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Beer with a tangy flavor

So I was drinking my Irish Red and trying to focus on the flavor profile. Maybe detect some off-flavors and possibly trace them to bad practices that occurred during brewing this. One flavor I notice is a very “tangy” (not to be confused with “twangy”) flavor. Not sure if this is an “off-flavor” per-se as it isn’t bad but it does make me wonder. It kinda reminds me of orange juice or anything with an acidic type flavor. Kinda citric acidy like the aftertaste of coke.

Anyone know what would contribute to that flavor. For reference here is the recipe:

SPECIALTY GRAINS
0.5 lbs Belgian Caramel Pils
0.25 lbs Briess Special Roast
0.125 lbs Belgian Biscuit
0.125 lbs English Chocolate Malt

FERMENTABLES
6 lbs Gold Malt syrup

HOPS & FLAVORINGS
1 oz Willamette (60 min)
1 oz US Goldings (30 min)

YEAST
Danstar Nothingham

I think a slight tartness is part of the so-called “extract twang”. Could also be due in part to overcarbonation / carbonic acid bite. How did you carbonate? How much priming sugar or volumes CO2 did you use? An Irish red is not supposed to have too much carbonation, just low-to-moderate is good.

I have heard people say that Nottingham can create a ‘tart’ character depending on the fermentation temp. I remember when I was asking people about making a beer that was slightly tart and/or sour and a number of people said that Nottingham will create a slight profile similar to that. Just stabbing in the dark.

Tart is actually a pretty good description of it. I did ferment in the high 70s.

The beer is pretty under-carbed. Using the chart on NB for weight to vol measurement it ended up being half a cup of corn sugar. I do have a scale on its way to my house so I don’t have to use volumes anymore.

Fermentation temp control for various styles will have a nice positive impact on your beers. Belgians and Hefeweizens like the higher temps for fermentation but many of the ales I make I place into a large plastic tub with 10 gallons of cool water in it to keep temps low. I can’t say for sure that the primary temp or the Nottingham is the cause of the flavor you’re describing but it seems possible. Keep asking questions! Great, knowledgeable brewers here who like to share their experience. Cheers.

I do find that some of the Brit ale yeasts such as notty or S-04 do impart a slight tanginess into beers, but appropriate for the styles in which they are used. What was the style you were going for? +1 to bringing that ferment temp WAY down. Was high 70s the ambient or beer temp?

Yeah my next two beers I kept in the low 60s with a swamp cooler. This was my first brew and hadn’t even found these forums before I made it. I’ve learned a ton so far thanks to the great people on these boards.

I’m really just kind of fine tuning my palette and trying to pick out all the flavors so I can keep notes of different techniques (good or bad) that caused these flavors.

I probably wouldn’t buy this beer again if I had purchased it in a 6-pack but I’m stuck with 48 bottles of it so I’m making the best of it

I’m thinking yeast character with high ferm temp thrown in.

[quote=“mattnaik”]

I probably wouldn’t buy this beer again if I had purchased it in a 6-pack but I’m stuck with 48 bottles of it so I’m making the best of it[/quote]

Beer bread, meat marinade.

I had a beer that was a bit off for me. Gave it to a friend to “extract the essential oils”. He and his wife loved it and drank the rest instead.

So maybe a friend has a different palate and will enjoy it.

[quote=“mattnaik”]Yeah my next two beers I kept in the low 60s with a swamp cooler. This was my first brew and hadn’t even found these forums before I made it. I’ve learned a ton so far thanks to the great people on these boards.

I’m really just kind of fine tuning my palette and trying to pick out all the flavors so I can keep notes of different techniques (good or bad) that caused these flavors.

I probably wouldn’t buy this beer again if I had purchased it in a 6-pack but I’m stuck with 48 bottles of it so I’m making the best of it[/quote]

You might check out Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher. Its a great segue for a beer lover to become a beer taster. I’m not entirely sure if he focuses all that much on off-flavors, but I seem to recall some bits about it. One of the best ways I learned to find off-flavors was by joining a homebrew club.

When I brewed with extract, I found that there were two big things that improved my beers. The first was proper fermentation temp control. I know that some people struggle with this more than others and I also know that some people like the esters they get from an ale fermented around 70° or more. But for my tastebuds, an ale brewed cooler (60-65° for many ales, even lower for things like kolsch, alt or west coast lager/steam/common) always tastes cleaner and smoother to me. Lagers get fermented in the fridge set to about 47° and ales always get the plastic tub on the cool basement floor filled with about 10 gallons of water. If it’s summer and warm in the basement, I have frozen water or Gatorade bottles ready to drop into the water to keep it cool. The other thing that greatly improved my extract beers was boiling the full volume of wort. Many new brewers boil as much as they possibly can (3 gallons is common) and then topping up. I did that for a long time and then finally picked up a large enough brewpot. The improvement in the beer was very noticeable. Other things that extract brewers can do to improve the beer is proper pitch rates and oxygenation of the wort before pitching. If you’re brewing with a good kit, the recipe is not in question, the water rarely impacts an extract batch, the mash and mash pH don’t come into play and so these other things are where the focus should be. Cheers!

Great advice Ken! I have started using a swamp cooler for all my brews now and ferment in the low 60’s. Just bought a stir plate so I can create better starters. My next planned upgrade is equipment for full boils. This one is kind of a larger upgrade cause I want to get a quality burner and brew kettle. So it might be a while before I can convince SWMBO that it’s time to take the leap :slight_smile:

Ah, the married homebrewer. Yes, the brewpot and the burner will cost a few dollars and I had to swallow hard when I made that leap myself. But with the outdoor burner, I convinced my wife that I would be doing the ‘smelly part’ outside and not stink up the house so it was a win-win. You’ll have to post back after you have tasted your first batch that had a full-volume boil. I was surprised and very happy with the results of that particular upgrade. Cheers.

+1 to ferm temps. Also, I think Special Roast might lend a certain tanginess too. I know Brown malt is really tangy, in a good way.

Just for S&G I searched messages with the word '“Nottingham” with myself as the author and a number of posts came up when we were troubleshooting this tart attribute back in 2005. If you look at all the posts with “tart” and “Nottingham” you’ll get a better picture. I remember someone trying to ferment at the low end (55-60F) to see if it would happen but I couldn’t find the post to see the outcome. There are so many good yeasts available that I don’t see the value in trying to make this yeast work for a pale.

“Extract twang” is a different phenomenon that I don’t believe there is any real evidence to support its causes. I think we all agree that it exists, but the “why” is more opinion based. I was at a craft beer festival a number of years back and met two breweries that used extract and claim to have won awards. Early on I had some success in extract brewing with distilled water (the theory was that all the salts and minerals from the extract process was present in the evaporated malt, so adding your water’s minerals effectively doubles it) but I eventually went all-grain and never looked back.

If anyone is so inclined, do a search on Mash 5.2 and you’ll find a similar situation with the aftertaste it allegedly causes. I used it a few times but abandoned it completely when it created some harsh flavors in my beer. (IMO it is garbage)

[quote=“moose”]Just for S&G I searched messages with the word '“Nottingham” with myself as the author and a number of posts came up when we were troubleshooting this tart attribute back in 2005. If you look at all the posts with “tart” and “Nottingham” you’ll get a better picture. I remember someone trying to ferment at the low end (55-60F) to see if it would happen but I couldn’t find the post to see the outcome. There are so many good yeasts available that I don’t see the value in trying to make this yeast work for a pale.

“Extract twang” is a different phenomenon that I don’t believe there is any real evidence to support its causes. I think we all agree that it exists, but the “why” is more opinion based. I was at a craft beer festival a number of years back and met two breweries that used extract and claim to have won awards. Early on I had some success in extract brewing with distilled water (the theory was that all the salts and minerals from the extract process was present in the evaporated malt, so adding your water’s minerals effectively doubles it) but I eventually went all-grain and never looked back.

If anyone is so inclined, do a search on Mash 5.2 and you’ll find a similar situation with the aftertaste it allegedly causes. I used it a few times but abandoned it completely when it created some harsh flavors in my beer. (IMO it is garbage)[/quote]
Good points. Homebrewing is filled with “stories”… some true, some not. I suppose some are ‘conditional’ and true some of the time. My wife tastes “soap” when I use 5.2 (which hasn’t been for years). Her tastebuds were consistent on this. When I used it, she said the beer tasted like soap. I once used US05 at a lower temp like 60° or so and I got a very distinct peachy-apricot thing. I asked around and many people agreed that US05 fermented cool got “fruity” which goes against the norm… usually warmer=fruitier. Sour beers were (and are) the rage and I asked people how I could make a beer with “some” amount of sourness or tartness. I asked if I should use acid malt to the point where you could taste it, use a certain yeast, etc. and many people mentioned Nottingham to get a tart character. We need a thread (or subforum!) that describes all of these nuances. :lol:

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