3

I have been brewing for 6 years and have developed some great recipes that have been well received at competitions. My equipment used to be an all-grain setup using a standard 10 gal kettle and 10 gal cooler mash tun. Fermentation has always been in buckets in a temp controlled chamber.

However I recently "upgraded" to a 3-keggle setup using all stainless fittings and connections so as to brew larger volumes. Ever since that time, my beer has been lifeless. Even recipes that I have been brewing for a long time seem to lack that usual punch and drinkability. No pop and all fizz. :(

I believe my system is "dialed in" using Beersmith and I am hitting volumes and gravities as I should. I am just not getting the same flavors that I am used to.

Any help?

  • I wouldn't have thought a simple change in equipment could cause such a change. Can you try to describe in more detail what the flavour issues are? Can you also elaborate on precisely what the equipment change was? And have a think and see whether your equipment change brought about any process changes that you might not have noticed. – Frazbro Apr 8 '19 at 22:44
  • 2
    Maybe try brewing a smaller batch using a known good recipe and see if you have the same issue. – jmpreiks Apr 9 '19 at 12:23
  • To confirm your new setup, one keg for mashing (or sparging?), one for boiling and one for fermentation, is that it? – Philippe Apr 10 '19 at 14:42
  • One for HLT, One for Mashing, and One for boiling. I also ferment in Stainless steel though, not kegs. – RAReed Apr 16 '19 at 13:17
  • You're using the same brewing water right? You didn't change to trying water chemistry adjustments at the same time? Also are you hopping the same way? Meaning bagged hops, hop spider or right in the kettle. I don't care which process, lets just be sure that you haven't changed the way you present the hops to the wort. Is your boil as aggressive as before? That's hard to measure but if you had rolling boils before and now you're at a gentle boil that could be an issue. – brewchez Apr 16 '19 at 13:54
2

It's a little hard to diagnose this at a distance, but one thought I'm having is that your new setup may contain metals of a different alloy which in turn could affect your fermentation. It is a well-known phenomenon, for example, that having brass parts somewhere in the mix is beneficial to fermentation, since traces of the zinc leached from the brass end up in the wort and make your yeast very happy. Then there's the effect that some alloys may have on the pH of the wort which in turn affects hop utilization and Maillard reactions during the boil as well as the mineral composition of the wort during the boil.

I know, it's a long shot, but weirder things have happened. If you're hitting your volumes and gravities this doesn't seem likely, nor does your extraction efficiency seem affected.

One other possible factor is the thermal properties of your new setup. Stainless steel is not the greatest heat conductor. A thick walled stainless steel vessel on a gas burner may have a single "hot spot" at the bottom which means that the actual boil only takes place in the center of the kettle, i.e. a major portion of your wort is not involved in the boil. Circulation in the kettle should ensure this won't be much of a problem, but you never know.

I may be way off here, of course. :)

| improve this answer | |
  • I suppose that is reasonable too. My previous kettle was aluminum and the cooler mash tun had copper and brass fittings. – RAReed Apr 10 '19 at 14:52
  • Are you adding zinc to your yeast starter? If so, it would likely offset what little would leech from the brass. – uSlackr May 1 '19 at 21:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.