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View Poll Results: What should I do with my unintentional spontaneous fermentation?
Throw it out! 2 2.60%
Manage the temp and hope for the best... 26 33.77%
Let it run wild! 49 63.64%
Voters: 77. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-04-2009, 12:00 AM   #1
Trencher
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Default Unintentional Spontaneous Fermentation

On Sunday I brewed an American Pale Ale, vaguely resembling EdWort's Haus Pale Ale. My intention was to repitch some yeast I'd had sitting around for a few weeks but the starter "beer" smelled sour and tart so I tossed it. Not having a backup dry yeast package I decided to use the cake from another beer that needed to move out of primary anyway.

Well, one thing led to another and I didn't get the yeast out of the carboy until last night, after the wort sat in a clean carboy for 2 days. Instead of pouring the yeast directly into my new beer I decided to pour it into the 2L flask and let it settle overnight. Then I could decant the remainder of the last batch and add mostly yeast to my new beer.

This morning when I got up my beer was fermenting. Man, that made for an angry day, but after a little exercise and a couple beers I'm feeling better about the situation. I have a few ideas about how the little buggers got in and how I can keep them out next time, but what should I do with the current batch? Do I toss it, keep the temp under control and hope for the best, or let it run wild and see what happens?

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Old 06-04-2009, 01:07 AM   #2
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If it is already wild, then I say you let it go. Put it in a corner, and leave it for a few months.

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Old 06-04-2009, 01:51 AM   #3
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You don't have anything to lose by letting it ferment and see what happens.

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Old 06-04-2009, 02:10 AM   #4
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When you bottle it you should harvest the yeast in case you end up liking it. If the beer sucks you can always throw it out.

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Old 06-04-2009, 04:49 AM   #5
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let it go man, Might be delish.

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Old 06-07-2009, 06:08 AM   #6
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How hoppy is it? If it's not too hoppy just let it go, you'd just end up with an american wild ale.

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Old 06-07-2009, 06:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trencher View Post
what should I do with the current batch? Do I toss it, keep the temp under control and hope for the best, or let it run wild and see what happens?
Honestly, it's extremely difficult to make a good sour beer by accident. There is a 99% chance the wort is infected with the wrong bacterial strains (e.g., acetobacter) and wrong ratio of wild-yeast-to-bacteria...The end result being an undrinkable beer.

Chalk it up to a proper sanitation learning experience and move on...
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamarguy View Post
Honestly, it's extremely difficult to make a good sour beer by accident. There is a 99% chance the wort is infected with the wrong bacterial strains (e.g., acetobacter) and wrong ratio of wild-yeast-to-bacteria...The end result being an undrinkable beer.

Chalk it up to a proper sanitation learning experience and move on...
I'm starting to think you're right... Some thin stringy stuff has started floating to the surface, implying something other than a wild yeast is in there and working. Also I realized that, once fermentation is complete, I will not want my siphoning equipment to touch this stuff so I'd have to drink it from the primary.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trencher View Post
I'm starting to think you're right... Some thin stringy stuff has started floating to the surface, implying something other than a wild yeast is in there and working. Also I realized that, once fermentation is complete, I will not want my siphoning equipment to touch this stuff so I'd have to drink it from the primary.
If you have adequate fermentation vessels to keep brewing, I would let it run. If you need the vessel for future, non-infected beers, then toss it. Are the odds good that it will turn out good? Not really, bu who knows for sure? You could always blend it too. Brew up another similar beer, with a mild yeast like an American ale yeast or something and then blend the two at bottling/kegging. I am sure it would be fine.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:47 PM   #10
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I'd let it sit for 6 or more months and see how it tastes. There's a thread elsewhere about culturing wild yeast... you did the same just on a bigger level.

To sample in a few months - take your old siphon hose - replace it with a new one, and use the current one to siphon old school style (filled with water or sanitizer to start siphon).

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