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Old 11-19-2012, 12:11 PM   #1
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Default Soured Red Rye

This batch was divided into two kegs. The first was really good beer and is now gone. I put the second in the beer fridge 5 days ago and attached the gas. The plan was to serve it at Thanksgiving. Last night I put a picnic tap on it to see if it was carbed. I was surprised to find a strong Brett flavor. Not bad, but not something that I think my Thanksgiving crowd will appreciate.

Now, to figure where the Brett came from. The two strongest possibilities are, first, that the keg may have been one that previously had a sour beer in it and wasn't cleaned well. The second is that the gas line is the one that was attached to the sour and had some bugs in the line. The problem with the gas line theory is that it was only attached for a few days and was chilled. Could the flavor have developed that fast?

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:15 PM   #2
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This batch was divided into two kegs. The first was really good beer and is now gone. I put the second in the beer fridge 5 days ago and attached the gas. The plan was to serve it at Thanksgiving. Last night I put a picnic tap on it to see if it was carbed. I was surprised to find a strong Brett flavor. Not bad, but not something that I think my Thanksgiving crowd will appreciate.

Now, to figure where the Brett came from. The two strongest possibilities are, first, that the keg may have been one that previously had a sour beer in it and wasn't cleaned well. The second is that the gas line is the one that was attached to the sour and had some bugs in the line. The problem with the gas line theory is that it was only attached for a few days and was chilled. Could the flavor have developed that fast?
I'm no expert on sours- but I don't think it could be the gas line. I think the 100% co2 environment would be inhospitable to brett (and other microbes). I also don't think the flavor develops all that fast, but I'm not sure how "fast" it does come. If the other keg is empty, I assume it's been in the keg at least a couple of weeks?
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:23 PM   #3
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If the other keg is empty, I assume it's been in the keg at least a couple of weeks?
Yes, the second keg sat at basement temperature (60-65 degrees) for a little over five weeks. I was grasping at straws with the CO2 idea, hoping it wasn't poor sanitation on my part. I do sometimes put off cleaning my kegs and then rush through the job when I need one. There's also the possibility that both kegs had the bug, but the first one was gone before it had time to developed.

It would be nice to pin it down to one thing, but unless there's a way to do that, I'll have to consider everything in my brewery infected. The worse thing is that I brewed three batches over the last two weeks and now don't know what to expect from them. Sure hope it was just that one keg!

I don't have enough experience with sour beer to know if the Rye is any good. Tastes OK to me. In fact I drank three glasses last night. But before serving it to company, I'd like to get an opinion of someone who knows better.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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Doubtful it came from your gas line because although brett will ferment without the presence of oxygen it isn't that fast. The same is true for pretty much all yeast and bacteria at serving temperatures.

More probable the keg was not properly cleaned and sanitized or you picked up an infection before the beer reached the keg. It doesn't necessarily have to be brett, either. Some bacteria and wild yeast, other than brett, produce those phenolic flavors. If it tastes good today, drink it now. There's no guarantee it will keep tasting good over time.

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Old 11-19-2012, 02:55 PM   #5
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If it tastes good today, drink it now. There's no guarantee it will keep tasting good over time.
This is probably the best advise I'll get. Might bottle a few just to see how they develope.


From your sig, you're the bug expert I was looking for. Too bad you're not closer.



edit to say:
Wait. There is someone local I can try.
Just don't what to poison a friend.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:30 PM   #6
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So, that leads to another question.

Was it wrong to leave a bottle of obviously infected beer on someone's front porch?

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:26 PM   #7
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At worst you gave them a crappy bottle of beer. There is nothing harmful that can live in your beer.

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:30 PM   #8
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If it continues to ferment in the bottle and produce CO2 you could have given them a bottle bomb if they leave it on the counter for a few weeks.

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:31 PM   #9
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I did just here an ambulance go by.

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