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Flavor Issues

I’m having an issue with the following recipe. Basically it is the Northern Brewer DeadGuy recipe. I seem to be having an issue with the taste, 3 out of the last 4 times I’ve brewed it. It used to and usually has a nice malty flavor but lately it seems to be developing a raisin flavor to it that reminds be a bit like a Belgian flavor. I don’t think it is anything related to equipment or grains as I’ve brewed other beers using the same equipment/grains, without any issues. I’d appreciate a little insight as to why this beer is developing this flavor. The NB kit originally calls for C-80 and Caramalt, I thought maybe it was those so I switched to the Carastan, it did not help. Could it be the Hops?

Recipe: Grateful Dead Guy NB Recipe (2.0)
Brewer: Ron
Asst Brewer: CeCe
Style: Mailbock/Helles Bock
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)
07-07-2013 Hydrometer sample tastes pretty good. A little sweetness to it, not “raisins” by any means. Needs a bit more time.
08-03-2013 tapped the keg, got the raisins flavor to it. It reminds me of a Belgian flavor.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 6.97 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.72 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal
Estimated OG: 1.066 SG
Estimated Color: 10.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 40.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 78.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5.00 gal Distilled Water Water 1 -
3.50 gal Bilotta 2013-03-03 Water 2 -
6.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 47.1 %
5.75 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 4 45.1 %
1.00 lb Carastan (Bairds) (35.0 SRM) Grain 5 7.8 %
1.00 oz Perle [7.80 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 26.3 IBUs
0.52 oz Perle [7.80 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 13.7 IBUs
1.00 Items Immersion Chiller (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 8 -
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 9 -
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 5.0 mins) Fining 10 -
1.00 oz Saaz [3.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast 12 -

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 12.75 lb

Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 20.00 qt of water at 160.9 F 152.0 F 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 3.50gal) of 182.0 F water
Notes:

12-05-2012 Changing out the Crystal 80 and Caramalt for Bairds Carastan.
06-29-2013 BREW DAY!
Refractometer calibrated prior to brewing. Salts added to Mash right at dough in, 2.50 grams Gypsum, 1.30 grams CaCl. Salts added to sparge when adding sparge water, 1.30 grams Gypsum, .90 grams CaCl.
1.00 Ounce of Perle is from 2012 Crop, the .52 ounce is left over from a while ago. The purchase date on the package is 08-01-2010, it has been sealed in seal-a-meal bag and frozen. The 1.00 ounce of Czech Saaz was purchased 01-04-2012. The US-05 Yeast packet is dated 12-2014.

Srike water heated in two pots, large pot 165 degrees, small pot 207 degrees. Add to Tun and combiuned temp reads 174. Dough in at 167 degrees, initial temp reads 156. At 5 minutes add 2 ice cubes, temp drops to 155.0 pulled sample and pH checks 5.43 at 80.60 degrees = 5.13, no further additions made. At about 10 minutes in to mash add four more ice cubes and mash temp settles to 152-153. Prior to first runnings, temp reading 149.50 to 150, pulled sample and pH checks 5.43 at 65.0 degrees = 5.13 at mash temp.
FIRST RUNNINGS 3.50 Gallons S.G. 1.073
Sparge water heated to 182 degrees, achieve “mash out” temp of 166-168, at 5 minutes temp is 164, pulled sample and pH checks 5.52 at 90.10 = 5.22 at mash temp.
SECOND RUNNINGS, End of S.G. is 1.032
TOTAL COLLECTED, 7.25 Gallons, PreBoil S.G. is 1.051, pH checks 5.37 at 95 degrees.
11:10 Heat on for boil. 11:33 Boil starts, timer started for 65 minute boil. 12:38 Boil ends, 12:54 80 degrees, 12:58 74 degrees, 1:08 66.30 degrees, turned off IC and removed, looks like 5.63 to 5.75 gallons. Let settle for 15 minutes or so. Transfer to fermentor looks like 5.25 gallons, O.G. checks 1.0645 and pH is 5.31 at 73.20 degrees. Moved to Keezer to chill further. 3:00 Temp reads 59 degrees, 2 minutes oxygen, and pitch US-05 dry not rehydrated. Yeast pack is dated 12-2014. SetPoint 60 degrees.
06-30-2013 No activity yet, changed setpoint to 61 degrees.
07-01-2013 6:15 A.M. Still no airlock Activity. 1:00 P.M. Airlock Activity. Not too aggressive.
07-01-2013 REMOVED INVENTORY
07-07-2013 Sample Pulled, 1.017 to start then 1.016 after about 10 minutes. A nice 1" to 2" Kreausen on top. Still fermenting. O.G. 1.065 to 1.016 = 74.2% Apparent Attenuation.
07-13-2013 Out of Freezer ambient air temp 68-70, make room for 10 gallons of Pigroast Liberty fermentation.
07-18-2013 7:00 P.M. S.G. 1.0055, 1.065 to 1.0055 = 91.8% Apparent Attenuation, ABV 7.9%. I think it’s done. Put an ice pack on the outside to try and chill a little to clear it.
07-21-2013 KEGGED, put in (2) three gallon kegs
08-03-2013 Tapped. I don’t like it. Doesn’t have that nice rich malty flavor that I remember DeadGuy having. Has a raisin flavor to it, almost reminds me of a Belgian type of flavor.

It’s probably the Carastan. Maybe you just don’t like caramel malts that much in general, or have grown sensitive to it.

I was wondering about that as well. I was thinking about trying the same recipe without any crystal, or maybe just a lighter shade. Do you think this flavor could be accentuated by carbonation? I did not taste it on the hydro samples I took during fermentation.

No, just the opposite – I think perception of malt flavors are actually reduced by higher carbonation, and conversely, a flat beer will taste even more malty than one that is highly carbed.

I guess the only way to find out is to brew it again without the crystal. And if that doesn’t work maybe play around with pH, additions, and water temps/amounts. Just to see where the flavor is coming from.
Thanks for your input.

It looks like it only uses 2-row, munich, and c15. Even though they call it a maibock style, it’s still brewed with Pacman ale yeast. Great yeast if you can get it.

Guess I’d be a bit surprised if it were something other than the malt bill. pH, temps and volumes are great variables to understand and tweak but in my experience as long as they are in the ballpark their influence on a beer is fairly subtle. From your notes it seems like you have pretty good control of those those parameters so I’d play around with the malt bill a fair bit first.

Raisin can also come from oxidation? I wouldn’t think a 35L crystal would be kicking out raisin. Although I’ve seen bags of crystal that seem darker than they are supposed to be. What about the dark Munich 9L? Maybe 45% is a bit much for that beer.

[quote=“Flip”]
Guess I’d be a bit surprised if it were something other than the malt bill. pH, temps and volumes are great variables to understand and tweak but in my experience as long as they are in the ballpark their influence on a beer is fairly subtle. From your notes it seems like you have pretty good control of those those parameters so I’d play around with the malt bill a fair bit first.[/quote]

That would seem to be the simplest approach so I think I’ll definitely start there.
Thanks again for all your input.
:cheers:

I’m not thinking oxidation only for the fact that this flavor seems to be coming only from this beer, on multiple brewing occasions. I’ve tried the recipe with the original crystal malts, .50# of Caramalt and .50# of C-80, as well as this first adjustment to using 1# of Carastan which I got from the Rogue website. As far as the Munich, I’ve used it in a couple of different Alt recipes at higher percentages and never picked up that flavor.
:cheers:

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