Off flavours

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pimpsqueak

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+1 for doing a kit to eliminate half the process. Its what I had to do ages ago to find the source of an off taste.
I did a fwk rather than a kit n kilo though.
Also, are you chilling, or no-chill? If you’re chilling, try no chill on a batch to eliminate any issues in that part of the process.
Finally with regards to yeast lag, are you oxygenating?
 

The lunch man

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+1 for doing a kit to eliminate half the process. Its what I had to do ages ago to find the source of an off taste.
I did a fwk rather than a kit n kilo though.
Also, are you chilling, or no-chill? If you’re chilling, try no chill on a batch to eliminate any issues in that part of the process.
Finally with regards to yeast lag, are you oxygenating?
Yeah next batch will be a kit for sure. I'm using a stainless immersion chiller. You reckon try no chill to eliminate chance of infection during this process? Maybe hot wort straight to container, seal and let cool on its own? Just doing the shake and pour from a height into fermenter to aerate but my next purchase will be O2 tank and aeration stone to see if this makes much difference. Figured it would be necessary if I ever want to get into brewing stronger batches.
 

Ian Smith

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Do you spray everything with Starsan??? Be compulsive obsessive with that stuff - spray everything all of the time I also live in Townsville and have never had consistent fails - only had 1 x batch tipped out because it was unpalatable. 4 yrs in.
I think you are overpitching your yeast. It does matter that you use the correct amount - 70L should be 2 x packs (11g). Especially Nottingham - that stuff is a beast! Spray the package before you pitch to sanitise it. I have both hydrated and pitched directly into the wort, and have not had any detrimental effects either way. Dial that back to correct dose.
It is not the water - I do not filter mine and have no issues.
Is the fridge sanitised?? I spray mine out - the CO2 should be leaving the fermenter, and air not going into it. Yours is lagging so there could be an issue. Once the airlock is fitted and filled( I use water from the jug - it was boiled previously for the yeast hydration step) - I squirt Starsan into it too.
Is your mill clean??
The boil should kill off most all of the nasty stuff. So it sounds like something between the boil and the fermenter. Do you sanitise the chiller? Maybe replace ALL of your hoses.
I sanitise my fermenter as I am boiling the wort and have it basically untouched and clean for the transfer. Starsan is valid for up to 12hrs after application. Remember to flush the tap too. If you take a reading for gravity - starsan the tap, and up the spout.
You could do a boil and run that boiling water through your kit. Hoses, chiller, into fermenter. Some bacteria can survive boiling water though, but you have to do something - nothing worse than all of that time and effort for a spoiled batch.
 

The lunch man

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Cheers Ian Smith, a lot of handy tips here. Good to get confirmation on the local water. I've played around a bit with yeast pitching rates and due to poor results probably tend to over pitch now, might try dial it back a little for the next few batches then.
Yeah possibly not OCD enough with sanitation. I thought I was pretty careful but sounds like I might have to get 007 on that shit.
Will definitely consider these points anyway, Cheers 🍻
 

MHB

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The notion that he is over pitching is really pretty silly if you do the numbers. If you look at the How To Use on the Fermentis website it recommends 50-80g/100L. That’s 30-48g in 60L, just in case you have run out of fingers 2 X11 = 22g way under.

It sounds like a persistent infection to me. If you have an airborne infection in your brewing area, pouring wort in the open air wouldn’t be a big help either. Not only is it an ineffective way to get much O2 into the wort it dramatically increases your risk of infections..
This type of infection can be a real bugger to track down and eradicate.
I would try doing a simple kit beer in a different room to usual, clean and sanitise very carefully and see what happens.
Mark
 

The lunch man

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The notion that he is over pitching is really pretty silly if you do the numbers. If you look at the How To Use on the Fermentis website it recommends 50-80g/100L. That’s 30-48g in 60L, just in case you have run out of fingers 2 X11 = 22g way under.

It sounds like a persistent infection to me. If you have an airborne infection in your brewing area, pouring wort in the open air wouldn’t be a big help either. Not only is it an ineffective way to get much O2 into the wort it dramatically increases your risk of infections..
This type of infection can be a real bugger to track down and eradicate.
I would try doing a simple kit beer in a different room to usual, clean and sanitise very carefully and see what happens.
Mark
Yeah I have tried to follow the manufacturer's advice for pitching rate, maybe on the more generous side if in doubt. I do brew outside but aerate and pitch yeast inside so possible infection could be from either I guess. I'm going to try an extract brew next with store bought water. might try keep it indoors and if that fails do all outdoors? I'm starting to think maybe I need to be more critical with sanitation? Guessing pretty savage off flavours indicate infection rather than un-dialled process?
 

Hermies

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I have had similar problems over the last few brews and I am very particular about sanitising especially the cold side. I capitulated a few weeks ago and purchased two more fermenters. Although the beer is very young I don't have any off flavours. Cross the fingers.
 

The lunch man

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I have had similar problems over the last few brews and I am very particular about sanitising especially the cold side. I capitulated a few weeks ago and purchased two more fermenters. Although the beer is very young I don't have any off flavours. Cross the fingers.
Good to hear, hope this solves the problem.
 

Grmblz

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This issue crops up with monotonous regularity, it's just a process of elimination, first off nuke everything, and this will (usually) cause howls of indignation, fill a bathtub with a strong bleach solution and soak everything, I mean absolutely everything, bottling wand, tubing, bottles (don't forget the caps or capper) taps (pull them apart first) hydrometer, etc, then spray your fermentation chamber with it, also walls, work benches, everything! Do you have a small spare room or perhaps laundry that you can use for this exercise to create a clean room?
Bleach? Yeh, I know, but it's cheap, effective, and safe! Unlike peracetic acid/caustic soda (thank you Mark, it's good stuff but jeez you need to be careful with it)
Unlike the "sans" bleach kills pretty much everything.
Now rinse everything well with tap water to get rid of any bleach odour, then again with a starsan/stellasan whatever solution.
Get a FWK, and spray the container with the bleach solution, get 2 packs of Nottingham from a different source to what you normally use (Cheap Yeast Store) spray the packets before opening them, spray the scissors you use to open them, with bleach solution not "sans"
Still in your clean room fill the fermenter, add the yeast (2 x 11gm packs for 23L @20 deg's, do not rehydrate) seal it using alcohol in the airlock (check this regularly as it evaporates quite quickly) and transfer it to your fermentation chamber.
Now the fun bit, after 2 weeks have a taste, if you still have an issue then I'm out of ideas, but if it's all good then you now have a baseline and can start to go back to your old ways, one at a time, and when the problem rears its ugly head again you'll know exactly what's causing it.
 

The lunch man

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Cheers grmblz, I might struggle with the small spare room but will definitely take your advice on the bleach bombing and do my best to treat the workspace I'm using too. Used it in the past for some equipment but never hit every single bit of kit with it. Seems logical to eliminate any chance of contamination. Cheers for the tip 🍻
 

Grmblz

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No worries, just remember Everything! Doing a kit not a FWK? bleach the bloody cans, and the can opener, gribblies can be tenacious little buggers, and all it takes is one missed infected item for all your good work to go down the tubes.

A few years ago I was living in the tropics (PNG) and got a nasty skin infection that defied all attempts to eradicate it, I'm talking nuclear strength tropical antibiotic powder amongst other things, I had an Australian army doctor as a go to physician, he told me to go home (Aus) and treat all the open sores with Hydrogen Peroxide (bleach basically) till the "fizzing" stopped, apparently that's all the puss being dissolved, "you'll know when it's done because you're down to clean flesh and it will sting" then apply the powder, rinse and repeat as necessary. 4 weeks later I was fully healed and back in PNG.
The gribbly? who knows, but the heat and humidity allowed it to multiply quicker than any thing we had could kill it.
I'd got a scratch, or picked a pimple whatever, and it had allowed the bug to get into my skin, once in it was impossible to get rid of it in that environment.
The take away from this little story is to remove the patient from the infectious environment, and kill whatever is causing the problem.
Good luck
 

The lunch man

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Yeah just going to do regular kit can brew I think with some DME. I'll do my best and brew like I'm in the infectious diseases ward 🤞
 

nickxb

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As others have said it is likely an infection. This can persist in plastic and hoses so it may be worth replacing those if your DME batch turns out the same.

You also mentioned the beer turns out darker regardless of the grain bill. This could be an issue with oxidation, particularly when packaging the beer. Try and minimise slashing the beer, fill the bottles from the bottom and cap straight away.

Your location shows as Townsville. I highly recommend visiting a homebrew club and get some more experienced brewer to taste the beer. These forums are great for advice but its not the same as being able to have a taste and a chat about what's going on. The Righteous Brewers of Townsville is a great club if you're interested.
 

The lunch man

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Thanks nickxb, I'll treat as if it's an infection for now and see if I can nail it. Will also look into the brewers club you mentioned 👍
 

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