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Old 02-09-2009, 03:12 AM   #1
machbrit
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Default YIKES! Can it be saved?

A friend of mine gave me his "starter kit" that he had in a storage area in Texas, which get's really hot. It had been in storage for over 2 years, so he wasn't sure if it was still useable. The hardware was of course fine(or at least I thought it was), but the hops looked like they didn't do too well, and the 1lb bag of Crystal looked kind of aged. The Malt Extract (2 cans of Coopers Amber) should have been fine, and the yeast...well...who knows, it was Coopers dry yeast in 7g packets. Anyway, I brewed up the batch, and it came out terrible. The thermometer was off by about 30 degrees, and I ended up steeping the grains over 180 degrees for 30 minutes (first yikes), I went ahead and used the hops that looked like they had survived (Hallertau and Fuggles), the Goldings and Cascade had turned to dust. I poured the hot wort over ice to cool it to pitch the yeast, and cooled it too much, probably to 60 degrees, bad thermometer again (second yikes) and pitched the old yeast. The OG was 1.074 which seemed way high, after 48 hours with no activity, I got scared and added a fresh pack of dry yeast to get it going, which it did for about 12 hours...then nothing. I put it in a secondary after 4 days and it had plenty of sediment in the bottom. I waited 10 looong days, and it got down to 1.020 and stopped. I read a post that said if you have a stuck fermentation and the gravity is 1.020, just live with it and bottle it and hope for the best...which I did (third yikes). The beer is not drinkable...I tasted it after a week and it tastes just as it did going in to the bottles, it has little to no head. I am guessing the combination of low temp and deadish yeast stuck the fermentation, and the high temp steeped grain has pretty much killed the taste. If I could turn back the clock, I would have added more yeast instead of bottling and tried one more time to ferment the last of the sugars, maybe then it would have produced some CO2 in the bottles. So what can be done? A non-homebrewing friend asked why I didn't just pour the bottles back in to the fermentor and "yeast it" again. Is that even possible? can it be saved? Or does this one need to go down the drain. Thanks in advance for advice.

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:21 AM   #2
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Welcome to HBT!

Several things have gone awry with your brew. You made it with compromised ingredients that were abused with age and heat. You cooled your wort with unsanitary ice, then you racked to secondary way too soon.

I can't believe I am going to say this but this batch is probably a lost cause. HOWEVER, you could consider this a practice batch.

It sounds like you have a good start at the basic of brewing so get some fresh ingredients and start brewing!

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:22 AM   #3
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So you tasted it after one week? Give it some more time my man. Whether or not the beers ruined its still plenty early in its "Green" stage so your really can't judge it at this point. No guarantees that time will heal it, but its already bottled so just wait at least two more weeks and crack another.

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:30 AM   #4
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Missed the part about only being a week in the bottle.
Yes, give it a few more weeks before deciding if it's a goner.

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:32 AM   #5
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Missed the part that this was your first post. Welcome to the addiction!

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:33 AM   #6
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I am still new at this as well but, dint give up on it yet. Everything I have read here says let it age a bit as see if it fixes it self. In the mean time I say go for some fresher stuff to work with, read a little more, and work on youre process.

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:42 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies! I hadn't even thought of the ice as being unsanitary, good point. The ice was made from Reverse Osmosis water, which is far better than any tap water found in Texas. How would one produce "sanitary" ice? I was afraid that I was racking to the secondary too soon, but I had read that once visible fermentation was done and the krausen had settled, that it was ok. My usual M.O. is 1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, 3 weeks in bottle, drink, rinse, repeat. I really just wanted to get it in to the glass carboy to see what was going on, the plastic bucket does nothing to help the curious. 4 days in the prinmary and 10 days in the secondary is much quicker than usual for me, but the Hydometer reading didn't change for 4 days...so I figured it couldn't hurt to bottle. In my past batches, I always like to try it after a week to make sure things are going ok, and you can normally get a good idea of what the finished product will be like from it, but I think you are modt definitely correct Tim...this one is going to need some time. I just finished a really nice Wheat, and I will be brewing up a Stout next weekend, so I will have something to distract me while I wait. Cheers!

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:47 AM   #8
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If you don't have any type of chiller you should use an ice bath. Fill up your sink with ice and water and put your brewpot in there before you top up to 5 gallons. Take it straight from the stove to the sink. Cover it and leave it be until it gets to roughly 80 degrees then fill up to the 5 gallon mark with cold(pre boiled or spring) water. Much better in sanitary terms than pouring over ice.

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Old 02-09-2009, 04:04 AM   #9
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Having worked with industrial ice machines, I know the slime that grows in them and have a "thing" about using ice from them. I try never to think about what I know when drinking iced beverages at a restaurant. You can make sanitized ice at home but it's not really worth it when you can get your beer cooled in a few minutes with a good ice bath.

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Old 02-09-2009, 04:12 AM   #10
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Thanks for the heads up Nurmey, I'll never look at my glass of soda the same...I have just decided to start using the ice from the machine at work...I drink the water and know the guy who services it, so I think it will have minimal slime. I bet that is going to make a difference in the beer. I knew posting on here was a good idea, I learned something good already! Thanks!

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