Beer in my secondary fermenter tastes a little like liquorice. Why could this be?

  • 3
    I think we will need more information, what kind of beer did you brew, maybe a recipe, and any observations you made while it fermented.
    – jsolarski
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 11:11
  • Have yet to try a second fermenter, but I often think commercial bottled stouts and porters have a liquorice taste that their draft equivalent doesn't have (eg. Theakston's Old Peculier, and bottled non-gadget Guinness)
    – winwaed
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


I agree that some more information is needed to see if this licorice flavor is actually to be expected in your beer style you brewed, but to offer an initial response to what the possible cause was, phenols from yeast production could cause anise (licorice) flavors. These can be produced when fermentation temperatures have gotten a little warmer than they should be. Reducing fermentation temps with a temperature controlled ferm chamber or a swamp cooler could help you keep off-flavors from yeast down.

Source: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/esters-and-phenols-in-beer/

  • 1
    Actually, wouldn't licorice be a phenol, not an ester?
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 15:41
  • Yes, I definitely mixed them up! Edited my answer to say phenols rather than esters and linked to a better article about the two and how they are different.
    – Shastings
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 19:12

Yes, would need to know the recipe. But Star Anise will add a liquorice taste.

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