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-   -   Frustrated....Apple infection, other? Advice needed (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/frustrated-apple-infection-other-advice-needed-377461/)

tj218 12-31-2012 12:42 AM

Frustrated....Apple infection, other? Advice needed
I brewed a Scottish 80 (w/ US-05) back in October, bottled in early Nov. The beer was good up until a few days ago.

Cracked one two nights ago and pure apple cider taste (6 weeks post bottling). I thought my palate was messed up as I was drinking other styles, so I have had a few more each of the last two nights and they each have had a slight apple scent and a moderate cider taste.

I have had no bottle bombs, no visible signs of infection, but infection is the only thing I can say that accounts for the change in flavor. A few friends that liked the beer 2 weeks ago were shocked when I gave them it today. The only thing I can say is I did detect a slight smokey flavor about 2 weeks ago (which I was excited about but knew S-05 doesn't do that). What could cause this?

My sanitation practices are pretty OCD, EVERYTHING is Star-San'd. I siphon 5 gallons of it into primary before I use it, and then into the bottling bucket as well. From the bottling bucket I use the racking cane to fill each bottle 1/2 way with Star-San and shake them up. I then pour 12 of them out and fill 12 (capping immediately). The only thing I can possibly think of is I do an ice-bath in the basement (which takes about 15-25min) with the kettle uncovered before pitching.

Any ideas on where to begin troubleshooting this?

tj218 12-31-2012 01:39 PM


Yooper 12-31-2012 01:43 PM

Well the only thing that can make "vinegar" taste is the bacteria that create vinegar, aceterobacter.

What aceterobacter do is "eat" alcohol and produce vinegar as the result. If it's truly aceterobacter, it will get worse unfortunately.

tj218 12-31-2012 03:06 PM

Great....wonder if I should switch sanitizer.

Yooper 12-31-2012 03:15 PM


Originally Posted by tj218 (Post 4731693)
Great....wonder if I should switch sanitizer.

It's hard to say when the infection came from- it could be from a large amount of headspace in a carboy, if you used a secondary. It could be from plastic tubing, etc. I'd bleach bomb all glass, and get rid of all plastic, and make sure to take apart the spigot in the bottling bucket and bleach that (or replace). It could be something in the bottling wand, etc. It's really hard to say.

But star-san isn't the problem. You could switch it up and use Iodophor, but it's not any more effective than star-san.

tj218 12-31-2012 03:22 PM

I didn't secondary, just did primary in a bucket for 4 weeks. My sanitation procedure is pretty thorough, the bottling bucket spigot gets PBW and Star-San'd after each use, and Star-San'd before each use.

The beer tastes more like apple cider (sweet) than vinegar like, I really don't get any sour notes. If it was an infection wouldn't it have been noticed weeks ago? I can't understand the evolution. It's been in the bottle now 8 weeks. A week ago it was just fine.

Are there any visible signs of this infection?

Now I am worried about the batches I have brewed since this one. Ugh. If it wipes those out I may just quit this hobby. Arghhh.

tj218 01-05-2013 01:40 AM


Grabbed a few bombers that I filled, different from the case I was pulling from and they tasted fine.

Should I just toss the empty (glass) bottles that had the cider taste? Or just clean them and sanitize them extra carefully?

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