A very strange off taste...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by KarmaCitra, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. KarmaCitra

    KarmaCitra New Member

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    Hi all!

    The Taste

    I now have had to ditch 2 brews in a row as they both have developed a burnt cigarette taste. As a commercial brewer too I have experienced a few off tastes but only really the classics never this. I will explain what happend to help diagnose this very strange off taste.

    The Backstory
    A few weeks ago I was brewing an all grain hefe and admittedly I was in a rush and pitched a little too much yeast at a warmer temp than normal (25C) and it obviously took off with hefe all over the worksurfaces. When it began to slow down I took at gravity reading and gave it a smell. It smelt just like a cigarette after it was burnt. I then tasted it and it tasted like I was drinking cigarette ash its fair to say that's not pleasant.

    I ditched the brew and kind of assumed it had something to do with a combination of over pitching, rushed fermentation and potentially some kind of bug. I used the cask washer at work to CIP the fermenter so it couldn't really contain any bugs.

    So then last week I brewed an imperial rye ipa.... Exactly the same cigarette taste. Which leads me to think it must be a procedural problem. But where on Gods green earth does a cigarette taste come from in the procedue? I have replaced my boiler elements in some vein attempt to solve the problem but I was hoping someone might have some insight into whatever this could be?!

    Any help greatly appreciated!

    Happy non-cigarette brewing everyone!
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    just guessing the element might have a coating on it that burns or some grain come through to the boil kettle and fell to the bottom and burnt slowly
     
  3. KarmaCitra

    KarmaCitra New Member

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    Yeah it has absolutely crossed my mind but do you think you would be able to taste it in the wort? Its a taste/smell that develops through fermentation not directly after the boil which (to me) means there might be something else going on?
     
  4. SmokeyMcB

    SmokeyMcB New Member

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    Burnt rubbery cigarette ash? Has your water changed?
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I just did a google search and found numerous people having the same issue, never had it my self, I would read those forums before making any drastic changes
     
  6. KarmaCitra

    KarmaCitra New Member

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    I Homebrew at the brewery (a bit of a mind [email protected]%k that) and our water is from a water source that doesn't change. I was playing with my brewing salts a little bit too much maybe but it happened twice in a row so that really threw me off that train of thought.
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    Ive had a odd flavor creep into my brew before, turned out the trub at the top of my fermenter. it had a strong mildew smell to it and possibly dropping down into the wort. this was from opening the fermenter too many times I'm guessing and allowing air to hit it, needless to say I don't touch it now. :D

    now that I think about it it could smell like ashes in a way
     
  8. KarmaCitra

    KarmaCitra New Member

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    Problem solved!

    I replaced my kettle elements because I hadn't been descaling them properly. Hefeweizen brewed and bottled no ash taste present! I now descale them after every brew.

    So if you ever get a cigarette ash taste in your beer. Check your elements or any build up of last brews trub in your kettle.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  9. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Cleanliness is next to Godliness and good beer! haha
    Brian
     
  10. UgliestLemming

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    Read this article today and thought about this post. It's a good read, but also highlights another reason this taste may find itself in a beer.
     
  11. KarmaCitra

    KarmaCitra New Member

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    Great Article. But I do think the beauty of being a homebrewer is to experiment so really ditching a beer is a shortcut for what could be a huge learning curve...
     

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