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Garden Hose Flavor (but no garden hose)

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  • Garden Hose Flavor (but no garden hose)

    So I found an older thread regarding this specific off-flavor, but that seemed to not be QUITE the same circumstances as what I find myself in right now.

    I've got a hefeweizen in the fermenter and it has a very distinct chemically garden hose flavor going on IN the fermenter. I haven't had this issue with any other batches, not even past hefes. 7bbl tanks w/ 6bbl batches going in. No water treating, minus phosphoric acid for pH control. The water has never given off chlorine characteristics in the past. Cleaning procedure is the same as it's always been, using acid based CIP and a paracetic acid sanitizer. That sanitation method hasn't given any issues before.

    My first thought is that it may be some sort of wild yeast infection, due to a couple things. The yeast (Weihenstephan strain) was delayed in getting here on time, so the wort sat in a closed off fermenter at 60F for 2 days prior to pitching. Also, it continued fermenting well past its expected FG range and is still going (it's at 1.009 at the time of me posting this, FG rarely gets below 1.012 for this beer). I've had to let wort sit for a couple days in the past due to similar delays, but nothing happened then. Maybe I just didn't luck out this time?

    The only other thing I can think of is that it got up to 73F accidentally in primary, and I know hefe strains can be extra phenolic at higher temps, but that's still within the yeast lab's temp range for this particular strain, for whatever that's worth.

    Regardless of cause, it may need dumping because as far as I'm aware, this off-flavor does nothing but get worse once it's there.

    Am I wrong in thinking there's no way to salvage this?

  • #2
    Could very well be a wild yeast contamination, it's not a good sign that your attenuation is greater than normal (and still going). Letting wort sit around prior to pitching the yeast really increases the risk of contamination. Do you do any wild yeast or bacteria QC? Fermenting up to 73'F is likely not the problem. You might want to consider using dry yeast, which is stable in the fridge so you can keep a large enough stock to avoid waiting for a liquid propagation. Even if you don't use dry yeast for every brew, it is useful to have a few bricks on hand in case the liquid yeast doesn't arrive in time.
    Lallemand is a global leader in the development, production and marketing of yeast, bacteria and specialty ingredients.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Lallemand Eric View Post
      Do you do any wild yeast or bacteria QC? Fermenting up to 73'F is likely not the problem. You might want to consider using dry yeast, which is stable in the fridge so you can keep a large enough stock to avoid waiting for a liquid propagation. Even if you don't use dry yeast for every brew, it is useful to have a few bricks on hand in case the liquid yeast doesn't arrive in time.
      No wild yeast or bacteria enters our brewery (at least not intentionally).

      I have a bunch of US-05 I honestly should have just used. Make it an American style wheat instead of a hefe, but having a totally different style frankly beats a rubbery, phenolic mess. Oh well, lesson learned.

      Does this seem like a flavor that could be masked with fruit or other flavoring additions, possibly? It's not over-the-top rubbery, but it is definitely noticeable.

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      • #4
        Hi Jeff, of course nobody tries to introduce any wild yeast or bacteria, but it will inevitably be present at low levels in any brewery. Malt is covered in wild yeast and bacteria, hops also contain some (they are anti-microbial, but they are not sterile), and you will even carry some on your body. Usually these are present in low enough quantities to not cause problems, but give them enough time without competition from brewing yeast and they could multiply to levels where they cause off flavors.

        Not sure about covering up the flavor... best bet would be to take some samples, add fruit or flavorings and do your own taste test.
        Lallemand is a global leader in the development, production and marketing of yeast, bacteria and specialty ingredients.

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        • #5
          OOphf.... sorry to hear this happened. This is something that isn't cover-up-able, in my experience. I echo the sentiments that the 73 degree fermentation should not be an issue. I use the Weihenstephaner strain as well, and actually the yeast gets less phenolic and more fruity/bubblegummy the warmer it ferments, so if anything, it should have lessened the flavors you are getting.

          I am always so careful to get my yeast in the day before I brew. On the handful of occasions that I've risked it, it is always about a 50/50 chance of the shipment getting delayed. In those cases, I've found it best to crash the wort in the tank - but then again, I brew twice to fill my fermenters, so I can use the second day to warm the wort and double my pitch rate.

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