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Thread: Sulphur aroma in honey wheat beer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Hyde Park, NY

    Sulphur aroma in honey wheat beer

    I recently brewed a wheat beer and it's developed a strong sulphur aroma during fermentation. This was a fairly simple malt bill, 60% Fawcett Maris Otter and 40% Wheat (some Fawcett wheat malt and some Best Malz german wheat malt)...however I am using a fair amount of honey (about 40 lbs added to the whirlpool). My yeast is my house yeast (california ale yeast) which has never produced this kind of a sulphur aroma in the past.

    The first few days of fermentation went as expected, and the beer had the pleasant soft honey aroma that I was trying to achieve. On day five I capped off the tank to capture CO2, and it was a two days later that I first noticed the sulphur aroma, which is now (day 10) unmistakable. I will say that the aroma dissipates rather quickly (say a minute or two) once a sample has been poured from the tank. At this point I've uncapped the tank to allow any CO2 and volatiles to escape.

    I know that some yeasts can naturally produce sulphur aroma compounds during primary fermentation and that the aroma will fade during maturation, and I'm certainly hoping this is the case. However I have only experienced that with lager yeasts, never with this ale yeast.

    Any thoughts out there? Could this be a result of the honey? I've never brewed with honey before. I should add that this is a 12 plato beer with about 80% apparent attenuation, outside of this sulphur aroma fermentation has been totally normal.
    Hutch Kugeman
    Head Brewer
    Brooklyn Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America
    Hyde Park, NY

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    McCall, Idaho
    Hey Hutch,
    Did you ever determine what the culprit was?
    matt g @ SRB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    it is quite common to get a sulphur buildup especially when capping tanks.
    its nothing a little more time or a couple blow-downs of the tank can't fix.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    I sure hope he did, it was 5 years ago and I believe at a different brewery than he's working now.

    You got to love old post resurrection!
    Mike Roy
    Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store
    5123 Baltimore Ave
    Hyattsville,MD 20781

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