Medicinal taste/frustrating

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by BrewerMichel, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. BrewerMichel

    BrewerMichel Member

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    #1 BrewerMichel, Jan 21, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    Hello,

    Problem:

    medicinal/bandage flavour in my last 2 brews (out of 4 in total...). The taste is already there during primary.

    My effort so far:

    After the first time I had this problem, I used demineralized water for mash and sparge because a lot of people suggested chlorine. And indeed there was a lot of it in my tap water. For sanitizing I used spring water with Chemipro Oxi and payed a lot of attention to sanitation because this could also be a problem. Also I monitored fermentation temperature and it stayed on the lower end (18°C). The yeast (Safale Saison 134) was bubbling away after 12h and looks to be very healthy.

    So today I tasted a bit from the fermentor tap and bam again the same taste. Although it smelled super nice... Just reaaaally demotivating after all the hard work.

    Questions:

    1) I did not have this problem with my first 2 brews. The only difference with these is that I used steeping grains/mini mash in the last two. Maybe this process was not optimal? Can't do a lot wrong with that?
    2) Is Chemipro Oxi enough for sanitation? I already ordered some starsan...
    3) Good idea to go back to pure hopped extract kit and sanitize with starsan to exclude a lot of factors that might be causing it?
    4) The third brew (with the strongest bandage flavour) also has almost no foam. Indication of infection?

    Will update...
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Had a quick search online and found this

    Using chlorine or iodine-based sanitizers improperly can bring out Chlorophenols. Yeast also produces phenols, and a clove-like characteristic is deliberate in some ale, especially Hefeweizen and other wheat beers.

    On this site
    https://www.morebeer.com/articles/homebrew-off-flavors

    Maybe that sterilizer your using is chlorine based I'm guessing not.
    Also maybe the saison yeast is contributing to them medicinal flavours too?

    You used that sanitizer on all your beers?
     
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  3. BrewerMichel

    BrewerMichel Member

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    Thanks for reply,
    the sanitizer is active oxygen based, but not classified as a desinfectant but more as a cleaner with desinfecting properties if that makes sense. I am a lab technician so i think my sanitation method is ok, maybe not the product.

    The yeast does probably play a role by producing phenols. My third brew was a quad with a phenolic yeast. I don't know about saison yeast.
     
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  4. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    This yeast is a Belgian, they have a reputation and ability to kick out phenols. Some may close to black peppers, others more like band-aids. Not sure if you need to change yeasts or ferment at a higher temperature. It doesn't sound like it's from your water or sanitizer.

    Most phenolic off flavors that I have experienced were yeast related. German wheat yeasts are phenolic and when English strains are stressed, they can produce phenolics (although same claim they cannot, I have experienced it).
     
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  5. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    From your desciption, and my experience....probably, yes. :(
    If you are using glass or stainless as a fermenter, you may be able to boil and/or bleach the s' out of everthing and get back up and running. If, like me, all is plastic, it may just be easier to buy another bucket...
    PS, caveat....I have no experience with belgian yeasts!!!
     
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  6. BrewerMichel

    BrewerMichel Member

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    So if I understand you correct, a higher temperature is not direct correlated to more phenols, as long as the yeast is not stressed? Even low temperatures might be more stressing if it is outside the optimal range?

    Would be a shame if I can't use belgian yeast, I'm from belgium :) no real temperature control here but still a steady 18° wort temperature is not too bad I guess. The optimal range for this specific yeast is 18-24...
     
  7. BrewerMichel

    BrewerMichel Member

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    I have a (smaller) glass one, might try this and sanitize the s*** out of it
     
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  8. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Each strain can behave differently, so raising may improve the beer or not. I don't think it's stress, but stress can increase phenols. In Belgian beers phenols are desirable, but getting the right type and amount can prove to be difficult. I personally think that it's harder to brew a good Belgian beer than a German Pils.

    Don't give up a Belgian strains, that would be a shame. But you may have to change to a different Belgian yeast to get the flavor profile you want. Keep at it, eventually you will nail it.
     
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  9. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the last two beers were phenolic type beers why not brew a cleaner style next like a blonde ale with S05 and check forn phenolic medicinal flavours then keep everything else cleaning and sanitizing the same. Then you can decide if you need to change santizers.
    I'd be wary of a cleaner and sanitizer rolled into one for example oxyclean is oxy based cleaner but you still need to rinse this and then sanitize.
     
  10. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Ben's idea above sounds like a good step if you're not seeing success soon. I don't really have much for the medicinal off flavour that you haven't already touched on.

    The expressiveness (both phenols and esters) of a yeast is a mess of various factors. It's hard to really do it justice in a message board so we tend to simplify it down to a few levers to change the outcomes, generally fermentation temp and pitch rate. Especially as they're relatively simple things to control. I'm sure a bunch of it also comes down to mashing and grain selection, especially what you do in your mashing to control what precursors appear in the wort.

    I'm still bashing my head against getting a more subtle version of my patersbier and had a little more success with my wit. I've tried dropping the temp and upping the pitch rate with little effect. I've talked to other brewers and they'll be pitching less and fermenting warmer than me and they'll complain about a lack of yeast character. The yeasts I've tried Wyeast 3787, Wyeast 3944 and Fermentis BE-256.

    Not sure which of the few things in the back of my head I'll try this time. Possible candidates are:
    • pitch at 16C, keep the temp of the fermentation fridge constant, but don't try and control the temp of the fermentation
    • do a two step mash or
    • really step up the pitch rate.
     
  11. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I'll just throw out one more anecdote. I brew Belgian beers most of the time. Mostly Safale and Danstar Belgian yeasts. My water treatment practices are all wrong since I don't treat the Louisiana bayou tap water (very heavily chlorinated) in any way. However, I find that heating the water drives off most of the chlorine and I never get any strange taste in the beer.
    However, I do sanitize the heck out of my fermenter. After washing, I use a mixture of Starsan and boiling water. That sits for a few hours. Prior to fermentation, I dump the Starsan and transfer boiling wort direct to the fermenter (it's stainless with silicone gaskets and seals). I have a heat exchanger coil and cool the wort in the fermenter. It's pretty much impossible to get a stray yeast or bacteria.
    I have never gotten any off aromas with this method. I do tend to ferment the Belgians at a little higher temperature (20-22 C), but I don't think that should make a difference with the production of a medicinal smell. Maybe try a different sanitizing method and eliminate possible chemical contaminants.
    This may not help your situation, but it's another stray data point.
     
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  12. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

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    It may have nothing to do with sanitation or sanitation may be only part of the problem. Are you using old LME or DME? This happened to me once when I was not paying attention and used a few old leftover package of DME to make a BGSA. It happened again when I tried to do a NEIPA using DME and I failed to treat for chlorides well enough and could not cool the wort down fast enough after the stand (it took over an hour in my sink of ice water. Then I dry hopped for too long (sometimes life interferes with brewing and I had to delay bottling for 2 weeks)...it was a horribly spectacular failure that tasted like grassy Buckley's cough syrup.

    I have since moved to BIAB, an immersion chiller, and reverse osmosis bottled water as a base with brew salts added pre-flame, and have never had a medicinal taste problem since.
     
  13. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    So you are using good ole Louisiana tap water? Whoa, you are more brave than I am- I use strictly RO or distilled. I cant stand the taste of the water we have down south. maybe the water in Monroe is better then what we get.
     
  14. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    I wouldn't be using an oxy based cleaner as a sanitizer. Oxy has an unpleasant smell to me so if you are not rinsing your equipment well enough that could be part of the problem. The Belgium yeast could very well be adding to your issue, but if you are femernting within the range then i doubt that would be the issue.

    As mentioned, try brewing a blonde ale or any other light colored beer using a neutral yeast and try and get some type of sanitizer available in your area.
     
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  15. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    When I moved back to Monroe, I thought I'd try the tap water before paying extra for brewing water. The water tasted okay from the tap and I have had no issue with the water in the beer. The caveat is that I tend to make a lot of stronger Belgian ales that might be masking any water issues. It might not work as well for a more delicate tasting beer.
     
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  16. Nola_Brew

    Nola_Brew Active Member

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    I agree- probably ok making darker/stronger ales. i usually make NEIPA's, IPA's, blondes.
     
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  17. BrewerMichel

    BrewerMichel Member

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    Quick update:

    so my 'hoppy saison' which had the medicinal/bandage flavour has cleaned itself up a bit during primary (the off flavour was more present during the first days of ferm). It's still present but quite modest. It wasn't sticky or sirupy like my "quad" so I bottled a couple of bottles and dryhopped 10liters. I hope it will have cleared up even more. Taste testing and bottling the 10 liter tomorrow! will update
     
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  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Lesson here don't let an early sample trick you into thinking something is wrong with the beer.

    I'll taste a sample once fermentation is done I find this will give you a fair idea of how fermentation went but it's still a far cry from what the carbed and conditioned beverage will actually taste like.

    Expierence tells you what to expect in them samples.
    Glad it's cleaned up for you sounds like your having fun with it.
     
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