Off flavour - what went wrong.

Discussion on brewing beer from malt extract, hops, and yeast.
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spook100
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Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by spook100 » Tue May 11, 2010 2:51 pm

Hi
I recently brewed an american amber ale from extract. It spent 7 days in the primary, 9 days in secondary and then I bottled it. Both primary and secondary fermentation took place in a room with a fairly constant temperature of around 19C, however, during primary fermentation I stuck a thermometer into the liquid itself and it read 23.5C (I'm guessing that fermentation is exothermic). It has been in the bottle for about two weeks so I decided to give it a try and it has a very sweet/medicinal off-flavour - barely palatable. Any ideas where I went wrong? Would the high primary fermentation have caused these flavours and will it improve with conditioning or should is it a drain pour?
Cheers
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.

steve_flack

Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by steve_flack » Tue May 11, 2010 2:53 pm

Did you treat your water to remove chlorine?

23.5C is a tad high but not too high IMO.

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spook100
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Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by spook100 » Tue May 11, 2010 2:58 pm

I didn't treat the water, but then I never do and have never had a problem before. I've also brewed an IPA since and it seems OK so far. The off-flavour isn't really chemical, its more medicinal - very sweet like a cough syrup.
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.

boingy

Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by boingy » Tue May 11, 2010 2:59 pm

In general, never be too quick to pour beer down the drain, especially as it is already bottled/kegged. Just keep it for a few months and sample it now and then.

When you say it is sweet, did you check the final gravity?

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Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by spook100 » Tue May 11, 2010 3:08 pm

YEs, OG was 1052 and FG was 1012 so there shouldn't have been too many infermented sugars left. I was wondering whether the primary solution wasn't properly mixed in before bottling and some bottles have more priming solution than others. This is the first time I've bottled a beer (in the past I've always dispensed from a barrel). I racked into a bottling bucket bucket with the priming solution at the bottom but didn't stir it or anything - just assumed that the swirling of the liquid flowing into the bucket would do the job.
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.

boingy

Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by boingy » Tue May 11, 2010 3:14 pm

The FG looked fine. Give it some time and it may come good.
Even if it doesn't then you may aquire a taste for it!

EoinMag

Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by EoinMag » Tue May 11, 2010 10:14 pm

It could also be an infection.
http://www.homebrewzone.com/phenols.htm

kaymak

Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by kaymak » Wed May 12, 2010 11:27 am

I've had a few bews like this and unfortunately they're beyond repair, it starts off as a medicinal cough syrup off flavour and then the longer it conditions the more the flavour will turn into a nail polish rempver type taste, their is nothing that can be done and my bee4rs were undrinkable after about 3 weeks,

I put it down to high pitching and fermenting temp, i was fermenting in a room with a constant temp of 18c but my pitchiong temp was very high and it was taking about 2 days to drop down to 18 and initial fermentation was nearly completed then.

Make sure you drop your beer to at least 20c before pitching, thats how I solves it anyway

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spook100
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Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by spook100 » Thu May 13, 2010 9:55 am

I opened another bottle last night and it was fine so it was either a contamination in the first bottle only or I need to mix in the priming solution better next time, I think. I'll leave the remainder to condition for a few more weeks and see how they go.
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.

boingy

Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by boingy » Thu May 13, 2010 10:20 am

Excellent news. So it looks like you may have a beer lottery. Will the next bottle be good or bad?
The absolute best way to find out is to get a mate over, prfereably one who is sceptical about home brew, and get him to choose a bottle. It's bound to be a bad one so you have more chances of choosing a good one for yourself!

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Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by OldSpeckledBadger » Thu May 13, 2010 10:50 am

I'm wondering if the off tastes might be down to incomplete rinsing of some of your bottles.
Best wishes

OldSpeckledBadger

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Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by spook100 » Thu May 13, 2010 3:27 pm

Boingy, I like your thinking. I know just the blike too - he normally drinks Fosters so he'll be used to drinking sh1te beer anyway.
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.

Hawkinspm

Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by Hawkinspm » Thu May 13, 2010 4:11 pm

I've bottled before without stirring the priming solution into the bottling bucket, I never got a medicinal taste but it was a carbonation lottery, some were pretty lifeless and some just left you stood there looking at an empty bottle and a fountain of beer heading up into the air... luckily none exploded :shock:

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Re: Off flavour - what went wrong.

Post by spook100 » Tue May 18, 2010 12:01 pm

I'm fairly sure now that this is as a result of not mixing in the priming solution properly. I bottled it into a dozen swing-top bottles first and the remainder into normal bottles. The first bottle that I opened was a swing-top and was too sweet, the second was a normal bottle and was OK. I opened another swing-top last night and again it is very sweet and way over-carbonated - it foamed up like a bottle of champagne when I opened it.
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.

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