Dreaded Oxidation

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Folks, some experience here would be appreciated, cos Im stuffed if I know what it could be...

Ive kegged two ales in the last week, both extract based with steeped grain and generous (pellet) hopping, wort cooled in ice bath down to 24C within 25 minutes. Primary fermentation (7 and 9 days respectively) indicated nothing untoward and temperature steady throughout (20C). Attenuation was as expected using 1056.

I racked them off with some gelatine in the secondary, using a nice, long sanitised tube curled around the bottom of the secondary to minimise oxidation. They both spent a nice two week holiday in secondary, sitting at 16-18C. Both very pleasant out of secondary, dropped yeast out nicely, my only concerns were that the bitterness better settle a bit on them (one was heavy on the Chinook).

I racked them for a CC (brand new 20L blue Willow jerries, using nice long tube to the bottom of the jerry), where they sat for CCing 3 and 4 weeks respectively (2C).

Racked to keg (using nice long tube to the bottom of the keg see the pattern here?) burped the oxygen out of the keg, then pressured up to 300kPA, shook my booty, turned gas off, shook booty again, let settle for half an hour, then had a taste.

Beautiful pour (at 70kPA), good colour, clarity, head, aroma, hops on the front palate nicely balanced, exhibiting all the right characteristics (grapefruit from the Chinook, etc). Bitterness has settled, nice bodied malts, all good. Until after the swallow. Right on the back palate, what I would only describe as wet cardboard. Not a nice finish, and after a pint, getting more and more pronounced to me. Mates seem to think its all good, but then again, one of them drinks Emu Export by choice.

So go figure. If I was a betting man, Id peg 2-trans-noneal as the culprit. But Id be lying if I didnt say Ive been VERY careful with oxidation between primary/secondary/CC/keg.

Sanitation wise, Im using bleach and/or Slingshot for all my plastics, and Singles for the keg, Im putting a bit of CO2 in the keg before I rack the beer into it to create a blanket.

The only things Ive recently changed are the use of starters, (stored in brand new, sanitised PET bottles in fridge at 4C), and starting to CC. I rinsed the jerries with boiling water 2 or 3 times, left them a few days filled with water to absorb any taste, then sanitised them before use. Oh, and Im force carbonating to 300kPA, instead of over a couple of days, but I cant think the CO2 would be the cause?

Im going to give them a couple of weeks in keg to maybe settle down, if not, Im thinking of degassing them, racking them off and dry hopping the bastards till I mask it and if that doesnt work, Ill drink them later on in a session, when my tastebuds arent so refined.

Anything else obvious Im missing? :(
A mate had a similar taste occur with his brew.
He put it in a brand new willow CC cube for 3 months.

Now - could be coincidence - but i would be tempted to fill the willow cc cube up with water and unscented bleach and leave it full for a week or 2.

This is what we thought his problem was.

Hope this helps.
You know what GMK, i had exactly the same thing with my a recent beer - first beer to go into this cube, came out tasting oxidised.
One thing that immediately springs to my mind is the number of times you are racking. Moving the beer between primary/secondary/CC/keg you're exponentially increasing the risk of oxidisation. Even if you are really careful and only get a little oxidisation each time it will add up over repeated rackings.

At the most I rack from primary to secondary to keg. This would be for a lager, and I would lager in the secondary vessel. For an ale I would just rack from primary to the keg. Once off the primary yeast cake it's not going to drop much more yeast that will be a problem when pouring.

Cheers fellas, I guess that's possible - I did leave them full of water, and bleach soak them, but there ya go. I'll leave them a week or two with a nice, strong solution and hopefully she'll be apples... otherwise I'll just go back to kegging straight out of a long secondary!

I am gutted though... to get everything else right (probably), just to feck it up when CC'ing. I should have trusted my instincts and ripped straight into them... ;)

EDIT - yeah, I know I'm running a risk MAH, but I was trying a couple to see what I could get out of it - it is dropping a fair bit out in both secondary and cube, but hell, I don't actually mind a cloudy ale...

Sooo... anyone have any bright ideas on "retrieving" the beer? (note lack of optimism here)
I have heard many people speak of oxidisation but I imagine only a few have experienced it in their own brewing. I have no idea one way or another but it seems that the willow cubes are suspect.

Are they made of hdpe?
Yeah well, that's the thing innit... they are the same Willow 20L ones that Batz and johnno have, but don't have the triangle 2 marked on them, although the 25L cube ones do. I hesitated at this point, rang Willow and was told, yes, all of their blue "Carry Can" range was HDPE, marked or not. So I went back and grabbed a couple. I guess you have to trust them on their own products, but...

Has anyone else using these found the same prob? I'm guessing johnno maybe, seeing as how he recently got a few?
I think I know who GMK's "mate" might be :ph34r:

Anyway, GMK's "mate" tells me there was a fair amount of head space in his jerry, and a suspect minor leak in the tap.

Short term storage - 1 to 2 weeks hasn't caused any noticeable problems in this guy's brews - but I reckon he won't be using them for lagering again in a hurry!

Some of you might know the guy, he's about 6 feet tall and answers to the name of Nigel :(
Are you sure you're not looking at hot side aeration here, ant? Instead of focusing on what happened to the beer after fermentation, how was the wort treated when it was hot?
Hi ant,
I just tonight tried a stub of my first ever lager. Only ten days in the bottle but tasting pretty ok. I did use one of the willow 20 litre cubes. When i was ready to CC I filled up the jerry with water and some bleach and left it about half an hour. Thats all. I gave it a good rinse then put the beer in it. I left it to CC for at least 6 weeks maybe 8. Dont know where my notes are at the moment.
It was a single malt lager with the S-70 and some Hallertau hops. It tasted good to me so I dont think the jerries are to blame.
I have an American Pilsner in CC right now. Hope nothing happens to it but I'm quite confident about it. I'm sure those jerries are fine.
Anyway thats my experience with them.

I'd say it's more likely to be the jerry. I got a clear plastic one, and rinsed it with hot water for a while and repeated several times. I tasted some of the water after one of the soaks and it tasted "plasticcy" so i just left it filled with water for a week or so.

Just try tasting plain water from it and see if you notice any off flavours.

On airation... i'm drinking a beer right now (actually my first glass of home kegged beer) and it got airated to buggery ..

Buggered up racking it to secondary coz i had a new tube which was larger than i'd used before, before i know it, i had air bubbling up through the entire batch. Also got some splashing because when i was trying to stop the bubbles going through to the fermenter, the racking hose got lifted well above the level of beer ...

While it's not the best beer i've ever had, i can't taste a bit of oxidation (tho i'm not sure if i'd know what it tasted like). So with the care you took i'd say it's unlikely to be ox....
Boots, it's not plastic he's tasting but wet cardboard.

Hot Side Aeration.
I'm with PoMo on this one - you would have had to be fairly careless with the racking from one bin to another to introduce that sort of oxidisation in a cooled wort.

Have a think about the boil and whether you may have had a really vigorous, bubbling brew in the kettle. Did you stir the wort after flame out and before you chilled in the ice bath? Did you whirlpool the wort before racking?

I haven't got the cubes that you mentioned, but I reckon if they imparted an off taste, that would have been a plastic (easily recognised and resolved taste/smell) and not the classic wet cardboard effect of oxidisation.
My $0.02c...
i thought a rolling boil was best as it boiled any air/O2 out of the wort.
I'm thinking of putting on a pilsner in time for summer. I have one of those blue Willows that I was planning to CC in. It appears that the general concensus is they may be a problem. What would you recommend CCing in? The keg, maybe????

My friend "Nigel" ;) ;) has reminded me that his was a kind of troubled brew.

It was his first attempt at mashing and it was done on the pavement outside a certain HBS, and although the mash, sparge and boil all went pretty well (as well as can be expected, with copious quantities of Rochefort 10, Tripel Karmeleit, Windhoek Urbok and various homebrews being passed around and a bemused public looking on), but when it came to the end of the brew there was a major stuff up - nothing to cool the wort down with :ph34r:

So hot wort was transferred into waiting cube and transported home in the back if a car (bouncy, bouncy, bouncy) :blink: :blink:

Giving that the jerry had not affected either previous or subsequent brews, and it tasted "odd"ish when it was transferred I reckon HSA is a very likely suspect here too. :angry: :angry:

I recently bought "Nigel" a nice new counter flow wort chiller from another HBS shop, so hopefully this won't happen to him again :rolleyes:
I reckon people are getting anal about the willow jerries. My lager tastes excellent. And I only soaked for half an hour.
Its gotta be something else in the process. Easy enought to blame a plastice jerry. These are designed for storing drinking water. Why would they spoil your beer.

good point guys, with mine, the taste was easily identifiable as plastic.

i'll shutup now.
Good thoughts fellas, thanks.

Yeah, maybe HSA, it does seem more likely than the cubes, but I really havent done anything different re. my standard brewing practices for these brews. I guess thats why I was looking at areas in which there had been some change.

Havent got my notes here, but remember the first brew I brought a couple of L water to the boil, removed from heat and added a Masterbrew type base, brought back to a light boil for 10 minutes, flameout then added hop, gave quick stir to mix the pellets through. From there, lid on straight into ice bath to 24C. Only stirring at this point would have been a quick swirl or two with the thermometer to get an accurate reading of the cooling wort. Poured the cooled wort into the primary, strained the steeped (cooled) grain in, topped up with cold water. Stirred, took OG, pitched, stirred.

Doesnt get much more basic than that, but I must have done something stupid somewhere obvious. It seems strange that it would happen to a K&K Ive done as a quickie a few times before on one of the first times Ive cubed, but coincidence can just be coincidence sometimes I suppose.

I tried a glass of one thats been in keg for a week and I think it might be getting better (hmm maybe wishful thinking ;) ).

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