Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:46 am

Hey everyone,

So over the course of the past 2 years of brewing I have noticed that all of my beer tends to have a sharp/metallic flavor and is often times a lot more bland then i thought it was going to be. I always thought this might be due to a couple process issues like bad water or doing most of my brews BIAB style. I recently did a couple of 1 gallon batches and bottle conditioned everything and that sharp metallic bland flavor was gone. Also my brother in-law picked up a kegging kit and we did a 10 gallon batch split. Mine ended up metallic his was beautiful and clean. Doing a little research I think somehow I am overcarbing my beers but I dont know how. Can you take a look at my process and equipment and maybe give a few suggestions?

Equipment
5 lb CO2 Tank filled by Oxarc Gas
Dual Gauge CO2 regulator from Northern Brewer
Gas out on the regulator is Y-ed with 2 shutoff valves
1x 5 foot run of gas tubing
1x 6 foot run of gas tubing
Ball Lock Gas disconnects
2x 5 feet 3/16 beer line with picnic tap
The fridge I am using is pretty old and the temp seems to fluctuate between 36 and 32 throughout the day.

Process
Fill keg from fermentor with auto-siphon
Close lid
Connect gas line turn pressure on
Check for gas leaks
Purge keg twice
Set regulator to 10 psi
Put keg into fridge with CO2 tank
Let set in fridge for 2 week before pouring first pint
PrymalInstynct
 
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Location: West Richland, WA

Re: Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:51 am

10 psi at 34 degrees is about 2.6 atmospheres, which is not all that high.
I don't think over carbonation is the problem.

One way to test this is to simply pour a beer, taste it and note the "metallic" taste.
Then let it sit in the glass for 15 or 20 mins, swirling it every now and then to drive off CO2. If the beer improves in flavor, then overcarbonation is the issue and you probably need to get your regulator guages calibrated (? not sure where you can do this? ) or you need to replace them. If that's too expensive, then simply aim for lower and lower psi levels until the off-flavor goes away.

All that said, are you sure it's metallic? Are you a member of a club? Bokonon is a BJCP judge out there in Richland and is a frequent poster here. Let him taste it and give you another opinion. Check out the Mid-Columbia Zymurgy Association. They meet in Kennewick (I think at Ice Harbor). There are plenty of seasoned palates there who can help diagnose this.


How many kegs do you have? Does this happen in every keg, or just one or two?
What sanitizer are you using? When was the last time you completely disassembled them and replaced all the rubber o-rings and sanitized the poppets, etc? I'd make sure I did that right away. (I sugggest doing this with every batch). Sometimes a piece of hop material will get stuck inside the posts/poppet valves and you don't see it until you take them apart.

When you did the split batch with your brother-in-law, when exactly in the process did you split it? Ie, was it all in the same vessel right up to kegging? Or did you ferment in two separate fermenters? Did you use the exact same hose to rack from the fermenter when splitting it? When racking to the keg? You need to eliminate every possible variable here, and racking equipment can introduce off flavors.

Good luck and as you gain more info, let us know. We'll do what we can to help you diagnose this.
-B'Dawg
BJCP GM2 Judge
"Lunch Meat. It's an acquired taste....." -- Mylo
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BDawg
 
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Location: North Bend, WA

Re: Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:40 am

Keg some ol plain water and see how that tastes.
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snowcapt
 
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Location: Alexandria, MN

Re: Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:50 am

BDawg wrote:10 psi at 34 degrees is about 2.6 atmospheres, which is not all that high.
I don't think over carbonation is the problem.

One way to test this is to simply pour a beer, taste it and note the "metallic" taste.
Then let it sit in the glass for 15 or 20 mins, swirling it every now and then to drive off CO2. If the beer improves in flavor, then overcarbonation is the issue and you probably need to get your regulator guages calibrated (? not sure where you can do this? ) or you need to replace them. If that's too expensive, then simply aim for lower and lower psi levels until the off-flavor goes away.


That is a good idea, I’ll try that tonight. The main reason I think it might be over carbonation is 2 fold. The beer is totally clean and beautiful tasting before I transfer to the keg. “Metallic” might not be the best description, it seems like the hop flavor is scrubbed out and replaced by a sharp acidic/bitterness that lingers on the back of the palate unlike any commercially bitter beer does. The second reason is that I have one hell of a time setting my regulator to anything other than 10 psi. I have started with the regulator screw fully closed so no gas gets in and slowly turn it a quarter turn every couple minutes trying to reach anything lower than 10 psi but once I get to about 3 psi the next time I go to adjust it jumps to 3 or 4 to 10. Also when I start to pour the beer the pressure does not hold, it drops down to maybe 6 or lower then slowly builds back up to 10 psi over a few minutes. Not sure if that is normal.

BDawg wrote:All that said, are you sure it's metallic? Are you a member of a club? Bokonon is a BJCP judge out there in Richland and is a frequent poster here. Let him taste it and give you another opinion. Check out the Mid-Columbia Zymurgy Association. They meet in Kennewick (I think at Ice Harbor). There are plenty of seasoned palates there who can help diagnose this.


Bokonon lives less than a minute walk from me, I just joined MCZA last month. I plan on bringing some of my currently kegs beer to next week’s meeting to get their opinion.

BDawg wrote:How many kegs do you have? Does this happen in every keg, or just one or two?
What sanitizer are you using? When was the last time you completely disassembled them and replaced all the rubber o-rings and sanitized the poppets, etc? I'd make sure I did that right away. (I sugggest doing this with every batch). Sometimes a piece of hop material will get stuck inside the posts/poppet valves and you don't see it until you take them apart.


2 kegs, 1 purchased new the other used. The new keg has never had the o-rings replaced in about a year and a half but is disassembled and cleaned every other batch, with a rinse and star-san in between. The used keg got all new o-rings and a deep clean on the first use plus the same cleaning schedule I follow thereafter. I have had it about 1 year. I haven’t ever taken the poppet spring out of the post though, so I’ll do that once this keg is empty.


BDawg wrote:When you did the split batch with your brother-in-law, when exactly in the process did you split it? Ie, was it all in the same vessel right up to kegging? Or did you ferment in two separate fermenters? Did you use the exact same hose to rack from the fermenter when splitting it? When racking to the keg? You need to eliminate every possible variable here, and racking equipment can introduce off flavors.

Good luck and as you gain more info, let us know. We'll do what we can to help you diagnose this.


The batch was split into separate better bottles but fermented in the same temp controlled freezer with the same pitching rate of 1 packet US-05 each. The beer was transferred using the same auto siphon and same racking hose.

I thought the issue might be in my hoses so I replaced everything from hot wort transfer to racking to new beer lines and picnic taps, but the issue persisted
PrymalInstynct
 
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Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:37 pm
Location: West Richland, WA

Re: Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:12 pm

How careful are you when racking into the keg? Taking any of the dregs from the bottom of the fermenter along with your beer?

I had an issue with astringency and slight metallic taste, it drove me crazy.

One day, while cleaning an empty keg, I tasted the concentrated gunk at the bottom, and there it was, the flavor I've been chasing.

For me, I suspect it is very fine hop particles that were transferred when the siphon got into the top layer of the trub. Now I'm more careful and brew 1/2 gallon more so I don't have to get ner the bottom to top-off the keg. Yeast is somewhat sweet, the hop detritus is funky as hell.

I know it's there cause the krausen pushes it up into the blow-off and all over the dome of the fermenter.

When your done with this keg, taste the stuff at the bottom and let me know if it's the same taste you're getting out of the beer.
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ultravista
 
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Re: Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:00 pm


Bokonon lives less than a minute walk from me, I just joined MCZA last month. I plan on bringing some of my currently kegs beer to next week’s meeting to get their opinion.



I'd just go over his house and have him taste it.
He'll let you know what the deal is. You shouldn't have to wait for a meeting to get him do that. He's a good dude and I know he will gladly help.
-B'Dawg
BJCP GM2 Judge
"Lunch Meat. It's an acquired taste....." -- Mylo
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BDawg
 
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Location: North Bend, WA

Re: Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:32 pm

BDawg wrote:

Bokonon lives less than a minute walk from me, I just joined MCZA last month. I plan on bringing some of my currently kegs beer to next week’s meeting to get their opinion.



I'd just go over his house and have him taste it.
He'll let you know what the deal is. You shouldn't have to wait for a meeting to get him do that. He's a good dude and I know he will gladly help.


Yeah he has already offered I just haven't had the time to get over there yet.
PrymalInstynct
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:37 pm
Location: West Richland, WA

Re: Kegged beer always sharp/metallic/bland

Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:50 am

The chrome plating on faucets, shanks, draft fittings etc. will wear or corrode off over time.
Check your system for beer to brass contact. If you replace any pieces make sure you buy stainless steel.
It's worth the extra money. You could buy a picnic faucet setup to isolate the keg from your draft system
and see how the beer tastes.
Of course make sure your draft system is clean. At a minimum clean the lines between beer styles or batches.
Good Luck! :jnj
Keep on Brewin'
Captain Carrot


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captain carrot
 
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