Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

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Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby andrewmaixner » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:38 pm

So I made 10 gallons of 11-12% scotch heavy. It's at 1.020 and seems great at 6 weeks (no fusels or other common high gravity issues), except for one major flaw: my ULWD element majorly scorched it at some point. It's the characteristic over-caramelized, ash, burnt sugar aroma.

I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this flaw being able to be aged out, or filtered out, or anything else?

If it was a cheep batch I'd dump it, but a double 1.110 batch + a triple starter step-up was a lot of time investment.
(I've had a similar element scorch issue on 1.05-1.06 batches before, and not come through in the final product, maybe because it had so much less sugar in it)

(troubleshooting the reason for the scorch is a different issue, and I'm pretty sure I know the reason(s) )

Thanks!
Last edited by andrewmaixner on Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby Josh_Jensen » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:28 pm

Just a shot in the dark, I'd say probably not, unfortunately. Like burnt food, those flavors are pretty much locked in.


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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby tony b » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:47 am

Depends on how heavy the burnt smell is, but you could try and mask it with a splash of liquid smoke and convert it to a rauchbier??
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby Matt F » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:21 pm

Unless you need the equipment, I say let it sit and see what happens for a while. No need to dump.
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby andrewmaixner » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:38 pm

Matt F wrote:Unless you need the equipment, I say let it sit and see what happens for a while. No need to dump.

That's my current plan. It's sitting in purged 5gal secondaries now. I'll probably check it again in 2 months and see what's up. If it seems to be fading, I'll bottle it for more storage.
If not, maybe bottle half, put some brett/pedio into half, then check it all in a year.


tony b wrote:Depends on how heavy the burnt smell is, but you could try and mask it with a splash of liquid smoke and convert it to a rauchbier??

The thought did cross my mind, though I don't think the ash/char flavor would complement it well. Even peated malt might not cover it, but, those are some potential ideas.


I might go back and remake it at 10% shortly so I have something to drink sooner also.
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby Josh_Jensen » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:22 pm

Throw some bourbon soaked oak at it for a month or so?


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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby TappedOut » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:57 pm

Yep, if you can, let it age and see what happens. People might remember me bitching about my Disaster wort rally results -- I added 3# of dark candi syrup among other brilliance, and it was really unpleasant. Very harsh, burnt flavor. Blech. I left the keg alone for a while, and then refrigerated and sampled a couple weeks ago, and it was actually pretty tasty. Maybe I'll turn it in for this year's wort rally. :)

If it tastes unpleasant now, I doubt adding other flavors will transform it into something delicious. But a lot of flavors will mellow with time. Adding Brett also sounds like a fun tack. What's to lose?
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby andrewmaixner » Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:19 pm

TappedOut wrote:Yep, if you can, let it age and see what happens. People might remember me bitching about my Disaster wort rally results -- I added 3# of dark candi syrup among other brilliance, and it was really unpleasant. Very harsh, burnt flavor. Blech. I left the keg alone for a while, and then refrigerated and sampled a couple weeks ago, and it was actually pretty tasty. Maybe I'll turn it in for this year's wort rally. :)


tangent: interesting. I didn't get to taste it because I was out of town for the event last year.
Did ou accidentally scorch the syrup at the addition time?
Was that 3lb D180 in 5 or 10 gallons? I ask because 2lb D180 in a pilsen base of 1.06-1.07 (with an optional small wort boil-down into syrup) is pretty much the recipe for St. Bernardus 12/ Chimay Blue / Westvleteren 12 -- but they aren't using any dark malts, which the competition base wort had. Just curious -- and let me taste it ;)
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby TappedOut » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:23 am

It was for 10 gallons. I don't think I scorched it, but maybe??? Half of it I added ginger to (going for a Dark & Stormy inspired brew.) Also you didn't get to taste it because I didn't bring it because I wasn't putting my name on something that was that unpleasant. I'll try to bring some to the next club event I am at. (March meeting is, I think, during spring break and I will be out of town.)
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby andrewmaixner » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:55 pm

unremarkable update: after bulk aging for almost 2 more months, I don't interpret any positive change in the burnt issue. Without that, it would be a very good beer. With the flaw, it's pretty crap. Not sure If I'll give it another few months or not.
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby tony b » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:15 pm

At this point, keep experimenting and see if something works. If not, then pitch it.
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby andrewmaixner » Sat May 20, 2017 9:48 am

over 4 months now, and if there is any positive change in the flaw, it isn't happening fast enough to motivate me to keep the batch. Even chilled and carbed a serving, but I wouldn't want to put my name on it in public.
If anyone wants it so they can evaporate it or get really experimental, let me know within a week, otherwise this batch of "Electric Ashtray Scotch Heavy" is a dumper. Time to rebrew.
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Re: Burnt wort aroma - might it age out?

Postby tony b » Sat May 20, 2017 1:03 pm

Sorry to hear that you couldn't salvage it. Trust me, we've all been there. No one likes dumping a batch, but sometimes it just has to be done.
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