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Old 09-29-2009, 01:57 PM   #1
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Default Dry Hopping Infection

Not sure if this belongs here (I'm sure the moderators will move if need be), but I had a batch of beer that tasted fantastic when moving from primary to secondary and measured 1010 on the hydro. I dry hopped with an ounce of cascade in the secondary and it appeared to start refermenting. This went on for a month (visible bubbles in the secondary streaming to the top). When I kegged it the gravity had dropped to 1006 (started around 1054 I believe) and it tasted blah.

I am seriously considering giving up dry hopping for ever. Anyone else have this happen and how can I prevent it?

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Old 09-29-2009, 02:25 PM   #2
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hops have antibacterial properties so you likely didn't get an infection. I have heard beer sitting on hops for too long results in grassy tastes.

How long was it in the primary before being moved?

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Old 09-29-2009, 02:50 PM   #3
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This recently happened to me. Beautiful primary beer, racked to secondary and added 1oz hallertau pellets and after 5 days i noticed airlock activity and a thin white foam head in the secondary. I let it go a couple more days and then kegged it - the final gravity was 1.009. The beer has lagered now for more than a month, tastes pretty grassy still but is slowly mellowing. No idea if it was wild activity. I think I am done with true dry-hopping though - I'm not a huge fan of the grassy flavors and don't really like waiting 2 months for those flavors to mellow out. I normally pseudo-dry hop by adding just as I turn off the burner.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:10 PM   #4
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Are you positive the beer was finished at 1.010? Did it remain at that reading for 2-3 days? When you rack to secondary, there is still CO2 in solution that will continue gas out, creating bubbles and airlock activity. There is also the possibility that yeast dropped out before finishing and got roused back up when you racked. Does the beer have off-flavors, or does it just taste "blah?" I'm just skeptical since infections from dry hopping aren't very typical.

Also, 1 month is way too long for dry hopping. Usually 10-14 days is enough. Over 14 days is when things start to get grassy.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:19 PM   #5
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you really do have an infection (and I'm not convinced that you do by what has been said) that it wasn't the dry-hopping. There are simply just too many other variables going on here to say without a doubt that it was the hops. You've moved to a new vessel. To do so you used a racking cane, hose, the new vessel itself. And as mentioned above transferring will rouse up some yeast possibly getting a little more feeding time in.

Not trying to change your mind on dry-hopping...if you don't like it don't do it. But I think it's wrong to say it caused an infection when it really hasn't.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:20 PM   #6
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The thin white skin/head that develops in secondary after dryhopping has freaked out many a first time dry hopper......Including me, but Biermuncher explained it to me.

Sometimes the oil leaching off the hops forms an oil slick on the surface of the beer (that whole oil and water thing) and that slick traps co2 rising from the bottom of the beer and makes for some scary/ugly and infected looking stuff.

It usually isn't.

Your airlock bubbling could be any number of things, least of which is an infection.....Unless you take a grav reading and the beer has dropped below the FG of your recipe more than likely you nudge the fermenter somehow and it's off gassing, your temps warmed a bit and the yeasts woke up and decided to do some more work, or anything.....

If it tastes and smells fine, then it's probably not an infection.

Like someone else pointed out, the hops have a preservative effect so it's not likely a source of infection, additionally you are adding them to alcohol, not "at risk" wort.

So I'm going to say more than likely your beer is NOT infected and everything is fine...The variable against it being an infection are just too high.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:28 PM   #7
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I had a batch infected from dry hopping recently.

BUT, it wasnt the hops... it was however the grain dust that was still on my scale that ALSO made it into my fermentor.

It began slowly bubbling away after reaching terminal gravity... tasted AWESOME before the dry hop... after the dry hop and "bubbling" it tasted sour, nasty... undrinkable.

May not be the hops, but what accompanied them.

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Old 09-29-2009, 04:25 PM   #8
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Infected beer will not taste "blah", believe me. More likely, the very low FG didn't leave you much malt or any residual sweetness. A little maltodextrine would take care of the former and a small amount of lactose the latter.

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Old 09-29-2009, 04:42 PM   #9
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Infected beer would likely taste sour IMO. Not just blah. Blah could be that it needs tiem to mellow in the bottle or keg and some CO2 to give it a kick.

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Old 09-29-2009, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSole View Post
Are you positive the beer was finished at 1.010? Did it remain at that reading for 2-3 days? When you rack to secondary, there is still CO2 in solution that will continue gas out, creating bubbles and airlock activity. There is also the possibility that yeast dropped out before finishing and got roused back up when you racked. Does the beer have off-flavors, or does it just taste "blah?" I'm just skeptical since infections from dry hopping aren't very typical.

Also, 1 month is way too long for dry hopping. Usually 10-14 days is enough. Over 14 days is when things start to get grassy.
It was in the primary for about 2.5 weeks and all apparent activity had stopped. I know hops has anti-bacterial properties, I was more referring to a wild yeast infection that has the ability to overattenuate the beer (similar to a gusher bug without quite that extreme) and negatively affect the taste. I will taste it again in a bit, but it did have a harsh aftertaste that was not present before in addition to the total lack of maltiness. I did not intend to dry hop it that long, I just wanted it to stop bubbling away before kegging.
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Conical 1 - Bye-Week Blonde
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Carboys - Cougar Killer DIPA

Secondaries - Sunday Night Hoppy Pale Ale
Lagering in Kegs - None

Kegged: American Wheat/Rye, Nut Brown Ale, Munich Helles, Belgian Stout, Resurrection Milk Stout, Bourbon County Stout, BLC
Bottled: Oaked Bourbon Porter
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