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Plastic/band aid flavor

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  • Plastic/band aid flavor

    We are a new brewery and have been putting out some awesome beers(so we are told). We now have five fermenters(our capacity) filled with beer that tastes like plastic. I can’t taste it in any of them but my wife tastes it in every one regardless of style. We use reverse osmosis and build the mineral profile to suit the beer style so I’ve ruled out chlorophenols from chlorine. My other thought is that I’m not cleaning the heat exchanger well enough, which would explain every fermenter being infected but it’s just weird cus I’ve never made a plastic tasting beer in my whole homebrew career. Has anyone experienced anything similar and found out what it was? Thank you very much for any and all help

  • #2
    Heat exchangers are a likely source of chemical contamination if not properly rinsed, but it's hard to say without knowing your sops and what chemicals you use. You may also want to check and make sure your water filtration system is working properly. If it is not, it may be that you didn't actually remove chlorine.


    • #3
      It would be worthwhile to send samples out and see exactly what's in there. There are several labs that can do this for you quickly and relatively economically.
      Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
      "Your results may vary"


      • #4
        Medicine/bandaid flavors are almost always phenolic compounds like guaiacol.
        (For a taste reference, well made weizen beers have a major flavor phenolic component due to 4-Vinyl guaiacol produced by the wheat beer yeast strains)

        When breweries make 'unintentionally' phenolic beers I find it is usually due to 'wild' yeast contamination.
        Many environmentally derived yeasts produce phenolic off-flavors including Bretanomyces

        It is very likely you have a cleaning/sanitation failure.
        The heat exchanger is the first place to look. Pull a sample of wort at the HX outlet into a sterile container and hold it somewhere warm for 3 days. If it goes cloudy and smell bad, there's your trouble!

        If your wort sample is stable the problem is that somewhere in you system is not being cleaned well enough
        Could be tanks, hoses, pumps, your yeast if you are re-pitching

        If you post your sanitation processes maybe we can provide more help


        • #5
          What yeast are you using?


          Liam McKenna


          • #6
            Thank you all! I’m using plain ol us-05 and s-23 for lagers. I had a thought that maybe there was a temperature stratification going on from double batching into tall fermenters, pitching would then be hotter than what the temp probe was saying near the bottom. I’m betting on wild yeast in the heat exchanger and/or pump but re-evaluating all my procedures is in order cus we can’t afford to dump any more beer


            • #7
              Highly doubt stratification.....

              Double batching into tall fermenters is very common. You will not get any stratification with a normal system.

              1) You're likely knocking out batch #2 warmer than batch #1. Warm wort will rise (especially if it is pumped quickly into the center of the bottom of the cone) and the cooler batch on top will fall. Mixing ensues. 2) Aeration will likely pull wort with it to the top of the fermenter. Mixing ensues. 3) Cooling jackets will kick in and push the periphery of the fermenter down, center of the fermenter will rise up. Mixing ensues. 4) Fermentation will set in quickly and mixing ensues.

              Many folks do this with no stratification at all. And it would not manifest itself as this flavor defect, I don't think. Wouldn't worry about it.
              Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--