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Old 04-15-2010, 01:51 AM   #1
brewhan
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Default Beer suddenly turned to vinegar a day after maturing - twice

I've got a slightly strange problem on my hands here.

With two different brews I've made (my first two ever), with mostly very different ingredients, my beer has suddenly started tasting like vinegar only a day or so after maturing in the bottle.

A bottle of my most recent brew tasted not-quite-ready at 15 days in the bottle. The next bottle tasted really nice, with no real off-flavours, at 20 days. But just one day later, at 21 days, all the bottles had turned bad and tasted like vinegar.

That batch was made from scratch by mashing malted barley etc. Brewing sugar used was dextrose. All equipment was sterilised.

Strange thing is, the exact same thing happened with my previous batch, which was completely different - made from a Cooper's beer kit.

The only thing these batches had in common was that I used Cooper's carbonation drops (ingredients: "sugar", glucose) for priming. Could this potentially have caused my problem, either by their ingredients or by the fact that I didn't boil them before adding them to each bottle (the instructions didn't say I should)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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Old 04-15-2010, 05:26 AM   #2
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Likely not the carbonation drops, as they are sterile from the factory. The problem here my friend, is probably your sterilization techniques, and perhaps to a lesser degree how you're storing them. When you say "vinegar" I immediately think "airborne bad guys". Maybe for your next batch just go big time over kill on sanitation. It's tough to overdo sanitation, but easy to under-do. Those airborne bad guys can spoil an entire batch real quick so you gotta be careful. The only other thing I can think of is that it is conceivable that if you bottled in clear bottles and left them in direct sunlight that could have skunked them really bad, but I would definitely lean towards the former.

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Old 04-15-2010, 09:48 PM   #3
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seen any fruit flies around your fermenters?

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Old 04-16-2010, 01:58 AM   #4
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Thanks, that's interesting. I guess I'll be super-careful about sterilization next time. Got any specific tips for avoiding airborne bugs?

Is it strange that my beer suddenly went bad after about 3 weeks in the bottle? Or is that how it usually goes?

Nope, no fruitflies anywhere.

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Old 04-16-2010, 02:05 AM   #5
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beer/wine + oxygen = vinegar (simple as that)...check your airlocks

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Old 04-16-2010, 02:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goose1873 View Post
beer/wine + oxygen = vinegar (simple as that)...check your airlocks
Only in the presence of AAB
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:18 AM   #7
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yes but its doubtful k-meta or other acetic acid bacteria inhibitors were used therefor i think he should check his airlocks...

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Old 04-16-2010, 01:21 PM   #8
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Could he be mistaking the flavors from lactobacillus contamination for vinegar? Just a thought.

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Old 05-06-2010, 06:36 AM   #9
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Well, I'm pretty sure I finally figured this one out - it was the airlock / airborne bugs (as a couple of people suggested).

I discovered that my airlock has an indentation up one side of the bit that plugs into the grommet, which I'm pretty sure would have been letting air through. The problem is solved if I push the airlock further into the grommet.

I always thought it was strange that when taking samples out of the tap, the airlock didn't bubble backwards much. And it wasn't bubbling forwards much as my beer fermented either.

Stupid me! I've just put a new batch on with the airlock correctly set up. Here's hoping!

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Old 05-06-2010, 04:58 PM   #10
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Let us know how this one goes. I doubt that the problem is the airlock. Probably something happening at bottling.

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