Allright, just to be clear, I am new to brewing within the last year (11 extract batches). Ive had some great batches and some which I really enjoyed but lately I keep running into the same issue. I’ve been sticking to kits from NB like the IrishBlonde, Carribou Slobber, Chinook IPA, Smashing Pumpking Ale, and Kolsch. Of all 11 beers in which I made, three of the kits have completed with a very odd, hard to explain taste. At this point, I do not know what to rule out. I’ve read Palmers (how to brew) front to back, side to side, and upside down in Hindu and am still having trouble locating my mistakes? Either way, here’s the scoop:
5 gallon steel stock pot on propane burner (boil 2.5 gallons as directed by NB)
Plastic mash spoon
I use spring water from bottle
3-piece airlock, autosiphon, bottle bocket, etc.
Sanitize with Star San (always)
Usually clean with either Dish soap or OxyClean.
-If nothing is seen gunked up, then I give it a quick wipe with a cloth rag and sanitize.
I use still use Ale Pales as both Primary and Secondary. My LHBS recommended sticking to pales for cost, convenience in cleaning, and storage. I also constructed the “Son of Fermentation Chamber” with modifications - great results as far as temp. control. My last batch (Kolsch - bottled last night) was the first in the son of fermentation chamber.
Of the 11 kits in which I made, three have given me the same and consistent flavor. It’s difficult to describe but I would say its “soapy” in taste. The taste is first witnessed on bottling day - I can’t resist a couple sips. All three beers have smelled outstanding, looked normal, and I witnessed normal fermentation on each. I have always used a Hydrometer to test gravity prior to bottle day. For 2 kits (Irish Blonde/Carribou Slobber), I racked to a secondary vessel - bucket. For Kolsch, I fermented at 53 in primary bucket for a period of 4 weeks (until fermentation was complete).
I believe I used the same “Ale Pale” for all three kits. I also made another kit during this time frame without problems - the Smashing Pumpkin Ale kit. This was brewed at a friends house with a different stock pot (10 gallon) and I used a different bucket to ferment, also racked to secondary.
Ive read the possibilities - leaving on trub too long and do not beleive this is the issue. My question : What are the chances of a bacterial infection causing this flavor? Could it be an issue with the ale pale or steel pot(LHBS states that the back side of a sponge can create small scratches in ale pale which will harbor bacteria, I do not recall doing this with the ale pale but I have with the steel pot). Any thoughts would be appreciated.
PS - I helped a buddy make a Pale Ale recently and used his equipment. If we do not witness the taste, then I’m going to start changing equipment.
I guess deep down, I want to believe it may be the AlePale used. It’s different from the other 3 I have but I like it because the lid seems more sealable.