26 deg but probably gets a tad higher when SWMBO puts the tumble dryer is on). I will do some tests in the garage with a heat mat and a sleeping bag. :wink:

High fermentation temps are going to spark the formation of fusel alcohols not phenols, you might be over crushing the grain or over sparging that will give you a medicinal phenol.

Cheers
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quiff
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by quiff » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:32 pm

Can't be that, I've only done one all grain brew and that's in secondary at the mo. All my problems have come from doing nice easy kits :oops:
Fermenting: None
Conditioning: Amarillo Pale Ale
Drinking: Elderfower First Gold SMASH


I am not young enough to know everything.
- Oscar Wilde

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simple one
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Re: Phenolic taste

Post by simple one » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:49 pm

beermonsta wrote:
simple one wrote:Hows the sparging and hop filtering?
Seeing as you asked I made this post (it's in equipment as its better off there)

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=27778

What do you think? Do you reckon my OTT copper manifolds are letting too much trub through? The wort runs clear withing 1ltr! (by the way I persume clear means no "bits" and not mean cloudy as it is midly hasey)

Ben
I'll answer that with a question... Is there a LOT of trub on the yeast head? Is there the impression of a lot of gunk dropping in the fermenter? If not it probably isn't the problem. Although it matches the altering taste discription.....

What is consistent in your recipe?

Its a puzzler...
Hard to find the time.... But getting the occasional one in now and again.

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