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Old 08-18-2010, 04:15 AM   #1
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Default 10 months to condition an IPA.

I brewed an IPA last Winter before Christmas. I thought everything went great with the batch and much to my dismay, after I bottled and let them condition for a few weeks they tasted horribly sour to the point where they would actually make me feel ill if I tried to muscle one down.

So here I sat, with a Rubbermaid tub in my closet stacked with bottles. I would crack one open every few weeks to see if they got any better and they seemed to only get worse. I had completely given up on the batch and was waiting for some free time to dump all the bottles so I could bottle my latest batch.

Fast forawrd to today - I'm testing the gravity of a new beer I'm brewing and it has an aroma that really reminds me of the sour smell that my last batch has. I do a taste check.. it tastes ok. I open one of my old beers to compare them and the one I opened actually tastes good!

I dunno if I'm just crazy thirtsy right now or if they've actually conditioned to the point of drinkability but I stuck another 2 or 3 in the fridge to try later.

A full 10 months to start tasting good... amazing. And to think that they were still in the bottle out of sheer laziness because I've been meaning to dump them so I can use the bottles for a new brew....

Next time when someone says "DON'T DUMP THAT BEER!" you better believe that I'm going to listen.

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Old 08-18-2010, 04:18 AM   #2
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sounds like you got some wild yeast in that batch, and it's conditioning out now. you have a saison, instead of an ipa now. let it age another month or 2, and it should taste awesome

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Old 08-18-2010, 04:21 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lumpher View Post
sounds like you got some wild yeast in that batch, and it's conditioning out now. you have a saison, instead of an ipa now. let it age another month or 2, and it should taste awesome
Noob Alert: What's a saison?

Also. the beer now tastes nothing like an IPA. It's actually not bitter at all and finishes very clean. I can tell it needs more time to clean up though because it's still got a hint of the previous tartness.

What do you mean by "wild yeast"? Do you mean, literally, a foreign yeast got involved in the batch during fermenting?
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:22 AM   #4
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Is it possible you just don't care for the hops that you used to dry hop? There is no way it tasted like an IPA after 10 months in the bottle. An extremely sour taste is typically wild yeast or bacteria and that doesn't get better. What say you?

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Old 08-18-2010, 04:26 AM   #5
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Is it possible you just don't care for the hops that you used to dry hop? There is no way it tasted like an IPA after 10 months in the bottle. An extremely sour taste is typically wild yeast or bacteria and that doesn't get better. What say you?
It doesn't taste at all like an IPA now, more like a light Pilsner or a light Ale but it still has the colour of an IPA. I had assumed that there was a bacteria infection that gave it the sour taste which is why I was planning to dump the bottles.

I'm actually posting this because I don't know what to say about it and wanted some feedback on what all the pros thought.

Edit: I've used the hops before in previous beers that turned out well, too. It was a while ago but I beleive it was Cascade.
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:29 AM   #6
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Noob Alert: What's a saison?

Also. the beer now tastes nothing like an IPA. It's actually not bitter at all and finishes very clean. I can tell it needs more time to clean up though because it's still got a hint of the previous tartness.

What do you mean by "wild yeast"? Do you mean, literally, a foreign yeast got involved in the batch during fermenting?
there is yeast floating around in the air. it's what causes stuff to mold, turn off colors, etc. a saison is a beer made by letting it ferment with the wild yeast. i personally don't like them, as i don't like sour beer ( i love hops ), but read up on saisons ( through google )
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:37 AM   #7
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Modern Saisons are made with Belgian or French yeast, not wild bacteria or yeast. Lambics and other sour beers are made with bacteria or wild yeast cultures.

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Old 08-18-2010, 04:42 AM   #8
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thanks for the clarification, norcal. it really does depend on if you're deciding on a "saison" or a "modern saison", depending on whose definition you use.

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Old 08-18-2010, 04:46 AM   #9
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I do have to say that especially after reading up on the Saison styles taste and appearance it seems to be the answer. Although it's accidental, I'm going to let the bottles condition a little longer and see what happens.

For now though, I'm really happy that my sour beer is starting to clear up. It's interesting how persistence(or in this case laziness) can let things work themselves out in the end.

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Old 08-18-2010, 05:10 AM   #10
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thanks for the clarification, norcal. it really does depend on if you're deciding on a "saison" or a "modern saison", depending on whose definition you use.
I disagree. Saisons might have been a wild style when they first started, but that's more of a historical footnote, as all yeast was essentially wild at one point. Saisons use a yeast strain that produces an interesting profile that is unique to the style, but it is just plain old saccharomyces. A saison is a saison. If you add any sort of wild yeast strain to it, it is a saison with wild yeast added. You don't call a beer that wasn't stirred with the magic beer making stick a "modern ale" because that's not what it is. It is just whatever style you are making.

Additionally, "wild yeast" aren't really what make beer sour. The wild strains of yeast these days are typically strains of brettanomyces, which would produce funk, but not sourness. To get that sour, you would need lactobacillus or pediococcus. They're bacteria, not yeast.
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