Homebrew Twang??

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GhostShip

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After doing an experiment where I showed brewing with table with all grain didn't give a homebrew twang or cidery taste I'm going to do the opposite and brew a kit then at bottling split it 5 ways and do:
1. Force carb
2. Sucrose priming
3. Dextrose priming
4. Sucrose priming + 10ppm sulphite
5. Dextrose priming + 10ppm sulphite

Doing it because I've had kits taste fine as they were bottled, then seemed twangy later.

I suppose I should sulphite half of the force carbed lot. It's a BYO Drinks IPA kit, the ones that come in plastic bags. I wonder if it makes a difference to tins. We'll see.
Brilliant work! It will be really interesting to hear your results.
 

Billy No Mates

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Spot on, Samale. In my early days of brewing, I'd go out to the pub and look forward to getting home for a pint of (kit) homebrew.
I'm going to go out and buy a kit because it's been so long I can't remember what they taste like. I've got a six-year-old Wherry from Wilco on the shelf somewhere, but I'm sure it won't knock up a vintage ale.
Back in the old days Whitbread at Portsmouth used to brew a strong ale called Pompey Royal. The reason we used to love it was because it tasted like my dad's homebrew, complete with twang.
 

mathorp

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I flicked through the thread and think this is a good theory if kits always had the twang no one would buy them.
I have tasted excellent kit beer and dreadful, including those I brewed while I was learning the ropes. As I kept everything else constant (yeast, hops, temperatures, sanitation, etc) I conclude that the difference is the quality of the kit. And a large part of "quality" is freshness of the liquid malt extract - for how long and in what conditions was it stored?
 

Drunkula

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Brilliant work! It will be really interesting to hear your results.
I’d be really interested the hear how this goes.
It'll be at least a week until I get the brew on. I'll brew at 19c. I was going to do a partial mash to make up the kit but remembered that when I did the 10 litre B&M IPA kit a while back it was a lot more like an IPA with the dextrose that came with it than the split I did with spraymalt. Even though I've eliminated sucrose as the twangster when used with all grain but I'll just stick with dextrose to make for less variables.

I'll then update week by week as they age to see not just the sugar effects but if the sulphite does change how the hops taste over time. Some of you might already be thinking for the ones bottled conditioned then that yeast will scrub oxygen anyway but it's always good to have a fanny about in the name of science (cough).

I can see there being no twang in any of them just to annoy me.

EDIT: I might overly aerate a few bottles, too.
 
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samale

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What is home brew twang? I get the impression that some here sensing something different. When I talk about the smell of home brew I'm solely referring to a doughy/yeast smell, not a stale or metallic flavour.
For me it's an after taste that just shouldn't be there. As I said previously I had my first kit beer in a long time of a friend. The beer looked perfect. Poured well but just had a Smell and an after taste that should not be there.
 

Markk

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It'll be at least a week until I get the brew on. I'll brew at 19c. I was going to do a partial mash to make up the kit but remembered that when I did the 10 litre B&M IPA kit a while back it was a lot more like an IPA with the dextrose that came with it than the split I did with spraymalt. Even though I've eliminated sucrose as the twangster when used with all grain but I'll just stick with dextrose to make for less variables.

I'll then update week by week as they age to see not just the sugar effects but if the sulphite does change how the hops taste over time. Some of you might already be thinking for the ones bottled conditioned then that yeast will scrub oxygen anyway but it's always good to have a fanny about in the name of science (cough).

I can see there being no twang in any of them just to annoy me.
I've used Sucrose to prime three of my four brews to date. Two of those have the twang but not so bad they spoil the beer, the other one has no twang at all. My first brew was primed with carbonation drops and this is undrinkable because of the twang. Same taste as the drinkable ones but so so strong. That said, it is a lot worse in some of these bottles than others. This got me thinking about the oxidisation theory. It was my first brew and, although I bottled using a bottling wand which should have minimised excess oxygen going into the bottles, I did leave varying gaps between the top of the beer and the top of the bottle. I wonder if this has made a difference? I'll dig out a couple of bottles at different extremes of "air gap" tonight to see if there's a trend.
 

samale

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I've used Sucrose to prime three of my four brews to date. Two of those have the twang but not so bad they spoil the beer, the other one has no twang at all. My first brew was primed with carbonation drops and this is undrinkable because of the twang. Same taste as the drinkable ones but so so strong. That said, it is a lot worse in some of these bottles than others. This got me thinking about the oxidisation theory. It was my first brew and, although I bottled using a bottling wand which should have minimised excess oxygen going into the bottles, I did leave varying gaps between the top of the beer and the top of the bottle. I wonder if this has made a difference? I'll dig out a couple of bottles at different extremes of "air gap" tonight to see if there's a trend.
I have noticed that the bigger the gap the better carbonated the beer either that or the homebrew has waterlogged my brain.
 

Bernie

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Homebrew twang was commonplace years ago when the fermenting bucket used to go into the airing cupboard, at temperatures above 30 °C.
I've also noticed that modern yeasts settle quickly when the fermentation stops.
 

Cwrw666

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Wouldn't it be brilliant if we could finally crack this eternal problem?!!!
I brewed 1 can kits + 1 kg table sugar for many years. Some had really bad twang. Others none at all. Worst offenders seemed to be bitters and `real ale'. Stouts were always pretty good. Before I switched to AG I'd settled on brewing them short - to 4 or 4.5 gallons instead of 5, and only adding half a kilo of sugar. Result: no twang in anything.
To this day I still brew in the airing cupboard when doing AG - no twang.
I sometimes add half a kilo of sugar - no twang.
I can only guess that it's a combination of factors rather than 1 single thing that causes twang.
 

Ian9365

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I've made loads of kits, many of them Muntons and never noticed the taste being described, in fact I'm not even sure what's being described. Ive always gone for 2 can kits never adding sugar but Ive friends who've done 1 can kits adding different combinations of table sugar, dextrose and DME. Again no trace of the said defect.

I've always substituted a good quality fresh yeast packet for the one supplied in the kit. Water analysis is another possibility. You get used to the water you live with and won't necessarily notice any tastes it imparts simply because your used to it, a fermentation however may not take kindly to it and produce off flavours.
 

Drunkula

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Interesting test of the differences in flavour of dry and liquid extract.

It's not in the actual Brulosophy experiment list yet but they did a test of liquid vs dry malt extract. Both Breiss pilsen, amounts so they'd be the same gravity.

http://brulosophy.com/2019/05/27/liquid-malt-extract-lme-vs-dry-malt-extract-dme-exbeeriment-results/

People could tell the difference and neither was a bad beer, but neither of them tasted like the style you'd think you'd get with pilsen malt.

"Guesses included Amber Ale, Altbier, ESB and other more malt-forward styles. Looks of confusion only arose when I informed tasters they’d been drinking beers made entirely with either liquid or dry Pilsner malt extract..."​

"...the LME beer was slightly richer with a stronger caramel flavor while the DME beer was a bit cleaner. Regardless, both shared the unmistakable richness of malt extract, a flavor I’ve never gotten in beers made with 100% Pilsner malt."​

"As someone who only uses malt extract for xBmts specifically focused on malt extract, my experience with these beers did little to change my opinion on the ingredient. That said, my previously held conviction, which was beaten into me during my first few years of brewing, that LME is of higher quality than DME has certainly changed. I’m not saying the LME beer was bad, but in terms of the style I was aiming for, it was far from the mark. For what was ultimately 100% Pilsner malt beers, the DME version came quite a bit closer in appearance and flavor. In the event I decide to use extract for anything other than a starter in the future, without question, it’s be dry."​

In an older experiment on the age of liquid extract that caramel flavour was more evident and that's part of what me and a few others have perceived as part of the twang. Far from all of it but a part.

I've just been going over my notes of beer I've made with all or part extract had any notes about twang and the only thing close was this:

⦁ 17th Dec 4am. Eating it with a couple of fajitas and the chilli sauce is giving it a peppery edge. On pouring even going aggressive at the end got zero head. The taste is a slight chocolate. There's some fruityness to it and a very slight 'cask a few days in' twang, but given all that I think it's alright. The bitterness is there and just on the edge of going too far.

And that was with a dry extract stout with a little crystal and chocolate malt that I'd left in a fermenter with no airlock and a slightly opened lid for a few months and it had got a pellicle on it.

Then looking back on the rest of the DME beers I'd never thought about the twang when tasting them, and that means it didn't present itself enough to make you think about it, which is great. It's like when you have 1,000 cups of tea and don't even think about them then you get a crap one and that's the one you think about. You don't notice things being right and doing their job properly.

Then I looked back on my beer kits and found regular notes of slight sourness, caramel and general homebrewyness. Loads of the kits tests I did were two cans or short brewed with no sugar, too.

I'm still siding with liquid extract being the biggest cause of twang.
 

ExpatBrewer

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Way back in the 80's all my homebrew had 'twang'. And us brewers back then knew exactly what was meant by the term. In some circles it's actually referred to as 'tang'. Now there seems to be uncertainty and it's clear that some are talking about something else entirely. My 80's brews were pretty horrible, we used a lot of sugar and boiled it along with the LME for at least an hour. But then, as kids it was more about producing cheap alcohol that vaguely resembled beer rather than trying to actually brew a quality beer.

I'm an experienced brewer now and have had my processes figured out for a good long while and I haven't experienced that extract twang for decades .... until very recently. I mostly brew 60/40 partials - 60% mashed grain paired with a 1.7kg can of LME, and occasionally I do a quick Kit + LME brew. Recently I did a kit and LME (1.5kg), plus hop boil additions. This particular beer has ended up very twangy and immediately took me back to the unmistakable taste of those brews decades earlier. I'm tempted to tip it actually, though may give it a bit of time before making that decision. I'm returning to the UK for a few weeks soon so will perhaps reassess when I get back here to NZ.

This is the first time I've tasted twang in a VERY long time. So why? I did ONE thing differently this time, one thing I never usually do. I boiled the 1.5kg of extract (with hops). It was a relatively short boil, just enough to accommodate a 15 minute and 5 minute hop addition, but I am now left wondering if boiling LME has something to do with the production of the infamous twang? Caremilisation of the extract? Dunno for sure so conclude from that what you will, it's just a single anecdotal account after all, but one worth considering perhaps.
 

Gulpitdarn

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... Some brilliant enjoyable reading here, thanks for these write ups.

I also can remember this 'Twang' from the late seventies and early eighties when I was a lad. I'm really tempted to make just a gallon of simple brew to see if it really is in the LME, I know it's looking for trouble and I really don't want to remind myself what that taste is like, I've kinda forgotten... isn't it like a slight metallic taste? I forget its so long ago. Hmmm what are my plans for today??
 

terrym

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Go for it!
I used to use the odd jar of H&B in beer and found it OK. However I found that using several jars to make extract beer definitely ended up twangy. As I have said elsewhere I dont use LME in beer at all now although I still make up the occasional modified Coopers kit (which don't come up twangy imo).
 

foxbat

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Way back in the 80's all my homebrew had 'twang'. And us brewers back then knew exactly what was meant by the term. In some circles it's actually referred to as 'tang'. Now there seems to be uncertainty and it's clear that some are talking about something else entirely. My 80's brews were pretty horrible, we used a lot of sugar and boiled it along with the LME for at least an hour. But then, as kids it was more about producing cheap alcohol that vaguely resembled beer rather than trying to actually brew a quality beer.

I'm an experienced brewer now and have had my processes figured out for a good long while and I haven't experienced that extract twang for decades .... until very recently. I mostly brew 60/40 partials - 60% mashed grain paired with a 1.7kg can of LME, and occasionally I do a quick Kit + LME brew. Recently I did a kit and LME (1.5kg), plus hop boil additions. This particular beer has ended up very twangy and immediately took me back to the unmistakable taste of those brews decades earlier. I'm tempted to tip it actually, though may give it a bit of time before making that decision. I'm returning to the UK for a few weeks soon so will perhaps reassess when I get back here to NZ.

This is the first time I've tasted twang in a VERY long time. So why? I did ONE thing differently this time, one thing I never usually do. I boiled the 1.5kg of extract (with hops). It was a relatively short boil, just enough to accommodate a 15 minute and 5 minute hop addition, but I am now left wondering if boiling LME has something to do with the production of the infamous twang? Caremilisation of the extract? Dunno for sure so conclude from that what you will, it's just a single anecdotal account after all, but one worth considering perhaps.
Have you considered a switch from LME to DME? DME is reputed to not be prone to twang.
 
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