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Old 05-18-2008, 10:27 PM   #1
EinGutesBier
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Default Pellicle Watch '08: The Beer is Fixed

First, a thank you to everyone who responded to my pellicle thread earlier. All of the input was appreciated. In particular, I wanted to acknowledge those who told me to hang in there and relax. The good news is that the pellicle is already starting to recede, so it's not much of an infection, I think - still, I warmed up the fermenter a bit with the heating pad to make sure it has a chance to entirely run its course.

The better news? Pulled a sample off today and it smells and tastes great. Yep, it no longer smells like Satan's Anus™. In fact, you can smell some nice crisp acidity, and the citrus has even returned somewhat, both in taste and aroma. The horsey, barnyard aroma has fallen back and become complementary, instead of overpowering and it smells mostly like beer again. There's definitely a funky Saison thing going on. Finally, the taste, like I said, is back. It's...dare I say...complex. You can tell that there are indeed some hops in there (though you can't quite tell what kind, which is a waste of noble hops...), but maybe that'll come around.

Suffice it to say, I'm pretty darn excited and will let this one sit until early June to make sure it's fully done and then I'll bottle and age as usual. I'm sort of glad the beer got infected, because it forced me to be patient and let this beer have a chance to really mature. A note to any new brewers who may be reading this: do not panic. Your beer is not ruined. Patience is the key and your best friend. RDWHAHB.

Accidental success, here I come . I'm gonna harvest this yeast & bacteria and use it again for sure.

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Old 05-18-2008, 10:35 PM   #2
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Good on that! But I must amend this sentence:

Your beer is probably not ruined.

I've had 2 infections in my day, and believe me...the result is 2 cases of gushing crap that's good for little else than putting into the liquid bowl in your smoker. But at least things turned out well for you...

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Old 05-18-2008, 10:45 PM   #3
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That's true. Despite this, there's still a reason why people don't want infections. I was just lucky that my infection happened to occur with a batch of Saison, so it ended up being complementary. If nothing else, that reinforces my decision to brew primarily Belgians.

For other styles, though, it can be a justifiably frustrating thing. I guess the ultimate lesson is that for styles that benefit from an infection, let it ride out. For other styles that you don't want infected...well, let it sit long enough that the FG is really low and you don't hurt yourself should you try to bottle it. Either way, letting it sit is better than just dumping it without giving it a chance to come out okay. After all the cost and hard work that goes into a batch of beer, you owe it to yourself to follow good sanitary practices. Failing that, you owe it to yourself to at least give the beer a chance.

On a side note, you mentioned batches you had to pitch...I know your pain. I've had two five gallon batches from when I was very new to brewing that had to be thrown. Not because of an infection, but because I inoculated it with an inadequate amount of yeast. So another FIY for new brewers: always have the correct pitching rate for your batch. That's one guaranteed way to screw up your beer. I waited 4 months for these batches to come through and they were crap to the end, so I dumped them all down the sink. They weren't worth the caps I put on the bottles.

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