sulfury smells

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Well, I just popped open another bottle of my yummy Christmas Ale... however
I can't keep from noticing the nasty sulfury smell, at least for the first
few minutes.  The beer tastes wonderful, and the smell completely fades
after about 5 minutes, giving way to a nice malty and spicy scent.  It is a
high-gravity version of a Belgian witbier, however with tons of ginger and
other spices added during bottling.  The only reason I can think of for the
sulfury smell is that it took about 2 months to ferment this brew to
completion (and I was only expecting it to take about 10 days!).  The yeast
got off to a bad start I guess.  I aerated the heck out of it initially, but
not during secondary.  I didn't make a starter... I probably should have.  I
did rack the brew about 3 times during the course of the 2 months, maybe
that wasn't enough?

My question is, do you guys have any better idea of what might have caused
the sulfur?  Was it yeast autolysis?  Or is it something else?  And would it
have been worth my while to use a yeast starter?  I used Nottingham ale
yeast (dry), which I've always had excellent success with in the past, but
for some reason this time, it took forever.  Any help you could provide
would be greatly appreciated.  I don't want this fiasco to happen again.
(Luckily, the beer tastes wonderful after 5 minutes anyway!)

"Just a drink, a little drink, and I'll be feeling GOOooOOooOOooD!" --
Genesis, 1973-ish

Re: sulfury smells
"David M. Taylor" wrote:
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Are you sure you're not just noticing the spices?  And, BTW, how can you
make a wit with Nottingham?  The yeast profile should be a large part of
the flavor of a wit.  It should be spicy, tart, and phenolic.


Life begins at 60 - 1.060, that is.

Reply to denny_dot_g_dot_conn_at_ci_dot_eugene_dot_or_dot_us

Re: sulfury smells
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would it

Oops, I missed one detail.  I did start off with WLP400 Belgian wit yeast,
but when that refused to start after about a week, then I dumped a packet of
Nottingham ale in for good measure, which took another week to get started
itself.  The resulting beer is cloudy, so I assume the wit yeast eventually
began working to some extent, but I can't be sure.  The scent is definitely
sulfur, not spice.  It's an off-scent.  Where did I go wrong?

"Just a drink, a little drink, and I'll be feeling GOOooOOooOOooD!" --
Genesis, 1973-ish

Re: sulfury smells
"David M. Taylor" wrote:

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The cloudiness is typical of a wit from the unmalted wheat...which I
don't recall if you used!  If you let it sit for a week without any
action before repitiching, it's possible that it's infected and that's
the source of your strange aroma.

Life begins at 60 - 1.060, that is.

Reply to denny_at_projectoneaudio_dot_com

Re: sulfury smells
Symptom: It smells like rotten eggs.
Cause 1: Yeast Strain Rotten egg odors (hydrogen sulfide) can have two
common causes: the yeast strain and bacteria. Many lager yeast strains
produce noticeable amounts of hydrogen sulfide during fermentation. The
smell and any sulfur taste will dissipate during lagering.
Cure: Let the beer condition or lager for a few weeks after primary

Cause 2: Bacteria Bacterial infections can also produce sulfury odors and if
you are not brewing a lager beer, then this is a good sign that you have an
Cure: Let the fermentation complete and then taste it before bottling to see
if it is infected. Toss it if it is.

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