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Old 09-25-2009, 11:49 PM   #1
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Default The stench of doom

Monday night I brewed a Bock. Partial mash kit. Everything went very smooth. The ingredients were from a very reputable supplier (AHS). Wednesday morning it started bubbling, but that was the last of the good news. Along with the tell-tale signs of primary fermentation, was an odor that I can only describe as what Andy must have been smelling while crawling through the sewage tunnel in The Shawshank Redemption. It was downright putrid. I had to run to work, and when I came home, I could have sworn the dog had gone#2 somewhere in the house, but when I tracked the scent down, yep, it was the fermenter. The smell has died down finally in terms of potency, but if you get right next to the fermenter, it still smells pretty foul.

Anyways, I can't imagine this situation is going to have a happy ending. I can't imagine even bottling this stuff, let alone drinking it. So is there anyone out there that can tell me this will have a happy ending? I'm not holding out much hope.

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Old 09-26-2009, 12:06 AM   #2
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Relax, beers make all kinds of smells and some of them smell like rhino farts. It has nothing to do with the final outcome of your beer either in smell or taste.

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Old 09-26-2009, 12:09 AM   #3
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What kind of yeast are you using? If you're using a lager yeast and fermenting above 55 degrees, that could explain all of that smell.

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Old 09-26-2009, 12:25 AM   #4
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I was very surprised when I made a hefe with a begina liquid yeast ... it smelled like the beer could never recover. Its weird, 3 weeks later no smell no taste. It was gone. RELAX!

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Old 09-26-2009, 12:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
What kind of yeast are you using? If you're using a lager yeast and fermenting above 55 degrees, that could explain all of that smell.
I used White Labs German Bock Lager WLP833, and the wort is at ~60 degrees. That's as cold as I can get it without a chiller (my brewing fridge didn't survive the Texas summer). Could that really be causing that stench? It was pretty potent.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokugawa View Post
I used White Labs German Bock Lager WLP833, and the wort is at ~60 degrees. That's as cold as I can get it without a chiller (my brewing fridge didn't survive the Texas summer). Could that really be causing that stench? It was pretty potent.
Yup. That'll do it.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokugawa View Post
I used White Labs German Bock Lager WLP833, and the wort is at ~60 degrees. That's as cold as I can get it without a chiller (my brewing fridge didn't survive the Texas summer). Could that really be causing that stench? It was pretty potent.
Oh, yeah. Lagers fermented above about 50-55 will give all mega sulfur smell. You may have been better off with a clean well-attenuating ale yeast at 60 degrees. However, it's too late to second guess now. Just wait it out, and you still should have a decent beer albeit a bit fruity. Do you plan on lagering your lager?
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:30 AM   #8
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Wow. That's new one on me. Damn I need to get a new fridge. I can't go much longer only brewing ales. I miss my lagers. So it sounds like the smell will die out when fermentation begins to slow down and stop correct? I've got it tucked away where the smell isn't going to bother anyone.

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Old 09-26-2009, 12:34 AM   #9
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Do you plan on lagering your lager?
Sorry for the dp. I thought I could keep it in the 50-55 range with a jerry rigged closet, ice, fan, combination, and some careful monitoring, but I can't keep it below 60, so I guess I screwed the pooch on that one. No true lagering for me. Guess I'll hit some garage sales this weekend. If I do find a decent fridge, am I correct to assume that it is too late to get much lagering out of the yeast after five days at these temps?
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:39 AM   #10
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No, you can lager it no matter how you fermented it. "Lager" means to store in German. It just means keeping the beer at a cold temperature for conditioning after primary. Once you rack it, you can definitely cold store it to help smooth it out a bit.

Ideally, you would ferment the beer at the yeast strain's recommended temps. That strain is generally best at 48-52 degrees or so, in my opinion. You're a little warm, but you may only notice a bit of fruitiness as a result. The sulfur stench should subside by the time primary is finished and you're ready to lager.

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