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Beer tastes like mash/sweet liquor?

My homebrews, even when they are on the dry side, occasionally taste like the fresh sweet liquor of the mash. Not the sweetness, but the fresh fruity grain flavor. It’s not bad, but it’s not really a clean flavor and I prefer when this flavor is transformed and mostly gone.

I just did a double batch with a friend, and our recipes were nearly identical. His turned out clean, and mine has this noticeable flavor. So I figure it’s something to do with fermentation temperature or another fermentation variable in my basement versus his house.

Any one experience this? Have any ideas what causes it/what avoids it?


Fermenting too warm is a likely culprit. Keep in mind that fermentation raises the temp of the beer several degrees above the room temp. YOu want it to be down in the mid-60’s for an ale.

Another possible cause is yeast pitch. Underpitching causes more esters to be formed while the yeast are multiplying. YOu want to make a starter from liquid yeasts. Dry yeasts are generally in adequate cell count for a 5gal batch.

Yeast health is a third possibility, especially if your wort isn’t adequately aerated/oxygenated.

Finally, oxidation can give a sweet fruity flavor.

So, which of these is most likely?

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