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I've had an ongoing problem for the last several months that never used to happen: My brew smells pretty normal during fermentation, except midway through, it changes from the normal US-05 yeast smell to a "canned meat" smell, which is reminiscent of barley in soup. It is only there briefly, and by the time I bottle, it's totally gone.

After bottling, and letting the beer carbonate, when I open a bottle, and then pour into a glass, that same smell is back again, and it won't go away. The flavor seems decent, but if I belch, I can taste the "smell". On rare occasions, it dissipates totally after 8-10 weeks.

I've never had this problem before, and it even happened with DME. I mainly brew All Grain.

I'm not so sure it's an infection, since it always gets better, but it doesn't always clear up, completely. The taste really isn't affected that much, either.

What is going on? I've scoured the internet, but to no avail. Palmer's book doesn't give any clues.

I use plastic fermenters, so should I just replace them? They are in good shape. The smell just ruins the beer. I'm about ready to quit brewing!

It seems like I used a glass fermenter once or twice, and still had this problem. Is it possbile US-05 isn't what it used to be? As far as I know, I'm practicing good sanitation.

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4 Answers 4

The only meaty smells I've heard of are a result of autolysis, but you'd have to be leaving your beers in the primary for a very long time for that to happen.

I use US-05 for about 75% of my beers, and haven't had issues, so I'm guessing the problem isn't there.

Things I would look at: what kinds of cleaner and sanitizer are you using? What's your sanitation routine? Have you replaced your vinyl hoses lately?

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I'd recommend to replace ALL the vinyl and plastic materials. Sounds like he's got a bug in his system somewhere. It could be in the bottling bucket as well as the fermentor, so it all needs to go. –  Graham Dec 15 '11 at 13:50
    
I haven't ever replaced my vinyl hoses. I use Starsan to sanitize them, clean them with hot water immediately before and after use. I dump my wort into the fermenter, so no plastic comes into contact until it hits the fermenter. I'm going to soak my fermenters in a strong bleach solution for a few days, then rinse thoroughly. I will also buy new tubing. Any other thoughts? –  Zane Dec 16 '11 at 0:00
    
Buckets? Is it possible that the plastic absorbed a bad flavor at one point and it's still kicking around? Maybe for your next brew or two borrow/buy a new bucket and see if it fixes your problem. –  JoeFish Dec 16 '11 at 1:16
    
Could hops cause this problem? –  Zane Dec 24 '11 at 19:52
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Could be DMS (dimehtyl sulfide), though it's usually describe as smelling like cooked corn or seafood, not cook meat.

You can avoid DMS by boiling hard, and cooling quickly. In particular you want to get the wort below 140 F. as quickly as possible. DMS is being creating above this temperature. During the boil, it is driven off as quickly as its created, but not while chilling.

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The first thing I suspected was DMS, but I've since ruled it out. The funny thing is the beer didn't smell bad or taste strange at all at bottling time. My best guess after talking to more people is I most likely had some infected tubing. I had never replaced it, only cleaned and sanitized. Maybe not enough, I guess. –  Zane Dec 31 '11 at 4:49
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Based on your closed question of your brewing practices, I'd say you should:

  1. Boil hard for at least 60 minutes
  2. Chill more quickly and for sure don't wait until the next day to pitch

I doubt it's the bucket or tubes leaching plastic flavors, especially if at times it's detectable, and other times not. It sounds like your practices with tubes should be sufficient to keep anything from growing in them, but they are cheap...throw 'em out and get new. And hang 'em straight (not coiled), and where UV can hit 'em.

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Did you change anything in your yeast handling procedures? Did you re-hydrate? Or did you skip it? Was the yeast old? Did you get it shipped in extreme weather? Did you buy the yeast from a new source? Typically the literature suggests beefy taste / smell is a yeast autolysis problem.

For example if you left your pack of US-05 out warm, many of the cells may have died and that autolysis flavor could be transfered into your beer. Or maybe it froze and the cells died. Or maybe the pack was very old.

Do you know any certified BJCP judges? If so have one give you their opinion, if not find a brew club and hope to find a judge.

Whatever you do don't quit brewing because you had one bad batch. Do you always give up at things that easy?? Stick with it!!

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