Chemical Aftertaste in Hefe

So here is my situation:

I brewed a Hefeweizen for the 2nd time, and I fermented with blood oranges. I followed my recipe exactly from the first time, the only difference being that I hit a higher OG (1.056 vs. 1.052) and accidently picked up a different yeast. I used WLP300 the first time, but WLP380 the 2nd time.

I brewed on 1-3-15, and had very violent fermentation, to the point I had a mess and added a blowoff. It was in the primary for 3 weeks, and on 1-24 it was down to 1.012 and I moved it to a secondary because I needed to clean up the primary for another purpose.

It sat in the secondary (a 5 gallon glass carboy that was filled almost to the top, so very little air space) for a good month, as I didn’t get to keg it until last Friday (2-27).

Prior to kegging, I took another gravity reading, and it was down to 1.010. I tasted the sample, and it had a slight chemical taste to it. Needless to say I was very disappointed when I drew a sample from the keg last evening and had the same result.

I use starsan as my sanitizer, and this was probably the 20th batch I’ve brewed with never having experienced this before.

My wife loved this recipe the first time, but she does not find it appealing at all now. Is there a chance that this could smooth out over time? Or the fact that it’s already kegged and chilled have this batch doomed for the drain?

*Edit - I should note that the temperature at which primary fermentation took place was 68 degrees. It sat in the secondary at anywhere between 68-70 degrees.

Your fermentation temp was too high and that is why you have that taste. I brew a lot of hefe weizens. I find that the perfect temp is around 62 for a good balance of clove and banana esters. I also measure my temp with a bung that has a thermowell. So I can measure the temp in the heart of my wort. It’s more accurate then ambient temperature.

I tend to agree. I tried a small sample of mine (been in primary for almost two weeks) and no chemical tastes. The first week I fermented at 62. I’ve been slowly ramping it up a little bit since then. It’s at 65 now.

You did ferment a bit warm. If your measurements were ambient and not actual fermentation temps you may have been fermenting into the 70’s which is high for early fermentation.

I’m also a little curious about you saying you “fermented with blood oranges”. What exactly does that mean? Could you describe that part of the process?

I don’t have means of controlling my temps right now, and I was hoping that the 380 would ferment like the 300 did for me. The 300 was perfect, at those same temps. Regardless, thanks for the input.

In regards to the blood oranges:

I zested 4 blood oranges, and then removed the rest of the white “pith” as that tends to be bitter. I cubed up the meat of the oranges and simmered it along with the zest in pot with just enough water to cover it all. After it simmered for a while I turned off the heat, covered it, and let it sit while I went about the rest of my brew.

After the wort was transferred to the primary, I held a mesh bag (sanitized) over the primary and pour the contents of the pot into the bag, allowing it to catch the “chunks”. I tied the bag up and dropped it into the fermenter, where it stayed for 3 weeks.

This gives the beer a nice orange note, which to me is like having an orange slice with a Blue Moon.

It was fantastic the first time with the nice banana flavor from the hefe yeast…which is what I had hoped for this time around too.

I have brew the recipe if I remember right was in a issue of poplar mechanics…There are some simple ways to control you temps a little better for cheap in the mean while. One is the swamp cooler just a simple plastic tote place fermenter in filled with water and use bottles of ice water to keep your temp down. Another is the son of the fermenter chamber. Google it and will bring up instructions how to build one.

Why is that high when the recipe says the range is 64°-75° F.?

Why is that high when the recipe says the range is 64°-75° F.?[/quote]
The recipe might say those temps but whitelabs says on the site 66 to 70 degree for that yeast. Also ambient temperature like the stick on crystal strips are great outside your fermenter, but in side the heart of your wort during fermentation temp can be close to 5 to 10 degrees higher than your stick on strip. Most people would be amazed the difference in temps. At the temp of 75 instead of getting those banana,clove flavors you now have allowed the yeast give you that solvent ester instead.

This seems a bit strange to me as I have used 380 before. The optimum temp is 66-70 deg. so if it was a few more than that during initial you would probably get a good dose of phenols and esters, but I wouldn’t think bad chemical flavors would be caused by that small of slightly higher initial. I agree that for optimum for me would be a lower start, but I’ve heard others like more higher temps for their tastes. IME I might look elsewhere for that chem taste. By the way 380 has a more moderate ‘Hefe’
taste than 300, which is why I choose it over 300.

[quote=“Old Guy”]This seems a bit strange to me as I have used 380 before. The optimum temp is 66-70 deg. so if it was a few more than that during initial you would probably get a good dose of phenols and esters, but I wouldn’t think bad chemical flavors would be caused by that small of slightly higher initial. I agree that for optimum for me would be a lower start, but I’ve heard others like more higher temps for their tastes. IME I might look elsewhere for that chem taste. By the way 380 has a more moderate ‘Hefe’
taste than 300, which is why I choose it over 300.[/quote] I admit it could very well be another cause to the taste and his temps wasn’t that far off of where it should be. As I explained above ambient temperature and internal can very a lot. Enough that could create those bad esters. The best thing I bought for my brewing is a bung with a thermowell in it.

The Hefe has great aroma. Between the hint of blood orange and the banana aroma from the yeast, it’s wonderful. It’s just that it finishes with the off flavor that I didn’t get with the wlp300. When I made this before, I used the 300 and fermented in my basement at pretty much the same temp. I guess the conditions in my basement at the time were better suited for the 300 rather then the 380.

I think what you’re experiencing is the difference between 380 and 300. 380 produces more clove, which can certainly have a more “chemical” taste. This is going to be more pronounced with warmer ferm temps. In the future, yeast temps are merely temps within the yeast workable range. This does not mean they make the best beer anywhere from 60°-75°. Just that they work within that temp. I’ve found most yeast performs best at the low-mid range. So for ales 64°-65° and 50°-51° for lagers.