My beer tastes terrible

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by surferosa, Oct 14, 2019.

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  1. Oct 14, 2019 #1

    surferosa

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    Hi everyone, I made a MJ Saison kit last month (first brew), it’s been conditioning in bottle for 3 weeks and have had the odd taste, before bottling, a week in, and after 3 weeks... and it tasted pretty rubbish every time...

    I’m having trouble describing the flavour according to lists of “off flavours” I’ve found online, either green apple or cloves/medicinal probably describes it best.

    I’m wondering what might be the most likely cause...

    My FV is a big 25ish L tub, with a snug fitting lid (allowing co2 to lift lid, no airlock), I used an immersion heater in the bin which kept it at around 23c. Fermentation took around 13 days, I dry hopped according to the recipe for around 5 days (pellets, loose) before bottling. finished at 1.004 sg. I racked direct from the primary, adding sugar to the bottles. Left at room temp for a week, before moving to my basement.

    A couple of the bottles I’ve tried had hop particles in them.

    Also... a lot of my gear is my dads from c. 1980... (FV, Heater, siphon). I cleaned everything throughly with soap and water, and then starsan according to the instructions. The off flavours have been the same from initial bottling to today (so don’t think it’s a bottling problem).

    I realise 3 weeks isn’t long, and I’m pretty much just planning on leaving it for another month before tasting again, but I can’t imagine much is going to change, as it hasn’t improved at all!! Any suggestions as to where I’m going wrong?!
     
  2. Oct 14, 2019 #2

    foxy

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    If it is the sanitation which is in question, then start with hot water over 60C and some sodium perborate or percarbonate, give the equipment a good soak, the hot water along with an alkaline cleaner will remove any biofilm or other muck which may be on there. Acid sanitisers wil only sanitise if the equipment is clean.
     
  3. Oct 14, 2019 #3

    steveinUS

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    Greetings. Assuming your dad's equipment (including the FV) was not still harboring any nasties, and the soap you used did not carry anything over (i.e perfume, etc.) after a starsan treatment, my first suspicion would be your water. Even decent-tasting tap water can turn out lousy beer if it has chlorine/chloramine in it.

    I think you are right, if it tastes lousy now, it is not likely to improve.
     
  4. Oct 14, 2019 #4

    Sadfield

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    Probably best to get the obvious question out of the way, before we all dive in with brewing advice. Is Saison a style of beer you are familiar with from drinking commercial examples? It's not a common choice for a first brew and has some pretty unique charactistics. Apologies if you know your Dupont from your Fantome.
     
  5. Oct 15, 2019 #5

    davidfromUS

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    I've seen the "green apple' and "medicinal" flavors thrown around which have causes. I'm sure someone will respond.
     
  6. Oct 15, 2019 #6

    Gerryjo

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    The fact that an MJ kit actually got down to 1.004 would alarm me coupled with the the old kit.
    I would take a bottle and recheck the gravity to ensure it hasn't got lower as it does sound like a mild infection or could as @steveinUS suggests your water.
    Certainly a vigorous cleaning to sterilise prior to sanitisation.
     
  7. Oct 15, 2019 #7

    Drunkula

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    Green apple - acetaldehyde, there's tons out there on that which will do a much better explanation than me if you search.

    Medicinal - polyphenols. Can be chlorine/chloramines in your water which you can get rid of with a campden tablet, or having a chlorine based sanitiser that you didn't rinse or is meant to be no rinse but isn't, whic is probably more particular to me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  8. Oct 15, 2019 #8

    surferosa

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    You raise a good point! I’m certainly no “saisoned” expert (sorry), but I’ve had a few, Tank 7 and st Austell Sayzon, neither of which I would say are typical of the Saison style, but I’ve also had Saison DuPont, which I guess is more typical. My first reaction on tasting during bottling was “oh yeah, that’s the Saison taste”, but I’m not convinced now, it doesn’t taste good. I’m not sure green Apple and cloves really describe it, but I’m struggling to describe the “twang”.

    I have another brew ready for bottling today, same equipment, different kit (helles), so I’ll see if I can detect and similar tastes in that and report back.
     
  9. Oct 15, 2019 #9

    Cwrw666

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    Typical saison flavours are bananas and cloves. Every saison I've ever made had these flavours and every commmercial ones I've tasted did as well, though not as strong. It's a bit of an acquired taste!
    Plus, saison yeasts do tend to get down to a low FG - 1004 would not be strange.
     
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  10. Oct 15, 2019 #10

    Sadfield

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    You'll definitely have a clearer picture of where you're at after tasting the Helles.

    Green apple flavours are the byproduct of fermentation and should clear with time.

    As previously stated, a FG of 1.004 is to be expected of a Saison yeast.

    Cloves/medicinal flavours are from polyphenols. Unfortunately, Saison yeasts are POF+ (Phenolic Off Flavour Positive) and can produce these flavours by nature. So it's plausible that you don't have any particular issues with your water etc, but may have brewed a very phenolic beer, that lacks the refinement of a world class beer like Dupont.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  11. Oct 15, 2019 #11

    Mavroz

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    Had a "clove" taste to a brew for the first and last time which I made last winter. It was nothing to do with sanitation or chlorine in the water, it was purely that the brew had fermented at far too high a temperature. I would say in excess of 25 degrees. Also the bottles when carbing up must have reached a temperature around 25 to 30 degrees.
    These produced the off taste in the brew, which was rank, never improved with age and ultimately ended up down the drain.
    Since this, I have become very anal about temperatures, controlling the temp with a brew fridge for fermentation and controlling the carbing temperature.
    I fully believe the off taste, definitely a strong clove taste was due temps and nothing else I had done as it has never happened again since.
    In my view temperature during brewing and carbing is critical.
     
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  12. Oct 15, 2019 #12

    Alex.mc

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    All the Saisons I've brewed have improved with time. Certainly a couple had green apple hint when an early sneak bottle was opened, but that cleared in a few weeks.
    interestingly I opened a bottle of Saison last night which is about 4 months old and was using MJ's French Saison yeast. Clean as a whistle, no green apples, decent Saison taste but not overpowering, and a nice beer but not really massively complex. I'd say give them time and brew something else after a really good clean of everything.
     
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  13. Oct 15, 2019 #13

    surferosa

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    Thanks everyone, that's some great info. Perhaps it is just the Saison taste. I think it definitely needs some time. Disappoint it's not up to standard of Dupont though! ha ha

    I just bottled my Helle's, and didn't detect any "off" flavours, I used the same processes and kit. The 2 differences this time, were that -

    a) I fermented at a lower temp (the M54 yeast said between 18-20, so I got it around 19). i think the saison probably fermented somewhere closer to 23-24c, though MJ recommends 26-32 for this yeast!
    b) i dry hoped closer to the end of the brew, in a sock. which made bottling easier, and also perhaps reduced the floating hop particles i've found in a couple of bottles.

    I have a 3rd brew running now (BrewFerm Trippel), in a different FV (not from the 80s!), so fingers crossed that one turns out well. I used bottled water for that, anxious not to f*** it up.
     
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  14. Oct 17, 2019 #14

    AMyd666

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  15. Oct 18, 2019 #15

    surferosa

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    ah cool, i didn't find that thread before, there's hope yet!! should be good for around Spring then! ha ha
     
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  16. Oct 18, 2019 #16

    dad_of_jon

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    Mj saison does have a twang but i like it. Well it takes 6 weeks from the early tester bottle before I'm brave or drunk enough to try a second. Should be great for 2020 athumb..
     
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  17. Oct 20, 2019 #17

    ExpatBrewer

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    I usually brew a couple of saisons in the Summer - using the M29 yeast which I suspect is the yeast supplied with the MJ kit. They are an acquired taste and no-one else in my household really likes them!
    The 'off' flavours you describe do sound kind of saison-like to me to be honest. A few years ago I brewed one that ended up very phenolic... phenols of the 'band-aid' variety. Very medicinal and pretty much undrinkable. However... a few weeks later it had totally changed and ended up perfectly OK. A brewed another more recently, but due to lack of popularity in the household I put aside the half batch that was remaining and forgot about it. Around 8 months later... it had transformed into a very nice beer! Even the others now enjoyed drinking it. The intensity of the saison character which I think they found quite off-putting had mellowed significantly.

    Like others have suggested, I suspect a decent amount of aging will make all the difference.
     
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