All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

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All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby MrBoy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 14:52

I've noticed this on the 3 lager kits (using ale yeast) I've done. On the Corona-style one it was fine, but on the Pilsner less so. It's not unpleasant just not what I'm expecting.

I run a temperature controlled brew-fridge normally at 20C but on the last one I reduced it to 19C because I know this sort of thing can be esters from over-cooking the yeast... same thing. It's an ale yeast and the kit says 20C. The various thermometer strips on my FVs and so on all agree with each other and the fridge temperature readout so I'm pretty sure it is not miscalibration (and the probe is insulated to the FV not floating in the air).

Could it just be a limitation of these kind of kits? Should I run them even colder like 16C for several weeks against the instructions?
The only other thought I had was whether my initial temperature when pitching the yeast might be too high - but would high temperature just for the first hour or so before the yeast has really even gotten started cause this?
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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby robwalker » Thu Dec 07, 2017 14:56

You doing the 1 cans? Anything with a kilo of sugar will throw out acetyldehyde like nobodies business. Fortunately it'll dissipate over a few weeks. Try to aerate as you pitch, feed the yeast with a teaspoon of marmite or nutrient. It may just be you're confusing fruity esters from the ale yeast, but with such an accurate descriptor I'd say it's sugar or stressed yeast.
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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby jkp » Thu Dec 07, 2017 15:11

Ethyl Hexanoate is another apple like ester. Some strains of yeast produce more than others, but usually high fermentation temperature leads to increased levels.

Are you sticking to the yeast that comes with the kit? If so, try another yeast. Nottingham or US-05 fermented cool would work ok in a fake lager.

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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby MrBoy » Mon Dec 11, 2017 00:40

I think I've had the same with a cheap kit... Fine... And with a deluxe 2 can kit which I expected more from.

I don't recall it with ales... Maybe I should just buy cheap lager and make nice ales!

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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby john luc » Mon Dec 11, 2017 13:16

Don't skimp on the yeast especially lager yeast. I note you are using ale yeast but add 2 packets instead of one or else make a starter and grow a larger amount of yeast. Also cut back on plain sugar and replace with some more malt extract.
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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby MrBoy » Sat Mar 17, 2018 19:55

john luc wrote:Don't skimp on the yeast especially lager yeast. I note you are using ale yeast but add 2 packets instead of one or else make a starter and grow a larger amount of yeast. Also cut back on plain sugar and replace with some more malt extract.
This sounds like general kit advice rather than lager specific? I've done something like 30 beer kits and it's only (ALL) the lager kits which have this issue. I've done 1 can ale kits without any odd flavours, but even my expensive 2-can pilsner kit which did.
I've got a lager kit I did offer a year ago and the apple taste is still there.

I don't want to go the proper lager route, I think, and I like lagers with a bit more flavour.
Maybe the taste is just hidden in ale kits but I think I'd spot it.

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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby robwalker » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:58

Out of interest how long are you leaving between ferment and bottle/keg? It won't clean up at low temps and it can take a long time to get the result you want with lager. Less places to hide..
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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby Cheebs » Sun Mar 18, 2018 14:41

Maybe something in your process is causing it but the ales hide the flavour.

15. Acetaldehyde
Acetaldehyde Off-Flavor
Perceived As:
Bruised apples, green apples, squash-like, latex paint, rough, jolly rancher Often sweet apple esters and sourness is mistaken for this off-flavor.

Approx. Flavor Threshold:
5-15 mg/l

Importance:
It is present in all beers at some level. It is part of the flavor profile of certain styles, such as American lagers and Biere de Garde.

Effect of Aging:
Generally will increase with age; though this study showed a decrease under certain conditions.

Caused By:
It is produced by yeast during fermentation as a precursor to ethanol. Can also be caused by oxidation, where too much O2 exists in packaged beer, it can change ethanols back to acetaldehyde.

How To Avoid/Control:
Pitch enough healthy yeast. Use proper fermentation temperature.
Avoid aeration after fermentation has begun.
With lagers, allow fermentation to finish at a slightly higher temperature.
Condition at a slightly warmer temperature.
Minimize O2 introduction during bottling.
Use a diacetyl rest.
Wait a couple days after fermentation is complete before racking off of yeast.
Use sound sanitation practices.
How To Practice:
Green apple extract or flavoring will give your senses a little practice in spotting this off-flavor. It is available at most grocery stores, or here on Amazon. Add it in small measured amounts to the basic practice setup.

Commercial Example: Budweiser contains low levels of acetaldyhde as part of its flavor profile.


From here
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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby Saccharomyces » Sun Mar 18, 2018 17:54

In the original post you said:

The only other thought I had was whether my initial temperature when pitching the yeast might be too high - but would high temperature just for the first hour or so before the yeast has really even gotten started cause this?


It depends on how warm you pitched the yeast. If you accidentally killed some of the yeast, or shocked them, then yeah, expect a weaker than anticipated fermentation and potentially acetaldehyde.

If the wort temp at pitching was only 22-23C then I would neither expect a lot of funny flavours or yeast dying from temperature shock. If it stayed at that temp for several hours the beer might be fruity but not necessarily apple-flavoured. In that case, apple flavours could be from oxidation of the beer post-fermentation.

The sample size (2/3 lager kits) is too small to draw a firm conclusion - acetaldehyde being a problem unique to lager kits.
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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby Hardboil » Tue Mar 20, 2018 14:19

I would agree with JPK, I have come across an issue with low hop content beer or larger that had high fermentation temperature production these fruity (Ethyl Acetae) flavours. Not too much of an issue with an IPA as the heavy hop bill will steamroller over those flavours.

Do you know what temperate your fermentation averaged out at?

Keeping it to around >18' should help if this is the issue. I know that can be a challenge without a repurposed fridge and some automation.

The contribution of Ethyl Acetae is rated 10' to 25' C Temp to 12. to 21.5 mg/L as you can see reducing the fermentation temp will reduce the amount of Ethyl Acetae in your product.
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Re: All my lager kits come out with an apple flavour

Postby jonnymorris » Sun May 06, 2018 10:55

robwalker wrote:...feed the yeast with a teaspoon of marmite...

Do what now? Is this a thing?
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