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Old 08-19-2013, 04:08 PM   #1
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Default Two bad batches and need some help

Okay, so here's the story

Last April I started a batch of watermelon (5 gallon). I followed the recipe, but after about a month it started smelling bad, and the samples weren't good either. I racked it, hoping I could check it again in a few months and it would turn around. I ended up dumping it after about 3-4 months in the carboy. It had a sour sweaty sock taste to it (yeah, it was that good) and had a hazy white color. I was disappointed but, bad batches happen.

About a month ago I started a batch of peach and started with fresh (then frozen) fruit. I followed the recipe (5 gallons here too) and racked it yesterday. Unfortunately, it looks like the peach is heading down the same road. It had a very similar taste to the watermelon (sour) and it lost a lot of its peach like color since pitching the yeast.

I've read that watermelon can be tricky to get right, but I thought surely fresh peaches would be doable.

Basically I have two questions:

1) Is it worth letting it work for another few months or should I toss it and use the carboy for something else (I only have one other bucket so a batch of wine cuts beer/cider production in half)?
2) What can cause a wine to go that bad so quickly?

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Old 08-19-2013, 04:56 PM   #2
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Yeast strain? Temp during fermentation? Sterilizing well?

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Old 08-19-2013, 05:16 PM   #3
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Different yeast strains both times (didn't write down either one ).

Temp was always between 70 - 75. It might have gotten up to almost 80 a time or two but it's unlikely.

I feel pretty good about sterilizing, I'd be surprised if it had something to do with that.

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Old 08-19-2013, 05:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
It had a sour sweaty sock taste to it
This makes me think brettanomyces. But it's hard to say from here.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:28 PM   #5
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How old is your equipment? How young are you trying to drink this stuff? Some yeast strains are just gross to me, even after aging a year it tastes odd.

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Old 08-19-2013, 05:29 PM   #6
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75-80 is pretty high also, how fast are your primaries taking place? we talkn a week or two days?

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Old 08-19-2013, 05:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBMbrewer View Post
This makes me think brettanomyces. But it's hard to say from here.
I did a quick read-up on that and I guess that's what it could be, at least for the watermelon. It could have come in contact with a wooden spoon (big no-no, I know) and gotten it there, but the peach hasn't had any contact with something that lends itself to an infection. I even used a different carboy.

The equipment is pretty new (peach is in a plastic carboy that I bought sometime in late May), and I took a sample from the peach about a month after pitching the yeast. I'm not expecting it to taste great by any means, but if it's infected I'd rather count my losses and move on.

Realistically the average fermenting temp was probably between 70-75. If it got much higher than that it would only have been for a few hours.

I had the fresh fruit in the primary for about a week before racking to secondary.
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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because you are getting the same sourness in both batches it tells me you probably have either:

A. An infection
B. There is something wrong with your process.
C. Acidity is wrong.

If you can rule out some of these it will help a lot.

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Old 08-19-2013, 06:27 PM   #9
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This is where great note taking pays to figure out problems.

I wouldnt worry a whole lot about color. You should watch cider go from brown to almost pink to almost clear, thats odd.

I agree, this is very wide to try to get at whats wrong. Did you campden this stuff before pitching?

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Old 08-19-2013, 06:49 PM   #10
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I can see why note taking is important

A) I would be surprised if it's an infection. I'm pretty good about sanitizing every step of the way. That's not saying I couldn't have slipped up, but I feel pretty good about ruling that one out.
B) I'm not really sure what you mean by the process. If you mean the recipe there's nothing out of the ordinary that went in (fresh peaches, water, sugar, acid blend, pectic enzyme, tannin, energizer, campden, and yeast. I can look up amounts when I get home if that will help). The peaches were in a bag and the rest of the ingredients went in with them (except the yeast, which went in after about 24 hours). I dissolved the sugar in water, but made sure it was cool before adding it to the bucket. After about a week I racked to the carboy and discarded the pulp left in the bag.
C) What could throw off the acidity? The peaches I used were predominately bought during peak season here in SC. To my knowledge peaches aren't on the high end of acidity, or am I wrong on that?

jlh:
I'm only worried about the color of the peach because of my experience with the watermelon that went south. It's starting to taste and look like it, so I'm basing it off of that. I did use campden before pitching.

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