0816-SP-Header-Sanitizer-820

Short Pour – Keeping It Sanitary

In my last post about ‘Keeping it Clean’ I discussed the importance of cleaning your brewing equipment. To all the brewers that are now using alkaline cleaners instead of dish soap, you made my day; your brew will thank you.

0616-NB-SP-Cleaning-820

Short Pour – Keeping It Clean

Dirt and microbes are the mortal enemy of every brewer – but proper cleaning and sanitizing can take your beer from good to great!

0316-NB-Short-Pour-SpringCleaning-Header-820-v2

Short Pour – Get in Gear for Summer Beer

Summer is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re looking forward to moving your indoor brew house outside. The backyard, patio or driveway is the best place to bask in what little gorgeous brewing weather some of us actually get during the year.

Common Off Flavors

Select one of the off flavors below to get some more information on why your beer may have this flavor and some ways to prevent it in the future.


Acetaldehyde

Green apples, Cidery/acetic – Appropriate for Light American lagers

Causes

  • Premature removal from Yeast
  • Oxidation
  • acetobacter

Prevention

  • Allow to ferment completely
  • Aerate wort prior to pitching
  • Good sanitation
  • decrease O2 contact after ferementation
  • Extended lagering times

Alcoholic

Hot, Spicy, Vinous, Prickly Mouthfeel – Appropriate for Strong Ales & Lagers

Causes

  • High amount of fermentables
  • High fermentation temperature
  • Low O2 disolved in wort
  • Under pitching

Prevention

  • Pitch sufficient amount of yeast
  • Aerate wort well
  • control fermentation temperatures
  • use less fermentables

Astringency

Mouth puckering is present in flavor and mouthfeel – Not appropriate for any style

Causes

  • Poor sanitation
  • excessive hopping
  • excessive wort attenuation
  • boiling grains
  • excessive grain crushing
  • high sparge temps
  • excessively high pH

Prevention

  • Good sanitation
  • reduce hopping rates
  • use less attenuative yeast
  • Higher Mash temp
  • avoid over crushing grain
  • monitor sparge temps
  • control pH levels

Bitterness

Mouth puckering is present in aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel – Appropriate for American IPA & American Pale Ale

Causes

  • High Alpha acid hops
  • Long boil times

Prevention

  • Use hops with lower Alpha Acid
  • Reduce boil times

Buttery

Butterscotch, Diacetyl, Slick, present in aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel – Appropriate for Scotch ales, English ales and Czech Pils

Causes

  • Premature racking
  • Low fermentation temps
  • Lactic aid bacteria
  • Mutant yeast

Prevention

  • Allow to ferment fully
  • Diacetyl rest
  • Monitor fermentation temps
  • Use healthy pure yeast
  • good sanitation

Cardboard / Oxidation

Papery, Stale, Wet Cardboard – Not appropriate for any style

Causes

  • Aeration of hot wort
  • Exposure of higher alcohols to oxygen
  • excessive aging

Prevention

  • Avoid splashing hot wort
  • carefully package beer
  • serve beer in appropriate amount of time

Cloudiness

Cloudy, Hazy – Appropriate for German Weizen, Belgian Witbier, Lambics

Causes

  • Chill haze – insufficient conversion of mash, little or no hot break in boil or cold break in chill
  • Permanent Haze – High sparge temps
  • Bacterial haze – poor sanitation
  • Powdery or low flocculating yeast

Prevention

  • Longer Mash times
  • use protien rest
  • vigorous rolling boil
  • cool wort quickly
  • use filtration
  • Reduce sparge temps
  • Improve sanitation
  • Choose more flocculant yeast

Cooked Corn

Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS), Vegetal – Appropriate for American lagers & Cream Ales

Causes

  • Wort Bacteria – poor sanitation
  • not boiling wort for at least and hour
  • Covered boil
  • Under pitching yeast
  • poor yeast health
  • over sparging with water below 160F
  • use of adjuncts

Prevention

  • Good sanitation
  • fresh yeast
  • quick wort cooling
  • proper sparging
  • reduce adjuncts
  • Vigorous uncovered boil
  • Reduce pilsner malt

Fruitiness

Strawberries, Plums, Bananas, Peaches, Present in flavor and aroma – Appropriate for Most Ales

Causes

  • By-product of fermentation
  • Higher fermentation temperatures increase ester production
  • Warm fermentation with lager yeast
  • Yeast selection

Prevention

  • Choose low ester producing yeast
  • ferment at lower temperatures
  • keep lager fermentation below 50F

Light Body

Watery, Weak, and Thin Mouthfeel – Appropriate for Light American Lagers & Lambics

Causes

  • Low dextrins
  • Poor quality malt
  • Large percentage of adjunct sugars
  • Low mash temperature
  • Protein rest too long

Prevention

  • Increase dextrin malt
  • use quality malt
  • decrease adjunct sugars
  • use higher mash temp
  • shorten protein rest

Low Head Retention

Flat, Watery

Causes

  • Insufficient Proteins in beer create high surface tension
  • Dirty/oily glass
  • Soap residue on glass
  • Low protein grist

Prevention

  • shorten protein rest
  • Use clean well rinsed glass
  • Use flaked wheat or barley
  • Lower alcohol by lowering amount of grist
  • Use hops with high isoalpha levels

Phenolic

Band-aid, Medicinal, Clove like, Plastic, Smokey – Appropriate for Belgian Styles, German Wheat Beers

Causes

  • Wild yeast
  • Improper sanitation
  • Chlorophenols in the water
  • Certain yeast strains produce naturally
  • Over sparging

Prevention

  • Use proper sanitation methods
  • Charcoal filter water
  • rinse chlorine based sanitizers well
  • Choose low phenol producing yeast
  • Use proper sparging techniques

Sherry-Like

Sherry, Vinous, Wine-like, Papery, Stale – Appropriate for Barley wines & Old Ales

Causes

  • A product of oxidation
  • Aging
  • More prevalent it high alcohol beers

Prevention

  • Serve younger
  • Decrease oxygen exposure
  • lower grist bill to lower alcohol amount

Sourness

Tart and Sour – Appropriate for Lambics, Flanders Ales, Berlinner Weiss

Causes

  • Lactic Acid from lactic acid bacteria
  • Acetobacter from acetic acid
  • Pediococcus
  • Lactobacillus
  • Poor sanitation
  • High fermentaton temps
  • excessive acid rest
  • mashing too long
  • storage at warm temps
  • poor yeast strain

Prevention

  • Good sanitation
  • cool fermentation temps
  • cool beer storage
  • mashing for less than 2 hours
  • Fresh healthy yeast