Sour off-flavors

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Sour off-flavors

Postby andytv » Tue Jun 04, 2002 3:32 am

I have had a little bad luck in the last two batches and would like your thoughts;

I brewed a Wit a few months ago that had a sort of sour/astringent bitterness that I thought may have been due to excessive use of bitter orange peel (I only used 14IBU of hops).

Turns out that an IPA that I just brewed had the same charcteristic. I don't know why????

Here's what I do know;

1) My sanitary practices havn't changed and should be OK.
2) Both beers contained Cascade Hops from my freezer. I have several 1 oz packets (plastic non-purged bags) which are a few months old, but have been kept frozen.
3) The flavor is a little like the fermentation gas smell (green apple) could I be drinking the beer too early??
4) I'm still using a corona mill, which does tend to pulverize a bit (just bought JSP mill, will use on next batch).

5) Water is the same as I always used.

Any suggestions????

Andy
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Green apple smell

Postby Freon12 » Tue Jun 04, 2002 4:22 pm

I am going to go with the yeast as the cause. What are you using and what gravity? Bye the Bye, do you still intend to motorize that JSP?
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Yeast

Postby andytv » Wed Jun 05, 2002 3:56 am

For the IPA, I used the cheap el crappo muntons dry yeast (wanted to brew, but didn't have the time to order wyeast), but for the Wit, I used Wyeast Belgian White. I had used dry yeast before w/o issue. No matter....the beer is drinkable and good homebrewers drink their mistakes.

I do intend to motorize the JSP. I have already built the drive mechanism, but need to scare up a motor and build a frame. My goal is to design the frame so that I can grind inside & dust-free, perhaps using some skirting material between the grinder and bucket. If you are interested, I can keep you posted regarding the progress of the grinder, but it may take a while since I just became a father, and most of my projects have been temporarily delayed.
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Something in the beer?

Postby Freon12 » Wed Jun 05, 2002 3:20 pm

No, No, I'm with you. I'll be putting projects on hold soon also.(again). Please post anything you do with the mill because I also have a new JSP and a motor. I saw the same site that had the guy with the washing machine motor. P.S. Did you use Lactic acid in the sparge water? also, I have elevated levels of chlorine in my water due to the mosoon in the midwest and fears of contaminated flood waters. This will give a beer a real bitter after bite Yuk!
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Water

Postby andytv » Thu Jun 06, 2002 2:59 am

As much as I hate to admit it, I think it may be the water. My water comes from a spring on my property, and whenever I started all-grain brewing, I figured I'd just use it and hope for the best. Remarkably, I've had great results with this water over dozens of batch, but I'm afraid that the quality and composition of the water is dynamic w.r.t rain, and so fprth, and I'm probably picking up a little ground water in the spring. I am considering getting a water purification system but before that, I'm gonna brew one with store bought water.

Thanks for your thoughts,

ANdy
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I will review my notes.

Postby Brewer2001 » Sun Jun 09, 2002 4:19 pm

The two things that come to mind are Ethyl Hexanoate (green apple/aniseed) or Acetaldehyde (bruised or overripe apples). Daughter's birthday need to go. I will post later.
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More on green apple smell.

Postby Brewer2001 » Sun Jun 09, 2002 11:36 pm

Andy,

I have reread you posting. You might want to check item #2. If you are using whole hops rather than plug or pellet (which usually contain some form of preservative) your hops may be adding to the 'sourness'. Smell and taste a sample and compare it to both batches of ale. If the hops are the major contributor this will come through.

On to the 'green apples'. A compound known as acetylaldehyde causes the green apple smell and taste. The amount of acetylaldehyde in new beer can be quite high but it is converted to ethanol by the yeast during maturation. However there has to be some viable yeast cells present. This also brings us back to the original pitch rate, viability, and composition of your wort. All liquid yeast needs to be grow to a pitching quantity to match the original gravity of the wort. Under pitching or weak yeast are unable to complete this final conversion. (Dry yeast is super fortified to start quick so you may not have as much of a problem with pitching rates and viability.) I have two yeast strains that I have been repitching, a Wyeast 1084 Irish on its 8th generation (started 12/2000) and a Wyeast 1056 Chico on its 3rd generation (started 10/2001) and both become more stable and predictable with each batch. I made a mistake with both by starting them in a high gravity ale on their first pitching. (Stout and Christmas ale) The stout did not go to a low final gravity and had a number of faults and the Christmas was good but the yeast in the bottles was powdery. The yeast is adapting in both cases. Most home brewers that start a new yeast culture for every batch never get to know how their yeast performs.

With that said I would go back and taste the hops, don't under pitch your yeast and mature these ales for a while. Both of the styles you made originally had long maturation times and long 'shelf life'.


Good brewing.


Tom
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Thanks All for the Info

Postby andytv » Mon Jun 10, 2002 3:33 am

Thak you all for the info.... in retrospect, I believe the root cause of my issue is impatience. I stopped buying beer last October?? From that point until now, I've been drinking only homebrew, which may sound unimpressive to some, but I drink about 5gal per week. In several cases, I've been forced to tap the kegs a little early and drink the beer that hasn't been completely conditioned. I think maybe I'll go buy a barrel and let some of my beers have a chance to grow up.

Andy
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