This Week on Brew Disasters: Off flavors-Banana & Clove in the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ clone

The Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale clone looking very cloney.

Last time on Brew Disasters we were trying to clone Lagunitas Brewing’s Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Al eand had several problems right out of the gate: Instead of a desired mash temp of 150F, the mash temp was 170F! And, the pre-boil specific gravity came in low at 1.043. That was a full 12 points below the 1.055 that was our target.

Well, it’s difficult for us to tell if the cooling of the grain from 170F to 149.5F succeeded. But, the adding of 0.5 pounds of corn sugar and 0.5 pounds of dry malt extract may have created another problem: phenols and esters. Specifically the addition of corn sugar could be the culprit for why there are hints of clove (phenolics) and banana (isoamyl acetate) in the aroma and taste. John Palmer says in How to Brew, that adding sucrose or refined sugar (corn sugar probably meets that criterion) contributes to ester production. The easily digestible sugar could have revved the English yeast (Fermentis’s Safale 04) and they could have been over-stimulated and giving off unwanted phenols and esters.

Given these modest, though real, imperfections, would we throw the whole batch down the drain, as Dogfish Head Brewing did in nearly every episode of Brew Masters?

Sam Calagione has much higher standards than we do. His company has flavor profiles and everything. Whereas our motto is "When in doubt, hop the bejeezus out of it."

Well, we here out Flog This Dead Brewery looked at our flavor profiles and realized we have no flavor profiles. We wondered if our degrees Plato were met, and we had no idea what that meant. Finally, we checked our standards, and realized we had none, well, maybe not none, but extremely low.

So, since we have incredibly low standards (after all, we answer to no one but ourselves) and we have won a gold medal for a previous screw-up, we crossed our fingers and dry-hopped the holy bejeezus out of it with 2.33 oz of cascade hops, 1 oz of simcoe hops, and 0.5 oz of Columbus hops.


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