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Old 11-09-2012, 02:06 PM   #1
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Default Pumpkin Ales - Confirm Infection

OK... I am pretty sure I know the answer, but I just wanted a 2nd or 3rd opinion.

I brewed up a pumpkin ale on 9/15/12. Sanitized everything like normal but I made a few changes on my brew day.

I tried the no chill method and put my bucket in a swamp cooler to get down to pitching temps. Pitched my 2000 ml starter of Wyeast 1056 (which was washed) the next day.

Fermentation was steady and didnt need a blow-off. OG was 1.055 and estimated FG should be around 1.011. Left it sit for a 6 weeks.

Went to bottle it and all looked well. Took a hydro reading at it was at 1.005.
Tasted the hydro sample and it was VERY medicinal tasting. Couldnt even taste a hint of the pumpkin pie spices I put in there.

Concerning, but I still bottled it on 10/25/12.

Thinking back, I believe I have an infection. I don't think there is any way that my 1056 yeast could have attenuated it down to 1.005. Temps remained around 63° all throughout fermentation. The medicinal flavor was overpowering.

Thoughts on this anyone??

I will try one in another week or so and see but now I see some oil slick like residue on the top of almost every bottle.

Pretty sure this is infected and will be dumped eventually. I may as well get a new bucket as well.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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It would be a good bet it is but doesn't mean you have to toss it. Let it sit for longer if you can and you may have a pumpkin sour or a dry pumpkin ale. If that's your thing.

What does the top of the beer look like (please describe)? May give us an idea on what the bug might be.

How does it taste? If the taste is bad and undrinkable then there may be no choice but to dump it. Happens to us all.

As far as the fermentor goes they aren't expensive so it may be best to replace it and maybe anything plastic that came into contact with it. Otherwise soak in hot water oxyclean solution (about 1 table-spoon per gal of hot water) and let it sit over night. That'll fix it. It's worked for me.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:48 PM   #3
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I had one bottle out of the 50 that had floating chunks. The other 49 all have an oil slick like swirl at the top. Looks nothing like a pellicle that I have seen, just slick looking. No bubbles or anything. I can try to take pics but it is hard to see anything through brown bottles...

I intended to wait it out and see what it tastes like in 3 weeks, 3 months, and maybe 1 year.

I have already deemed the bucket as my new yard bucket to pick up dog poop with. I will soak my racking cane in oxy and get new hosing, so I should be good to go for further batches.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:55 PM   #4
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Is your bucket food grade at the temp. If you did no chill in the buckets you buy from the lhbs it probly not. Im ganna say thats were the medicinal flaver is coming from. melted plastic.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:03 PM   #5
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Is your bucket food grade at the temp. If you did no chill in the buckets you buy from the lhbs it probly not. Im ganna say thats were the medicinal flaver is coming from. melted plastic.
This is a really plausible explanation. The test will be whether the flavor gets worse.

The alternative, and the low FG suggests this might be true, is a wild yeast infection. Low FG plus medicinal flavors after a few weeks suggests a wild yeast like saccharomyces diastaticus is up in your beer. It will not get better, it will only get worse until the beer dries out and the wild yeast run out of things to eat. Saccharomyces diastaticus and similar wild yeast do metabolize dextrins and starches so they will burn through that last five points and make more medicinal flavors.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:13 PM   #6
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LOL.. never thought of the plastic melting explanation... Makes sense though. It was the standard "Ale Pail" - The thing that throws me off is the low FG.

I guess the only way to tell is try a bottle in a week and see where it is at. I wont dump it yet but if it doesnt get any better in 3 months, then it is drain cleaner.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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The plastic leaching is a pretty good possibility. Lacto makes an oily looking slick, but I wouldn't associate that with a medicinal taste. Since they're already bottled it's better to just ride it out and see what happens. You'll want to put the bottles in a tub or something where if they bomb on you they won't make a mess.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:23 PM   #8
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I did a pumpkin ale around the same time, and also had an oil slick when I bottled (gravity sample tasted fine). I checked them this morning and they all have a film on the top of them. I am going to try one tonight, but am hoping the oil slick is from the roasted pumpkin (maybe some cooking oil pick-up from the cookie sheet I used to roast pumpkin?) and the film/gunk is a mini krausen formed by the yeast.

I'm thinking infection - but am still 'thinking wishfully'...

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:36 PM   #9
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I did a pumpkin ale around the same time, and also had an oil slick when I bottled (gravity sample tasted fine). I checked them this morning and they all have a film on the top of them. I am going to try one tonight, but am hoping the oil slick is from the roasted pumpkin (maybe some cooking oil pick-up from the cookie sheet I used to roast pumpkin?) and the film/gunk is a mini krausen formed by the yeast.

I'm thinking infection - but am still 'thinking wishfully'...
Damn you pumpkin ale... lol
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:37 PM   #10
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The plastic leaching is a pretty good possibility. Lacto makes an oily looking slick, but I wouldn't associate that with a medicinal taste. Since they're already bottled it's better to just ride it out and see what happens. You'll want to put the bottles in a tub or something where if they bomb on you they won't make a mess.
Maybe it is a combo of leeching AND lacto and I really messed up this batch.

If they were already down to an FG of 1.005, would there still be a possibility of bombs?

Or because of the priming sugar, this would be a possibiity?
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