Off Flavors In Batch Of Scotch Ale

Question

Tried a batch of Scotch-Ale for the first time. After trying a pre-mature bottle a week or two ago it had a very strange and strong aroma and aftertaste. I tried one last night that I could barely finish. It has a charcoal/ metallic taste and aroma to it. I also noticed a nostril stinging smell as soon as the primary fermenter was opened.

I’ve made mistakes before but never anything to make a beer taste this way. I used table sugar out of lack of other options, added the aroma hops way too early (don’t think that’s the problem), and the fermentation temperatures may have gone a bit astray.

I would really like to pin point this problem, as I have an imperial IPA nearing it’s end of fermentation and I do NOT want to waste another batch.

Answer

From the BJCP Beer Faults Table

The following is listed under Metallic Iron, copper, coins, blood: Check water for metallic ions. Reduce water salts. Check equipment condition for rust. Make sure stainless steel equipment is properly passivated. Fully rinse sanitizer. Try using RO water and add salts as needed.

The following is listed under Smoky (Phenolic) Smoke-like, charcoal, burnt: Check for scorched mash or boil. Check excessive use of dark malts. Check for infection.

Oxidation can occur any time you transfer the beer during fermentation. Excess exposure to light can also cause the hops in your beer to oxidize, but this results in a different taste than you’re getting.

When you’re adding water to cooled wort you want splashing to occur because you are trying to aerate the wort. After boiling, the wort is oxygen starved so this is necessary in order for the yeast to do their job. This is the only time you want to introduce oxygen into your beer.