Autolysis

Reads 2046 • Replies 14 • Started Tuesday, February 21, 2017 9:26:09 PM CT

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EvanFriend
beers 844 º places 20 º 21:26 Tue 2/21/2017

So I recently did what was supposed to be a Westvleteren 12 clone, and on bottling it I noticed a faint smell/taste of soy sauce. According to my research, this is due to autolysis. I know what I did wrong (kept it in a fermenter in the boiler room for six weeks), what I want to know is: is there any way to fix this? Will it age out? Or is this just a beer I should pawn off on less discerning friends?

 
DA
places 1 º 23:15 Tue 2/21/2017

Six weeks should be fine. How long has it been in the bottle for?

 
fiulijn
beers 26190 º places 725 º 00:47 Wed 2/22/2017

I’m not sure but I thought that autolysis produced bread-like flavors.
But you say soy sauce.
Can you link some source?
that would be interesting to read.

 
VsXsV
beers 5000 º places 92 º 00:58 Wed 2/22/2017

In my experience, autolysis smells like death, poo and meat. Six weeks seems quick though.

 
derA
beers 91 º places 106 º 02:41 Wed 2/22/2017

I recently also had a heavy beer, which produced typical autolysis flavors. After taking the beer off of the yeast and letting it sit in secondary for a couple of months, the smell went from feces over to soy sauce and ultimately disappeared. I would guess that for a Westy 12 clone, you should probably just leave the bottles alone for a couple of months in a reasonably cool (15C/60F works well for me) and stable environment. The yeast in the bottles will clean up.

 
EvanFriend
beers 844 º places 20 º 03:22 Wed 2/22/2017

Originally posted by DA
Six weeks should be fine. How long has it been in the bottle for?


Been in the bottle for about a month now. I tried one a couple weeks ago, soy sauce flavor was still there.

 
EvanFriend
beers 844 º places 20 º 03:27 Wed 2/22/2017

Originally posted by fiulijn
I’m not sure but I thought that autolysis produced bread-like flavors.
But you say soy sauce.
Can you link some source?
that would be interesting to read.


http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/a-lesson-in-beer-bad-beer/

I had to google it myself, it was clearly an off flavor, but not one I’d heard of.

 
EvanFriend
beers 844 º places 20 º 03:29 Wed 2/22/2017

Originally posted by derA
I recently also had a heavy beer, which produced typical autolysis flavors. After taking the beer off of the yeast and letting it sit in secondary for a couple of months, the smell went from feces over to soy sauce and ultimately disappeared. I would guess that for a Westy 12 clone, you should probably just leave the bottles alone for a couple of months in a reasonably cool (15C/60F works well for me) and stable environment. The yeast in the bottles will clean up.


Thanks, that sounds encouraging!

 
GarethYoung
beers 1111 º places 27 º 03:50 Wed 2/22/2017

The flavours produced by autolysis can vary a lot. Autolysis is responsible for much of the characteristic toastyness of Champagne, and it part of the reason it has to spend a long time in contact with the lees. Soy sauce/meat/marmite flavours can be produced, but it tends to require a very long time, or very high temperatures. It’s pretty unusual to get those flavours in beers, unless they’re extremely old. It’s also less of a problem at the home brew level than commercially, because of the increased pressures involved in commercial brewing (due to massively increased fermenter size).

So, as long as you brewed your beer in fairly normal circumstances and aged it for a normal amount of time, I think it’s quite unlikely to be autolysis. It’s possible the boiler room is hot enough to cause it, I suppose. If the boiler room is warm, don’t age beer in it. It’s more likely to be oxidation, which produces flavours that are close enough that people sometimes confuse the two. It could be something else though.

Think about it this way: loads of strong beers are bottle conditioned and can spend long periods of time sitting on warm shelves. If serious autolysis occurred so easily, we’d expect those flavours to develop in epidemic proportions among bottle conditioned beers. But this doesn’t happen.

Some of the compounds involved in oxidation and autolysis can be cleared up by brettanomyces fermentation, so that’s a possibility for fixing the issue, I suppose, if it is indeed one of those things that are responsible. I would just wait until it’s carbonated and see if it tastes better.

 
SarkyNorthener
beers 5201 º places 142 º 05:01 Wed 2/22/2017

Originally posted by GarethYoung
The flavours produced by autolysis can vary a lot. Autolysis is responsible for much of the characteristic toastyness of Champagne, and it part of the reason it has to spend a long time in contact with the lees. Soy sauce/meat/marmite flavours can be produced, but it tends to require a very long time, or very high temperatures. It’s pretty unusual to get those flavours in beers, unless they’re extremely old. It’s also less of a problem at the home brew level than commercially, because of the increased pressures involved in commercial brewing (due to massively increased fermenter size).

So, as long as you brewed your beer in fairly normal circumstances and aged it for a normal amount of time, I think it’s quite unlikely to be autolysis. It’s possible the boiler room is hot enough to cause it, I suppose. If the boiler room is warm, don’t age beer in it. It’s more likely to be oxidation, which produces flavours that are close enough that people sometimes confuse the two. It could be something else though.

Think about it this way: loads of strong beers are bottle conditioned and can spend long periods of time sitting on warm shelves. If serious autolysis occurred so easily, we’d expect those flavours to develop in epidemic proportions among bottle conditioned beers. But this doesn’t happen.

Some of the compounds involved in oxidation and autolysis can be cleared up by brettanomyces fermentation, so that’s a possibility for fixing the issue, I suppose, if it is indeed one of those things that are responsible. I would just wait until it’s carbonated and see if it tastes better.


If we had a Ratebeerian homebrewer award, Gareth would win it.

 
GarethYoung
beers 1111 º places 27 º 05:28 Wed 2/22/2017

Originally posted by SarkyNorthener
Originally posted by GarethYoung
The flavours produced by autolysis can vary a lot. Autolysis is responsible for much of the characteristic toastyness of Champagne, and it part of the reason it has to spend a long time in contact with the lees. Soy sauce/meat/marmite flavours can be produced, but it tends to require a very long time, or very high temperatures. It’s pretty unusual to get those flavours in beers, unless they’re extremely old. It’s also less of a problem at the home brew level than commercially, because of the increased pressures involved in commercial brewing (due to massively increased fermenter size).

So, as long as you brewed your beer in fairly normal circumstances and aged it for a normal amount of time, I think it’s quite unlikely to be autolysis. It’s possible the boiler room is hot enough to cause it, I suppose. If the boiler room is warm, don’t age beer in it. It’s more likely to be oxidation, which produces flavours that are close enough that people sometimes confuse the two. It could be something else though.

Think about it this way: loads of strong beers are bottle conditioned and can spend long periods of time sitting on warm shelves. If serious autolysis occurred so easily, we’d expect those flavours to develop in epidemic proportions among bottle conditioned beers. But this doesn’t happen.

Some of the compounds involved in oxidation and autolysis can be cleared up by brettanomyces fermentation, so that’s a possibility for fixing the issue, I suppose, if it is indeed one of those things that are responsible. I would just wait until it’s carbonated and see if it tastes better.


If we had a Ratebeerian homebrewer award, Gareth would win it.


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