From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: re: bad smell while making lager
Date: 1989-06-15 14:57:33 GMT

From: dwc@olivey.ATC.Olivetti.Com (Dan Crocker)
"A friend
"of mine and I have made about four batches of pretty standard looking
"lagers. While they were fermenting, they smelled alot like rotten garbage
"(a really offensive smell anyway). However, the ales I have made don't
"smell anything like that. I heard that this meant that the fermentation
"temperature of the lager was too high. The funny thing is that it
"doesn't seem to affect the taste to any great degree.

Because ale ferments are carried on at higher temperatures, they are
more vigorous. The physical action of the ferment can blow off a
variety of by products that you don't want in your beer (in large
quantities), especially dimethyl sulfide (DMS). This is the cooked
vegetable aroma that is often a part of lager beers. In varying
degrees of concentration, DMS can smell like cooked corn, cabbage, or
even celery. This aroma will tend to be more noticable with the slower
ferments of a lager since great quantities of CO2 and various esters
are not being created to dilute and mask the DMS. Michael Jackson
claims that DMS was a common and desirable part of American Premium
lagers 50 years ago, but now is considered a defect. Perhaps that is
why AB uses a relatively high primary fermentation temperature for

--Darryl Richman

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