Benzaldehyde

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Noodlebrew

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Hi guys, so i recently brewed a cornish style ale. Actually i did the same recipe twice in 2 months. Both times, brew day went fine. Trouble comes after fermentation.

I'm getting a big old waft and taste of almonds. First time, i went from kettle to no-chill cube, left it for 1 week before chucking it into a fermenter & pitch yeast

Second time, i went from kettle to no-chill cube, then into the fermenter the next day and pitch yeast.

Both times the wort smelt and tasted great before adding the yeast (safale s-04)

Yet both times i get this almond (benzaldehyde) aroma and taste.

Both times I allowed 3 weeks sat on the yeast, which is normally spot on for me to bottle.

Anyone know about almonds? Lol

Cheers 🍻
 

Noodlebrew

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Sorry to bring back an old thread!

So after the two cornish ale attempts, i had a go at a yorkshire bitter. Same problem... almond smell and taste 😔

I then decided to go back to my trusty american ipa. This time i decided to ditch the no-chill cube and cool with my copper coil like i used to. I managed to bring the temp down within 25 mins, transferrer over to fermenter, aerate and pitch.

Its only been 8 days admittedly, but after tasting a very small sample i am getting almond again 🤨

Now, my past experience tells me this aroma/flavour doesn't fade, so it could be another duff batch. If it is benzaldehyde, which comes from oxygenating the melanoidins i have no idea how this happens, or at what point it happens. I just need it to stop happening before i sling all my brewing equipment in the bin and take up knitting 😅

Any help will be much appreciated 🙏
 

Cheshire Cat

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Sorry to bring back an old thread!

So after the two cornish ale attempts, i had a go at a yorkshire bitter. Same problem... almond smell and taste 😔

I then decided to go back to my trusty american ipa. This time i decided to ditch the no-chill cube and cool with my copper coil like i used to. I managed to bring the temp down within 25 mins, transferrer over to fermenter, aerate and pitch.

Its only been 8 days admittedly, but after tasting a very small sample i am getting almond again 🤨

Now, my past experience tells me this aroma/flavour doesn't fade, so it could be another duff batch. If it is benzaldehyde, which comes from oxygenating the melanoidins i have no idea how this happens, or at what point it happens. I just need it to stop happening before i sling all my brewing equipment in the bin and take up knitting 😅

Any help will be much appreciated 🙏
Look at what's the common denominator here, I would have said no chill but you chilled and still a problem, clearly not beer style. So are you using the same fermenter for all these beer? If so try another or buy another or clean it like hell.
 

the baron

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I'm with CC on this get a new FV its a quick and cheap way to eradicate if it is that as there is little else left so get a new one from Wilko's and brew maybe a kit?
 

Noodlebrew

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Thanks for the reply. I've swapped the fermenter and still the same problem.

I'm now thinking it could be hot side aeration. I know people rubbish the idea but i have been using a drill with a whisk attachment. Its quite aggressive and introduces lots of oxygen. Perhaps the boil doesnt fully remove all of that dissolved oxygen, and it carries over into my fermenter? That's all i can think
 

Cheshire Cat

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Thanks for the reply. I've swapped the fermenter and still the same problem.

I'm now thinking it could be hot side aeration. I know people rubbish the idea but i have been using a drill with a whisk attachment. Its quite aggressive and introduces lots of oxygen. Perhaps the boil doesnt fully remove all of that dissolved oxygen, and it carries over into my fermenter? That's all i can think
I think you're over complicating it. Look for the simple explanation first, what else cold side is common, pipes, kegs, bottles. How do you sanitise your equipment?
 

the baron

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When you say you swapped the FV was it one you had been using before?
In my opinion you do not need to whisk the wort just pouring it into the FV is enough.
While you are grasping at straws/head scratching brew a kit to give you something to drink and break the cycle of bad brews that may help you to discover if it is something in your process i.e over complicating it maybe.
Once you have done a kit and got something to drink then do simple basic brewing and nothing else above that, too many brewers are trying to go the latest method/systems they are reading about so just go absolute basic brewing and replace anything that is cheap to do so such as syphon tubing then blitz everything else. If you use bleach to blitz rinse rinse and rise again
 

An Ankoù

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This is very odd, Noodlebrew. Was there an earlier time when you weren't getting this off-flavour or has it been in every brew? If the former, what are you doing differently now?
If it were me, before getting out the knitting patterns, I'd strip everything down to basics with a minimum of equipment. Mash, sparge, boil, chill and ferment with no strange stuff like drills with whisk attachments, pumps or anything else.
Are you sure it's almond, you're tasting? You're not the only person to have had this problem, here's a thread from another forum:
 

Noodlebrew

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Well this is the thing, the problem always arises before bottling.

I use a brew-in-a-basket method:-

mash, partial sparge, boil. Then transfer to fermenter if pitching that day or cube if pitching the next day.

Ive had the same problem with the cube (& silicone tube), my old fermenter and tap and now my new fermenter and tap.

Everything is cleaned with vwp, rinsed thoroughly and then star-san.
 

Noodlebrew

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Well i have brewed an ipa before that came out as good as some I've bought from a shop. Also did a coffee stout that came out well too. But have now had 4 bad ones in a row.

If its a Hot side aeration issue, maybe i didnt whisk as vigorously on those batches? Either way, you're probably right. Maybe brew a kit beer as its cheaper and quicker and see what happens 👍
 

An Ankoù

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What are you whisking for anyway? You might be changing the chemical composition of some of the maillard products. There's no need to whisk or oxygenated the unboiled wort. No, the boil would drive off all the oxygen, but not pre-boil oxidation products
Oxygenation of the wort is done after the boil and when it's cool, just before pitching. A bit of a splash with a sterilised jug is enough. Modern dried and liquid yeast, first generation, don't really need much dissolved oxygen to reproduce.
 

Noodlebrew

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I was using the drill/whisk when doughing in as its far quicker than doing it by hand.

Once I've mashed and sparged, i then use the drill/whisk again to mix it thoroughly for a gravity reading.

I was just wondering if doing this was causing hot side aeration. Either way, I'll avoid it next time.
 

Dads_Ale

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I am aware that people rubbish hot side aeriation but both myself and a friend had a similar problem. When we compared notes it turned out we had both changed our process slightly in one particular area.
My friend was using one of the drill whisks to create a whirlpool after the boil before cooling, lot of splashing, and I was using a large spoon to aggressively agitate the wort during cooling.
We have both stopped the above practices and no longer get the off flavour.
 

Noodlebrew

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I am aware that people rubbish hot side aeriation but both myself and a friend had a similar problem. When we compared notes it turned out we had both changed our process slightly in one particular area.
My friend was using one of the drill whisks to create a whirlpool after the boil before cooling, lot of splashing, and I was using a large spoon to aggressively agitate the wort during cooling.
We have both stopped the above practices and no longer get the off flavour.
Thanks for sharing. Maybe I'm not crazy after all 😅 well, i will follow the other guys advice to brew a beer kit. If it is HSA that's causing my problem, a beer kit will bypass that and take me straight to fermentation. I'll let you all know what happens.

Cheers 🍻
 
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