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Aroma: Spicy, Smoky, or Medicinal
Spicy, smoky, or medicinal smells in your beer can be caused by the presence of phenolic compounds.
- Certain yeast strains, such as those in Bavarian Weizenbier, normally produce phenolics.
- The presence of chlorine in the brewing water can result in undesirable phenols in the finished beer.
- Certain wild yeast strains can produce high amounts of phenols if they infect the wort.
- Yeast mutation results in production of undesirable phenolic compounds during fermentation.
- Residue from a sanitizing agent can cause a phenolic aroma.
- Dark or smoked grains with a burnt or spicy aroma are used.
- Some phenols can be caused by improper temperature, pH, and amount of sparge water.
- Use a neutral yeast strain not prone to production of phenolics.
- Dechlorinate your water supply, boil off the chlorine in the water before use, or buy bottled water.
- Establish and maintain sterile brewing techniques to avoid wild yeast contamination. This includes discarding cut or scratched fermentation vessels, as these defects could harbor bacteria.
- Replace yeast culture.
- Thoroughly rinse brewing equipment after cleaning and sanitizing.
- Use grains appropriate to the style of beer being made.
- Use proper sparging techniques, especially a water temperature below 168 F (75.6 C), and a pH below 5.7. Avoid using an excessive quantity of sparge water.