Unpleasant bitterness

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Unpleasant bitterness

Post by Hogarth » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:33 pm

My last couple of brews have been undrinkable due to a piercing 'bitter' aftertaste that I've never had before. It tastes like that stuff they put on kid's fingernails to stop them biting them. In both brews I used the same batch of EKG (AA 5.5%) but only in the usual amounts for a pale ale. I'm wondering if there's something in certain hops that makes them produce this extreme sort of taste. Has anyone else come across this?

It's a shame. Apart from painting it on my fingernails there's nothing I can do with this beer. :(

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Re: Unpleasant bitterness

Post by Kev888 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:37 pm

Never had that from EKG myself, and have used them in fairly large quantities on occasion. It seems a bit odd unless the recipe were very unbalanced (and I doubt that with your experience).

Are you sure it is bitterness from the hopping and not something else - for example a change in the brewing liquor, astringency from the mash/sparge or some sort of infection?

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Re: Unpleasant bitterness

Post by aamcle » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:23 pm

EKG should not be a problem unless you used HUGE amounts it's a popular hop I've used it myself, did you use too much?

Other than that all I can think of is contamination or extracting tannins from the mash if your temperature control was massively out.

You could try a deep clean of everything tubes/valves/FV anything that might ever contact the beer and check the calibration of your temperature controler.

Good Luck. aamcle

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Re: Unpleasant bitterness

Post by Hairybiker » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:18 am

Last time I had an overly bitter beer, I just left it for several months, it mellowed out nicely. But if it isn't hop related then that will do nothing.
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Re: Unpleasant bitterness

Post by alix101 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:44 pm

I would be supprised if it was the Hop especially one so low in AA...Although if there was more stem and leaf than cone, they can cause astringency.
Could you of over sparged again this will cause astringency by exacting un wanted tannins from the grain..
Just a thought.
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Re: Unpleasant bitterness

Post by Hogarth » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:01 pm

Thanks for the replies. I doubt it's infection, since I noticed it straight after the boil. And I don't think it's astringency -- it doesn't have that tongue-puckering quality.

The EKGs are probably innocent and I just managed to f*** up somehow, but as an experiment I'm going to boil up various different hops, including the EKG, on the stove to see what sort of bitterness I get from each -- something I've always meant to do anyway. I do sometimes wonder if we rely too much on figures and not enough on taste.

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Re: Unpleasant bitterness

Post by Clibit » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:16 pm

It sounds more like a fault than a bitterness thing to me - what temp did the brew get to during fermentation? What yeast did you use?

Tastes/Smells Like:
Paint thinner, nail polish remover (acetone), harsh, sharp, in extreme cases can cause
a burning sensation of tongue and throat, comparable to harsh alcohol or estery
Possible Causes:
Solvent-like flavors and aromas are usually due to a combination of very high
fermentation temperature and oxidation of the beer. Similar flavors can also result
from using plastic that isn’t food grade.
How to Avoid:
Avoid fermenting at temperatures higher than the suggested range for the yeast
being used. Avoid oxidation of beer. Never use plastic or vinyl equipment that is not
marked as food grade. Some food grade plastics leach toxins after reaching a certain
temperature. If plastic parts will be exposed to hot liquids or high temperatures,
check the temperature rating with the supplier or manufacturer.


Re: Unpleasant bitterness

Post by Rad » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:10 pm

Post boil bitterness is meant to twist your tongue. If it doesn't the beer won't have any left. If that bitterness is still present in the finished beer then let it mature a while longer. If it came from hops then it'll get better with time. In the meantime though, thoroughly disinfect your gear. Bleach or boil what you can, replace anything that you can't take apart. From my experience mould infection can give that awful bitterness without making itself obvious. I had a few bottles that were like that, when I looked carefully at the bottles I found tiny mould spots inside.

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