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Old 04-11-2011, 08:14 PM   #1
Cranapple
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Default Intermittent sour batches... Old extract, infection, or poor brewing practice?

I'm having recurring issues with a sour taste in my beers. It is clean and reminiscent of plain yogurt, not overpowering but definitely noticeable. It seems to taste a lot better when the beer is warmer, but is still there. There are no vinegary or apple/cider flavors with the sourness. On the first batch I made it did not improve with age (even up to 6 months.) I've only bottled 4 batches (1 more in lagering, another in primary), so it could also certainly be any number of mistakes on my part.

I suspect either a recurring lactic infection, or something to do with old LME. I know there are a lot of arguments over whether old extract can cause these types of flavors, so I figured I would see what you guys think.

Here are a couple of factors but of the two batches with this problem:
1. Of the two batches that have this flavor, one was canned extract purchased over 4 years ago and the other was canned extract from a Brewer's Best Altbier kit that was of unknown age.
2. I have brewed other beers using the same equipment which lack this flavor.
3. I have never seen any sort of film or floating sign of infection in primary or secondary.
4. I am very careful with my sanitation with a few notable exceptions: I add unboiled bottled water as top-off water in primary, also my racking and bottling equipment are old and I got them off of craigslist.

Maybe a timeline would help:
1. ESB w/ very old LME - HAS the sourness
2. Stout w/ new ingredients - NO sourness (could be covered by the other off flavors due to my other mistakes with this brew)
*Got a new primary due to two bad batches in a row, plus it was picking up smells from the beer.
3. IPA w/ new ingredients - NO sourness (unless covered up by the bitterness/hop flavor)
4. BB Altbier kit w/ unknown ingredients - HAS the sourness

I need to go back and look at my notes... I remember tasting that Altbier when I checked FG, and I can't remember whether it was sour at all then. It is certainly more sour now after bottling than before. It's also highly carbonated, actually enough to burn my throat, I'm not sure if that contributes to sourness.

This is probably TL;DR material, but I'd appreciate any ideas you guys have.

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Old 04-12-2011, 04:43 AM   #2
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Old cans of extract can be very bad. You need to use fresh LME. Also, what temp are you fermenting at? Too warm of fermentation, underpitching of yeast can also add to the off flavors which could give you a twangy taste.

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Old 04-12-2011, 12:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranapple View Post
I'm having recurring issues with a sour taste in my beers.
I have had similar issues by the last 3 Batches . They all tasted sour . I had cleaned and sanitized everything very carefully .

I use light DME which has the Expiry Date 20/4/2010 .

I used Safale S-04 Ale Dry Yeast .

I wanted to find out the Cause , therefore I've made a small Batch using the same ingredients but I did every Stage different as before , because I thought my Batch gets infected in one of Stages during the Process . For example , I racked the Wort from the Pot into the Jug using a Vinyl Tube after cooling . I boiled also the bottled spring Water which was used for re-hydration the Yeast .

It is in the Primary since 8 Days ago and perhaps I'll give it 1-2 more Weeks .

Which Yeast strain did you use ?

Is that a fast or slow fermenting Yeast ?

What was the ambient Temperature by the Primary Phase ?

Hector
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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I'll check my notes when I get home...

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Old 04-13-2011, 08:35 AM   #5
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I'll check my notes when I get home...
Aren't you back Home yet ?!

It's very important , because what you said about your previous Batches has made a new Vision for me .

No one in this Forum had told me the disadvantage of using old Extract before .

I searched this Forum and found some Thread concerning bad tasting Beers resulting from old Extract .

I will brew another Batch , however , using not expired DME to see the Result .

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Old 04-13-2011, 11:51 AM   #6
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Listen to the Kit Beers show of Brew Strong. They say that really old extract kits should not be used. If you want to make the best extract beer possible, use the freshest extract you can find.

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Old 04-13-2011, 12:26 PM   #7
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Listen to the Kit Beers show of Brew Strong
Thanks !

Would you please give me the Link .

Hector
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:47 PM   #8
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Thanks !

Would you please give me the Link .

Hector
Sure! http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/698
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hector View Post
Aren't you back Home yet ?!

Hector
Haha, I was pretty busy last night.

I got a chance to check my notes. I used Safale S-05, not S-04, but I'm not really sure how much the yeast strain has to do with it. I know I'm way too new to home brewing to start pointing fingers at yeast manufacturers.

For the first batch of sour beer I did a LOT of stuff wrong...
1. Old LME
2. Boiled at too low of a volume, I probably started with around 2 gallons, and ended at around 1 gallon.
3. Initial fermentation temperature too low, in the range of 56-58 degrees.
4. Raised fermentation temps to rouse the yeast, up to 75+.

I didn't make any of those mistakes for the second batch, other than using a kit of unknown age (it was a gift.)

So I was hoping to get opinions from people here about whether old LME really makes that much of a difference. I keep hearing a lot of debate about whether LME has a "twang", and a LOT of things about what old LME tastes like. If it doesn't make beer taste sour, then I know I'm doing something else wrong.

I can't wait to listen to that podcast barrooze! Thanks a ton.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:58 PM   #10
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I should give one more update... I tried the beer again last night, and it seemed a little better actually. That gives me a question...

Since it was an altbier, I lagered it for 6 weeks at around 40°F (20°F less than fermentation temp, but I figured that was ok since I let it ferment all the way out in primary). I then bottled it, and let it carbonate for 3 weeks at 70°F.

I figured it wouldn't be "green" after lagering for 6 weeks, but does beer need another period of conditioning after carbonation?

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