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  • Ed Godek

The Weird Beer

It started as a 60 schilling scottish ale extract batch I made for Halloween.  I let the roasted malt grains steep a long time at room temperature.  It turned out too dark for a scottish ale, so I started calling it a Scottish Stout Porter.  I let it condition in secondary fermentation for nearly 1 month.  I then kegged it last Sunday, chilled and carbonated it on Tuesday.  When I tasted it on Wednesday, I was shocked, appalled and disappointed.  I got the dreaded "Band-Aid" taste.  Plastic even.  The smell, the aftertase...YUCK.  Phenolic compounds that are akin to Anbesol are the culprit.  Could be chlorine?...NO, I don't use bleach for sanitizing.  Yeast?  Maybe, but it wasa very common yeast that I have used before.  COuld have been a bacterial infection....Maybe, I kept the secondary fermentor outside in the garage with a contractor bac over it.  I found that the waer lock was knocked off, probably by one of the kids.  Anyway, it won't kill anyone, it just imparts the off flavors.  I added a little vanilla extract to mask luck.  The next day, I had a consult with AikiBrewer at work, and, both being Chemical Engineers, decided that a little CO2 stripping might be the way.  I called up Kristi, asked her to pull th eplug on the fridge and increase the CO2 pressure.  When I got home, I bled off the CO2 and added more CO2, purged again, to be sprayed with some beer.  The strange thing about CO2 is that it becomes less soluble in aqueous media as the temperature rises.  CO2 can also "strip" volatile compunds, like flavors. Therefore, by pressurizing and warming, I used the CO2 to "collect" the bad flavors as the gas comes out of solution at the higher temps, and then they are removed when I bleed off the keg...repeat a few times, and hopefully the flavors are gone.  I added a LOT of cheap, imitation vanilla for good measure, chilled and carbonated.  We tasted it tonight, and it was actually VERY GOOD....The vanilla masked any remaining flavors.  I am drinking some right now...It is definitely servable for Halloween......I am calling it a vanilla stout...full bodied, a little sweet, and very vanilla.  Anyone in Croton tomorrow night?  COme Trick or Treating and you can judge this beer for yourself!

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