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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Sour smell from mash
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:23 AM   #1
CTBlack06Evo
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Default Sour smell from mash

So... I have been anxious to brew my beer batch because the ingredients sat on my counter for like 2 weeks. I ended up finding a small window of time to brew and did some research.

I ended up mashing my grain and let it sit my cooler overnight (due to time restraints). When I opened the cooler, it smelt very sour compared to other style beers I have done. I checked the temp of the mash and it was down to 125F. Is my beer ruined? I was reading that people do this all the time, but I'm thinking that because the temp got so low, that it may have trashed my beer. Please somebody tell me I'm wrong.. This is my 4th batch of beer. Thanks!

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Old 09-01-2011, 12:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by CTBlack06Evo View Post
So... I have been anxious to brew my beer batch because the ingredients sat on my counter for like 2 weeks. I ended up finding a small window of time to brew and did some research.

I ended up mashing my grain and let it sit my cooler overnight (due to time restraints). When I opened the cooler, it smelt very sour compared to other style beers I have done. I checked the temp of the mash and it was down to 125F. Is my beer ruined? I was reading that people do this all the time, but I'm thinking that because the temp got so low, that it may have trashed my beer. Please somebody tell me I'm wrong.. This is my 4th batch of beer. Thanks!
I would say you have yourself a sour mash! A lot of people do this to impart Lambic type sourness to beer, without having to wait 1+ years for a pectile.

In simple terms, here is basically what is going on with your beer. The Lactobacillus that naturally covers grains took over you mash tun, started feeding a wee bit on sugars AND starches, and produced lactic acid. It will add sourness to the final product, but the boil WILL kill the critters preventing any more souring.

You beer is NOT ruined! In fact, you may find this to be an AMAZING addition to the recipe and want to replicate it in the future. Or depending on the style, the sourness could be completely masked. In fact, it is one of the steps in Guinness's production of their draught!

If all else fails...just add Belgian before the name when you bottle/keg it
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:31 AM   #3
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Call it Kentucky Common. :P

It doesn't take long for a mash to sour. Every once in a while I forget to empty the spent grains from my mash tun until a day later. Ack!

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Old 09-01-2011, 12:33 AM   #4
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In fact here is a recipe that is actually BUILD around this process!

http://www.brewboard.com/index.php?s...hl=lambic&st=0

I wanted to share this to show that you can actually get desirable results from what you did unintentionally!

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Old 09-01-2011, 12:35 AM   #5
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I would say you have yourself a sour mash! A lot of people do this to impart Lambic type sourness to beer, without having to wait 1+ years for a pectile.

In simple terms, here is basically what is going on with your beer. The Lactobacillus that naturally covers grains took over you mash tun, started feeding a wee bit on sugars AND starches, and produced lactic acid. It will add sourness to the final product, but the boil WILL kill the critters preventing any more souring.

You beer is NOT ruined! In fact, you may find this to be an AMAZING addition to the recipe and want to replicate it in the future. Or depending on the style, the sourness could be completely masked. In fact, it is one of the steps in Guinness's production of their draught!

If all else fails...just add Belgian before the name when you bottle/keg it
This is in-fact a Belgian Wit, so maybe I should have been expecting such a scent?
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:44 AM   #6
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This is in-fact a Belgian Wit, so maybe I should have been expecting such a scent?
You should be expecting some belgiany scents from fermentation from those crazy wheat yeast...not the mash

I am not really a fan of wheat beers myself, but that sourness could add a nice layer of complexity.

It actually sounds a little like a [pseudo] Berliner Weiss now!

Honestly, I would continue as usual, boil, pitch, package. Taste some of the wort going into the kettle and see if you can gauge the sourness.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:46 AM   #7
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You should be expecting some belgiany scents from fermentation from those crazy wheat yeast...not the mash

I am not really a fan of wheat beers myself, but that sourness could add a nice layer of complexity.

It actually sounds a little like a [pseudo] Berliner Weiss now!

Honestly, I would continue as usual, boil, pitch, package. Taste some of the wort going into the kettle and see if you can gauge the sourness.
It's already fermenting... beer still has a sour smell. Seems a little more subtle than during the mash, but def very noticeable.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:49 AM   #8
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It's already fermenting... beer still has a sour smell. Seems a little more subtle than during the mash, but def very noticeable.
Sounds good! I had one mash go insanely sour....to the point it smelled like aged vomit in an elementary school trash can. I sparged, put the lid on the pot to boil. I took the lid off when it was at 195 and the smell brought me to my knees dry heaving.

As long as that wasnt the case with you...it should be a great beer. Whether you will prefer the sourness or not, you will find out!
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:51 AM   #9
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hahaha... Sounds good. .. . .I think. Thanks for the education!

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Old 09-01-2011, 12:55 AM   #10
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Sounds good! I had one mash go insanely sour....to the point it smelled like aged vomit in an elementary school trash can. I sparged, put the lid on the pot to boil. I took the lid off when it was at 195 and the smell brought me to my knees dry heaving.
Good lord man, you are braver than I.
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