Author Topic: Funky Taste in IPA  (Read 7306 times)

cheaptoy

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Funky Taste in IPA
« on: May 08, 2007, 09:36:57 AM »
I'm having some troubles with an All-Grain IPA recipe.  I've made it twice now, and the first batch ended up completely undrinkable due to a hard-to-describe mediciny, alcoholy, nasty flavor.  I transferred the second attempt from primary to secondary, and after tasting it I think it's going to end up the same way.  I'm concerned because I'm not sure where the problem is coming from.  (Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe handy on this computer, so I can't post it just yet.)

For some possibly helpful background:
I mash in a 9-gallon stainless steel pot with a SS braided hose for a manifold. (Although, since I can no longer use a propane burner I want to switch to a cooler for mashing.)
Since I moved to a small apartment, I've been doing infusion mashes.
The first attempt was my 6th or 7th all-grain batch.  I've had very good success so far, but this has me slightly confused.
I stopped filtering out the hops after cooling the wort and transferring to the fermenter, so it's all in there during fermentation.

Now, here's where I think the problem might be:
I use a 6.5 gallon glass carboy for fermentation and a 5 gallon for secondary.  I usually sanitize the carboys using bleach and try to rinse them out as good as I possibly can.  Is it possible that this is where I'm having issues?  I think from now on, I want to switch to something like Star-San, since I've heard that causes less issues than bleach. (bleach is being used for financial considerations, since I'm a fairly recent college grad basically just starting out.) 

I'm attempting an American brown ale this weekend for the first time, and I don't want to have any issues like this, so any help is much appreciated.  As I mentioned, I plan to get some Star-San from the local brew shop and see if that helps any.  But if anyone has any other ideas as to what I might be doing that's causing this problem, that would be great.

ddwbrew01

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 09:55:59 AM »
Hey there,

I am no way an expert, but I wonder if it could be fusel alcohols from too fast of a fermentation. How long is your fermentation and what temperatures are you fermenting at?

The only other things I can think of is if it's a cheesy, barn-yard-like smell and/or flavor.  It could be spoiled hops.  Were they older hops?  Since you didn't describe skunk-smell, I assume you're not exposing the beer to light.

It sounds like you're an experienced brewer so I apologies if it's something you all ready though of.


cheaptoy

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2007, 10:37:37 AM »
My fermentation usually gets started in about 12 - 14 hours and for this recipe, lasted about 6 - 7 days.  Fusel alcohol flavors were my first though, but I'm not 100% positive if that's what it is, since I've never actually tasted it before.  Unfortunately, I'm not set up all that great for controlling the fermentation temperature as well as I'd like.  I've been doing it under my stairs with a blanket wrapped around it to keep the light out.  I keep meaning to get a stick-on thermometer for the carboy so I can at least check the temp of the contents, but keep forgetting.  That's definitely on my to-get list for this weekend.  The temperature in my apartment is pretty good though, it hovers right around 65 - 70 degrees.

I don't think hops are the issue.  I'm reasonably confident that the homebrew shop I go to does a good job of keeping fresh hops in the fridge.  I've been going there since I started, and haven't had the kind of off-flavor I've been getting with this batch.  I also don't know that I'd describe it as cheesy or barn-yardy, it's really difficult to explain it.  I should probably take a bottle down to the brew shop and see if anyone there can identify it.

Thanks for the throughts, though.  I'm going to try to remember to get some temperature checking equipment and see if I can pinpoint what I've been roughly fermenting at.

ddwbrew01

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 12:31:38 PM »
It sounds like a pretty healthy fermentation.  The right temperatures and durations for an Ale.

I understand that many infection during fermentation will be vinegary due to acetic acid.  Since you seemed to be following the right sanitation practices and you're using glass equipment, I can't image that's it.  What are you using in you fermentation lock? could to be getting sucked back in if the wort cools before it starts fermenting?

Let us know what you find out from the brew shop.  I am interested in what it could be.  Too bad the guys at the brew shop only get to taste 'problematic' beer  ;D

cheaptoy

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 12:46:27 PM »
I use the cheapest vodka I can find for my airlocks.  It's not fit for human consumption, but it makes a damn fine sanitizer for bottle caps and airlocks

And the guys at the brew shop got to taste one of my best batches at the St. Patty's day stout competition (as well as many other fantastic stouts), so I don't feel too bad for em.  At the very least, I'm going to be super careful about everything when I make this brown ale on Saturday.  Hopefully this one will turn out without any weird flavors.

jrwalt

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2007, 10:43:09 AM »
I completely understand the financial strains you must be under, but my suggestion would be to invest in a good sanitizer for the carboys.  Yes, bleach is a good sanitizer, but only if you don't have to rinse it off.  The water you use, though drinkable, is not the most sanitary thing to contact the interior of your carboy before your precious wort does.

cheaptoy

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2007, 12:10:32 PM »
Yeah, I plan to splurge this weekend when I pick up supplies for my next batch.  The water around here has lots of awesome little floaties in it, too.  I just pretend they're flavor crystals.  But when reality hits, I need to remember to use something good in the carboys.

Dr Malt

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2007, 11:37:39 AM »
It sounds like your problem is residual chlorine. Chlorine in a fermentation is converted to chlorophenol by the yeast which has a medicinal, bandaid, hospital aroma and flavor. The chlorine could be coming from your sanitation procedure or your water if you use chlorinated tap water. You might consider a filter on your tap for removing the chlorine as well as switching sanitizers.

Dr Malt

ddwbrew01

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2007, 07:33:37 AM »
Good to know Dr Malt,

Cheaptoy, did you ever get to the bottom of the issue?  I was just curious if it was solved and what you did to solve it.

cheaptoy

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2007, 03:03:23 PM »
I haven't transferred my recent brew to secondary yet, so I'm not sure if I have the same problem or not.  I smelled it the other day, and I thought I picked up on the same sort of thing, so I'm not too confident in it.  I am using Star San now, in place of bleach, but I forgot to get some bottled water on brew day, so I ended up using the tap stuff anyway.  I had a weird film on the top during the boil that I've never seen before, and I didn't much care for it.  I also forgot to preheat my mash tun, so I don't think this batch is going to turn out to it's full potential anyway. 

I am planning on taking a weekend and cleaning the heck out of my equipment before I brew again.  I also plan to build the inline water filter from an issue of BYO.  I can't remember what issue exactly, but it was within the last 3 or 4. 

I tried a bottle of the first batch the other day, and it was infected pretty good.  That sourish, fizzy infectious taste dominated what I had before, so I'm wondering if I had a bacteria issue in the first place.

deerelk4x4

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Re: Funky Taste in IPA
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2007, 12:24:45 AM »
When cleaning your equipment did you happen to sanitize your brew pot and mash tun.  I had a similar appearance issue, once when I did that, and haven't sanitized the preboil equipment as the boil itself will sanitize the wort.

As for the post boil equipment, I sanitize it and then let it air dry, as both star-san and one step are both non-rinse sanitizers.

The other issue I had once was a similar issue to the smell you are getting.  I found out that it most likely came from the grains as I had bought the the night before, pre-crushed, which allowed them to absorb some moisture and air born contaminants, which gave a full five gallon batch and most unpleasant flavor and resulted in my dumping it all out.  As it turns out the grains had started to grow a mold in the center portion where they were the warmest, and harbored the bacteria.  Since I have bought my grains on brew day (usually in the morning) and then brew straight away, to eliminate any issues with off flavors.

Hopes this helps  you out.

 

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