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Heavy Alcohols from....?

Just wondering if Fusel Alcohols will become prominent as a result of issues other than high temperatures.

I have an IPA on the go right now that seems to have a bit of a boozy bite. Could just be due to the fact that I rarely drink beer above 5% (a lot of the times less) and this beer is about 6%ABV.

My temperature controls were solid.

As for pitching, I used the yeast cake of a previous beer (much lower gravity) - US-05 - and removed about 1/3 of the cake ahead of time. Technically that may still have been a slight over pitch (I did not count the cells), but I’m not sure how significant it would be regardless.

Otherwise the beer is pretty clean.

High original gravity can increase perception of “heavy alcohol”. I would say that if your original gravity was more than approximately 1.065 or 1.070, then you will be able to perceive alcohol in the beer to where you might not normally be bothered by it.

If you are still learning and thus are more sensitive to alcohol, this can of course make a big difference. At one end of the spectrum, I know my wife blushes and breaks out after just a single sip of wine because she rarely drinks. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a guy who drinks a lot of 8-10% ABV beers grows immune to the higher alcohol content to where he can barely perceive it anymore. So that is likely to play a part in the story.

The only other thing that I hate to mention is… contamination. Wild yeast and bacteria can produce fusel alcohols. But this is relatively rare and probably not your issue… I hope.

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]Just wondering if Fusel Alcohols will become prominent as a result of issues other than high temperatures.

I have an IPA on the go right now that seems to have a bit of a boozy bite. Could just be due to the fact that I rarely drink beer above 5% (a lot of the times less) and this beer is about 6%ABV.

My temperature controls were solid.

As for pitching, I used the yeast cake of a previous beer (much lower gravity) - US-05 - and removed about 1/3 of the cake ahead of time. Technically that may still have been a slight over pitch (I did not count the cells), but I’m not sure how significant it would be regardless.

Otherwise the beer is pretty clean.[/quote]

I have done this same thing with 05 yeast and have been tasting the prominent alcohols, boozy bite thing. now I’m thinking it just may be the wild yeast and or mutated yeast from the 05. I guess I’ll let it sit in the bottle a few more weeks. but dose anyone think this will clear up, and how many of you have used yeast cake from 05 yeast with good or bad results?

I would say that if your original gravity was more than approximately 1.065 or 1.070, then you will be able to perceive alcohol in the beer to where you might not normally be bothered by it.

My gravity was 1.060, so not quite up too high - stll higher than I usually make.

As far as my overall sensitivity goes…my liver has been around the block a few times. Though I have tried to keep alcohol levels down in the beer I drink over the last year or two - so I may becoming more sensitive (still have the occasional dram of single malt whisky). And I have the occasional higher gravity commercial beer - but not too often.

Overall, I’d say I’m not picking up any other off flavors from this beer, so contamination seems very unlikely. The yeast cake looked a little different than it has in the past, but that does not really mean anything as far as a mutation goes. The previous beer from which I used the cake was a 3.5% 70/- that fermented very clean.

Even as far as Fusel Alcohols go, I have experienced way more bite than this, so I am not terribly worried. Perhaps this slightly bigger beer just needs an extra week or two to even out.

You may be right about aging. The beer might taste a lot smoother in another month or so.

Thanks for your input Dave. I did notice the fermentation went a little slower than I am used to with this one - even though it had a very good start with plenty of yeast.

Would love to let it sit a little, but that is really not an option. I have a Schwatzbier in the primary that I want to lager a bit - so all other beer I have is for drinkin’, not aging. I’ll just have to nurse this one a bit and see how it improves over the next few weeks.

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