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Old 01-08-2009, 01:35 PM   #1
slheinlein
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Default Has anyone ever messed up a batch??

Granted, I am new to this forum but have spent quite a bit of time the past few weeks reading many, many threads. It always appears that when someone has major problems (at least to me) with a batch, someone (who knows much more than I) replies with...

"And your beer is fine. Don't worry."

Now, I am curious how many people out there have actually ruined a batch and the reason it was ruined. I am sure there has been at least a few ruined batches. This would give us Noob's some valuable good information on what not to do. Maybe the top 10 things to avoid would be good. I don't want to be the first thread that reads...

"Worry! Your beer is NOT fine!"

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Old 01-08-2009, 01:43 PM   #2
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I think we've all had a bad batch on occasion..I have..BUT even they don't always end up STAYING bad...

Read this http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

It may seem like there are a lot of infection threads on here BUT...if you read them (or answer countless ones on a daily basis) You aren't seeing a lot of infections...What you're seeing is the usual spate of nervous n00b threads of people who THINK THEY HAVE AN INFECTION....and no more than we debunk and calm the brewer down, on a daily basis...It's just like stuck fermentations....It SEEMS like there's a whole bunch of brewers who have stuck fermentation, when in reality they are using airlock activity as a fermentation gauge, and NOT a HYDROMETER, or NOT WAITING 72 HOURS before panicking...

99% of the time when we look at a picture of the SUPPOSED infection it is just odd krauzen, or yeast colonies on the surface of the beer in secondary OR the mess that comes from dry hopping in secondary with pellet hops trapping CO2 bubbling...

Just like 99% of the time when the person takes a hydro reading they come back with this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Name Witheld
Rev.
Wanted to let you know that everything is o.k. Checked on the primary this morn. There is still no bubbler activity, but when putting my nose to the bucket, there is that distinct aroma. I opened the lid and saw A LOT OF KRAUSEN. So much that I had to resist the temptation to make a beard and mustache out of it. hahahahaha. I'm going to give it 10 days until I check S.G. again.
Thanks
It is actually more likely for an experienced brewer, like me, to get an infection- Perhaps we let something slide in their cleaning/sanitization process and something from their previous batch got nasty between brewing sessions, and infected their latest batch- It sometimes happens that small matter gets lodged in a hose connection and doesn't get cleaned out or zapped with the sanitizer....Or perhaps over many uses a fermenter or bottling bucket develops a scratch in it, which becomes a breeding ground for contamination.....but with brand new, cleaned and sanitized equipment, in a first time batch of beer...highly unlikely.

I wrote a blog about jumping to conclusions and bandying about the "I" word on N00b threads awhile back.It's funny, I was just thinking how it seems there's been a decrease in talking about infections around here...There seems to be a cultural shift over the last year, where we don't feed the fear factor, and calmy explain to the panicked brewer that what he is seeing is normal...and asking for pictoral proof...

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/...ired_ofa_Rant/

We actually talked about YOU GUYS before Christmas...

Quote:
We're going to be seeing a TON of nervous beginners in the next 6 weeks or so, as homebrewing kits are being given as gifts...(it's time to start copying your answers to a seperate file, so you can cut and paste them at will)
I bet you don't realize that the majority of what I write is not technical or scientific in nature...It's PSYCHOLOGICAL....because in actuality the majority of the "is my beer ruined" thread are NOT about ruined beer, or infections....They are about the brewer's fear, and the thought that beer is such a frail thing that it will "die" if they don't watch it constantly...

That's why we tell you not to worry....Because 99% of the time you are worrying for nothing.

Maybe it's 'casue of my training, and 4 years of counselling training in seminary AND training for 6 months as a hospital chaplain...but the first thing I noticed here was the fact that those thread arise becasue the poster is scared.....and because fermentation is so freaky smelling, and looking and the basic concepts of are not quite grasped just from books, but experience...They are just the natural thing that happens when someone is trying something new for the first time...People get scared, and they over think.....

SO we try to both calm fears and educate...but mostly calm fears....
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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I will give #1 of the list of things that cause my batch is ruined. Poor sanitation of equipment is by far the reason most ruined batches of beer occur. You can not take short cuts when it comes to sanitation.

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Old 01-08-2009, 01:47 PM   #4
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Our beer is much hardier than we often give it credit, especially when we're starting out, we think if we look at it wrong it will die. But that's really not the case

I've stuck my entire unsanitized arm in a full bottling bucket to tighten a leaky spigot before and it still turned out fine.

Most of us have done all matter of dumb stuff to our beer, and usually it STILL turns out OK despite our stupidity....So don't worry about it...As long as you take proper precautions, you'll be fine...

Don't turn brewing into something you worry about, like it's a new born baby...it's not...It's a hobby, and it is fun....Not brain surgery.

And if something happens? SO what, it's not the end of the world......I hate to break it to you, but it's inevetable that you will have a bad batch or infection somewhere down the line...On Craftbrewer radio they said it usually happens around the 10th, the 30th and the 50th batch...even the pro's deal with it (the Brewer at New Glarus said in an interview that a commercial brewery operation gets a 3 year grace period before their first infection)

It's called a house germ...and it develops over time...

I got an infection around the 20th batch, I replaced my autosiphon, bottling wand and all my hoses and temporaly change my sanitizer, in case the house germ was getting used to it...

This is one of the best posts on the subject....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccharomyces View Post
If you pitch enough viable, healthy yeast to do their job, it's hard to contaminate your brew to the point it isn't drinkable. Trust me, I've had an infection in my brewery, and I had to work really hard to get it! In my case, it was on the fourth generation of re-using yeast which I had not washed properly (I was still a n00b back then). Every time you reuse yeast you are growing the level of contamination by 100-1000x, so I learned the hard way you have to be very careful going beyond 1 or 2 re-uses of yeast.

A n00b following sanitary procedures using new equipment is very unlikely to have ruined beer. The worst thing that may happen is your beer will go sour after 4-6 months of room temperature storage. I doubt your beer will last that long.

The hosts of the podcast in Australia have 60 years of brewing experience...It's funny, but John Palmer learns from them they've been doing hpmebrewing radio for 6-7 years first on commercial than as a podcast...this is a very good discussion on infection and infection control.

They talk about the "timeframe" of infections, and how it is less likely for a first batch to be infected...it tends to occur around the 10th batch and the 50th...When the equipment gets more used up, and "house germs" start to build up. They used the term "house mouth" in the discussion, how we may not even notice, because we're sort of used to the taste of our beers, it's usually NOT a regular drinker of our beers that notices it.

Quote:
December#2,2006

“What is sour mashing?” I hear you ask. So said our brewmaster as he guides you thru this most interesting of ways of making a beer. In a nice compact show, we also cover feedback, Kit and Kilo infections, our beer superhero turns “gay”, and a faviourite beer song is requested yet again. Not enough, well also hear about WHO stuffed up his brew day.

http://radio.craftbrewer.org/shows/December2-06.mp3
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:21 PM   #5
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I personally have messed up 1 batch of beer. It was an ESB that I was brewing since I had A TON of fuggles hops. Recipe was wrong, technique was bad. Pitched to warm. No temp control.













IT WAS THE 2ND BEST BEER I EVER MADE!!!

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:23 PM   #6
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I've been brewing for 20 years and have never tossed a batch. A couple times there have been off flavors, but that's about it. To my knowledge, I've never had an infected batch.

Remember, fermentation is a natural process, and those yeasties don't want an infection. Not to get philosophical, but that whole force of life that accounts for a 1% failure rate in any form of birth control is at work with the yeast too. Nature will find a way.

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrShake View Post
I personally have messed up 1 batch of beer. It was an ESB that I was brewing since I had A TON of fuggles hops. Recipe was wrong, technique was bad. Pitched to warm. No temp control.













IT WAS THE 2ND BEST BEER I EVER MADE!!!


AND I betcha you never can recreate that recipe eh? And wish you could...

It's the same with that amber ale in my never dump your beer thread...it ended up being amazingly smooth...

This is the story of my infected batch and look how it turned out. I posted this yesterday...

Quote:
I had a porter that had bottle gushers no less...during judging at a contest...I was lucky though I had two patient judges...they let the first one gush, then asked for the second...it gushed as well...but they let the gushing stop and actually judged the remaining beers...

AND THEY LOVED THE FREAKIN TASTE!!!!!

They said on my judging sheets that had it not gushed I would have prolly placed in the top 3...and they were stymied, because they wrote in my evals, that there were absolutely no off flavors..

It sucked because I drank plenty of those beers (most of the cases) with no problem...but out of the last 6 were where the contest entries were...and I was home on the weekend of the judging, and when I opened one...right around the time I knew they were judging, I pretty much crapped in my pants...especially since I opened a second one and it gushed too....

I left the other two alone for several months in my fridge...and they gushed as well..
My porter had some lactose and some maltodextrine for body....so I'm betting that covered up the cideryness of it..and the off flavors...or it was just an overall good tasting beer despite the gushing.
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:29 PM   #8
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I royally messed up my Oktoberfest last summer. New kettle, didn't sit well on my flat-surface stove, and I couldn't get a decent boil going. There was so much DMS in the final brew I could've sworn someone snuck in and stuffed corncobs in the bottles. VILE stuff.

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattmcl View Post

Remember, fermentation is a natural process, and those yeasties don't want an infection. Not to get philosophical, but that whole force of life that accounts for a 1% failure rate in any form of birth control is at work with the yeast too. Nature will find a way.
I missed this awesome Post, Matt...this is so true!!!

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:53 PM   #10
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I have had some batches go wrong... but wrong is the wrong word, they just didnt go as planned... I brew cider more then beer, but also brew meade and the ocasional wine... Of all my fermentation over the last 6 years infection has been the least of my worries... more often then not its your own fualt, you missed a step, you forgot and ingreediant, you left the boil to long, you didnt leave it long enough... you didnt add the F-ing Lemon in a batch of mead... you didnt let the wort cool enough, you let it cool too much... mostly its human error... but strangely, oddly,... impossiably these batches which you mess up some how end up working 99% of the time any way... and in many cases its 100 times better of a beer then it would have been if you hadnt screwed up... I have seen guys screw up an IPA recipe and end up with ambrosia... seen too much extract added in a stout recipe and get out an 8% ABV monster which you wanted to drink all night... Smelled cider fementation so rotten youd think a racoon died in your fermenter (oddly enough one time this happened, a racoon got into my fermenter and it did drown, that batch was ruined)... but when you you racked to secondary off the yeast cake thinking it gonna be food for the fishes... holy crap what is this liquid gold i have here...

Brewing itself is open to Murphy's law; Anything that can go wrong will go wrong... but there is a paradox to it... Call it the Brewers paradox... "reguardless of what goes wrong, its still beer and you have to remember that beer was invented by aciddent anyway."

just think about that

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