Distinctive smell of homebrew?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by TedStrosser, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. TedStrosser

    TedStrosser Disciple (319) Jun 19, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I have just brewed my 10th batch, 1 gallon each, all with 'Brewers Best' kits...All but two (a chocolate stout and a brown ale) have turned out less than stellar. Each (mainly IPAs and Pale Ales) have a distinctive smell that is more akin to a hard cider than hoppy beer. Two even were dry hopped, but still have this aroma. What am I doing wrong? Note: I have detected this same aroma in some friends homebrew as well. Some of which are very drinkable, just not a great nose. I am guessing it has to do with either my water chemistry? or perhaps fermentation temperature? please help!!!
  2. StupidlyBrave

    StupidlyBrave Initiate (53) Jan 2, 2009 Pennsylvania

    To solve this problem, you'll need to really isolate the note. I would suggest this might be acetaldeyde. This might smell/taste more like "green apple" Jolly Rancher candy. Do these kits come with yeast? Perhaps it isn't as healthy as it should be. You might give the beer more time to "clean up", but I think yeast health should be something you work on in future batches. Then again, I am speculating at the source of the note.
    pweis909 and FeDUBBELFIST like this.
  3. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Small batches can magnify mistakes of temp control and ingredient amounts. You might want to check out common off-flavors in Palmer's, How to Brew
    Good Luck
    corbmoster and LuskusDelph like this.
  4. TedStrosser

    TedStrosser Disciple (319) Jun 19, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Yes, they come with yeast, and I think you hit the description of the smell on the head. thanks!
  5. TedStrosser

    TedStrosser Disciple (319) Jun 19, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Wow, super helpful, thanks!
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  6. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Savant (963) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    What about fermentation temps? Are you fermenting too hot?
  7. chrisjws

    chrisjws Champion (825) Dec 3, 2014 California
    Beer Trader

    Exactly this. My rule is if I order kits or anything like that, I get the yeast separately by picking it out in person at my local store. When I do that, I check dates and such to make sure it's good.
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  8. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (533) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I think we need to know more about your process. Are you using extract, and how do you cool the wort? The temperature at which you pitch the yeast is critical, in some ways more important than the temperature over the next few days. When using extract and not boiling the entire wort the tendency is to pitch much too hot. Since you're doing 1 gallon batches I'll assume a full wort boil, and that chilling should not be too difficult. My recommendation is to pitch your yeast at about 60F and let it rise naturally from there, as long as it doesn't get hotter than about 70F.
    Mothergoose03 and GreenKrusty101 like this.
  9. corbmoster

    corbmoster Aspirant (253) Dec 15, 2014 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I assume you are bottle carbonating. Leave some aside for a month or two and they may clean up a bit. As stated, pitch temp, fermentation temp, and yeast health are the big culprits.
  10. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    Don't rush. Give your yeast enough time to finish. Yeast are the perfect party guests. They go crazy during fermentation, but if you give them a chance, they'll also clean up after themselves.

    As others stated, your process could be a big part of what's happening. Are you doing the "5 days, primary, rack to secondary, bottle a few days later when the airlock stops" thing? Because that is nowhere near enough time for yeast to clean up much of the mess they made during fermentation. Instead, skip the secondary, leave your beer in primary for about three to four weeks, then bottle. Even after the airlock becomes dead still, there important fermentation activity going on. And no, autolysis is not a concern in that amount of time if you pitched adequately and didn't stress it by high temps, etc.

    So I'd recommend using better quality yeast, no more secondary (except for huge beers, beers with additions, or lagers), and give the process time to happen.
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  11. TedStrosser

    TedStrosser Disciple (319) Jun 19, 2015 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Awesome, thanks for all the replies - definitely have a LOT to learn.