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HBC 12-11-2012 12:04 AM

Batch Problems - fear of bad brew
Brew day was 3-weeks+ ago.

I have been working on this fermenting batch now for the past 8-days. It stalled out & I took advice of rousing the yeast again and increasing temperature. I checked the gravity today, and it seems that it went in the wrong direction?? It was at 1.020 about 5-days ago -- and now is about 1.025 FG.. It has been in the primary 3-weeks.

The flavor and smell prior to rousing the yeast was WONDERFUL with the only issue being too high of an FG for me to call the batch finished, thus the rousing.

The FLAVOR and SMELL both suck as of today (not drinkable). The flavor is bland/watery with a bit of tartness (Would not call it vinegar taste), and the aroma is a mix of rubber cement and pears.

Could I have a wild yeast or bacterial infection? I did add 1-beano tab a few days ago in hopes to get a few more points since it would make bottle bombs if I bottled now. I have been careful with sanitation, but did not sanitize the beano!!

When the flavor and smell were both pleasant, the brew had something near 2.75% ABV. You would think that especially under sanitary conditions, the alcohol present would be enough to kill most foreign bacterias.

Zamial 12-11-2012 12:46 AM

I can not say how it will turn out but I can comment on a few things.

1. NEVER USE BEANO!!!!! Use Amylase Enzyme. Beano is a chemical that will break down ALL the long chain sugars ALL OF THEM. It never stops! AE will only break down a portion and then it will stop. They are not the same thing!

2. Rubber Pear is almost certainly an infection normally caused by poor sanitation. Because you used Beano I have no idea what that is going to do to the beer and may be the cause of strange tastes...

I would let it sit for a few more weeks and if it still bad dump it, make vinegar or BBQ sauce.

Dawgs47 12-11-2012 01:06 AM

I would check your hydrometer. Unless you added 1/2 a pound of sugar the gravity will not rise. Infections, wild yeast, and beno all will lower your gravity. You may have had a great beer, just bad instruments. Also, don't trust the alcohol to kill bacteria. It will kill all known toxic bacteria, but there are plenty out there that produce awful flavors that can live in beer.

HBC 12-11-2012 02:07 AM

I am starting to wonder about my hydrometer myself. Maybe I was fine with the gravity back 8-days ago and the rousing of yeast (and beano) did me in. You learn more from your own mistakes vs. others. So although $20 goes down the drain, I have education that will last a lifetime.

I will need to buy some sterile water and check my hydrometer. I did learn on this last batch as well that my thermometer was off by about 10-degrees.. therefore my mast was hitting 165+ temps.

Could this rubber cement taste be cardboard as described by others? This would probably be more likely than bacteria in that the batch tasted GREAT just a few days back at the last sample (before the addition of beano).

Too much heat (the highest that it could have possibly gotten) was 74-degrees in the past few days (could this be a fuel taste that high temps bring?) - I am just still doubting bacterial due to my diligent sanitation. It could very well be that darn Beano making it taste this way too.

I have tasted bacteria infected beer in the past and it was SOUR. This is hard to describe.

I will give it a few more days, taste and dump if necessary.

Zamial 12-11-2012 02:25 AM

Water is water for testing a hydrometer. Hard/soft may throw it off a point or 2 but it is not going to be more than that.

I hate to say it but pear/rubber sounds like a chlorophenol infection (If this is an infection and not a side effect of beano). High mash temps will get you tannins which are bitter on the sides of the tongue and back of the throat. Cardboard flavors are normally oxidation from splashing finished beer around.

If it is oxidation or an infection it is going to get worse. If it is a beano thing it may get better...I would check it in a week.

HBC 12-11-2012 02:28 AM

Thanks-- I will wait a week, then proceed. I will test the hydrometer tonight and report back here what it reads.

HBC 12-11-2012 02:50 AM

My tap water reads 1.004 (50-degree range) and the gravity of the beer is between 1.024/1.026 with 67-degree temp.

The hydrometer appears to be dang close. I attribute the lack of fermentable sugars in this batch to an inaccurate (confirmed) thermometer. Thus the adjustments. The original yeast as well could be the culprit too in that it was washed yeast (could have had bacteria from the beginning) but would think I would some hint prior when I took taste-samples.

Let it also be known that I am getting airlock activity of about 1-bubble per minute at this point in this batch. PLEASE do your job-yeast or you are fired!

I hope that the Beano is causing the off flavors and will mellow out in a week.

HBC 12-13-2012 05:32 PM

I don't think that I will need to wait the full week.. walking by the container today, I smelled vinegar, and it indeed was coming from my batch of beer that I have been discussing. I tasted it and found a strong vinegar taste to the mouth. Therefore, infection it is.

THE ONLY UN-SANITARY thing that I have done on this batch is add the beano. IT was perfect prior. I am not saying that Beano is un-sanitary, but obviously the beer turned sour during my beano addition.

I would have had a high 3%- low 4% brew to drink if I did not screw with the Beano. This is the last time I will go that route = Learning as we go here.

I fortunately have planned another brew day soon as I am awaiting a bunch of parts via UPS. Time to move on.

unionrdr 12-13-2012 06:35 PM

Maybe make a malt vinegar out of it? Great on fish-n-chips.

HBC 12-13-2012 07:05 PM

hmm.. if you are serious/and that is safe-- that may be a heck of a good christmas gift-- How can you know that the bacterial content causing the vinegar is safe? I would assume to make safe, a pasteurization would be in store.. that makes me 10% happier!

Sounds like I need to do some research and see if I can turn my beautiful beer into sour stink Christmas presents.

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