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Me and my dad have made a beer about 3 months ago. The beer was made with:

  • oats
  • pale malt
  • flaked barley
  • tap water (United Kingdom - South West - Guildford )
  • cascade hops 1/2
  • goldings hops 1/2

and we followed an export recipe roughly.

The outcome at this current time is a wonderful beery aroma with a slight citrus to it. The initial taste is good too, it has a good bitterness and a citrus note just trying its hardest to come through but it never quite gets there... all is quite pleasant until the finishing taste, it's its downfall...

When running it over the tongue its extremely bitter, very hay like and very very slight rubbery taste. There is also a very subtle starch haze.

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From your experience, what might be introducing this unpleasant after taste? Is it just a matter of giving it some more time?

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Would you consider the aftertaste to be astringent (sucking a used tea bag)? In that case I would guess that you over-sparged. It might also be from an infection.

Rubber is usually from chlorine in the water or from washing/sanitizing products that were not properly rinsed (or not diluted to recommended ratios). But, it can also be from an infection.

My guess: buy a cheap carbon filter for your tap water, investigate your sparging step and revisit your washing/sanitizing regime.

Good luck

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    You can remove chlorine and chloramine by adding potassium metabisulfite to the brewing water. I use Camden tablets at the rate of 1 tablet per 10 gallons. That might help with the burnt rubber taste. – FishesCycle Jun 3 '15 at 13:27
  • Thank you very much! We'll pay close attention to the next batch! I will have to crack open another bottle and see if it's like a tea bag as you said... What a shame, may I might need to try more than 1 beer to analyse it.. :) – Jimmyt1988 Jun 4 '15 at 10:48
  • Drink until you find the fault! :) – Atron Seige Jun 4 '15 at 10:52
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I've had two batches in the last year that have had some similar characteristics to what you describe. The beers looked, smelled, and tasted great until the very end, as I swallowed. I described the flavor as "earthy," "dirty," or "dusty." People perceive and describe flavors differently, and I wonder if what I tasted isn't what you describe as "extremely bitter" and "hay like."

After a whole lot of research, I finally came across this excellent reference, which links dusty off flavors to mold (see the Musty entry). I wracked my brain trying to figure out how I could have gotten mold in my beer, coming up empty for a long time.

Then, one fine brew day after my second encounter with this off flavor, I decided to take extra precaution when preparing my Better Bottle to receive the wort. I did a visual inspection before my normal application of sanitizer. I had to look very, very closely, but there it was. A tiny little spot of white mold, about the size of a pea. Being white, it did not stand out and was not easy to see even when I was looking for it.

It is recommended to lay a Better Bottle on its side after washing it because supposedly it will dry faster that way. I did that, and the mold grew in the spot where the little remaining water pooled. After I found the mold, I inserted a wash cloth and gave it a good washing just prior to sanitizing and adding the wort. The beer that fermented in it tastes fine.

So what I'm suggesting, in my very roundabout way, is to check your fermenter(s) very closely for mold before you put your beer in there. Even a tiny bit can have a huge impact.

As for me, washing and then sanitizing my fermenter is part of my brew day routine now. I still haven't figured out how to dry a Better Bottle more quickly to avoid the issue altogether.

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