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Yeast Off Flavors

Intermediate brewer that is very frustrated with yeasty off flavors after kegging and carbonating.

For the past three extract batches, I have ended up with strong yeast aroma and flavor alongside a water downed taste of the beer. I am a sanitation freak, and have never had this problem before. I started using a freezer with a temp controller for fermentation, so I am able to lock fermentation temps in better than I ever have before as well. The wort of each tasted/smelled great, the OG and FG were all spot on according to the instructions, and fermentation was without any hitch as well. I am careful to clean and sanitize my kegs and equipment, which I know this would likely be something in the keg or line creating the off flavor due to contamination. I just don’t know how.

I just can’t seem to shake the flavor off, and I plan on doing my first all-grain batch on Saturday and don’t want to end up wasting all that time and energy to end up with crappy yeast flowered beer in the end.

Any thoughts, suggestions, or solutions?

Not much information to go on. What were the extract kits? What yeast was used? What was your fermentation temperature and time in primary? You did say FG was spot on according to the instructions. FG is determined by many variables that can not be anticipated previous to the brewing and fermenting. Were your FG readings stable over a period of several days before you kegged?

How long do you ferment the beer?

Flars & Denney,

Good point…not much information to work off of but my complaining! My apologies.

I am at work currently and when I get home I will grab my notes, although I am learning I need to keep better notes in order to figure these things out.

All three were NB extract kits: El Modelo de Mayo LE Extract Kit (Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager), The Innkeeper Extract Kit (Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale), & Dry Dock Breakwater Pale Ale Pro Series Extract Kit w/Specialty Grains (Wyeast 1056 American Ale)

To answer Denney’s question, I ferment based on gravity readings. After the first couple of days when it appears a bit more stable and a good krausen has formed, I will take a gravity reading and wait until it is stable before racking to keg or secondary.

I use Wyeast smack packs provided by NB, making sure they have plenty of time at room temp per instructions. Fermentation time I set according to each yeast parameters, also taking into account on my freezer set up that internal fermentation temp is a few degrees higher than ambient temp in the freezer. The temperature was something I was terrible at controlling before, and I think I have that pretty under control now.

Been my goal to lock in each aspect of the brewing process as best as I can, forcing me to read and research more and more. I use a refractometer now and actually take gravity readings, where before I never cared or thought was important. Most NB kits specify 1-2 weeks in primary, and it is amazing how much this varies according to gravity readings!

[quote=“Ikkibrew”]Flars & Denney,

Good point…not much information to work off of but my complaining! My apologies.

I am at work currently and when I get home I will grab my notes, although I am learning I need to keep better notes in order to figure these things out.

All three were NB extract kits: El Modelo de Mayo LE Extract Kit (Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager), The Innkeeper Extract Kit (Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale), & Dry Dock Breakwater Pale Ale Pro Series Extract Kit w/Specialty Grains (Wyeast 1056 American Ale)

To answer Denney’s question, I ferment based on gravity readings. After the first couple of days when it appears a bit more stable and a good krausen has formed, I will take a gravity reading and wait until it is stable before racking to keg or secondary.

I use Wyeast smack packs provided by NB, making sure they have plenty of time at room temp per instructions. Fermentation time I set according to each yeast parameters, also taking into account on my freezer set up that internal fermentation temp is a few degrees higher than ambient temp in the freezer. The temperature was something I was terrible at controlling before, and I think I have that pretty under control now.

Been my goal to lock in each aspect of the brewing process as best as I can, forcing me to read and research more and more. I use a refractometer now and actually take gravity readings, where before I never cared or thought was important. Most NB kits specify 1-2 weeks in primary, and it is amazing how much this varies according to gravity readings![/quote]

Thanks for the info. So, how much time did each of these spend in primary? Did you use a secondary? How long did you lager the lager? Did you make yeast starters for the batches that were over 1.040 OG? All that info could help.

I will have more specifics when I get to my notes, but with the lager I kept to the instructions. That was my first lager, and since I had the temp control I thought everything was good on that end. If the kit instructions stated to use a secondary, I would use it, otherwise I would not use it.

In regards to yeast starters, I have never done one. I debated doing this, but after reading things on Wyeast about their smack packs, I was under an impression that this was not necessary with that particular yeast set up. In the past I have used two yeast packs in higher gravity beers, I was planning on that for my all grain batch this Saturday for the NB Dead Ringer IPA.

Thank you for the response, I don’t get much help from local people in my area. I actually went up to Minneapolis to visit NB in order to talk to people that know what they are doing! Great people and very helpful!! I live in the wrong town for my love of brewing!!

Refractometers are not that accurate once fermentation has begun. Did you correct the refractometer readings to determine FG?

I used a calculator off of the NB links to correct for that. When I purchased it, the NB guy was sure to tell me that one. Come to think of it now though, I don’t know if I did that for the lager.

If I was taking it off primary too early, could that be a cause for the yeast off flavor?

[quote=“Ikkibrew”]

If I was taking it off primary too early, could that be a cause for the yeast off flavor?[/quote]

Yeah, it’s entirely possible.

Re: yeast starters…don’t necessarily believe what the yeast compnies tell you. I know a lot of the people at Wyeast…they even sell a yeast named after me that I gave them! But what they say about that yeast is in direct contradiction of what I know to be true about it. Also, my experience is that any beer I make over 1.040 OG turns ut better with a starter than without. Pitching 2 packs can help, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. The off flavor you’ experiencing could be due to poor fermentation performanxe brought on by underpitching. That’s a guess, of course, but it’s a possibility.

[quote=“Ikkibrew”]Fermentation time I set according to each yeast parameters, also taking into account on my freezer set up that internal fermentation temp is a few degrees higher than ambient temp in the freezer. The temperature was something I was terrible at controlling before, and I think I have that pretty under control now.[/quote]Rather than measuring ambient temp and trying to anticipate the fermentation-driven temp increase, try putting the temp probe against the side of the fermenter and taping a piece of bubble-wrap over it to insulate. Then set the differential to +1F and you’ll have much better temp control.

I have read about people doing that. Does the bubble wrap act as another barrier to better read the fermenting wort temperature only and not the ambient as well?

Is it bad to put the temperature probe directly into the wort itself? Of course sanitizing first.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“Ikkibrew”]

If I was taking it off primary too early, could that be a cause for the yeast off flavor?[/quote]

Yeah, it’s entirely possible.

Re: yeast starters…don’t necessarily believe what the yeast compnies tell you. I know a lot of the people at Wyeast…they even sell a yeast named after me that I gave them! But what they say about that yeast is in direct contradiction of what I know to be true about it. Also, my experience is that any beer I make over 1.040 OG turns ut better with a starter than without. Pitching 2 packs can help, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. The off flavor you’ experiencing could be due to poor fermentation performanxe brought on by underpitching. That’s a guess, of course, but it’s a possibility.[/quote]

Wow…I hope some day I can get to your level of expertise.

So regardless, I should probably make the investment in yeast starter and begin making that my habit instead of purchasing more Wyeast smack packs. Underpitching, I am actually glad to hear that because I keep cleaning all my equipment in fear I have some random contamination issue!
You say it is a guess, but it seems it might be a well experienced and educated guess!

You can do yeast starters with little to no investment.

Simple as a 1 gallon jug. Harder to find now, but the old gallon apple juice jugs work great. Also available from many homebrew stores. I have no issues with using one on my homemade stir plate, made from old computer parts and $15-20 of parts from Radio Shack.


fermenting temps:

Yes, the bubble wrap (or old sock, dish rag…) insulates the prob from the air temp. So you get a reading much closer to the beer temp.

Putting the probe IN the beer. Only using a thermowell. The probe will not like being submerged. A keg dip tube may work, possible to small. Or a SS racking can should fit the probe. Crimp the end and add a little solder to seal things up.

http://morebeer.com/products/stopper-thermowell.html

[quote=“Nighthawk”]You can do yeast starters with little to no investment.

Simple as a 1 gallon jug. Harder to find now, but the old gallon apple juice jugs work great. Also available from many homebrew stores. I have no issues with using one on my homemade stir plate, made from old computer parts and $15-20 of parts from Radio Shack.


fermenting temps:

Yes, the bubble wrap (or old sock, dish rag…) insulates the prob from the air temp. So you get a reading much closer to the beer temp.

Putting the probe IN the beer. Only using a thermowell. The probe will not like being submerged. A keg dip tube may work, possible to small. Or a SS racking can should fit the probe. Crimp the end and add a little solder to seal things up.

http://morebeer.com/products/stopper-thermowell.html[/quote]

Thanks for that information and links…I think I might be making that investment!

So here is the delayed information:

El Modelo De Mayo
OG: 1.056
Fermentation: 14 days at 58 F
Secondary Fermentation: 20 days, dropping the temperature 4 F every two days until reached 38 F
FG: 1.011
Kegged: force carbonated and let sit in kegorator before testing 12 days

Breakwater Pale Ale
OG: 1.048
Fermentation: 9 days at 68 F
Secondary Fermentation: Dry hopped, 18 days at 68 F
FG: 1.012
Kegged: force carbonated and let sit in kegoratore before testing 9 days

Innkeeper
OG: Lost all this information, need to keep better and more specific notes…learning
I do remember that fermentation did not start off well, had to add yeast nutrient after 48 hours as recommended by a local home brew store, took off but took a really long time for it to settle out.

In looking into this with everyone’s guidance, yeast under-pitching, temperature, and fermentation time seem to be possible causes (either too long or not long enough). Unless anyone else has some other thoughts, it gives me a place to start working on and figuring out further. I really appreciate all the help.

All for Brew & Brew for All!!!

:cheers:

Just make sure it’s solder for plumbing, not solder for electronics. It’s not worth the risk.

Just make sure it’s solder for plumbing, not solder for electronics. It’s not worth the risk.[/quote]

A message from my lawyers, Dewey, Screwum and Howl.

Yes, please only use food grade item that will contact items you will ingest. :shock:

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