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OT...Way OT: Question for all you home brewers


J.4knee

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OK So I have a slight what I'll call very slight waxy favor to my beer I just kegged. The is my fourth batch of brew I've done and this is the second time this has happened. I am wondering fo I should discard the lines I use for my blow off tube. I clean and sanitize them but I am wondering if I should just cut new lines? The fermentation was very active for about a week and then slowed and stopped as expected. The last two batches I used about 12 - 13 lbs of extract/6 gallon boil, one batch was a dry stout and this one was an ESB. I use steeping graines and extract when I brew. I do not have the equipment yet to all grain brew. I've switched to LME from DME for this batch. I am very meticulous about my cleaning and sanitizing process. But I am puzzled where this little oddity in the flavor is coming from. Overall the beer tastes good I just wish I could eliminate that odd flavor component. I also culture a yeast starter for about 30 hours prior to the boil. Any idea's. I clean and sanitize everything that touches the wort.

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I don't brew beer, but I make wine. When I have a problem with an off-flavor, I usually consult one of the many great suppliers (Midwest, Beer-Wine, etc). The experts are always happy to help with my problems.

I'd like to get into beer brewing, but it seems pretty involved compared to winemaking. If I can goof up a perfectly good wine kit, think how much damage I could do to a batch of beer. Good luck with finding a solution, I'm sure some brewers will chime in with more helpful info than me.

I get a great sense of accomplishment when I make a good batch of wine. I seem to have more friends drop by also....

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I brewed for about 15 years and quit after we moved 3 years ago. Too busy to set it all back up. BUT......I have plans to get back into it later this winter. I really miss the brewing process and the great brews that I used to produce.



Anyhow........"waxy" tells me next to nothing. I never heard anyone describe an off flavor that way. Can you be more specific? Astringent, bitter, sweet, band aids, sherry like, wet cardboard, flowery.........I've heard all these and many more. Any of those fit?



I can tell you taht you are using about double the amount of extract I use for a finished 5 gal batch. I usually use 6lbs of syrup and 1 1/4 lbs of dry and come out with about 5 1/2 gal of wort. I usually make lagers (German and Czech pilsners). For these beers I hop with around 10 HBUs.

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I noticed you "steep" some grain with your extract. I assume like crystal, chocolate, roasted barley, black patent (various specialty grains and not a partial mash). I am always very careful to grind the grain so it is just cracked not powdery and place it in a nylon mesh bag. The critical part is to only steep to 160F for specialty grains. Now I am not talking about mashing. I always would remove the bag at 160 so I didn't end up with an astringent flavor. I had that happen from overheating the grain a few times. This may be the waxy flavor you describe. What temp do you steep the specialty grains to? I hope you do not bring them to a boil.

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What are your fermentation temps and at what temp are you pitching your yeast?

The only thing that comes to mind with waxy would be slick or slippery perhaps. That is a common association with diacetyl. It is typically associated with a buttery or butterscotch taste. Does any of that sound like you problem? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diacetyl

Don't be in hurry to get your beer off the yeast. Lots of old info out there saying to rack to a secondary fermenter in 5-7 days, BS! Unless you are going to use fruit, oak chips or some other flavor agent in the secondary don't even bother with a secondary. Leave your ales in the primary for 2-3 weeks and lagers for 3-5 weeks. The yeast will clean up after temselves after fermention is done. The need about another week. One of the things they will clean up is dicetyl.

Also never pitch your yeast above 70 degrees (ales) it really stresses them out and they will then produce off flavors. If at all possible keep you fermentation temps below 70 degrees. Better to keep below 68 if at all possible. Keep in mind that fermentation produces heat. Temps inside the fermenter will be 3-8 degrees warmer then ambient temp during initial fermentation so don't think your 65-67 degree basement is the perfect temp. One of the biggest improvements I have made in my beer is by pitching yest cool and controlling the ferment temp with an upright freezer and temp controller. I pitch my yeast when the wort is cooled to 60 degrees or so and let it rise up to the 63-65 to ferment at.

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