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Old 07-08-2007, 10:57 PM   #1
DontDrinkAndDrum
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Default Aerating wort causing sour beers?

I'm about to brew the first batch that I've made in quite some time, but I'm a bit nervous about it. The last two batches I made, a red and a brown ale, came out sour, whereas the previous two batches, a red ale and an IPA, came out just fine. The only variation in procedure I made was that I aerated the wort with a sterilized whisk before adding the yeast on my last two batches.

Now, i know that the only time that it is good to have air induced into the concoction is before primary fermentation occurs, because it can allow the yeast to get to the fermentables before any bacteria does. What i'm wondering is if aeration can also cause undesirables to get at the wort faster, which is the variation in my procedure that is causing my brew to sour.

any thoughts?.....

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Old 07-08-2007, 11:02 PM   #2
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Are you aerating the wort hot or at pitching temps? I was told by my LHBS that you do not want to do this while it is hot. I can cause some off flavors. For the life of me, I cannot remember the science behind it.

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Old 07-08-2007, 11:23 PM   #3
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i was aerating at pitching temps, right before pitching the yeast

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Old 07-08-2007, 11:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontDrinkAndDrum
i was aerating at pitching temps, right before pitching the yeast
That should not cause any off flavors...this is good.

When someone says sour I think infection. Another flavor that I might describe as sour is an off flavor you can get from old liquid malt extract.
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:39 AM   #5
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well all the recipes i've used thus far are boxed kit beers assembled by the store i buy them from, so i'd like to think/hope they don't put old LME in their kits.

i looked on the can of LME i'm about to use, and i didn't see anything along the lines of an expiration date printed on the can. I suppose the manufacturers don't expect the stuff to go bad.

I just thought of something else too...could some sort of infection of the wort occur during cooling before adding wort to the fermenter? say, if cooling takes too long.

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Old 07-09-2007, 01:39 PM   #6
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Your yeast need the oxygen in solution for proper attenuation/complete fermentation so I doubt that is the cause unless you are getting a bacterial infection at the same time. I would pay extra attention to your sanitation and any nooks, cracks, ect where bugs could be hiding in your gear that the beer comes in contact with.

Is the flavor definitely sour or could it be another common off flavor?

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Old 07-09-2007, 02:04 PM   #7
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If it is a lacto or aceto infection, the sourness will get worse pre-bottle. You'd notice a definite increase in sourness. Iirc, they both need O2 to thrive so once bottled the clock starts ticking against them, which is why I say pre-bottle. There will also be evidence (usually as aceto forms 'ropy' looking things in the wort, brett and some others form a pellicle). A lacto infection will be distinctly sour, I mean sour. Not just a 'hint'.

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Old 07-09-2007, 02:08 PM   #8
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Yeah, everyone here is spot-on. I know that sour taste. It is the taste of...extract. Malt extract.

Move on to Partial Mash as soon as possible.

Oh, and...drop your fermentation temps down to the lower range of whatever yeast your using. That also helps. The higher the fermentation temps, the more ester production, which can turn sour after awhile in my experience. My beers got much better when fall rolled around.

Lastly, get some kind of mechanical oxygenation or aeration kit. I use a $30 aeration kit from AHS, but oxygenation is the way to go if you can swing it. This is much quicker and reduces the chance of infection (my kit has an inline HEPA filter).

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Old 07-09-2007, 02:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
Yeah, everyone here is spot-on. I know that sour taste. It is the taste of...extract. Malt extract.

Move on to Partial Mash as soon as possible.
Or buy your extract elsewhere.....

Never had any of my extract beers described as sour or experienced off flavors.
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:19 PM   #10
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I too think that its an infection. These are all good suggestions but one I would like to add is maybe making a yeast starter. This should get your brew started faster and closes the window a little on an infection.

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