Does this sound like an infection?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by MartinL, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. MartinL

    MartinL New Member

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    #1 MartinL, Dec 22, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
    So, at the end of November I racked off an IIPA for bulk conditioning before doing a massive dry hop. I noted in the trial jar a distinctive woody/spicey/musty taste. The beer had fermented as normal, no signs of infection or particularly bad smells, just this unusual taste. I got 81% apparent attenuation using US-05, which didn't concern me. I racked my mind as to what it could be. Now today I bottled a strong stout. Again, the fermentation went just as normal, 80% attenuation with Wilko Gervin, no pellicle or other sign of infection, but in the trial jar was that exact same strong spicey unpleasant taste. It isn't awful, but I wouldn't want to drink a pint with that flavour in it. I've done 36 brews and not tasted anything like it, then get two in a row with this odd flavor. Both brews were with different hops, different yeasts, and different grains. The only commonalities is that they were both strong (> 1.065) and brewed at 18C for 20 days in the same fv. For the stout, I did a partigyle and made a chinook porter in a different fv, which doesn't have the taste at all, and actually tastes fantastic.

    Here is what I find strange. My cleaning routine hasn't let me down before. After fermenting I rinse out the fv, wipe it clear with a soft sponge, put a kettle full of boiling water down the sides, and star-san it. Before I brew again, I star san it again, then rinse it with another kettle full of boiling water. Both brews were chilled immediately, aerated and pitched with a healthy dose of yeast (23g for the IIPA and 36g for the stout). If it is an infection, it can't be a slow one, as the taste is right there in the fv after fermenting.
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    So, my question is, does this sound like an infection, or something that would condition out? Normally I'd wait and see, but I don't want to waste my expensive hops doing massive dry hop on a beer that won't come good.
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like something sus with this fermentor there Martin. Is fermentor a carboy? So your saying the off flavour is present befor bottleing?

    So maybe go back to your kettle?
    You've got more brews under the belt than me mate it sounds frustrating for sure.
    How about your ball valve gave that a clean I' know that gunks up?
    Good luck mate I hope you find that cause:)
     
  3. newmanwell

    newmanwell Active Member

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    What you are describing is phenols. I would replace any plastic on the cold side of your system and clean/sanitize the hell out of all the other stainless/glass stuff. PBW is a damn good cleaner.
     
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  4. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    As above +1
    Ben is correct that ball valves do gunk up , good idea to strip it for a clean .
    Starsan is no rinse , no need to rinse
     
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  5. OAE Iceman

    OAE Iceman Member

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    I would use PBW as a cleaner and not use a sponge because they tend to hold nasties. I only had one instance when I had an infection and it was because of not using a good cleaner 1st like PWB before sanitizing.
     

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