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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Slight Infection?
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Old 04-20-2007, 02:39 AM   #1
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Default Slight Infection?

I have made three beers. It all started with some equipment my father-in-law gave me, primary in an old bucket he gave me. "Secondary" in the bottle. Made my first beer "Winter Warmer," tasted great.

My second beer: Red Ale. Primary in bottling bucket. Secondary in old bucket from before and then bottled. Tasted ok, has a slight sour finish.

Third beer: Hefeweizen. Same procedure as above except secondary in new BetterBottle. It has been carbing in bottle for ~10 days, tried one yesterday. Still has some carbing to do but that slight sour finish is there. I know it could just be "green" but it reminds me too much of the Red Ale.

Is it possible that this is coming from an infection. I am about to go for four, Kolsch, and don't want to mess that up.

Any insight would be helpful.

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Old 04-20-2007, 02:50 AM   #2
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My first guess would be the old bucket that you are using as a primary. How does it look on the inside? Any scratches?

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Old 04-20-2007, 02:52 AM   #3
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But that's the weird part, it is old and has some fine scratches, none that are all that obvious from sight or big gashes.

I fermented my first beer in it, no problem.

My third beer, the young hefe, never touched it and it has the slight sourness.

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Old 04-20-2007, 03:06 AM   #4
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I think it's got to be the bottles- what else could it be? Your tubing? Maybe. But there is something common here that is causing the problem. If the taste was not there after secondary, I'm thinking it's the bottling bucket/wand/tubing/ or bottles.

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Old 04-20-2007, 03:12 AM   #5
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It may not be an infection at all. If could be your water or cleaner. If either has a high chlorine content it could add a very astringent or bitter flavor. What are you using to sterilize your equipment.....if it is bleach that could be the problem. Try rinsing more and don't worry so much, you actually have to almost try to get an infection.

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Old 04-20-2007, 03:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper Chick
I think it's got to be the bottles- what else could it be? Your tubing? Maybe. But there is something common here that is causing the problem. If the taste was not there after secondary, I'm thinking it's the bottling bucket/wand/tubing/ or bottles.
It tasted somewhat sour before I bottled, I think even before I racked to the secondary.

In both cases I used my [somewhat new] bottling bucket for a primary. I am somewhat afraid that my assumption that the spigot/valve seals perfectly might have been wrong, but I never saw any kind of leakage.

I think I am going to go buy a new 6 gallon BetterBottle for primary.

If the bottling bucket is the culprit, is it shot, not good for just bottling?

The lines have been replaced. I am pretty sure I sanitized everything pretty well.
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:14 AM   #7
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a good test to see if you actually have an infection in your bottled beer is to look in the neck of the bottle. Swirl it gently and see if you can see a ring that sticks to the side or floats up there (anything besides pure liquid), if so you have an infection.

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Old 04-20-2007, 03:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjm76
It may not be an infection at all. If could be your water or cleaner. If either has a high chlorine content it could add a very astringent or bitter flavor. What are you using to sterilize your equipment.....if it is bleach that could be the problem. Try rinsing more and don't worry so much, you actually have to almost try to get an infection.
The first batch that was sour I used bottled spring water.

I clean with a mild soap usually and sanitize with iodophor at 12.5ppm (no rinse).
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Old 04-20-2007, 03:19 AM   #9
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Boy, I am NOT an expert in this, but if you have a sour-ish taste before secondary that makes me suspect the primary. OK, wort cooling, etc, you know how to do. I'd say try a different primary, just so see if that's the problem. Take apart your spigot and wash and sanitize it to death.

Could you run through your procedure, start to finish, so I could see any possible flaws? Include sanitizing, temp of the wort, cooling time, ferment time and temp, etc. and I'll nitpick through it. If you don't mind. I've got a pretty good eye for detail and I might pick up something seemingly innocuous.

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Old 04-20-2007, 03:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper Chick
Boy, I am NOT an expert in this, but if you have a sour-ish taste before secondary that makes me suspect the primary. OK, wort cooling, etc, you know how to do. I'd say try a different primary, just so see if that's the problem. Take apart your spigot and wash and sanitize it to death.

Could you run through your procedure, start to finish, so I could see any possible flaws? Include sanitizing, temp of the wort, cooling time, ferment time and temp, etc. and I'll nitpick through it. If you don't mind. I've got a pretty good eye for detail and I might pick up something seemingly innocuous.
Well lets try one more thing, the fact that they both taste sour might be coincidence.

I will admit there were some mishaps with the first one that soured, the Red Ale.

The hefeweizen, I used LME that was a little old. I tasted it before boiling and it tasted OK. Could this cause the problem? It was in an airtight container (or at least I think/hope) for a year between buying and using.


BTW, now that i think about it, I probably didn't sanitize the spigot like I should have, I probably just let the iodophor flow through it attached to the bucket.
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