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Off-Flavor Questions

Why does my beer taste stale, musty or smell skunky?

The reason for this is overexposure of your beer to Oxygen and /or Sunlight/UV rays, during fermentation and/or bottle conditioning.

Why does my beer taste or smell funny?

It is almost always due to poor sanitation, causing infection with bacteria or wild yeast, at some point in your brewing process. This could include poor sanitation when cooling the wort, fermenting it, adding ingredients to the fermenter, sampling or measuring the beer, transferring it or bottling/kegging.

Why does my beer taste soapy?

These off-flavors result from the breakdown of fatty acids in the trub, if your beer is left in the fermenter longer than recommended or exposed to greater trub surface area. Our unique funneled conical-fermenter reduces the contact of your beer with the trub, and for the most part eliminates this problem.

Why does my beer taste cidery?

First off, make sure you’re not brewing a cider. The reason for this is adding too much cane or corn sugar to the boil.

Yeast in your beer can also produce a green-apple character when your beer is fermented at or above 80F, or when stored/conditioned in warmer than room-temperature areas.

Why does my beer taste sour or acidic?

It is almost always due to poor sanitation, causing infection with bacteria or wild yeast, at some point in your brewing process. This could include poor sanitation when cooling the wort, fermenting it, adding ingredients to the fermenter, sampling or measuring the beer, transferring it or bottling/kegging.

Why does my beer have medicinal (“Band-Aid Like”) or metallic tastes?

Medicinal off-flavors are the result of using chlorine-based sanitizers, which react with yeast phenols during your brewing process. The best way to prevent these off-flavors is to rinse your equipment in boiling water following sanitation.

Metallic off-flavors are caused by unprotected metals dissolving into the wort, especially when using Iron and Aluminum pottery, which can leach into the wort during the boil. Stainless steel pottery will not cause this.

A secondary cause is the use of tap water in fermenting your beer; High chlorine or Iron content, along with the use of softened water with salt or gypsum, will also result in medicinal and/or metallic off-flavors.

Why does my beer taste like cooked canned corn or celery?

DMS-Dimethyl Sulfide is a volatile sulfur-based organic compound which, if present in excessive amounts contributes a flavor & aroma akin to cooked canned corn or celery. Source of contamination can come from "wort bacteria", and/or relating to process, such as the presence of precursors due to malting, infected yeast that is repitched, long lag time before fermentation, chilling fermentation too soon, or too high initial fermentation temperature. Treatments include proper sterilization of equipment, boiling wort for at least an hour - especially with canned extracts, & following proper fermentation practices.

Why does my beer have an overpowering alcohol smell or taste?

This will occur if you add your yeast to the wort in your fermentor when the temperature is 80 F or above. This will produce too much fusel alcohols, which will cause your beer to smell alcoholy or taste harsh and sharp.

Why does my hard cider small like rotten eggs?

When yeast becomes stressed or is exposed to less than perfect conditions, some start to produce sulfur and cause cider to stink like rotten eggs. This off-putting aroma is often referred to rhino farts.

You can try degass the cider by swirling or racking to a clean fermenter. This releases CO2 that is left over from fermentation and can carry some of the sulfur out with it. But the easiest yet most time-consuming method is to simply let your hard cider bulk age and hope that the sulfur works its way out of the airlock on its own. Often times just letting a cider rest for a couple weeks to a few months can help remove sulfur and improve the overall flavor.

To prevent this from happening, use good fermentation practices and providing the yeast with a healthy environment will significantly help prevent sulfur in cider. The easiest way to ensure a good fermentation is to provide the right nutrients and temperature that the strain of yeast needs to thrive.

Why does my beer smell or look moldy?

This is due to contamination from molds ( poor sanitation ), or when your wort/beer is exposed to musty or damp areas during fermentation.

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