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Old 03-20-2013, 12:15 AM   #1
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Default Another "is it contaminated" thread

I brewed and all-grain batch of pale ale on February 8th. It sat in primary (6 gallon Better Bottle) for four weeks. I then dry-hopped it with 1/2 oz. of Centennial hops (1/2 oz. also used at flameout). Everything appeared fine when I added the hops. Several days later, the airlock started bubbling. The top surface of the beer was covered in bubbles. A week later, the airlock still bubbles about every 30 seconds and the bubbles are still very evident on top of the beer - see attached photos. The last batch fermented in this container was contaminated - I had to pour the whole batch out. However I didn't see any of the bubbles until I dry-hopped this batch. The beer was very clear, now it is cloudy looking.

Any thoughts?

centeniall-hopped-pale-ale.jpg   centeniall-hopped-pale-ale-2.jpg  
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:47 AM   #2
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Omg you've started the zombie apocalypse. Haha jk, looks totally normal to me

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:48 AM   #3
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And another "everything looks perfectly normal" reply....it's fine.

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:51 AM   #4
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The pictures are inconclusive. There isn't anything classically ugly in the pics. Indeed, if you hadn't related the history, I'd say they show a healthy krausen in a primary fermentation.

Have you been tracking the gravity of this batch? It might be informative if the SG at four weeks (ie: just before you dumped in the hops) was appreciably higher than a reading taken today.

In any case, you're definitely going to need to give it a taste...

Cheers!

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Old 03-20-2013, 01:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for the encouragement! I feel honored - Revvy has given me brewing advice.

I will give it a taste tomorrow when my taste buds are clean - in the middle of some pretty good IPA (not homebrew - currently out of anything other than the wife's coffee stout made especially for her - not really to my taste).

Thanks a lot for the help. I have been worried to death about that batch since those bubbles formed. I just don't recall ever seeing that before. I have been brewing for about 2-1/2 years now - probably around 50 batches under my belt by now.

I will taste it tomorrow and post an update. I have started not taking hydrometer readings until bottling last few batches - scared of contamination. Guess I should though. My work schedule requires that I be gone for 3 weeks at a time, home for 3 weeks, so I have been brewing the last week and just leaving the beer on primary until I get home and can bottle - feeling good about that thanks to Revvy and the other "skip the secondary" advocates.

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Old 03-22-2013, 12:45 AM   #6
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I placed the carboy outside last night - ambient temperature somewhere in the mid to high 30's. The beer got down to about 50 degrees or so. Most of the bubbles were gone and the hops had mostly sunk to the bottom of the carboy. The sample tasted fine. My wife tasted it and detected no off-flavors, and her nose is better than mine. So I went ahead and bottled it this morning, along with another pale ale brewed within a day or two.

Both finished at lower than expected gravity - the suspect batch at 1.007 and the other at 1.005. The recipes were the same other than the aroma/dry hops. Mash temperatures really close on both - 156 degrees if my glass thermometer is calibrated correctly, which I suspect is not. I used Nottingham yeast in both. Next batch I plan to mash at 158 - 160 and see how final gravity turns out.

In any case I do think my worries about contamination were unfounded, and I appreciate the advice.

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Old 03-22-2013, 01:15 AM   #7
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That's why they say RDWHAH.

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Old 03-22-2013, 11:47 AM   #8
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I understand. It was hard not to worry though since the last batch I brewed got contaminated - I think during transfer to secondary - and I ended up pouring 5 gallons of carefully (I thought) crafted beer down the sink. The ring around the top of the beer in the secondary should have tipped me off I guess. After two weeks in the bottle opening them resulted in foam pouring everywhere and the beer was undrinkable. This pushed me over the edge of deciding to not transfer to secondary. These last two batches were dry-hopped in the primary.

Thanks again.

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Old 04-30-2013, 11:51 PM   #9
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So if anyone is interested - this batch ended up fine. I think it was still fermenting a bit when I bottled it - heavy layer of sedimentation in the bottom of the bottles and they are extremely over-carbonated. Or would have been if my wife had not de-pressurized them (flip tops) for me while I was gone from home working. Even so they are over-carbonated. But definitely not contaminated.

I don't know what is going on with my beers over-attenuating - this has happened with the last three batches. This batch and the other concurrent batch I brewed the next day both finished at around 1.005 or so. Another problem for another day.

Anyway thanks for the "relax, have a homebrew" advice previously.

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