strange flavor question

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strange flavor question

Postby jarhead271 » Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:47 am

hey guys i brewed my first batch a couple months ago and i took a bottle in to my brew shop to get it evaluated. the guy said it was good except for one off flavor. he said he thought it was possibly lactobacilus (spelling?) and described it as a sweet and tart flavor.

recently i took batch two in because i thought it possibly had the same off flavor. he thought that lactobacilus was not the cause of the flavor. he thought it was a young flavor and it would age out. i noticed the same flavor in batch 3 after it was in bottles for about a week. i just tried a bottle of batch two and it seems that the particular young flavor i didnt like is almost gone but now im noticing more tartness on the mid-back of my tongue.

im no taste expert and I have a hard time explaining a taste in words. I'm not sure if the young flavor and the lacto are the same/related or it they are totally seperate. they sure taste similair. im not entirely sure if my second batch has lacto contamination or not.

Have any of you had experience with these flavors. if so can you recomend anything?

thanks guys
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Re: strange flavor question

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:47 am

"...he said he thought it was possibly lactobacilus (spelling?) and described it as a sweet and tart flavor.."

Sweetness is a sign of the presence of unfermentable sugars in the beer or may indicate that the beer was underattenuated. Sourness (if indeed it is sourness) usually is caused by acetic acid producing bacteria, lacto being one of them. They are two different topics.

"... he thought it was a young flavor and it would age out. i noticed the same flavor in batch 3 after it was in bottles for about a week. i just tried a bottle of batch two and it seems that the particular young flavor i didnt like is almost gone but now im noticing more tartness on the mid-back of my tongue."

Well... "young" flavors should not exist PRIOR to bottling. I expect that you are not allowing the beer to mature in a tertiary vessel. Remember... the best practice is ferment in the primary until within 2 deg. plato of target final gravity. Transfer it off into a glass carboy and let it go until it hits the target gravity. Let it rest 2-3 days, then transfer it to another carboy and condition as cold as possible for at least 1-2 weeks. Taste it... if it is good, package as usual. If it settled really well and you don't force carbonate,, you may want to add a packet of dried lager yeast (regardless of beer style) to the priming bucket with the priming media to ensure that it carbonates.properly. SafLager from Lesaffre/Fermentis works well for this and is as pure as liquid cultures.

"...I'm not sure if the young flavor and the lacto are the same/related or it they are totally seperate. they sure taste similair. im not entirely sure if my second batch has lacto contamination or not."

Again, young, "green beer" flavors are different from contamination. The most common "green" flavors are diacetyl (butter/butterscotch/toffee) and acetaldehyde (green apple). Lactobacillus can cas a variety of flavors, sour being one, but there are many others such a pediococcus that can produce these flavors. There are also wild yeasts that can "sour" beer, Regardless, if you are detecting sourness across the board in all of your beers, you have a sanitization problem, either of equipment or yeast. This "sourness" you percieve could also actually be astringency which is perceived along the sides and back of the tongue typically. I suggest you have a BJCP certified judge evaluate the beer for you. They are specifically trained to detect these sort of faults. If you can't find one locally, you can send me samples. In addition to flavor evaluation, I can do bacteriological testing and if there is a "beastie" present, I can tell you which one.
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