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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Question about sour beer that shouldn't be sour
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:24 PM   #1
Sreidy12
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Default Question about sour beer that shouldn't be sour

Hey all,

Here's my dilemma: I recently tasted 3 beers that I have fermenting and all are terribly sour; i mean lip-puckering sour. I'm trying to think of a common denominator and all I can come up with is that I used base malt that I've been storing in a bucket that smells like death. It was a bucket that I used to condition a lambic, so I didn't want to use it as a fermenter again. I figured that using it as a grain bucket wouldn't have any reprecussions but now I'm having second thoughts. Any input? Also, I have a couple other beers fermenting that I used grain from different buckets to make and none of them are sour.

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Old 10-04-2010, 11:32 PM   #2
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probably contaminated your brewery with brett. That's why I don't brew lambics in my basement

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Old 10-05-2010, 12:04 AM   #3
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It's unlikely to be brett (as CFuggles hypothesized). Brett won't magically contaminate your spaces so long as your careful with sanitation and not mixing your soft goods (hoses, buckets, etc.). I have funky beers fermenting side by side with my regular beers and haven't had any cross-contamination. If it was brett, it'd probably be more funky and less sour. More likely acetobacter or lacto. Raw grain is covered in all sorts of bugs, so I wouldn't worry about storing it in an old bucket as long as it's dry. The boil would kill anything picked up pre-boil anyways.

In my experience, mouth puckering harsh sourness is a typical calling card of acetobacter. Have these beers been exposed to ambient air? Acetobacter loves oxygen. I'd look at your process, and start by thoughly cleaning all hard materials (glass / stainless) and then replace all your soft goods (buckets, hoses, etc.).

Also, I assume you're certain that the bucket wasn't inadvertently mixed with acidulated malt (which would be quite sour)? This would be sour before fermentation takes place.

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Old 10-05-2010, 12:16 AM   #4
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All that has been in the bucket was the lambic, then 25 lbs of base 2-row malt. The malt, after sitting in the bucket for a couple months, has taken on some sourness in it's taste. Think that could transfer into the final product?

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Old 10-05-2010, 12:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sreidy12 View Post
All that has been in the bucket was the lambic, then 25 lbs of base 2-row malt. The malt, after sitting in the bucket for a couple months, has taken on some sourness in it's taste. Think that could transfer into the final product?
Hmmm... interesting. I've never heard of it, but suppose if there was some moisture around, it could be possible. Is it hot and humid where the grain is being stored?
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:40 AM   #6
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Yea it's quite damp where the grain is stored but it's in a bucket. hmm.....

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:12 AM   #7
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Could also be lactic souring... That sort of thing happens pretty fast -- Days, not Months like Brett.... It's *VERY* sour and stinky.... but definitely not anything resembling Vinegar smell from Acetobacter....

Here's a couple musings.... Just things to think about....

Most commercial grain is long-term stored in porous sacks -- so you don't get too much weird mildew and trouble like that....

Remember... Most bucket lids don't seal particularly well.... so Damp space + Bucket + temperature fluctuations = condensation inside the bucket.....

And... If you keep it damp + Lambic nasties + dusty Malt... All sorts of stuff will be growing in there...

Open that sucker up and look at it... do you see any fuzzies or mold growing?

The scent of the grain itself is a giveaway... If the malt smells funky and sour -- guess what.... Things you make with it will be likely funky and sour too....

Now... What sort of prep are you doing for your recipe? What sort of temps? Are you boiling any of your malt, or are you just mashing it for 1-hour at 153 and calling it good? Are you boiling after you mash and sparge, or just mashing, sparging, cooling, and pitching yeast?

Thanks

John

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:17 AM   #8
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I grind my malt, mash for an hour, then do a 1-1 1/2 hour boil, chill with a counterflow that i sanitize and pitch the yeast. I don't think it's my process that has led to the souring because I've had good batches inbetween the bad ones. The difference is that I use 2 grain buckets: the one that smells like satan's asshole and another one that's neutral.

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Old 10-05-2010, 01:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sreidy12 View Post
I grind my malt, mash for an hour, then do a 1-1 1/2 hour boil, chill with a counterflow that i sanitize and pitch the yeast. I don't think it's my process that has led to the souring because I've had good batches inbetween the bad ones. The difference is that I use 2 grain buckets: the one that smells like satan's asshole and another one that's neutral.
If the grains are soured before mashing, it will retain the sourness. Pre-fermentation were you samples sour?
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:38 AM   #10
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Just get rid of the freakin' bucket.... They cost like $2.50 a piece......

Consider that nasty 'ole bucket has ruined $50.00 of Malted barley + probably another $50.00 in other beer ingredients and 3 days worth of work.....

Sure, you could try bleaching it out, filling it with Sulphite solution, etc... but they cost $2.50......

Thanks

John

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