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Thread: Plastic/band aid flavor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    10

    Plastic/band aid flavor

    Hello!
    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 canít 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 Iíve ruled out chlorophenols from chlorine. My other thought is that Iím not cleaning the heat exchanger well enough, which would explain every fermenter being infected but itís just weird cus Iíve 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. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Calmar Iowa U.S.A.
    Posts
    117
    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. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Minocqua WI
    Posts
    853
    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
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Boca Raton Fl
    Posts
    13
    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
    Cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    840
    What yeast are you using?

    Pax.

    Liam
    Liam McKenna
    www.yellowbellybrewery.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    10
    Thank you all! Iím 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. Iím betting on wild yeast in the heat exchanger and/or pump but re-evaluating all my procedures is in order cus we canít afford to dump any more beer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    2,079

    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--

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