Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

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steviebobs83
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Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by steviebobs83 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:44 pm

I've recently made a Belgian Tripel and it has a distinct smell and taste of germolene. It hits you quite strongly at first and then dissipates after a few sips.

The strange thing is, I really like it. I've had a fair few tripels and only a couple have had a hint of this taste.

Is this an "off" flavour?

I'm thinking of entering it (amongst others) into a competition later this year and I'm wondering if it'll get bombed.

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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by LeeH » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:28 am

How do you clean and sanitise?

What yeast did you use?

Do you treat you water via a carbon filter?

They are 3 things that can give that Phenolic/Clove taste.


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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by IPA » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:26 am

Almost certainly caused by chlorine contamination after the wort has cooled.
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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by Robwalkeragain » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:19 pm

What yeast? My experience of chlorine contamination is it’s truly all or nothing, like drinking TCP. If it’s not too bad you might just be picking up a combination of bubblegum and phenols. I’m very sensitive to phenols and I’ve drain poured a few commercial saisons in the past..

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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by steviebobs83 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:33 pm

I clean with VWP, rinse with cleab water and sanitize with starsan.

No filtering

Used Mangrove Jacks Belgian Tripel yeast.

I've never had this taste before and my technique is always the same. The only thing I can think is the groundwater was a bit warmer than usual and I pitched a couple of degrees too warm before the fermentation chamber brought it down to 18°C

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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by LeeH » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:56 pm

Some yeast can produce a very slight phenol taste as part of the style I believe but I’m not a lover of Belgium brews so have no experience with that yeast. The slightly higher pitching temp may have highlighted this more.

A small investment into a carbon filter would be no bad thing to remover any chlorine.


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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by IPA » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:47 pm

LeeH wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:56 pm

A small investment into a carbon filter would be no bad thing to remover any chlorine.


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Good advice
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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by Robwalkeragain » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:55 am

steviebobs83 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:33 pm
I clean with VWP, rinse with cleab water and sanitize with starsan.

No filtering

Used Mangrove Jacks Belgian Tripel yeast.

I've never had this taste before and my technique is always the same. The only thing I can think is the groundwater was a bit warmer than usual and I pitched a couple of degrees too warm before the fermentation chamber brought it down to 18°C
Are you using water from the tap directly?

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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by steviebobs83 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:33 am

Robwalkeragain wrote:
steviebobs83 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:33 pm
I clean with VWP, rinse with cleab water and sanitize with starsan.

No filtering

Used Mangrove Jacks Belgian Tripel yeast.

I've never had this taste before and my technique is always the same. The only thing I can think is the groundwater was a bit warmer than usual and I pitched a couple of degrees too warm before the fermentation chamber brought it down to 18°C
Are you using water from the tap directly?
Yep. The rinsing is usually done with the scalding hot water coming out of the CFC. I don't treat my water with anything either. It's never caused me any problems in the past and I've had some decent scores from judges. If I wasn't getting a good result consistently, I'd consider water treatment, it's just doesn't seem worth the effort at the moment.

I do understand however, that certain styles will be more suited to my local water profile than others, I've just never detected anything unusual before.

That being said, I quite like this odd flavour but, from the replies, I'm guessing it's not a generally desirable flavour in a Tripel though?

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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by Jocky » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:02 pm

Some clove like phenols are normal for that kind of yeast, but they shouldn't be excessive. If they smell/taste medicinal that's too much. Without tasting your beer it's difficult to say what the exact cause is, but there's a few possibilities.

It could be chlorophenols caused by chloramine in tap water or residual cleaning product. But there's also a good chance it could be a wild yeast infection - that's more likely the cause in my experience. Finally there's a chance that the fermentation just got a bit out of control or stressed.

Can you eliminate any of the above options?
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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by Kev888 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:25 am

As Jockey says, it can be due to a few things, so if you can eliminate any then it would help get closer to the likely cause.

For many people in the UK chlorine in tap water isn't often sufficient to cause a noticeable problem, so is perhaps sometimes over-stated. BUT it may be risky to assume consistency just because things have been okay previously; certainly my tap water can suddenly change drastically (especially in summer as water resources are managed). The medicinal flavour it can cause is the result of a reaction in the mash, and can happen even though you don't particularly notice chlorine in the water beforehand, so it is hard to predict.

Thankfully, it is dead easy (and cheap) to eliminate even the possibility of chlorine problems; I always do so routinely 'just in case'. Add a little sodium metabisulphate or campden tablet to the brewing liquor. Might be worth doing to the rinse water too, after using chlorine-based cleaners/sanitisers (which I seem to recall VWP is). That will at least eliminate one of the possibilities in future, should the flavour re-occur.
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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by Robwalkeragain » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:13 pm

steviebobs83 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:33 am
Robwalkeragain wrote:
steviebobs83 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:33 pm
I clean with VWP, rinse with cleab water and sanitize with starsan.

No filtering

Used Mangrove Jacks Belgian Tripel yeast.

I've never had this taste before and my technique is always the same. The only thing I can think is the groundwater was a bit warmer than usual and I pitched a couple of degrees too warm before the fermentation chamber brought it down to 18°C
Are you using water from the tap directly?
Yep. The rinsing is usually done with the scalding hot water coming out of the CFC. I don't treat my water with anything either. It's never caused me any problems in the past and I've had some decent scores from judges. If I wasn't getting a good result consistently, I'd consider water treatment, it's just doesn't seem worth the effort at the moment.

I do understand however, that certain styles will be more suited to my local water profile than others, I've just never detected anything unusual before.

That being said, I quite like this odd flavour but, from the replies, I'm guessing it's not a generally desirable flavour in a Tripel though?
I would look there first bud, chlorine should always be removed from brewing water, it’s not so much water treatment as removing a nasty chemical that’s put into water in varying amounts without notice...
Likely what’s happened is the phenolic ester profile of the yeast has caused a bunch of chlorine (volatile, easily removed) to bond to it creating chloramine (stable, hard to remove). This mainly happens with phenols and not other esters. You won’t have noticed it before because you’re using less phenolic english/US yeasts taking the flavour below the taste threshold.

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Re: Belgian tripel germolene smell/taste

Post by steviebobs83 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:31 pm

That makes a lot of sense. Good job I don't mind the taste but I think I'll have to invest in a decent filter for future Belgian endevours. I brew outside so I'll have to try to find one that connects to an outside tap or hoselock fitting.

Thanks all for the sound advice as always.

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