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Stinky Lagers

TroubleShooting

Francisco Jones - Kankakee, Illinois asks,
Q

My lagers always contain a lot of sulfur (like garbage or rotting vegetation) aromas. My boils are typically 75 minutes, full rolling boils uncovered with overhead vent fan using gas plus electric heat stick augmentation. I use both liquid yeast with stirred starters and dry yeast (all style-appropriate lager yeasts), all scaled to appropriate pitching rates using the calculator at mrmalty.com. Typically I chill to 50 °F (10 °C) and pitch. Then I ferment around 52 °F (11°C) in a dedicated ferment chamber with external temperature control, proxy thermo-well in a separate jug of water, and forced air convection until fermentation slows, and a sample shows about 65-75% complete. Then I raise the temperature over a couple days to about 65 °F (18 °C) and let it sit for a while. I have read a warmer fermentation at the end helps scrub sulfur and absorb diacetyl. My diacetyl is getting cleaned up, but not the sulfur.

A

The Wiz shares some tips for scrubbing sulfur smells out of lagers and preparing an oak barrel for beer aging.

Response by Ashton Lewis.