Not such a nice smell, and slight bad taste

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Not such a nice smell, and slight bad taste

Postby TheUKDave » Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:02 pm

Hi there,

I seem to have a couple of recurring problems, they arent fatal to the beer but I would like to try and eliminate them. First off, when the beer is poured and ready to drink, there is a slight smell like antiseptic (a bit like the background smell you get in hospitals).

Secondly, a few batches ago I made a very dark beer (of my own recipe) that I felt tasted a bit burnt which I assumed was due to the amount of black malt I used, so then in the next recipe I did, I reduced the amount black malt, but it still had a burnt taste. Finally I then tried a totally different recipe with no black malt, and the burnt taste is still there.

Has anyone encountered either of these problems, could it be the water in my area (very very hard water), or perhaps the hops/yeast I usually use?

Thanks for any help
Dave
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Sanitization & Over Caramelization...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Sun Sep 04, 2005 12:14 pm

Dave;

In response to:

"...when the beer is poured and ready to drink, there is a slight smell like antiseptic (a bit like the background smell you get in hospitals). "

This is the hallmark of an infection created by bacterium that create phenolic compounds that leave this aroma and sometimes flavors. You need to review your cleaning and sanitizing regimin. If you use plastic fermentors, it is best to throw them out and start over with new ones as it may be tough to eliminate these beasties from the interiors. What cleanser, sanitizer and techniques do you use?

"...in the next recipe I did, I reduced the amount black malt, but it still had a burnt taste. Finally I then tried a totally different recipe with no black malt, and the burnt taste is still there."

This most likely is caused by over carmelization of the wort. When are you starting your boil? Are you using extract/steep or all-grain methods? You may be atempting to apply too much heat too fast which is scorching the wort. If you are doing extract batches, make sure to stir the wort well so that the malt doesen't stratify on the bottom making things worse. If you are doing all grain, don't try to bring partial volumes to a boil before the gravity is diluted. First runnings are very heavy in sugar and scorch easily.

Another possiblility harkens back to the infections... the impression of smokiness can be caused by a specific group of phenols. Within this group are also phenols that have flavors reminiscent of rubber. The two combined could lead to a burnt impression. But, I'd look more toward the scorched wort scenario on this topic.

Hope this helped!
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