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Old 04-26-2006, 05:38 AM   #1
MrBulldogg
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Default Getting darker in secondary... Infection?

I'm brewing some Munich Helles and transferred it to secondary the other day. It was a bit slugdy and smelled a little funky and rubbery, but I used a pilsner lager yeast so I was prepared for that. The color was light amber and I figured it'd clear up after a couple weeks in the secondary (I used whirloc BTW).

HOWEVER ... less than 48 hours later I noticed the color turned noticably darker with white specks floating on top. It doesn't have the god-awful stench I hear indicates autolysis, but I find myself wondering if it somehow got infected during the transfer. John Palmer advices against freaking out about weird smells, but the darkening doesn't rhyme with the clearing-up I was expecting. The end result is supposed to be light golden, not brown. It's my first attempt at this kind so I really don't have a frame of reference here -- will this clear up eventually or is a darkening color indeed a sign of trouble?

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Old 04-26-2006, 06:04 AM   #2
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When I rack over to a secondary, i frequently notice a color change (even light to dark). This could be from a lot of the suspended particles (which may be lighter colored) dropping out of solution or suspension, making the beer darker. I have a red ale in secondary where I saw this happen.

As far as the specs floating on top, it could either be some bubbling of CO2 coming out of solution, some yeast doing some last minute work, or you may have just racked over some krausen (I always do this one inadvertantly).

As far as color being off target, I'm not the one to answer to that one. I am sure someone around here will have some more sage wisdom than I did.

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Old 04-26-2006, 12:57 PM   #3
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RookieBrew hit it on the head...as light colored yeast drops out of suspension a beer will actually darken slightly as it clarifies. I don't think there's anything to worry about here.

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Old 04-26-2006, 01:58 PM   #4
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Ironically, I think that the term used to describe this phenomenon is "brightening." Your beer is becoming clearer and since there are less floating particles to reflect light, it actually appears darker. Give little thought to the color in the secondary because it will look very different (lighter) in your glass.

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Old 04-26-2006, 02:03 PM   #5
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What they said. It always looks very dark in the carboy. Makes sense: that's alot of beer for the light to have to shine through.

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Old 04-26-2006, 02:18 PM   #6
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Mine did the same thing too. (honey cream ale)

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Old 04-26-2006, 04:46 PM   #7
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Well, today it's one shade shy of coffee so I sure hope you're right ... But at least the white specks aren't growing like I would expect would be the case in an infection scenario. I'll keep a close watch on this one for sure.

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Old 04-26-2006, 04:52 PM   #8
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The white specks are pretty normal in my experience. I believe it has something to do with the yeast getting roused a bit during racking, or perhaps a bit of CO2 escaping the beer. As long as it's not furry and growing you're cool.

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Old 04-28-2006, 05:05 AM   #9
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Taste it. There are so many posts where people think they have some infection or mold or ruined beer for whatever reason.. but hardly ever do they say anything about it tasting off.

If it tastes sour or just plain terrible (undrinkable) then you *may* have a problem. If it just tastes like rough, young beer then you'll be fine. Who cares how it looks as long as it tastes good, right?

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