What Does Brewing Beer Smell Like? (Hint: It’s Not What You Think)

What Does Brewing Beer Smell Like?  Candy banana, metal, apples, ripe fruit, vinegar, butterscotch, canned corn, or even rotten eggs

When you think of beer smell, what comes to mind? Chances are, it isn’t flowers and fruit. Brewing beer will have a smell, but the smell may be a bad smell or a pleasant smell depending on your likes.

After all, beer doesn’t actually have much in the way of aroma. Brewing beer smells like candy banana, metal, apples, ripe fruit, vinegar, butterscotch, canned corn, or even rotten eggs depending on the stage or ingredients. Thus, in most cases, the boiling wort on the first day of brewing smell will be sweet, spicy, and generally pleasant.

What Does Brewing Beer Smell Like?

Brewing beer smells like candy banana, metal, apples, ripe fruit, vinegar, butterscotch, canned corn, or even rotten eggs depending on the stage or ingredients. Thus, in most cases, the boiling wort on the first day of brewing smell will be sweet, spicy, and generally pleasant.

The smell of your brew depends on the stage of your brewing process. Thus, it will wonderful, grainy aroma when preparing the mash which turns to a sweet, spicy, and generally pleasant on the brewing day.

During the brewing process, the smell may be pleasant or unpleasant to you but when well done it will taste like fruits. The fruity or other smells are as described below:


If you smell green apple or an acidic/vinegar smell, it means that your beer is fermenting. The fermentation process will continue until the pH level is at 3.2-3.4. Once that happens, you need to stop the fermentation process by adding a stabilizer and then bottling it.

Some beers, such as Belgian Lambics, are intentionally fermented with wild yeast and bacteria to produce sour flavors. Sour beers typically have an acidic or vinegar smell from the bacteria in them.

You may also detect this type of smell if your fermentation process stopped prematurely before all sugar was converted into alcohol during the brewing process.

Ripe Fruit

The beer will also have a fruity smell due to the yeast fermentation process. Most yeast fermentation has a fresh fruity smell to them. In the case of aromatic hops, and specifically American Hops, they tend to have an apple-like scent. You might not think that hops would produce an apple-like scent, but it’s true!

It seems that brewing beer smells like candy banana, apples, ripe fruit, butterscotch, canned corn, or even rotten eggs depending on the ingredients that are in the mix.

The more ingredients you use during the brewing process will produce different smells in your final product. Beer is made up of various types of grains and malts (such as wheat, rye, maize (corn), and barley) which give it a unique taste and smell according to what type of malt is used.

In beer brewing, the smell of ripe fruit is a prominent scent. One reason for this is that yeast fermentation produces an ester called isoamyl acetate, which smells like ripe fruit. Another reason is that yeast can convert sugars to alcohols and carbon dioxide gas in a process called “fermentation,” which makes the yeasts produce their own fruity aroma.

The type of yeast used in the fermentation process also gives off fruity smells. For example, ale yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has a fruity smell to it that resembles banana and apples.

Another type of yeast, lager yeast (Saccharomyces pastorianus), gives off fruity smells like those of canned corn or even rotten eggs! This is because lager yeast ferments at cooler temperatures than ale and so has different by-products from the fermentation process.


Smell of brewing beer

The smell of butterscotch is often a sign that the beer contains too much diacetyl. Diacetyl is a compound formed during fermentation and can contribute to undesirable flavors in beer, especially when it is combined with acetaldehyde (a product of fermentation).

Butterscotch is a term that refers to a sweet, nutty, caramelized smell. The smell of butterscotch beer typically means it has too much diacetyl in the early stages of fermentation.

When the yeast breaks down malt sugars and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide, it also produces a byproduct called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is then turned into diacetyl by the yeast enzyme alpha-acetolactate decarboxylase. Diacetyl is responsible for giving the beer its buttery smell.

Diacetyl can come from adding too much fermentable sugar or too many yeast cells to the mixture, which causes them to produce more diacetyl than they can metabolize before they die off.

Fermentation temperatures that are either too cold or too hot cause brewers to produce excessive amounts of diacetyl because yeasts are less efficient at producing flavor compounds when it’s cooler or hotter than their ideal growth range.

Canned Corn

The smell of canned corn is indicative of a compound called dimethyl sulfide (DMS). DMS has a distinctive smell that people often associate with corn, which is where you might be able to detect it in beer.

The smell that many of us associate with beer is actually DMS. DMS gives off an aroma of canned corn or rotten eggs.

This compound is produced when malt turns into sugars during the brewing process, giving it a sweet and smoky smell. An example of a beer that has this characteristic is Guinness Draught.

Candy Banana

Fermenting beer can also smell like a candy banana. This is because of esters formed due to hot fermentation (when brewing at a temperature of more than 75˚) or due to lack of oxygen in the wort during fermentation.

Lack of oxygen during fermentation can be due to lack of aeration or inadequate aeration. However, the candy smell indicates that the beer is brewing well. It does not indicate in any way that the beer is contaminated, unlike the rotten eggs smell.

Roasted or “Black Bread” malts

Does brewing beer smell like ripe fruits?

Dominant aromas of roasted malt are the smells of yeast, bread, and honey. Roasted malts are typically used in darker beer styles like stout, porter, and bock. These have a more pronounced taste because of the higher levels of roasted malts.

So because these malts have higher levels of sugars than pale malt that is used in lighter beers like lager and ale, they give off the smell of bread or honey more easily.

When brewing beer, yeast is added to the mixture, which ferments and breaks down sugars into alcohol. The final product of this process is what gives beer its distinctive smell. Yeast produces the “roasted or black bread” aroma in different beers.

The sweet smells produced by malt are balanced out by the roasted or “black bread” smells from yeast in some beers. There are also other flavors that can be smelled during the brewing process, such as fruit or butterscotch.

Rotten Eggs

Rotten eggs is a sign that your beer has become contaminated. When the yeast is healthy and the malt contains sufficient sugars, then hydrogen sulfide is not produced.

However, if the yeast has been killed or there are insufficient sugars in the malt, then hydrogen sulfide will be produced during fermentation. The resulting rotten egg smell means that your beer is no longer safe to drink.

The smell of rotten eggs is one of the most common indicators that your beer has become contaminated. Hydrogen sulfide is a compound that comes from the breakdown of organic matter, such as beer.

If you brew your own beer, it is important to monitor the air pressure in your fermenter and adjust it according to what style you are making.

For example, if you are making an ale, you will want it to have a higher pressure than if you are brewing a lager or stout. The adjustment determines how much hydrogen sulfide can come out of solution during fermentation and be removed by aging.

Harsh Malts: Bittering Agents

Harsh malts are a type of grain that can be added to the mash in order to increase the level of bitterness. Harsh malts are barely processed, so they have a lot more natural enzymes and sugars than other types of malt. The extra enzymes give harsh malts a sweet smell.

Harsh malts are important for many types of beer, and are typically boiled for up to two hours. These include pale ale, porter, and stout. Harsh malt flavors can be described as “bitter,” “harsher,” or “malted.”

The first step in producing a harsh malt is to roast it. Roasting the grain makes the grains sweeter which helps offset the bitterness that’s produced when they’re boiled.

The malt is then mixed with hot water in order to produce wort, a type of liquid that can be used to make beer. As the malt is heated up, enzymes start breaking down starch into sugars. This process creates an appetizing smell of bread or honey in addition to other smells depending on the ingredients used.

The next step is adding hops during boiling. Hops add bitterness and also act as a preservative. Once the boiling process has finished, yeast is added and fermentation begins. This produces alcohol, carbon dioxide gas, and heat energy that condenses into liquid form called “wort.”

After fermentation has finished, it’s time to move on to another stage of brewing: aging or conditioning beer with yeast for months before bottling it for consumption.

Harsh Malts: Flavors and Aromas of Bitters

Brewed beer in Boston

Harsh malts are often used in darker beers, such as those that are brown or black. They have a strong, burnt flavor and often produce aromas of sulfur. Harsh malts are made from dark-colored grains like wheat, rye, and maize.

The most common is roasted barley, which gives the beer its dark color. Harsh malts also create aromas of burnt sugar, nuts, rubber tires, and sometimes even rotten eggs. This typically occurs when the raw grain is not heated evenly or the malt has been scorched by intense heat during roasting.

Harsh malts are the most pungent and arid of the malt flavors. They owe their name to the harsh or unappealing scent that often accompanies this type of malt.

Harsh malts are created by drying the barley to a high level of moisture content before milling and kilning. The drying process is what creates the distinctive smell of harsh malt. Harsh malty beer has a very strong taste and can be tasted in many types of ale, including stouts and porters.

The aroma of harsh malt is linked to its flavor, which is described as being acrid, tangy, or astringent – all traits that help create an acidic character. Harsher tastes come from higher levels of acidity in hops or lactic acid bacteria during fermentation.

Why does beer smell like metal?

The water that is used for brewing can contain a high iron concentration, which gives the beer a metallic smell. This iron is found in water that originates from iron-rich rocks or ground up rust. Iron reacts with malt and hops to produce the smell of metal in your beer.

So, what does brewing beer smell like? A mixture of fruit, corn, butter, and metal.

The levels of iron in the water can affect the taste and smell of beer. Iron imparts a metallic, mineral-like taste that is often described as “salty.” The more ferrous ions, the stronger this flavor becomes.

Iron also gives beer a characteristic rusty or brown color and a distinctive metallic odor. Ferrous ions produce the same effect but in lower concentrations.

Ways to reduce the amount of diacetyl in beer during fermentation

Diacetyl is a compound that smells like butter. It is also known as “butter flavor.” Many people associate this smell with beer, though it is usually added to the beer during the production stage. Diacetyl can be found in foods such as dairy products, coffee, and butter.

Your goal during fermentation is to reduce the amount of diacetyl in your beer by adjusting the temperature or the yeast culture. The higher the temperature, the more diacetyl will form.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Lowering the temperature of your fermenting wort will slow down fermentation and produce less diacetyl. After pitching, keep your fermenting wort at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit for a week. During this time, remove any visible floating foam that forms on top of your wort.
  • One way to produce less nitrogen compounds (which produce diacetyl) during fermentation is by using lager yeast instead of ale yeast. Lager yeasts have lower levels of these compounds than ale yeasts do.
  • Another option is adding alpha-amylase enzyme to your brew if you are brewing an ale but want to reduce diacetyl production.

What does homebrew smell like?

After being fermented, the beer is ready to be bottled. Homebrew typically includes a malt extract, which is a syrup or powder that contains all of the dry malt flavors and aroma.

When you open a bottle of homebrew, the smell may be reminiscent of candy bananas, apples, ripe fruit, butterscotch, canned corn, or even rotten eggs.

Thus the aroma is sweet, spicy, and generally pleasant. Depending on the stage of fermentation or ingredients used in the process, homebrew will have different smells than commercial beer.

What is the smell from a brewery?

The brewing beer produces chemical compounds that smell intentionally like overripe fruit, or even rotten eggs depending on the stage or ingredients. Brewing beer smells like candy banana, apples, ripe fruit, butterscotch, canned corn, or even rotten eggs depending on the stage or ingredients.

The smells associated with brewing date back thousands of years. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of brewing alcohol in 6000-year-old civilizations in Mesopotamia. In the Bible, Jacob is described as making beer out of barley and grapes (Genesis 30:37).

Many historical documents suggest that beer was an important part of daily life during the Middle Ages in Europe. Brewers used various types of grains and malts, such as wheat, rye, maize (corn), and barley, to make different types of beer. The types of malts used to produce different types of beer gave them unique smells, which are the origins of the terms “malty,” “harsh,” and “bitter” smells.

Why does my beer taste rotten?

Many people have experienced tasting a beer and thinking it tastes like rotten eggs. This is due to the added acids in the form of raw materials (i.e. fruit), fermentation, and/or bacterial contamination or inoculation can cause beer off-flavor and odor (which can sometimes be mistaken as the smell of rotten eggs).

Some people may want to taste this flavor because they enjoy the taste, while others might not like it at all. Many breweries list on their labels what type of raw material was used in order to give consumers a heads up on what they are tasting.

Fruit beers are brewed with natural fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, oranges, or peaches which all contribute an acidic aroma depending on the type of fruit used. Fermentation is another way that beer will acquire a sour smell as well as a sweet smell from sugars that have been produced.

Bacterial contamination and/or inoculation is a little more difficult to detect until you actually taste it but when there is bacteria present, you can detect an unpleasant smell and aftertaste in your mouth from the bacteria’s metabolism of sugars into acids during fermentation.

However, if there is no bacteria present then most likely the beer just tastes normal with some sweetness from malt or residual sugars from fermentation.

Do beers smell different?

Foto von Hopsters brewing company

The ingredients used in beer affect the smell and taste of the beverage.

Water is a key ingredient to beer and it impacts the taste of the final product, so some beers can be salty while others are sweet. Some beers have aromas from hops, herbs, fruits, and even vegetables. Hops are used as a bittering agent in most beers, giving them an earthy aroma and flavor.

Believe it or not, there are more than 1,000 different types of craft brews out there. This means that you could try a new type of beer every day for years without ever tasting the same drink again.

Many breweries use their own signature recipes which combine various spices like coriander and orange peel with malt flavors like bread and honey to produce very distinct smells.

But that doesn’t mean it smells like anything specific. In fact, the smell of beer is notoriously difficult to pin down. At times, it can even have a peculiar, skunky scent to it. But that’s not all. In some cases, your beer may even smell like feet. Yes, you read that right. The reason for this has to do with hop oils.

These oils have a pungent odor that gets absorbed into the beer. Since most of the aroma comes from these oils, the scent of the beer ends up being rather muted. So what does that mean for the taste?

Well, it turns out that some people actually enjoy the peculiar skunky scent in their beer. So if you’re the type who likes to experiment and try out different flavors, you may want to give this style a try.

Why does my beer smell like skunk?

As the beer is being brewed, some unwanted compounds are created. These compounds are usually filtered out. However, if your beer was bottled unfiltered, these compounds can interact with other molecules in the beer to create smells like skunk.

Skunk smells result from a compound called iso-alpha-acids breaking down and reacting to light. The longer it sits on store shelves or in your fridge, the more likely it’ll be that you’ll notice the skunk scent.

If you’re worried about this happening to your homebrewed beer, don’t fret. As long as your bottles are sealed properly, they should be protected from sunlight and its effects on any iso-alpha-acid breakdowns.

Why does my homebrew taste like vinegar?

Your homebrew might taste like vinegar because the liquid was contaminated by bacteria or wild yeast. The most common cause of this is using dirty equipment to brew, such as fermenting with a dirty spoon.

You can also get a bacterial infection from using old yeast, as well as adding too much sugar to your homebrew.

Why does my homebrew smell sour?

The “sour” smell in homebrew is the result of a flaw or contamination with souring bacteria, while the “harsh” smell indicates the presence of too much bitterness.

It is possible that your homebrew has a flaw–perhaps some wild yeast or bacteria got into it during the brewing process and caused it to spoil. This would produce an acrid or sour smell.

Alternatively, you might have intentionally inoculated it with a souring agent to give its flavor an acidic taste such as in Berliner Weisse beers.

If you are concerned about a flaw or contamination, you can always use techniques like boiling your beer or adding hops before fermentation to kill any unwanted bacteria that may have made its way into your beer.

If you are purposely seeking an acidic end product, then there are various methods for achieving this goal through manipulation of pH levels when brewing and adding acidifying agents to the wort at different stages in the brewing process.

What does diacetyl smell like?

Diacetyl is a chemical compound that is commonly used in the fermentation process to give beer a buttery or butterscotch smell. The smell can be pleasant and adds complexity to some beers, but it can also present issues for those with respiratory sensitivities.

In 2008, a large number of people on the West Coast of the United States became ill after drinking beer infected with diacetyl. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated and found that the illness was caused by exposure to diacetyl while consuming a type of beer called “corn-based.”

It’s important to note that diacetyl is not always bad. It can produce an aroma that many people find refreshing in low doses such as in mild ales, stouts, and porters. The issue arises when diacetyl levels are too high due to over-fermentation or bacterial infection.

It’s worth noting that there are varying degrees of freshness for different types of beer which can cause a variety of smells including buttered popcorn, apples, and bananas from hops; canned corn from malt; rotten eggs from bacteria; or even smoked meat from smoked malt.

Why does my homebrew taste yeasty?

Oftentimes, homebrewers may notice that their beer tastes yeasty or like bread. This is because the beer has incomplete fermentation, which is often caused by a lack of yeast in the starter.

The most likely cause of this problem is that the yeast was not pitched enough for the type of beer being brewed. It’s important to ensure that there is enough yeast for the wort you are brewing–at least 1 packet or 2 grams per 5 gallons.

The other reason your homebrew might taste yeasty is due to a high fermentation temperature. Yeast works best at temperatures between 66°F-68°F (19°C-20°C), so if your fermenting temperature is higher than 68°F, you will not have complete fermentation.


The smell of beer has a distinctive smell. The smell of brewing beer is different depending on what ingredients are used in the process and where the malt was grown. There are many smells that are indicative of brewing beer, such as rich malt and sweet sugars.

There are a number of different smells that can originate from the brewing process. Though many people think of bread, honey, and fruit when they think of beer, it is far more complex than just a few flavors.

The tastes and smells associated with beer evolve throughout the brewing process and will depend on the type of grains and hops used in the beer. So next time you’re thinking about what beer should smell like, don’t forget to consider these other factors as well.


What’s the difference between an ale and a lager?

Ale is brewed at high temperatures while lagers are brewed at low temperatures. Lagers take longer to ferment, which means they develop more of their flavors. Ales normally have a fruitier taste.

If a drink is heavy on hops, does that make it hoppy?

Not necessarily. The word “hoppy” comes from the word “hops,” which is the first ingredient in beer that gives beer its flavor and aroma. Hops may not be the only ingredient producing hop-like flavors and aromas in your beer, but if you’re looking for a hoppy flavor, this might be the best place to start.

What does brewing beer smell like?

Brewing beer can have many different distinctive smells, depending on the ingredients used. Some of the most common smells are bananas, apples, ripe fruit, butterscotch, canned corn, and even rotten eggs.

How long do you brew beer?

The length of time it takes to brew a batch of beer varies depending on the brewer and the type of process being used. The average time is two weeks.

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