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So my American IPA has too much yeast flavor and I am not sure how to remedy this. I want a a crisp clean hoppy aromatic finish and the yeast and malt are all I really taste. My first thoughts were that I have been leaving it in the primary too long? I am assuming that the longer its sits in the primary or secondary with the yeast and other sediments, the more "yeast flavor" will be imparted to the beer? Is this accurate? Also, my fermentation temps were a little on the high side... Anyways, here's the stats:

  • 5 gal American IPA
  • all grain
  • American Ale Yeast
  • primary fermentation, in 7 gal. SS primary, 7 days at ~75 degrees (it was hot out!) 1.020 Gravity at the end of primary
  • 2nd stage fermentation in 5 gal. glass carboy, 14 days, temp averaging around 71 degrees Final Gravity of 1.014 I did a good job of hardly sucking up any sediment when transferring to secondary fermentation and I separated again before bottling. I think I am really good about sensitization.

So where am I going wrong? Is it the yeast type? Was it too warm during fermentation? Did I leave it too long in the primary or secondary or perhaps not long enough?

Please advise....

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I think your fermentation time (7 days primary, 14 days secondary) is a good enough timeline. When you say "American Ale Yeast", do you mean dry yeast safale-05 (the red packet)?

My guess is the issue is high fermentation temperatures and/or yeast health. I know it's difficult to keep temps in check if the carboy is just in a closet or something. If you don't have some kind of cooled fermentation chamber, there are some tricks you can use to drop the temp a few degrees.

Be aware your beer will generate quite some heat while fermenting, 75F ambient may actually mean your beer is easily hitting 80F during a vigorous fermentation. If my assumption you are using Safale05 is correct- I can say that in my experience this yeast gets quite estery ("yeasty") during fermentations over 72F.

Moving on, 1.020 after 7 days primary is a bit high for an all-grain batch, especially if it has been fermenting at higher temps, which leads me to believe your yeast might be struggling. Add some nutrient at the end of the boil- or better yet- switch to a liquid yeast. I know the cost is greater, but you can cultivate the yeast if you want to reduce costs. There are some modern yeasts that allegedly are ester neutral at higher temperatures.

How long has the beer been bottled? If it's still young- it might just be a bit green and need more time. If so, let it age another week and old condition for a few days in the fridge before you crack 'em open. A little conditioning will do wonders for improving beer flavor.

Finally, if you really want that hoppy aroma to pop- try to dry hop 4-7 days in secondary with 2+ ounces. I'm not sure if you already did this though.

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  • All great feedback Rob, thanks so much. I have been struggling to find any direct information in my books to cover this issues specifically. I do not have the yeast packet any more, but it was a dry yeast and a red or reddish packet. I did have my primary in a bucket of water to start, but it was leaking, so I removed it. Good to know about the primary fermentation temp, I knew it was to high, but was not totally clear on the impact. Is the logic correct that if it sits too long in primary or secondary, that it will get more estery flavor, or is it more the temp? Aug 19 '20 at 20:42
  • Also, love to hear some tricks for keeping the primary and secondary cool. I have things to heat in the winter, but nothing to cool in the summer. I will get myself a "leak-free" bucket next time so that I can at least sit it in water.... but any other tips would be great. Aug 19 '20 at 20:43
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    It's more about the temperature. You can leave a beer in primary or secondary both for quite some time without getting esters from it, but if it's done hot you will get some. The flavor isn't beer-dumping bad, but makes a beer have a very... homebrew flavor.
    – rob
    Aug 20 '20 at 0:47
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    For temp control, best thing is to get a cheap fridge on craigslist, and get a cheap temperature control unit so you can ferment ~65. If you have not the space/resources for that, you can make a sort-of swamp cooler, although I find that to be a bit of a pain- it can actually do pretty good to drop a couple of degrees and you probably have things on hand to jury rig one. I've also heard of some modern yeasts that ferment extremely ester neutral at really high temperatures, however I've not used them.
    – rob
    Aug 20 '20 at 0:49
  • How long has the beer been bottled? The yeast might still be active during carbonation phase until they consume all the priming sugar.
    – dmtaylor
    Aug 20 '20 at 13:44

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