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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Mysterious tainted beer. Change in flavor and color of a soured beer in secondary.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:22 PM   #1
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Default Mysterious tainted beer. Change in flavor and color of a soured beer in secondary.

I've been brewing mostly sour beers for the past few years, with relative success, but recently I had a totally baffling issue. I figured maybe someone had come across this or heard of it, so here goes...

My brewing partner Matt and I have a 65g wine barrel, we've been using as a Solera for a Belgian Golden sour ale. We've only racked and replenished beer in it twice so it's fairly new. Our first batch out, was split and aged with a few kinds of berries, and it was great. The most recent batch as treated similarly. Broken into four carboys; straight, with grapes, with raspberries, dry hopped.

When last we checked on them, I noticed that a couple looked darker than I remember. I wrote it off as a trick of light or something, and paid it no mind. However, two days ago we we're set to bottle, and while racking we pulled a sample of the straight beer (yes, racked to secondary and nothing was added). It was clear then that something was wrong. The beer in the barrel is a beautiful clear golden color, but the beer in the carboy had turned a muddy purple-brown. And the taste... It's alright up front, but toward the end, It cuts into this odd, metalicy, papery, weirdness, that we can't figure out. We checked the other carboys and sure enough it'd taken 3 out of 4.

This is what is so baffling. All three carboys were treated exactly the same from what we know. Cleaned with Oxiclean, rinsed, and sanitized with Star-San. And yet, for some reason, the raspberry one is the only one that wasn't tainted in some way. We'd obviously really like to know what happened so we can avoid it in the future. As I'm sure you know, losing 20g of beer you've been sitting on over a year is no fun.

This isn't my image, but this is exactly what ours looked like. Ever heard of this?

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Old 03-26-2013, 01:29 AM   #2
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The tastes you are decribing sound like the reult of oxidation. Air pickup can also darken beer somewhat. I feel your pain-- there is so much time invested in these beers that it's tragic to have such a result.

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Old 03-26-2013, 01:37 AM   #3
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Not so sure. When this happened to my berlinner weisse (kegged and under cO2) it happened within a day or so

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Old 03-26-2013, 02:20 AM   #4
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I seriously doubt simple oxidation is the cause. The bugs in this beer, will form a pellicle in a day or so that protects them from oxygen anyway, not to mention that the transfer process tends to generate some c02. Yes the taste is similar to oxidation, but not the same. for instance, the metallic component. (no metal touched the beer btw)

What is most baffling is the color. This is not a shade darker, it's completely different. It was the golden yellow, and now it is crap brown. I don't even know how to describe the sediment... a blackish purple sludge at the bottom of the carboys. It's almost like someone poured liquid ash into the beer.

This is no run of the mill common noobie homebrew problem, we're well past that. This seems like a chemical reaction of some kind. But with what? a clean and sanitized glass carboy? hence the baffle...

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Old 03-29-2013, 02:47 PM   #5
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In an attempt to recreate the issue we had with the beer, we took a sample of another one of our sours, and added a dose of pure oxiclean solution to it. After two days this test is showing to be inconclusive. There is always a chance it will turn at some point, but the beer has already outlasted the period of time it took to taint previously.

We may attempt the same test with star-san and see if that goes anywhere.

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Old 03-29-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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I assume you know about this thread:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f127/col...ttling-224631/

Maybe try mixing oxiclean and star-san together, it sample jar, let it sit out a few minutes, then add your beer. My guess is there is some chemical reaction with the use of oxiclean-starsan-oxygen-beer, and its "burning" the beer?

Also "Tom" on babble belt had the exact same thing happen. Everything went bad except the portion he racked onto cherries:
http://www.babblebelt.com/newboard/t...=1&tpg=1&add=1

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Old 03-29-2013, 05:04 PM   #7
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Yeah, I'm going to post a comment there as well, as it looks like conversation is picking up.

I'm also Ethan from babble belt, btw.Wasn't sure how much crossover there was between this forum and that. I'll try the star-san + oxiclean test and see what that does.

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Old 03-29-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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I did the star san/oxy clean mix. I'll report back.

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Old 04-09-2013, 05:59 AM   #9
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I had a similar issue recently with a beer that noticeably reddened after being bottled.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/beer...ttling-402445/

It's a complete mystery to me as it should have ended up a nice golden yellow.

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:52 PM   #10
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It looks like you have a similar issue, specifically noting the purplish hue in the finished beer. It cracks me up that people as still saying oxidation. I really wish people would actually give this some thought instead of saying the same old; infected, yeast haze, oxidation, BS.

Our sour beer, oxiclean, star san blend has been sitting for a couple weeks now with no color change. The plot thickens. I wonder if there's any way this could be a reaction to metal in some way. Like how in recipes that use acids like vinegar, they say to mix in a "non-reactive" bowl...

Some of this beer was in a stainless pot at one time. Is there a chance if it wasn't "charged" properly, or if the coating was damaged, it could react in this way? (Forgive me, I know little of stainless chemistry)

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