Off Taste Problem

Get advice on making beer from raw ingredients (malt, hops, water and yeast)
User avatar
BertieBassett
Sober
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:06 pm

Off Taste Problem

Post by BertieBassett » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:44 pm

Hi, this is my first post so be gentle :D

I've been brewing AG for about 5 years now and recently i have had a couple of batches that have had a weird/awful taste once they have been bottle conditioned, to the extent that two 23 litre batches have been dumped :(

both beers where similar in style but different yeasts and both had a funny smell as soon as you open the bottle and then when you taste it, its belgiumy with a slight vinegar wiff. also one batch, i think a proper job clone even smelt weird at the bottling stage

any ideas? I star san everything before use, I have a fermentation fridge so temperature is kept with in 1 degree. i don't secondary ferment.

its got be really baffled

guypettigrew
Under the Table
Posts: 1655
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:10 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by guypettigrew » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:35 pm

If it's only just happened after 5 years of all grain brewing it must mean something has changed with your process. Without you even realising it!

You've no doubt done a Google search and found vinegary tastes are usually the result of an infection.

Serious thinking about any changes in process would be in order. As would a complete strip down and clean of your gear. Not least would be a strip down of any ball valves and other connectors. Replace any PTFE tape you're using to seal threads, replace any hoses, strip down any pump heads-if you use pumps.

Do you have a stainless steel fermenter or a plastic one?

Have a think about all this, then get back to us.

Good luck--you'll sort it!

Guy

User avatar
vacant
Under the Table
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:39 pm
Location: downstairs
Contact:

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by vacant » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:21 pm

I'd suggest adding another sanitiser to the deep clean. Bleach or Videne (antiseptic solution, NOT the surgical scrub or alcoholic tincture) make up a solution and soak for an hour.
I brew therefore I ... I .... forget

User avatar
BertieBassett
Sober
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:06 pm

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by BertieBassett » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:19 pm

[quote=vacant post_id=845843 time=1569262889 user_id=743]
I'd suggest adding another sanitiser to the deep clean. Bleach or Videne (antiseptic solution, NOT the surgical scrub or alcoholic tincture) make up a solution and soak for an hour.
[/quote]

i think your right, never used bleach before though, how much do i use?

User avatar
BertieBassett
Sober
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:06 pm

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by BertieBassett » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:24 pm

[quote=guypettigrew post_id=845841 time=1569260107 user_id=5521]
If it's only just happened after 5 years of all grain brewing it must mean something has changed with your process. Without you even realising it!

You've no doubt done a Google search and found vinegary tastes are usually the result of an infection.

Serious thinking about any changes in process would be in order. As would a complete strip down and clean of your gear. Not least would be a strip down of any ball valves and other connectors. Replace any PTFE tape you're using to seal threads, replace any hoses, strip down any pump heads-if you use pumps.

Do you have a stainless steel fermenter or a plastic one?

Have a think about all this, then get back to us.

Good luck--you'll sort it!

Guy
[/quote]

i'm going to deep clean everything, gonna try the bleach i think, i do regularly stripe down my kit and soak it in cask cleaner.

i used plastic fermenters but have just brought some glass 6 gallon ones, so will be switching.

thank for all your advise :D

User avatar
vacant
Under the Table
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:39 pm
Location: downstairs
Contact:

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by vacant » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:03 pm

BertieBassett wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:19 pm
never used bleach before though, how much do i use?
Start here

Thin bleach comes in varying strengths, unfortunately not always accurately listed on the container. So just make it up a bit stronger as you're going to rinse it anyway.

I use Starsan mostly, but I store my no-chill container/fermenter full of bleach solution. When I first started with that method I worried about the residual smell after rinsing but it was really just the air in the container that had an odour. That got displaced rapidly when the container was filled. Never had any off-flavours.

Taste the water from the final rinse to convince yourself you've done a thorough job.
I brew therefore I ... I .... forget

User avatar
Mjr6313
Piss Artist
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by Mjr6313 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:27 am

I use the baby straliser bleach its like 49p from home bargains or BnM and has instruction for brewing on the side never had a problem.
My wife wanted me to get a hobby now I make beer. She says I'm always in my shed I KEEP TELLING HER IT WAS HER IDEA.

User avatar
IPA
Under the Table
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:29 am
Location: France Gascony

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by IPA » Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:45 am

An important point to remember is that Starsan is effective in killing bacteria it does not kill wild yeasts.
If you are using chlorine based sanitisers rinse thoroughly after use otherwise your beer will taste like Dettol disinfectant.
"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin

1. Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming... "f*ck, what a trip!"

User avatar
Jocky
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2231
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:50 pm
Location: Epsom, Surrey, UK

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by Jocky » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:01 am

I would look particularly hard at anything that touches your beer from the moment it starts to leave your boil kettle until it's in the bottle.

Is there any place that your beer touches that you can't see to check if it's spotlessly clean (e.g. Taps)? If you have a tap on your boiler or fermenter then take it apart - you'll probably find a disgusting load of mold or something in there if you haven't cleaned it recently.

Once you've checked every nook and cranny and it's all clean then anything plastic needs to be soaked in bleach/iodophor as already mentioned.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

Robwalkeragain
Hollow Legs
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:19 am

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by Robwalkeragain » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:44 am

I’d probably agree, belgium flavours sound like wild yeast which won’t go away with most routine cleaners/contact times.
Heat is the best solution if it’s possible. 77c+ will easy batter it into oblivion.
If your FVs are looking nackered, replace them.

User avatar
Kev888
So far gone I'm on the way back again!
Posts: 7636
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:22 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by Kev888 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:37 pm

Yeah, from the description it sounds most likely to be an infection of some kind, probably wild yeast. With that in mind don't rely on weak no-rinse disinfectants like starsan; it is handy but nowhere near the most comprehensive option.

The scope is almost endless but to echo much of what has been said: Thoroughly deep clean, rinse and then disinfect or sterilise everything that you can from the boiler tap onwards. Pay particular attention to things with scratches, nooks and crannies or that you can't see into - pumps, valves and joins/fittings are prime candidates (even the boiler's) disassemble them if at all possible and ideally change them if you can't.

Also consider anything that may be re-infecting equipment on brew day or thereafter - like unboiled wort running into pumps and hoses, grain dust floating into the FV etc etc.

Though that said, it is hard to judge what an off-taste might be from a forum post so as was also suggested, be suspicious of anything new or that might have changed without being obvious.
Kev

User avatar
Cobnut
Piss Artist
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:23 pm
Location: Ipswich
Contact:

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by Cobnut » Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:11 pm

Slightly off topic, but I couldn't resist...

Do you think the Supreme Court verdict today has left a "slight off taste" in the PM's mouth?

I'll get my coat.
Fermenting: "Hoppy" Kolsch
Conditioning:
Drinking: Lacons Patriot Clone, Mocha Stout, Single (allotment grown) hopped ale, Hazelweiss (8th edition), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Cherry Chocolate Dubbel Trubbel
Planning: Munich Helles, Black IPA, Keyworth mid-season SMaSH, Weizenbock (1100+ OG), etc. etc. etc.

User avatar
BertieBassett
Sober
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:06 pm

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by BertieBassett » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:04 pm

Thanks for all your suggestions, i have to say that my brew room smelt more like a swimming pool at the weekend, deep clean down and first brew after clean done.

i have also been looking at my water profile where i brew, i have found that the water in considerably harder and more alkaline compared to my water at home. my home water come from a surface reservoir and the water in my brew room is from a underground aquifer do you think this will make much difference as it only seems to be paler brews that i am getting this off taste?

User avatar
Eric
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2142
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:18 am
Location: Sunderland.

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by Eric » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:27 pm

Pale beers made with highly alkaline water will not usually be as good as they could or should, but will not make a beer that tastes "off". However, it will make it more difficult to diagnose other faults in the beer. As a priority you should measure the amount of alkalinity present and reduce it to a level suitable for pale beers.

The .pdf file at https://www.murphyandson.co.uk/wp-conte ... S-2018.pdf gives a brief explanation.
Without patience, life becomes difficult and the sooner it's finished, the better.

User avatar
Kev888
So far gone I'm on the way back again!
Posts: 7636
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:22 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Off Taste Problem

Post by Kev888 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:48 pm

Hmm, only happening with pale beers would make it far less likely to be an infection (unless perhaps the pale ones you make are simply more subtle, allowing the unwanted flavour through more). So I'll probably change my mind there.

There aren't all that many differences in process between light and dark beers, so of the things that do differ I agree the water has to be worth checking out as Eric says. Are you using the water as it is, or does it get treated in any way?
Kev

Post Reply