Sunday, August 17, 2008

Good News for People Who Like Bad News

Tragedy has befallen The Black Cat Brewery. No no, Oscar the brewery cat is fine, but an alteration to my brewing technique, in an attempt to optimise the brew day, has ruined two batches of beer. I should have known better because hot wort really doesn't like to be aerated. I was all too aware of this but thought I was gentle enough with the swifter transfer of the wort in order to speed up the run off from the mash tun. The upshot is 50 litres of beer with a particularly unpleasant flavour, that my beer suffered from in earlier years, but I managed to eradicate. It is a peculiar flavour that I can't stomach, but other home brew chums of mine seem to be unable to taste it. The only positive I can take from it is the identification of the source of an off flavour, and it is always nice to figure out where particular flavours, good or bad, come from.


Boak said...

What does it taste like, if you can describe?

We're having the occasional problem with some of our batches, where we have an off-flavour that tastes a bit like marmite. I've had it in a lot of commercially-available microbrewed British beer too - so perhaps it doesn't taste weird to other people?

Anyway, we're trying to work out what causes it.

Thom said...

I can't really describe it, and have always had trouble doing so to other brewers. I have tasted it once or twice from commercial beer, and can only pin it down to oxidation of some sort.

The classic oxidation taint is a cardboard flavour caused by the production of trans-2-nonenal from lipids, but I'm not sure this is the same thing.

I can easily enough avoid it by going back to my previous method and not splash the wort about.

Marmite is made from yeast extract so perhaps this flavour isn't too strange a thing to find in some beer.

Boak said...

Well, indeed -- might try making my own marmite one day...

I find that there are good marmite flavours and bad. I often get hints of it in dark beers which can work well with roasty-smokiness. But you can have too much of it.

Given that marmite is yeast extract plus salt, could it be that there's salt (or similar minerals) coming through? Time for that water analysis...

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