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Unwanted "caramely" aroma and flavor.....Diacetyl or Oxidation?

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  • Unwanted "caramely" aroma and flavor.....Diacetyl or Oxidation?

    Hey folks, I had a beer (contracted for us) today and there is a sweet caramel note in there that was not noticeable a week ago in the brite tank. My mind went to diacetyl right away, although it wasn't that classic buttery flavor everyone talks about. Could it be oxidation? The beer DOES appear to be little darker than expected also.

    Here's the details in anyone has interest:

    DIPA, Vermont IPA yeast, grains are 40% Golden Promise, 59% briess 2-row, and 1% honey malt.

    Can honey malt do this to a beer?? I've used it many times in our brewery in big NEIPA's at 2%, and never noticed this kind of caramel flavor.

    Any thoughts are much appreciated!

  • #2
    I'd have a very tough time believing that 1% honey malt would lend that type of flavor. Typically I see that type of caramel note develop from thermal stress...If too much heat is applied during the boil, it will often lend the flavor you're describing. ASBC has a method of analysis for it but I can't say I've ever tested it personally. I would attempt to get some brewing notes from them and see what you can figure out - for example, evaporation rate (pre and post boil volumes) can tell you a lot.