IPA/NEIPA off flavors

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Curmudgeon, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    I've brewed a few batches of NEIPA with varying success. The ones that I did not like had rubbery, hot Band-Aid, medicinal smells and sometimes tastes to them. As bad as that sounds, they were still drinkable and I even had some people claim to not pick up on that stuff (yes, maybe just being nice). For a while now I was thinking it was the Simcoe. All these batches had Simcoe in them and I drank some commercial examples that, to me at least, showed similar characteristics. In between these batches, I brewed some Hefes, a Kolsch, a couple Saisons, and a cider and they all came out fine so I am assuming my procedures, cleaning, water, etc. are decent. It's something to do with IPAs. I searched on these forums a lot and was able to find a few examples of BAs expressing similar woes with their IPAs. I think there was some poor guy who gave up brewing them altogether!!! I hope he's recovered since then.

    "Hop burn" was a common theme in a lot of the threads. I guess we can get this when using excessive amounts of hops in our beers. However, there are BAs using incredible amounts of hops and claiming continued success. Other theories blame certain varieties. I was (and still kind of) convinced that I simply discovered that Simcoe gave me these unpleasant smells/flavors. I bet if I drank a Tree House beer with Simcoe in it I wouldn't feel the same though.

    I brewed a few batches with tiny amounts of Simcoe and still got these off smells/flavors. I started thinking about the IPAs/NEIPAs I brewed that I loved. One difference I noted was the use of some kind of hop filter for my hop additions. When I first started brewing, I would always use muslin hop bags. The disagreeable smells and flavors starting happening when I started going commando at all times. I felt that going commando was the best method because you would get all that you could from the hops. They'd dissolve better and swim freely in the wort. But at the levels I was using (12-16oz per 5 gallons), is that too much for commando? @invertalon You've had great success with your NEIPAs and I know you use HEALTHY amounts of hops in your beers. Do you use a hop spider, muslins bags, etc. or do you go commando? For all - kettle additions, WP, fermentation/biotransformation hops, DH, etc.?

    Another area that I thought could be a factor is pH. We know pH is important for brewing beer but is it even more important when using a large amount of hops? I'm reading about it now and I think I'm going to need some time to absorb what I'm reading. I understand a lower pH results in a generally livelier and crisper beer and a higher pH can result in a dull-tasting beer but I know there's more to it than just that. I have a cheap-o $15 pH meter that I've use a few times but I think I need to find a way to measure my pH accurately for every brew that I do. Is it possible I'm over acidifying my mash and that could result in these flavors? I use Brewcipher. I know the mash pH calc is just an estimate and I should take my own reading to confirm but I use 10% Phosphoric based on Brewcipher's estimates.

    Lastly, while reading about pH I came across an interesting technique for the first time -

    The reduction in solubility of hop acids can be seen during fermentation. After wort is pitched with yeast and the pH falls during fermentation, most of the unisomerized hop resins will come out of solution again. They become part of the brown gunk that floats on top of the Kraeusen which, if a smooth bitterness is desired, should be removed via blow-off tube, skimming and not allowed to fall back into the beer [Narziss, 2005][Kunze, 2007].

    Based off of the above, if I'm going commando with 12-16oz of hops per 5 gallon batches, could these unisomerized hop resins that fall back into the beer be the culprits to making my IPAs harsh and rubbery/medicinal?

    Also wondering if any of you engage in this technique of extracting this "brown gunk" from the Kraeusen. If so, how do you do it? Sanitized SS spoon?

    Sorry for the long post. I was ecstatic with a few of my NEIPAs and I'm trying to get back to that point. Thanks for any responses. Always love hearing what you guys have to say.
     
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  2. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (204) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Are you familiar with chlorophenol? Keep chlorine out of your water, and don't use garden hoses, etc. A crushed Campden tablet per 10 gallons of water will immediately remove chlorine (must be added prior to mashing or adding ingredients). Hope this helps.
     
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  3. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Any bittering hops in those off-flavor batches?
     
  4. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (436) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    I've had no issues with off-flavors in my IPA's, but I second what @dmtaylor had mentioned... Are you using Campden to ensure no chlorine/chloramines?

    I go all commando in my hopping at all times. On the way from the kettle to the fermenter, I usually just let it go through a paint strainer bag to filter out the hop matter (along with oxygenate a bit before adding more pure O2).

    For my dry hop (usually anywhere from 8-12oz typical), all pellet goes right in. Beer is crashed before transfer into the keg, so all the hop matter drops to the bottom below my spigot level. So I don't get much carryover into the keg at all. It packs to the bottom quite well.

    Going forward, I likely will be changing my IPA process to see if I can improve it further by reducing oxygen a bit more during dry hopping.

    Still working out these details on this process... But I will just need to experiment!

    As far as water, my mash pH is typically around 5.25-5.30 I target for my IPA's. I have not bothered to check later on down the process. I go high sulfates as well, usually 250ish and chloride kept around 75.
     
  5. ECCS

    ECCS Initiate (168) Oct 28, 2015 Illinois
    Trader

    What is your water source and water treatment?

    Is there a common yeast that you use with these?

    Kegging or bottle conditioning?
     
  6. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (187) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    In fairness to @Curmudgeon, the original post expressly states, "In between these batches, I brewed some Hefes, a Kolsch, a couple Saisons, and a cider and they all came out fine so I am assuming my procedures, cleaning, water, etc. are decent." It seems unlikely it's a chlorine problem, because why would that be specific to NEIPAs?
     
  7. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,244) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Band aid says chlorophenols to me as well. Does your water get treated with chloromine or chlorine?
     
  8. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,244) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Yeast strains.
     
  9. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    Sorry sorry, my bad guys. I failed to mention that I use 100% distilled and build up with Gypsum and Calcium Chloride based on what profile I want. My profile has generally been about 160 Chloride to 80 Sulfate.

    I've used London III a bunch and had varying success. It's funny, my two favorites were brewed with Gigayeast's Vermont yeast.

    I clean with PBW, rinse a lot and I use Star San to sanitize (mixed only with distilled water). I keg and I dismantle kegs and faucets after every use. I use a CamelBak wire brush to clean diptubes (thanks again @Soneast). I dismantle QDs as well. Basically, I feel that my cleaning procedures are sound and I am avoiding chlorinated water.

    @invertalon Interesting! Your methods and reported successes basically crush my theories! Crud. Thanks for the response. Heyyyy, did you reverse your chloride/sulfate ratio recently? I thought you were always heavy on the chloride!

    I agree that chlorine and chlorophenols is a good place to start. I just don't think they're being introduced to my water/beers.

    ETA - bittering hops. Very very little. I forget exacts right now but I've used Citra and Magnum to bitter. Very little though....IIRC for Citra like 0.5oz at 30min or something like that. Heavy WP hops (maybe around 7oz, i.e. 3 Citra 3 Amarillo and 1 Simcoe) and then I split my dry hops 50/50 between biotransformation and keg DH (maybe like 3oz each for a total of like 6oz for DH)
     
    #9 Curmudgeon, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
    Soneast likes this.
  10. ECCS

    ECCS Initiate (168) Oct 28, 2015 Illinois
    Trader

    While different than the flavors you were describing, I was getting a vodka like finish on my NEIPAs using L3. I ended up pitching less than the brewers friend recommendations to fix it. When I pitched ~220B cells in ~1.060 wort, it would finish it about 3 days. These beers were the ones I identified as having some fusel alchohal flavor. Recently I’ve pitched ~170B cells in ~1.060 wort with much better success... finishing in about 7 days.

    Maybe rethink your pitch rate and ferment temp for L3 beers?

    Also, @Curmudgeon , really interested to hear if others have a comment on the “Brown gunk” on top of krausen. I’ve seen it when I put in my fermentation dry hop. I don’t see any downside to scooping it out with a sanitized SS spoon.
     
  11. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    Awesome. I did not think of this and I have not read this anywhere. I will definitely consider this. When you say "vodka like finish" that very well could be what I'm smelling/tasting. I don't know if I'm good at describing flavors so we could be on the same page.
     
    ECCS likes this.
  12. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (187) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    I believe the Germans call this "braun hefe" (brown yeast), and they commonly remove it. If you search for that term you will find a lot more information on it. I have observed it from time to time, but I have never bothered removing it.
     
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  13. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,244) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Who provides your water? Some packaged water still contains chloromines for shelf stability.
    a quick google search netted a few companies that use filtered metro tap water for their water. If that water is treated with chloromines, well it may still be chloromines.
     
    #13 SFACRKnight, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,714) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    The OP stated: "I use 100% distilled".

    Is your question directed elsewhere?

    Cheers!
     
  15. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    I get the Stop&Shop Acadia Pure Distilled Water. I thought distilled had to be "blank" (I could be way off). I wouldn't think places could label filtered tap water as distilled. I could see "Spring" water being simply filtered water though. Anyway, you could have a great point here @SFACRKnight I'll look into it! Thanks!
     
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  16. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (436) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    @Curmudgeon

    Nope! Always high sulfates for mine. Never have ventured over 75 chloride with my IPAs. Really like the results I had had so I stick with it!
     
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  17. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (204) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    When's the last time you replaced your hoses?

    Also, since you are experiencing this with IPAs, I wonder if dry hops are contaminating the beer.

    Could be both too.
     
  18. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    I mash in a rectangular cooler that I've outfitted with an SS ball valve (cleaned before and after every brew) - that goes through a high temp silicon tube. I actually have never replaced that. But every time I start my boil, I clean my mash tun, breaking down the SS ball valve and I soak the silicon tube in a hot PBW mix and rinse.

    Boil, chill with my copper IC indoors with lid on and some tin foil. Then I open my ball valve on my SS brewtech 10 gallon kettle and fill my carboy through a sanitized SS strainer just to grab some of the bigger junk. Then pour my yeast starter in (sometimes decanted sometimes not). Shake like a madman for a few minutes and store in my basement at 62-72F depending on style. For these NEIPAs, I'll add the first dose of dry hops (biotransformation hops) on day 3 or 4. I spray the packaging with star san and try to gently drop the pellets into the fermenter. I do get little blips of splashing as I've used glass carboys up to this point (SS Brewtech Brewbucket arrived the other night!!!).

    For my keg DH I use one of those SS 300 micron cylindrical filters that you can fit into corny kegs. Sanitized keg and filter of course. I "purge" (I know there's debate and misconception here but I do it anyway) my keg with CO2 and (/sigh), use an auto-siphon to rack into the DH keg. (It's a pain but I spend a lot of time cleaning and sanitizing the auto-siphon. I hate the thing. It's an abomination and I can't wait to toss it and just use gravity with the new Brewbucket)

    After 3-7 days (depending on how long I want to DH) I use a NEW jumper line to rack off of the DH keg into the serving keg.

    I concede though, I could be contaminating somewhere along the line. Other beers have tasted really good though. I admit, I do a lot more transferring with these NEIPAs than with any of my other beers.
     
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,714) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Nope, you are not "way off" here. Distilled water is 100% H2O with nothing else.

    The distillation process is the water is boiled into water vapor and then permitted to condense back into liquid. No chemicals or minerals will be in the resulting liquid (100% distilled water).

    Cheers!
     
  20. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,244) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    A quick search on the net brings back results that would be contrary to what you're saying Jack.
     
  21. ECCS

    ECCS Initiate (168) Oct 28, 2015 Illinois
    Trader

    When I was pitching the 220B cells of Wyeast 1318, not only would it finish quick... it would chew the gravity down further than I wanted. I had a predicted FG of 1.016, but the 220B cella would finish it at 1.012. That’s a bit thin for my preference with the style. I used to ferment around 68F with those 220B cells.

    Now with my base NEIPA recipe, I do 170B cells of Wyeast 1318 fermented at 64F in 1.060 wort. I also add 2oz of lactose in a 5 gal batch for a bit of sweetness and body.

    How was the mouthfeel on the beers where you experienced those flavors? Part of the “vodka-like” finish I experienced was a thin mouthfeel with a very present alchohal taste.
     
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,714) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Jason, if some business is selling water that is labeled as being distilled water that is not just H2O then they are misrepresenting the product.

    Are there businesses out there that do this? The answer is they should not be but...

    Cheers!
     
    dmtaylor likes this.
  23. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,244) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    There is debate over whether or not distillation removes chloromines.
     
  24. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (204) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    I'm with Jack on this. I guess we'll never be able to prevent some random people on the interwebs from misunderstanding or misconstruing facts.
     
  25. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (204) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Now that I am not sure about. Good point.
     
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,714) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Seems like this should be fairly easy to verify. Boil the water and permit the water vapor to condense and measure if there is any chloramine in the resulting condensed water. I am not a professional chemist but I am pretty certain even I could do this.

    Cheers!
     
  27. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (204) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Okay, I am a chemical engineer (yep, 4 years at Michigan Tech, Class of 1997), and I've formed a conclusion on distilled water and whether it can have chloramine...

    Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloramine) says: "The time required to remove half of the chloramine (half-life) from 10 US gallons (38 l; 8.3 imp gal) of water by boiling is 26.6 hours". That's pretty damn slow, especially compared against regular bleach, where the half-life is just 1.8 hours. So, chloramine is quite stable, not very volatile.

    Now consider the average stay time of an average molecule of H2O or chloramine in a commercial water distillation facility. I don't work at such a place but my better judgment figures the stay time isn't going to be much longer than about an hour, and probably much less. So for conservatism, let's say it's 2 hours. Fair?

    With a bit of math [1-0.5^(2/26.6)], I would thus expect a maximum of 5% of the chloramine to make it into the vapor phase with the water, leaving 95% of the chloramine concentrated and left behind as waste in the process. And this assumes just one stage of distillation. If they use several stages of distillation, this would get knocked down much further to the tenths or hundredths of a percent. Not all of this will necessarily re-condense and fall back into the distilled water, but for conservatism, let's say that a whopping 5% does.

    So... if a single-stage distillation facility is using city water with chloramine as their main source (dumb IMO), then as much as 5% of the city water's dose might end up in your little jugs that you pick up at your local grocery store or whatever.

    In my opinion, I seriously doubt an amount 5% as strong as standard city water would affect the flavor of your finished beer. Maybe it will, but I have some doubts. But I was being extremely conservatively high in this estimate. A more realistic number I think is probably closer to like 1% or maybe down to 0.001% or someplace in between, which... no, it's not hurting anything at that point!

    One more possibility is that they might add chlorine to the distilled water on purpose AFTER they distill it. If they do... friggin jerks. I doubt they do, there's nothing in that water for any critters to eat. But, anything is possible. Only way to know for sure is to know somebody who works there. Sorry, I don't.
     
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  28. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    I'd say all my NEIPAs have been medium-body beers. They all had a nice "chewiness" to them too. I understand what you're saying though with finishing at different gravities. I need to go into Brewcipher - it'd be interesting to see what my OGs and FGs were for all NEIPAs I've brewed. That would be telling.

    @dmtaylor thank you! That's an awesome write up on distillation/chloramines.

    I was so convinced that it was my relationship with Simcoe that I threw out my remaining 5oz last week (I vacuum seal and freeze). I cut one of the bags open when I when tossing them and....they smelled really good. Hmmmm. :confused:

    FWIW, out of my two favorites - one was dosed with heavy amounts of Citra and Huell Melon and the other was heavy amounts of Citra, Amarillo and a tiny amount of Simcoe (yes, one of my favorites did contain a tiny amount of the hop that I thought I hated. I'm guessing the Citra and Amarillo overpowered the small amount of Simcoe). All of these had bittering charges with Citra to about 30 IBUs (per Brewcipher), huge WP additions and decent DHs.
     
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  29. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (270) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    Are you whirlpooling at low temps? I had a great conversation with a few headbrewers at a small brewery in Montana recently. They might not make full on haze bombs but they make wonderful, bright, modern hoppy beers that are some of the better executions I’ve had in the rocky mtns. I’ve had all the great stuff from NE many many times.

    Anyways we were discussing whirlpool temps as I always thought it would be really difficult for a large pro batch to get to such low whirlpool temps that homebrewers always talk about. He said they tried everything from 200-170 by running wort through the heat-Ex before whirlpool. He said they started to develop these plastic type notes with large WP additions less than 200*... 200 is what he said they settled on and thought worked the best.

    Great interview with Noah Bissell recently on The Session and they did studies to find no benefit to dropping their whirlpool temp to 190 vs. 212 and it simply wasn’t worth the time and effort it took to do it which means to me they definitely wouldn’t go lower than 190. Granted utilization can be much different on a homebrew scale but Noah’s recommendation for WP and DH additions for the beer they were discussing weren’t that big.

    I would suggest either moving some of your late additions maybe back into the boil or just cutting the huge WP amount down and see what it does. I have a hunch you might see a difference.

    I don’t think your issue is sanitation or water based at all. That being said I would spend the money on a dope PH meter and calibrate it every time you use it and try not to dip it in hot wort, which is hard to do sometimes when laziness takes over. I have been really trying to dial my PH in throughout the process and I think my beers are becoming more refined. Still a lot more work to do though...
     
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  30. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (872) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Would love to see these studies as there should be increased isomerization at the higher temperatures and increased oil preservation at lower ones.

    Should just listen to the interview, but do you remember if they did HPLC/MS or GC/MS?
     
  31. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (270) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    I don’t believe he mentioned the exact testing other than there was only a 2 IBU measured difference between roughly 210 and 190. They were working with their local university who was doing the testing. I’ll have to go back and listen. I would highly suggest the podcast it’s a great one... and yet another producer of the “NEIPA” style that doesn’t use 1318. I would say the last 1/3 of the interview was where the best info came from.
     
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  32. trevord13

    trevord13 Initiate (89) Sep 30, 2010 Virginia

    I was as shocked by their house yeast selection as I was the whirlpool temp information. I think he suggested they are using Wyeast 1272 (American Ale II) or WLP051 (California V) based on the info provided on the BSI website.

    Seems crazy for such hazy beers
     
  33. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    @wasatchback why yes, yes I do WP at lower temps! I wish I could access my Brewcipher files here at work. I think I have WP upwards of 7oz of hops starting at around 185F and I leave them in until I get down to 65-70F (and then either remove muslin bags if used OR leave hops in if went commando - could this make a difference?). Depending on my tap temp, it could take 45min or 90min. I believe I've put "ave temps" of maybe 130F or 150F for durations of 50min or 60min (along those lines).

    This may be exactly what I'm experiencing!
     
    #33 Curmudgeon, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  34. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (270) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    I would be interested to see if you do try it what you get especially if you’re leaving them in throughout all that cooling. Maybe try a FO addition and let it go for 30 or cool to 200 and let that go, then pull the hops instead of letting them sit for so long in wort that is cooling way down. At my elevation I boil at 202 so I start at around 200 without even chilling. If I just let them sit i’m down to about 180 in 30 minutes. Then I run off through a CFC which can take another half an hour to get all the wort into FV. Remaining wort is usually around 150 when all said and done (temp is 65ish when it lands in the conical.)
     
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,714) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    It is a shame that you tossed these hops because you could have conducted your 'exBEERiment' of not whirlpooling these hops at lower temperatures and see if that made a difference.

    Cheers!
     
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  36. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,244) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    However you fail to mention that chlorophenols are perceptible in beer at a rate of parts per BILLION. So even if 5% made it to his water then it stands to reason the off flavor could still be chlorophenols.
    looks like 1ppb is a flavor panel dosing rate for off flavor testing.
     
    #36 SFACRKnight, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  37. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    [Queue thunderstorm and lightning] - "RAT FARTS!!!!"
     
  38. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (204) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    You may very well be correct. I did not look up the thresholds. Also true is that each individual has their own threshold. We do not all perceive things identically. Some are much more sensitive than others.

    Cheers.
     
  39. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,244) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Gary Glass picks up chlorophenols from a mile away.
     
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  40. Curmudgeon

    Curmudgeon Disciple (302) May 29, 2014 Massachusetts
    Premium

    If I'm paranoid, it couldn't hurt to add a half a campden to my 100% distilled strike and sparge water, right? I brew 5 gallon batches so I use roughly 8 gallons total. One tablet treats about 20 gallons?
     
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