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Am I staling my beer?

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mtb

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Lately I've been looking into why my pale ale hop flavours are consistently poor, despite using the same recipe/hop source/malt source as a brewer friend. His beers turn out great but my hoppier ales just taste.. well, stale. It's not an infection as it doesn't taste bad per se, it simply doesn't have that hop flavour that one hopes to achieve.

One maybe concerning difference between my brewing methods and that of my brewer friend are that he secures his glad wrap on the FV with a rubber band and a tiny tube to allow CO2 exhaust, while I simply screw on the lid part-way to prevent anything drifting into the FV. We both ferment in sealed fermentation fridges but I open mine every couple of days to take a hydrometer reading or salivate over the krausen, so air is being circulated. *edit: I open my fridge every couple of days, not the FV.

Could I be causing my beer to go stale in the PFV by exposing it to oxygen? I was under the impression that a "blanket" of CO2 would protect it but now I'm not so sure.
 

Liam_snorkel

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Try cling wrap and see if it makes a difference.
while CO2 is heavier than 'air' there is nothing stopping them from mixing.

also how are your hops stored? vac sealed and in freezer?
 

earle

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Not sure on the answer to your question but if you do go with clingwrap you don't even need a little tube for the CO2 to vent, it will slowly find its way past the oring while there is pressure within the fermenter.
 

nosco

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mtb said:
Could I be causing my beer to go stale in the PFV by exposing it to oxygen? I was under the impression that a "blanket" of CO2 would protect it but now I'm not so sure.
I thought the same but apparently not. I asked question in the hop aroma thread. I use the rubber seal that is in the lid to secure the glad wrap. If the co2 pressure build up enough it will still allow it to escape. At the start of ferment it will balloon up. The plastic fermenters are not impervious to air apparently so i try and keep ferment and dry hop to 2 weeks before kegging.
 

mtb

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Liam_snorkel said:
also how are your hops stored? vac sealed and in freezer?
Stored in freezer, sealed but not vac, just a snaplock bag in a tupperware container. I'll give it a go - all I can do I guess.

earle said:
Not sure on the answer to your question but if you do go with clingwrap you don't even need a little tube for the CO2 to vent, it will slowly find its way past the oring while there is pressure within the fermenter.
Yeah I don't plan on using the tube, he reckons one of his ferments stopped due to CO2 buildup, I disagree.
 

mtb

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bradsbrew said:
Are you both using the exact same water profile?
We both get the same town water - but lately I've been unknowingly using rain water, as the tap next to my garage sources from the rainwater tank where available. I simply can't be certain of which water profile I'm getting from that tap so I'll be sourcing my water from the kitchen for future brews as well.
To isolate the variable I will be brewing two mini-BIABs, one with inside tap water, one with outside tap water, and both with secured clingwrap. If both turn out good, it was oxidisation. If one turns out good, it was the water profile.
 

bradsbrew

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mtb said:
We both get the same town water - but lately I've been unknowingly using rain water, as the tap next to my garage sources from the rainwater tank where available. I simply can't be certain of which water profile I'm getting from that tap so I'll be sourcing my water from the kitchen for future brews as well.
To isolate the variable I will be brewing two mini-BIABs, one with inside tap water, one with outside tap water, and both with secured clingwrap. If both turn out good, it was oxidisation. If one turns out good, it was the water profile.
There is some good info on water profiles for hoppy beers in this article. http://beerandwinejournal.com/two-water-guides/
 

technobabble66

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mtb said:
Stored in freezer, sealed but not vac, just a snaplock bag in a tupperware container..
....
Bingo. Does your friend do the same, or do they vac seal?
Oxygen is the enemy of hops aroma/flavour. If they're not vac sealed they're likely to be losing a lot of their zingy aroma/flavour impact. Not sure over what time frame, could be hours, days or weeks - I'd suggest a day or so might be ok, beyond that you're probably missing out.
They'll probably still be fine to use for a while, but they just won't have the same impact.

In the meantime that water source experiment you're doing is a great idea - both to test if it's the source of the problem and for curiosity value for the rest of us [emoji6]
Keen to hear the result. What's your local water like? Soft or hard? Do you adjust the pH or minerals?
 

bradsbrew

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Yeast health may be another thing to look into.
 

mtb

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technobabble66 said:
Bingo. Does your friend do the same, or do they vac seal?
Oxygen is the enemy of hops aroma/flavour. If they're not vac sealed they're likely to be losing a lot of their zingy aroma/flavour impact. Not sure over what time frame, could be hours, days or weeks - I'd suggest a day or so might be ok, beyond that you're probably missing out.
They'll probably still be fine to use for a while, but they just won't have the same impact.

In the meantime that water source experiment you're doing is a great idea - both to test if it's the source of the problem and for curiosity value for the rest of us [emoji6]
Keen to hear the result. What's your local water like? Soft or hard? Do you adjust the pH or minerals?
My friend stores the same as me. I would definitely consider storage method to be a factor but my recent batches were brewed with freshly bought hops and they still suffered the staleness.

As for the local water profile here in Canberra (Gungahlin district), see below;

For a while I was adjusting with a small amount of Gypsum and Calcium Chloride (higher on the Gypsum to accentuate hop flavour), no adjustments to pH in more recent batches due to the unreliable water source.
 

mtb

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timmi9191 said:
How are you transfering to keg?
As minimally exposed to O2 as possible.
- Fill keg with perc
- Dispense perc thru beer out post using CO2
- Purge keg pressure
- Connect silicone hose to fermenter, beer disconnect on the other end, open fermenter spigot
- Beer goes in via beer out post, release pressure via keg PRV until keg is full
 

tj2204

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mtb said:
As minimally exposed to O2 as possible.
- Fill keg with perc
- Dispense perc thru beer out post using CO2
- Purge keg pressure
- Connect silicone hose to fermenter, beer disconnect on the other end, open fermenter spigot
- Beer goes in via beer out post, release pressure via keg PRV until keg is full
Do you rinse after cleaning with Sodium Perc?
 

mtb

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tj2204 said:
Do you rinse after cleaning with Sodium Perc?
Nope.. I'm beginning to get a feeling that I should be :lol:
Doesn't rinsing negate all the sanitisation done by the perc?
 

mofox1

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tj2204 said:
Do you rinse after cleaning with Sodium Perc?
I'd be looking at that too. After a perc clean, I rinse mine out, tip a little starsan in, shake and tip out as much as I can.

I then fit lid and purge with CO2 with the PRV open. I should get a flow meter hooked up to see how much CO2 I'm wasting/using but for now its around 30 sec or so at serving pressure with a few stop/starts in there to purge out as much O2 as possible. I know that mtb will have close to zero O2 with his method, however I'm sure the leftover perc cannot be helping the beer.
 

timmi9191

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I consider perc a cleaner not a no rinse santiser.

The residual perc would be in effect cleaning your beer. Search how perc cleans and i think you will shocked at what its doing to your beer
 

mtb

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That could explain a hell of a lot.. I always considered it "no rinse" due to KegKing's description on its packaging. So StarSan doesn't have the same effect?
 

timmi9191

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mtb said:
That could explain a hell of a lot.. I always considered it "no rinse" due to KegKing's description on its packaging. So StarSan doesn't have the same effect?
What do they say?
 

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