Cask Ale

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by JAMC, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    I tasted a sample of my current batch during the bottling run last weekend. It had an unexpected element to it - a "cask" ale taste. This was the first batch where I'd used a new fermentation bucket, and I think the cause of this was a poor seal around the airlock in the lid due to my shoddy drilling.

    The main element I picked up was the faint "sherry" like flavour you get when melanoidins oxidise. I did use a small quantity of melanoidin malt in this batch.

    Has anyone else experienced something similar?
     
  2. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Unless you had an extended Primary, say more than a month, I doubt it's oxidation.
    The primary will have positive pressure for the first two weeks and a nice CO2 blanket to protect it.
    I'd say it's more likely a flavor your picking up from the new bucket.
    I've only used Melanoidin malt in small quantities and haven't picked up any sherry characteristics from it.
    How much did you use?
    Brian
     
  3. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    14 day primary. I used 100g (3.5oz) of melanoidin in a 5.5 gallon batch.

    Good point about the bucket - I hadn't considered that. I cleaned and sanitised it thoroughly before using it though, and if I was going to get any kind of off flavour I'd have expected a resiny/plasticy type taste.

    This taste was different, it was more like a sort of sharpness. The only place I know where to locate it on the flavour map is when you taste a pint of cask real ale from a pub. Just over a week to go before I crack open a test bottle. I'll be interested to find out if it's still present.

    The other possibility might be the yeast - I used S-04, and it's the first time I've used this outside of a stout (where roasted barley dominates the flavour).
     
  4. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    What kind of beer was it? Recipe, process, etc
    Were you careful on the hot side? Possible HSA, but unlikely to show up this early.
    I doubt it's the 04. That may give you some fruity notes, but not sherry.
    Maybe you're just being to critical of a flat, warm, 2 week old beer! :eek:
    Time will tell.
    Brian
     
  5. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    Maybe I am just over-analysing things (wouldn't be the first time...) and I shouldn't take the taste of a two week old beer as being indicative of the finished product. I've had other batches where the carbed and conditioned end result at 4 or 5 weeks was completely different to the 2 week bottling sample.

    I think I was careful post boil, chilled down to correct temp range with immersion chiller and got a very good cold break. I did aerate this batch with an air pump, sterile filter and air stone, but I did it for about half the time I'd normally aerate for (the last time I used S-04 I had a blow-out and wanted to prevent this happening again).

    Here's the recipe I brewed;

    Brew Method: All Grain
    Style Name: Special/Best/Premium Bitter
    Boil Time: 60 min
    Batch Size: 24.75 liters
    Boil Size: 29 liters
    (mash) Efficiency: 90%

    STATS:
    Original Gravity: 1.044
    Final Gravity: 1.011
    ABV (standard): 4.34%
    IBU (tinseth): 25.05
    SRM (morey): 7.81

    FERMENTABLES:
    3.5 kg - Maris Otter Pale (90.9%)
    0.25 kg - Crystal 70L (6.5%)
    0.1 kg - Melanoidin (2.6%)

    HOPS:
    10 g - Pacific Gem (AA 15.4), Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: First Wort
    10 g - Motueka (AA 7) for 60 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil
    10 g - East Kent Goldings (AA 5) for 60 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil
    15 g - East Kent Goldings (AA 5) for 10 min, Type: Leaf/Whole, Use: Boil

    MASH STEPS:
    1) Infusion, Temp: 70 C, Time: 60 min, Amount: 17 L, Single @ 4.5L/Kg
    2) Sparge, Temp: 76 C, Time: 20 min, Amount: 17 L

    OTHER INGREDIENTS:
    2 each - Fresh Bay Leaf, Time: 30 min, Type: Herb, Use: Boil

    YEAST:
    Fermentis / Safale - Safale - English Ale Yeast S-04
    Starter: No
    Form: Dry
    Attenuation (custom): 75%
    Flocculation: Medium
    Optimum Temperature: 15 C - 23.89 C

    PRIMING:
    Method: Caster Sugar
    Amount: 115g
     
  6. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Well I never put Bay leaves into beer before, only Bean soup. I have no idea what flavor to expext from them.
    Where did that idea come from?
    Also, the to early hops are unfamiliar to me. They shouldn't be the "sherry" source though.
    I'm reading this as a single infusion mash with 17L and a single batch sparge with the same.
    Correct?
    Sounds about right although I'm not exact with my Liter conversions.
    I think your just over thinking it. Give it some time and maybe rethink the whole Bay leaf thing! :D
    Brian
     
  7. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    I would say they're like a savoury undertone or counterpoint to hop bitterness. It works well, but then of course any flavour given off by two leaves is going to barely register in 5 gallons of wort. I've used them in previous batches with good results.

    There's a bay tree in the garden - and I thought... "why not?". It gives me something to do at 30 minutes as well.

    Bang on correct.

    I'm planning on opening a test bottle on the 29th - I'll let you know how it turned out.
     
  8. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    Couldn't wait until the 29th in the end.

    Cracked open the first test bottle this evening. The taste I described above has almost completely gone - there's only the faintest suggestion of it. I'm still amazed how different the post-primary sample can be from the finished product.

    This particular batch has an excellent fruity, floral aroma. It could turn out to be the best I've made so far. The early hops in that recipe are both from New Zealand, and I'm very pleased with the qualities they've added to this batch.
     
  9. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Can you taste the Bay Leaves?
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure it's not acetaldehyde? I brewed a really big German ale a while ago and, while it was green, thought I was getting sherry flavors. Once the beer had settled down in the bottle, it was distinctly green apple - acetaldehyde - which is only a flaw if there's too much of it in the beer. It's generally a result of bottling too quickly and should eventually go away, as the yeast convert it into alcohol.
     
  11. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    Not as a distinct flavour, no.
     
  12. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    That sounds like a likely candidate.
     
  13. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    After reading a little about how acetaldehyde is produced during fermentation, I think the cause of this flavour may have been under-oxygenation prior to pitching.

    If I understand the process correctly, acetaldehyde is an intermediate chemical which is produced both during the production of alcohol and also during the breakdown of alcohol if the beer becomes oxygenated; eventually breaking down further into acetic acid. Insufficient oxygen being present in the initial stages of fermentation can lead to a scenario in which the yeast are unable to complete the conversion of acetaldehyde into alcohol.
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You're right about under-oxygenating but if you leave it alone a while, some of the green apple flavor should go away. Acetaldehyde is a flavor in all beers - it's still noticeable in my Big German but not distracting. Give it a week or a month and it should be better.
     

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