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Old 07-29-2012, 11:03 PM   #1
robbyg
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Default Accidental Sour Beer -- Can I serve it?

I'm not entirely a beginner -- this was my 52nd beer -- but this problem is a first for me.

I brewed a Cali Common, tested it prior to a dry hop around week 2, removed the hops at week 3, and then tested it again at week 5 when I went to keg. At week 2 it was a balanced beer with a slight malt aroma, exactly what I expected. At week 5, it is now a sour beer.

My assumption is I didn't sufficiently sanitize my hop bag before dry hopping, thus leading to an infection... but my REAL question is this: can I consider this beer safe to serve? I was planning to serve it in four weeks or so at a homebrew event.

I taste-tested the beer, and while it is decidedly sour, it's not unpleasantly so. Since this wasn't intended, I'm classifying it as an infection, but I don't know how worried I should be. I frankly enjoyed the flavor, once I stopped freaking out over the difference from the beer I expected. It's not unlike a New Belgium La Folie, if that helps (minus the multi-year aging, obviously).

And a second question -- can I reuse this brew bucket, presuming I wash and sanitize appropriately? Or should I toss it?

Thanks in advance for your insight!

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Old 07-29-2012, 11:09 PM   #2
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ummmm

if it tastes like la folie and you made it in only 5 weeks you should share your process so we all don't have to wait 2 years for ours.

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Old 07-29-2012, 11:09 PM   #3
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I once had a red go sour on me and every single person who tried it loved and didn't get sick. So from my one experience of this happening, I would say it is safe. Plus, the alcohol can kill anything that might be dangerous, so you more than likely in the clear.

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Old 07-29-2012, 11:16 PM   #4
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Just to err on the side of caution you should send it to me for quarantine.

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Old 07-30-2012, 12:22 AM   #5
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I was under the impression that no known pathogens could grow in beer. So if you're worried about it being safe to serve from a health standpoint, I guess you're in the clear. Although maybe don't use the word "infected" when serving to non-beer geeks.

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Old 07-30-2012, 12:36 AM   #6
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Safe to drink, you won't get sick. If it tastes good, serve it.

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Old 07-30-2012, 12:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyTanium
Safe to drink, you won't get sick. If it tastes good, serve it.
Not sure..... FedEx me all you bottles!
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:24 AM   #8
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Sour in 5 weeks. Probably got some acetic acid (vinegar) forming.

Keg it and pressurize with CO2 and you should arrest any further development.

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Old 07-30-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
Sour in 5 weeks. Probably got some acetic acid (vinegar) forming.

Keg it and pressurize with CO2 and you should arrest any further development.
Thanks for the reassuring responses, all. And Calder, that makes a lot of sense. I think my wife had a vinegar going in the kitchen when I brewed this, so the opportunity for cross-contamination was there.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:04 PM   #10
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Just so you know, infections like this generally continue to get worse with time. Dropping the temp will slow that, but this beer is probably not going to keep well. Drink it while you like it.

For sanitizing, you'll want to really concentrate on anything that touched this brew - buckets, siphon, tubing, etc. I'd do the full bathtub-with-bleach routine before storing them and then your normal sanitizing routine with the next use.

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