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Old 11-04-2008, 02:58 PM   #1
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Default Infection advice needed

Hey all,

I was pretty disappointed to check on my beer this morning to find... infection. Dang. Is there anything I can do at this point, or is it dead?

Thanks!



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Old 11-04-2008, 02:59 PM   #2
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Wait until that pellicle falls (up to a year) then check gravity. If it is low enough bottle it and see what you have. It could be very good. What did it start as?

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:02 PM   #3
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That looks like a serious pellicule...but that's not always a bad thing...

You might end up with a nice sour beer there.

What's the recipe?

Some people spend big bucks to get yeast that will produce a skin like that...

Maybe Evan! can give you some advice on it....

But don't count it out yet, you may have something that turns out to be magical!

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:06 PM   #4
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Hmmm...yeah, definitely a pellicle. I'd need to know what the base recipe was. More often than not, you can't just infect any old style and expect it to turn out well. A hoppy sour beer h'aint exactly good stuff. But if it was, for example, a kolsch or something along those lines, then it might be okay. The thing is, though, it means occupying a fermenter for a year. Me, I don't like the prospect of waiting a year to find out if it's okay. If I'm gonna occupy a damn fermenter (I have two sours going right now), I'm gonna make sure I'm starting with the right grain bill, the right IBU, the right bugs. I'm all for experimentation, but not blind experimentation when it means tying up a fermenter for a year.

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.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:18 PM   #5
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Wow, fast responses, thanks! First of all, I have no idea what a pellicle is. Is that a specific time of infection? Is that like a mold? Can I rack out from underneath it?

The style was unfortunately a pumpkin beer. I'm not sure if a sour pumpkin ale sounds all that appetizing. Here's the basic recipe information:

10.5 lbs organic pale malt
1 lb crystal 20
1 lb crystal 40
9 lbs pumpkin

1 oz cluster @ 60 mins
0.5 oz mt hood @ 20 mins

White Labs East Coast Ale Yeast (WLP008)

The pumpkin was skinned, cubed and baked @ 350F for 45 mins before added to the mash.

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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The pellicle is like the "krausen" for wild yeast/bacteria. That white stuff you see on top is the start of the pellicle.

Yeah, unless you have a couple dozen fermenters and don't mind tying one up for a year on a longshot experiment (pumpkin sour beer sounds bad to me), I'd say it's a lost cause. BUT, don't dump it just yet. Give it a few months and try it out. You never freakin' know!

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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:24 PM   #7
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That actually sounds like it could work out well....

A pellicle is the white bubbly skin that has formed on top of your beer. It is the tell tale sign of an infection, don't freak, the good kind of infection. If it was a fuzzy mold or weird colors, it wouldn't be so good, but what you have may be just great. I would ride it out if I were you, but I am carboy rich.

A related story... I recently racked about 2 gallons of Ed's Oktoberfast that didn't fit into my kegs into a carboy because I didn't have a place to put it and I didn't want to take the time to bottle. Well, I don't know how it happened but I ended up with an infection in there (maybe it was the 3 gallons of dusty air inside ). My plan is to keep the infection going and dump my excess beer (I always have a bit more than 10g final product) in there to make a sour whapatooi beer. I figure I will have the 5g carboy full in about a year. Then I will age it appropriately and see what I have. I figure it is a fun project and I am carboy rich so I can afford the space for a cool project.

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:26 PM   #8
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The pellicle is a layer of yeast forming on top of the beer to regulate oxygen permeability.

You need to taste it before making a decision about what to do with it. However, to be truthfully honest, wild yeast that is flying around the room and infecting your beer isn't as controlled as the "wild" yeast that are strain specific and isolated as so that are used for "sour" styles.

If you rack from underneath, the pellicle is just going to form again because wild yeast ferments farther than normal Saccharomyces and they'll just kick up another layer to control oxidation.

If you're really interested, and have the space, I'd give it 6 weeks to 2 months, taste, then go from there.

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:36 PM   #9
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How COol!
An "is My beer Infected?" thread that really has infected beer!

Should be pretty cool to see how this develops.

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:38 PM   #10
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Evidently Sour Pumpkins are not all that unheard of...

Quote:
Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela No. 1.

The label describes it as an “ale brewed with pumpkin, spices, and cacao,” aged in oak, and with a surprisingly low ABV level of 5.9%. No mention of wild yeast on the label though Jolly Pumpkin bills itself as the only brewer in the U.S. to “age 100% of its beers in oak with naturally occurring wild yeast.” I reported a couple weeks back that Jeffries would be sending a sour pumpkin ale to Cambridge Brewing in Massachusetts for a pumpkin ale fest. This is probably the same beer so there is likely a sour component to this as well, which could make it one of the first of its kind.
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