TCP Off-Flavours

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Binkei Huckaback

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So how do you sterilize now?
Nothing will be sterile unless it the container and anything going in it is sterile. The best you can hope for is to sanitise. Bleach is apparently the most effective sanitiser, but must be used at the correct concentration (I don't know what that is). A no-rinse sanitiser is best. It's not as cheap as, say, VWP or Brewclenz, but when you take into account it only takes around a minute to sanitise, you can spray it and you don't have to waste time and water rinsing, it's worth it.
 
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With the help of someone at my local club, we figured out that my brew had TCP flavors. I both had a long wait for the yeast to start their thing (~3 days with a yeast near BB date) and I am pretty sure I had used VWP (incidentally the only time I have deviated from using Sodium Percarbonate). Either way, planning on ditching the VWP and will be more careful with liquid yeast.
 

Agentgonzo

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With the help of someone at my local club, we figured out that my brew had TCP flavors. I both had a long wait for the yeast to start their thing (~3 days with a yeast near BB date) and I am pretty sure I had used VWP (incidentally the only time I have deviated from using Sodium Percarbonate). Either way, planning on ditching the VWP and will be more careful with liquid yeast.
VWP is a chlorine-based cleaner. The way it works is that when dissolved in warm water, the compounds in the VWP release chlorine and the chlorine kills off the nasties.

However, Chlorine reacts the the phenols in the beer/wort to produce (you can see where the naming of this is going) tri-chloro-phenol... or TCP.

In short, VWP works very well. but you need to fully rinse it. I used it effectively for about 15 years before switching to starsan. You need to make sure you rinse it well. My regine was to drain in as much as I could, then rinse all insides thoroughly. Repeat three times. Then also try to 'swoosh' the air (chlorine) out by waving/blowing it.
 

An Ankoù

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VWP is a chlorine-based cleaner. The way it works is that when dissolved in warm water, the compounds in the VWP release chlorine and the chlorine kills off the nasties.

However, Chlorine reacts the the phenols in the beer/wort to produce (you can see where the naming of this is going) tri-chloro-phenol... or TCP.

In short, VWP works very well. but you need to fully rinse it. I used it effectively for about 15 years before switching to starsan. You need to make sure you rinse it well. My regine was to drain in as much as I could, then rinse all insides thoroughly. Repeat three times. Then also try to 'swoosh' the air (chlorine) out by waving/blowing it.
Chlorine-based cleaners are excellent, whether they be a glug or two of bleach in a half-gallon of water or some proprietary chlorine cleaner and steriliser. Avoid perfumed bleach and avoid leaving bleach in contact with stainless steel.
All traces of chlorine can be eliminated by rinsing your gear with a solution of sodium or potassium metabisulphite, which is also a sanitising agent. It only need a single rinse, not loads, then swoosh out the MBS with a swirl of clean water. A bit of residual SO2 won't do any harm.
I've never used a no-rinse regime and never will. If I want chemicals in my beer I'll buy a can of something off the shelf.
 

labrewski

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Hi all,

As per the thread title, this has now occurred with 2 separate all grain brews (though an intervening brew was top notch). I think I've worked out what the issue with both was, but keen to hear thoughts and general discussion around this issue, and perhaps how to control/prevent this from happening in future.

The first was a Marzen/Oktoberfest lager. I only had 1 Wyeast Munich Lager smackpack (and on reflection should have made a starter). However the Wyeast website reassured me by suggesting starting fermentation at a warmer temp (18-22c ish) before lowering to normal lager fermentation temps.

I pitched the yeast at around 13c, but then naturally warmed at room temp to 18c ish to get the yeast active. This took 3 days before activity, the beer met it's FG fine in a temp controlled fridge, but resulted in a very strong TCP off-flavour/aroma. 12 bottles saved for reference, otherwise it was binned.


The second brew was an English Bitter. The wort went into the stainless steel fermenter at 25c but rapidly cooled to 12c due to the winter temps! I had to wait 3 days in a temp controlled fridge to get it to yeast (S-04) pitching temp of around 18-19c. Fermentation was perfect and FG was met after a week or so. However the TCP flavour has returned.


In both brews 1/2 a crushed campden tab was used in the water. I clean (then thoroughly rinse) with ChemiPro Wash and sanitise with StarSan no rinse. So I don't think it's a chlorine related issue.

My conclusion is that despite the stainless FV being cleaned, sanitised and sealed, in the 3 days waiting for the wort to "warm up" somehow an infection manifested and created some crazy esters in the wort. I'm pretty fastidious with cleaning/sanisiting, so perhaps it could be something else causing the off-flavours?

In future I'll transfer the wort to the FV at a higher temp and allow the stainless to cool it to pitching temp. Then pitch as soon as possible to get yeast activation started.

Interested to hear anyone else's thoughts or experiences with this and any tips or pointers to help in the future.

Thanks!
I had the same in a couple of brews it stopped when I stopped using bleach In my cleaning routine
 

80/-

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I had a persistent TCP style off flavour in a succession of 3 brews once.

After lots of head scratching, elimination of potential chlorine sources and further head scratching, I traced it to an infection from a ball valve on the fv that I hadn't been cleaning properly.

If it were to happen to me again, I'd start by stripping and cleaning everything, then reviewing my cleaning and sanitising process, then improving pitching rates.

Cheers!
 

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