Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Acetaldehyde....bah!

Poured a few pints of our bohemian pils (3 weeks primary at 48, with a diacetyl rest at 65, 8 weeks lagering), and despite my judging credentials, couldn’t place the off flavor.

Then took a growler to my friends house for the weekend, and he said quietly “smells a little like apple juice”…man was he right.

We did a 14 gallon batch, 3 sachets (I think…maybe 4?) of 34/70 (no rehydration). We also ran out of O2, so I whipped it like crazy with a large sanitized whisk for about 5 minutes.

I can’t imagine we didn’t ferment long enough, but would have to imagine the ferment may have been a little stressed either from pitching not enough, or not enough aeration.

Anyone ever had the dreaded green apple age out? If 8 weeks at 34* couldn’t do it, I’m not sure what will.

Is it apple or is it green apple?

actually, thats a good distinction Denny. It is more apple juice (like from concentrate) than green apple or cider, so it may not be acetaldehyde. Any thoughts?

What does the recipe look like? Was the grain fresh?

didn’t check the ‘born on’ date of the sack, but we milled it about 4 minutes before doughing in.

96% Weyermann pils
4% caramalt (I believe)

lots of saaz throughout (don’t have the sheet in front of me). I believe it is close to (or exactly like) Jamil’s bo pils.

Not at the moment, but I’ll keep looking.

fruity red apple flavor or smell would be Ethyl Hexanoate. which is an ester. Taste like red apple skins or apple flavored sweets. Sounds like what your beer has?

Because it’s an ester, typically caused by yeast stress, it might mellow, but I don’t think it would completely age out. I could be wrong though.

[quote=“S.Scoggin”]fruity red apple flavor or smell would be Ethyl Hexanoate. which is an ester. Taste like red apple skins or apple flavored sweets. Sounds like what your beer has?

Because it’s an ester, typically caused by yeast stress, it might mellow, but I don’t think it would completely age out. I could be wrong though.[/quote]

I think this is probably closer to it, thanks Scoggin, great info. Upon additional research, it appears that this compound presents more in the aroma, and less in the flavor, which is also the case with mine.

I may submit it to a comp just to get some honest feedback (will likely do one entry as bo pils and one as a blonde ale just for laughs).

Not sure how the ferment could have been stressed, but I’d guess it would be one of the following:

-not likely enough oxygen
-direct pitching instead of rehydrating
-freezer door in my friend’s garage was ever-so-slightly ajar causing his freezer to work overtime on keeping the 14 gallons at 48-50* during 75-80* days (and for all I know, it crept above the temp)

It always reminded me of red apple skins. It’s common (sometimes desireable at certain levels) in English bitters and other english ales, but is can also be produced in lagers.

The competition is a good idea. I’d also put some at bottle conditioning temperature for a while and see if the smell mellows or disapears in time. Maybe there wasnt enough calcium in your brewing water? I know pils water is supposed to be very soft, but maybe it was too soft? Gernally you want a minimum of 50ppm of calcium, if you cut your already low calcium water with distilled, this might have caused stress. Just guessing though…

Good luck! :cheers:

[quote=“Pietro”][quote=“S.Scoggin”]fruity red apple flavor or smell would be Ethyl Hexanoate. which is an ester. Taste like red apple skins or apple flavored sweets. Sounds like what your beer has?

Because it’s an ester, typically caused by yeast stress, it might mellow, but I don’t think it would completely age out. I could be wrong though.[/quote]

I think this is probably closer to it, thanks Scoggin, great info. Upon additional research, it appears that this compound presents more in the aroma, and less in the flavor, which is also the case with mine.

I may submit it to a comp just to get some honest feedback (will likely do one entry as bo pils and one as a blonde ale just for laughs).

Not sure how the ferment could have been stressed, but I’d guess it would be one of the following:

-not likely enough oxygen
-direct pitching instead of rehydrating
-freezer door in my friend’s garage was ever-so-slightly ajar causing his freezer to work overtime on keeping the 14 gallons at 48-50* during 75-80* days (and for all I know, it crept above the temp)[/quote]

Entering it in a comp may not get you anything…judges can be a crap shoot on even some of the largest most notable competitions, going to small comps may even be a bigger crap shoot. Over time I have found people in the area that are brewers/excellents tatsers (Grand masters) or other people in the homebrew comuunity much better than entering a beer in a comp
I thought you said you were a BJCP judge to?

I am a BJCP, but I find its better to get a few different palettes’ tasting the beers, even if they are lower-level judges. It has to be better than Beer Advocate.

I don’t know that I’ve run into this specific ester before, not brewing a lot of lagers. They may just taste apple then immediately say acetaldehyde (as I did in the subject line)…

[quote=“Pietro”]I am a BJCP, but I find its better to get a few different palettes’ tasting the beers, even if they are lower-level judges. It has to be better than Beer Advocate.

I don’t know that I’ve run into this specific ester before, not brewing a lot of lagers. They may just taste apple then immediately say acetaldehyde (as I did in the subject line)…[/quote]

levels of judges does not matter. Now usually the ones that are way up there Grand Master usually have a pretty good pallet and know what they are talking about.
but everyhing else…I have seen newbs give better results than some people that have been in it for a while.

not to digress completely, but there are a ton of variables, and I do take any feedback with a grain of salt. You have to admit though, entering in a comp generally derives better feedback than giving your beer to a houseguest.

We had a brown porter where I am 90% sure the entries got mixed up. This is a 35-40 point beer and it got a 19.5, due to infection.

[quote=“Pietro”]not to digress completely, but there are a ton of variables, and I do take any feedback with a grain of salt. You have to admit though, entering in a comp generally derives better feedback than giving your beer to a houseguest.

We had a brown porter where I am 90% sure the entries got mixed up. This is a 35-40 point beer and it got a 19.5, due to infection.[/quote]

How do you know it wasnt infected?
Yes better than a house guest that knows nothing about beer, but not always. I have seen some really bad judging over the 10+ years I have been brewing

[quote=“grainbelt”]

How do you know it wasnt infected?[/quote]

It is currently in my kegerator and not infected, and my brewing partner informed me of his cleaning/sanitizing regimen for the comp bottles, and the feedback just did not make sense.

[quote=“S.Scoggin”]It always reminded me of red apple skins. It’s common (sometimes desireable at certain levels) in English bitters and other english ales, but is can also be produced in lagers.

The competition is a good idea. I’d also put some at bottle conditioning temperature for a while and see if the smell mellows or disapears in time. Maybe there wasnt enough calcium in your brewing water? I know pils water is supposed to be very soft, but maybe it was too soft? Gernally you want a minimum of 50ppm of calcium, if you cut your already low calcium water with distilled, this might have caused stress. Just guessing though…

Good luck! :cheers: [/quote]

FWIW, martin Brungard has been looking into appropriate calcium levels recently. He’s found that its main purpose is to aid clearing. He found that in general 50 ppm is enough for ales and lagers can go as low as 20 ppm since they’ll be lagered anyway, which will clear them.

[quote=“Pietro”][quote=“grainbelt”]

How do you know it wasnt infected?[/quote]

It is currently in my kegerator and not infected, and my brewing partner informed me of his cleaning/sanitizing regimen for the comp bottles, and the feedback just did not make sense.[/quote]

You didn’t drink it, the one beer could have easily got infected.
Maybe there were flaws you could not detect?

I’ve done the off flavor tasting a few different times with others some people could not distinguish a lot of off flavors at all.

[quote=“grainbelt”][quote=“Pietro”][quote=“grainbelt”]

How do you know it wasnt infected?[/quote]

It is currently in my kegerator and not infected, and my brewing partner informed me of his cleaning/sanitizing regimen for the comp bottles, and the feedback just did not make sense.[/quote]

You didn’t drink it, the one beer could have easily got infected.
Maybe there were flaws you could not detect?

I’ve done the off flavor tasting a few different times with others some people could not distinguish a lot of off flavors at all.[/quote]

is this real life?

This exchange is getting a little ridiculous and a lottle off topic, but I was essentially trying to agree with your point that comps are not perfect.

Flavor thresholds are one thing. The scores this beer received are not in line with the product. Several (yes I grant you, both off duty judges and house guests) have opined that it is an excellent porter. This is not a 19 point (barely above courtesy score) beer. Either my brewing partner lied to me about his packaging regime, forgot about storing his beer gun in the toilet, or something weird happened.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“S.Scoggin”]It always reminded me of red apple skins. It’s common (sometimes desireable at certain levels) in English bitters and other english ales, but is can also be produced in lagers.

The competition is a good idea. I’d also put some at bottle conditioning temperature for a while and see if the smell mellows or disapears in time. Maybe there wasnt enough calcium in your brewing water? I know pils water is supposed to be very soft, but maybe it was too soft? Gernally you want a minimum of 50ppm of calcium, if you cut your already low calcium water with distilled, this might have caused stress. Just guessing though…

Good luck! :cheers: [/quote]

FWIW, martin Brungard has been looking into appropriate calcium levels recently. He’s found that its main purpose is to aid clearing. He found that in general 50 ppm is enough for ales and lagers can go as low as 20 ppm since they’ll be lagered anyway, which will clear them.[/quote]

Good to know. Sounds like we can rule out that theory then. :cheers:

[quote=“S.Scoggin”][quote=“Denny”][quote=“S.Scoggin”]It always reminded me of red apple skins. It’s common (sometimes desireable at certain levels) in English bitters and other english ales, but is can also be produced in lagers.

The competition is a good idea. I’d also put some at bottle conditioning temperature for a while and see if the smell mellows or disapears in time. Maybe there wasnt enough calcium in your brewing water? I know pils water is supposed to be very soft, but maybe it was too soft? Gernally you want a minimum of 50ppm of calcium, if you cut your already low calcium water with distilled, this might have caused stress. Just guessing though…

Good luck! :cheers: [/quote]

FWIW, martin Brungard has been looking into appropriate calcium levels recently. He’s found that its main purpose is to aid clearing. He found that in general 50 ppm is enough for ales and lagers can go as low as 20 ppm since they’ll be lagered anyway, which will clear them.[/quote]

Good to know. Sounds like we can rule out that theory then. :cheers: [/quote]

In a recent post on the AHA forum, Martin alluded to the fact that too much calcium may even be detrimental.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com