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Old 05-14-2012, 03:20 PM   #1
pentachris
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Default Cider Aroma at Bottling - What Now?

I bottled my first 5 gallon batch yesterday after 22 days in primary. It's a Bavarian hefeweisen LME kit brewed in all new equipment. About halfway through siphoning it to the bottling bucket, I started to notice a cidery smell. (Note: I have chronic rhinitis, so my sense of smell isn't the best; the smell might have been present the whole time. The only thing I remember smelling when I cracked the lid was sweet, malty, a little banana - just what I was expecting it to smell like.) After bottling, I tasted some of what was left over and it had a slightly cidery taste. Furthermore, after soaking my primary pail for about an hour in B-Brite, it still has a hint of a cidery armoma. Possible culprits: temperature, infection or stale LME.

I was careful with sanitation on brew day, but there was a minor accident that could've introduced infection - I dropped the strainer into the fermenting pail when transfering the wort from the kettle. I _think_ the whole strainer (handles and all) had been in Star San and not just the sieve area, but I'm not 100% sure. When it happened, I immediately dipped my hand in Star San and retrived the strainer. Also, there's always the possibility of infection being introduced elsewhere - they happen occasionally to even the most careful of brewers, right?

On the temperature side, I got impatient and pitched the yeast while the wort was at about 80F. The first week of fermentation, it was behind a door in a utility room. I put the fermenting pail in a slightly larger bucket (about 3" larger in diameter, and a little taller), and filled the larger bucket with water. I don't think it did much to pull heat off of the fermenter, though. Our thermostat is set at 75, and the way the airlock was popping the first few days, I'd guess most of the fermentation occurred at or close to the 80 pitching temp. After a week, I scored a free chest freezer and got a temperature controller, so it went in there @ 68F for the next two weeks.

As for the LME, it was Munton's, and I got the kit from my LHBS. He's not been in business long, and doesn't keep a lot of inventory, but what he has he seems to turn over fairly regularly. I don't remember looking for any markings (date codes, etc) on the can, so I have no idea how old it was.

So now I have a quandary. I want to get a new batch in the fermenter ASAP. But, I don't want to put a new batch in there if the pail is infected. (If it's not infected, the lingering aroma shouldn't affect the next batch, should it?). Should I wait until this batch has carbed to further assess whether it's infected before using the pail? Or do you think it was a temperature problem, and I'm clear to start the next batch?

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Old 05-14-2012, 03:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by pentachris View Post
But, I don't want to put a new batch in there if the pail is infected.
An infected batch, if that's what you actually have, doesn't mean you need to call in a HAZMAT team for a controlled burn of your primary. You simply need to wash and sanitize the bucket. Which is what you would do anytime you brewed a new batch anyway.

That's it. Then the pail will be fine, like new, perfect.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:43 PM   #3
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So, this is incorrect?:

Quote:
Buckets:
...
Cons:
...
  • If you do get an infection (which is uncommon, borderline rare with proper sanitation) you'll most likely have to throw away any plastic equipment to prevent further batches from becoming infected.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:07 PM   #4
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Been searching around, and found this. Yooper says, "Young beer sometimes smells a bit like green apples." I'm actually thinking that's probably what I was smelling - again, my sense of smell isn't the best.

So, I guess I'll just give it a few weeks!

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Old 05-14-2012, 07:48 PM   #5
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So, this is incorrect?:
It is not incorrect, it just depends on your infection. If you have an 18-inch diameter fungus plug floating on top of your batch, I'd definitely donate that to a science lab.

But I've seen tons of guys post pictures of their first batch that 'got infected'...and they have a dime-sized piece of fungus in their krausen. That you can work with. There's no end-all be-all answer.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:15 PM   #6
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Cool, thanks.

I guess I'm just over reacting. I'll bet I'm the very first noob home brewer to do that, aren't I?

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Old 05-14-2012, 08:40 PM   #7
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Yep. In fact, Mods, please sticky this thread to Brewing Science in the off-chance this question ever gets asked again.

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Old 05-21-2012, 02:37 PM   #8
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Update: Friday, I bought a sixer of SN Kellerweis. I've had it plenty before, and like it a lot. Drinking it this weekend was the first time I'd noticed a little green apple flavor in the aftertaste...

I popped the top on my first home brew yesterday. Delicious! There was a tinge of the green apple that I got all worried about when I smelled it during the bottling process, but no more (a little less, even) than the Kellerweis.

The SN was a little more complex and had more body. But mine tasted great, and was easy to drink without being insipid. SWMBO concurred - it's really good!

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