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A Plastic/alcohol smell in a Smashing Pumpkin Ale

Hey everyone,

 I'm a new brewer and I need some help/advice.  I've done six extract kits and all of them have come out well so far for the exception of my Smashing Pumpkin Ale.  Here are the details:

 I brewed according to the recipe but added the additional 2 lbs. of Rahr 6-Row malt and 3 cans (15oz each) of organic canned pumpkin without any additives.  I must have missed part of the instructions originally and did not strain my wort prior to putting it into my glass carboy.  After aerating my wort manually I pitched my yeast (1 pack of US-O5).  After I pitched I noticed quite a lot of stuff floating around in the carboy and thought I may have gotten too much of the sludge from the bottom of the kettle.  It made me nervous so I decided to pour my wort into a sanitized bottling bucket through a mesh brewers bag.  It did filter a lot of the sludge but I thought some of the yeast may have been filtered out so I pitched another packet of yeast (US-O5) into the carboy after I poured the wort back in.  There still seemed to be a lot of sludge but I let it be.  I had good, active fermentation withing 12-18 hours.  The krausen dropped 5 days later.  My OG was 1.070 prior to pitching the yeast the first time.  I checked my gravity today and it was at 1.018 but I noticed a burnt plastic smell that wasn't very pleasant.  I tasted my sample that I used for my gravity check and it was dry and smelled like that burnt plastic as well.  I use filtered RO water and am a mad man about sanitation.  I called NB and they suggested that I transfer it to secondary vessel right away and let it be for 1-2 months, then check it after that.  Here are all of the notes that I took:

Brewed: 3/2/14. Did a partial mash with 2 lbs. Rahr 6-Row and 3 cans (15 oz each) of canned organic pumpkin according to the recipe. I did a partial boil with the 2.5-3 gal of RO water that I used for the partial mash. I also added an additional tsp. of pumpkin pie spice at flameout. It took 40 mins to cool down using an ice water bath.

OG- 1.070
Today’s gravity reading- 1.018 with a burnt plastic/alcohol smell
Initial ABV= 16%
Pitched yeast @66-68 F
Fermented at same temp
Primary= 18 days
Secondary= Transfered today.

 Any other advice you guys have for me?  Is my batch ruined?  Thanks in advance!


What do you use for a sanitizer?

I use starsan and I’m pretty rigid about my sanitization. All of my equipment is about 2 months old.

I believe your sanitizing regimen is fine. And your moving the wort around and filtering it would not cause a problem in the early stages, so you should be OK there.
An ‘alcohol’ smell/taste is expected in a higher ABV beer in the early stages. That will mellow out as it ages.
By the way, with a 1.070 OG and 1.018 FG, your ABV is 6.8%, not 16%.
More concerning is the burnt plastic smell/taste. That’s most likely due to either having chlorine or chloramine in your water that you didn’t remove. Or, your relatively high fermentation temperatures may have created some off-flavors that you might perceive as plastic. I’m sorry to say that Chlorophenols are less likely to fade with time. Hope I’m wrong. Time will tell(like a couple more months). A saving grace is that early, noncarbonated beer always tastes differently than the final product. Good Luck! :cheers:

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