Fruity aromas & Esters

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Fruity aromas & Esters

Postby MrDanders » Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:13 pm

Question for the chemists: I bottled an IPA a month ago and have been sampling since. It has an almost overpowering fruitiness when poured -- Strong esters (so I'm told.) that are not really that pleasant. I find that if I chill it all the way down to fridge temperature (~42
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Postby apd1004 » Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:24 am

Not sure if you figured it out yet on your own, but I have several troubleshooting guides that talk about fruity flavors and aromas. I'm not a chemist or an expert on brewing by any means, but I have some references that I use for troubleshooting beer problems that seem to be pretty much spot on, and have enabled me to keep from duplicating my problems from batch to batch.

Apparently, whoever told you the fruity flavors and aromas were esters was right. If you read enough about beer styles, mild fruity flavors & aromas are desirable and even expected in certain beer styles. Some of your Belgian wits and ales like a little fruitiness, and even some of your British ales & porters and especially German weizens may have mild to moderate fruitiness as a style characteristic, but it sounds like what you have is excessive for any style.

From what I read up on esters, they are formed from alcohol combining with acids. This is going to happen to a degree in most beer, but unless you are purposely trying to bring it out, usually it is barely present or even undetectable. Using wheat in brewing - weizen beers - raises the acidity, causing some fruitiness. Most IPA's should be pretty hoppy, maybe you don't have enough hoppiness to mask the esters. Most likely though, you had yeast issues. Type of strain, lack of oxygenation, fermenting temperature (too low or too high), and lack of viability of the yeast can all produce too much estery flavor & aroma. I'm also guessing that since you are getting more body in the beer than you expected that your yeast didn't ferment the way it should have. What was your OG and FG?

You might try storing the beer at a cooler temperature, like in the fridge. Maybe over time it will recede a little. If not, don't worry - everyone has a less than perfect batch now and then.
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