Ss Brewing Technologies Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > "Infected" or just off
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-07-2012, 03:54 AM   #1
jb1677
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 153
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default "Infected" or just off

I have had a couple of batches recently not turn out to be quite as good as I expected, others have. Once example is a cream ale that I brewed ~4.5 weeks ago that is just not right, has a sort of tang to it that makes me go "oh no, is it infected!"

In reality I suppose it could be someting as simple as an unbalanced beer where the trivial amount of hops are still throwing off any level of maltiness.

So to cut to the chase, is there ever really any question on a bacterial or other infection in taste? Is it one of those things where if its bad you will know it or can it be slightly infected?

I relate this to milk, reguarly I sniff the jug, taste, have the wife taste and keep convincing myself that its bad - then every once in a while I actually get a taste of truly sour milk, someting that is so powerful that you regret questioning previous milk.

__________________
jb1677 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 04:26 AM   #2
Ashella
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 28
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

The thing I am learning is that lots of things can cause "off-flavors" that aren't necessarily due to an infected batch. Your water quality, the freshness of your ingredients, level of carbonation, level of oxidation during handing, time left in primary (I could keep going). Only with time and experimentation can you iron out any kinks in your brew.

Check out this link for common off-flavors and their cause: http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

__________________
Ashella is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 04:46 AM   #3
ChessRockwell
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canton, ME
Posts: 558
Liked 29 Times on 26 Posts
Likes Given: 23

Default

From the way you describe it, infection doesn't seem too likely. If you post more info about your process, recipe, fermentation temps, times, how long in the bottle before tasting, etc. it might be easier to track down what could be causing off flavors.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by petey_c View Post
"Lets say your local bar pours an American pint where 15% of the beer is missing due to headspace. Every 6.66 beers you drink you 'll have been missing 1 entire beer". 6.66 beers!. I wonder who's really responsible for the missing beers... I don't know, maybe Satan??!
ChessRockwell is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
TopherM
Vinz Clortho - the Keymaster of Gozer the Gozerian
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
TopherM's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Posts: 3,826
Liked 410 Times on 324 Posts
Likes Given: 21

Default

The vast majority of infections will sour your beer pretty quickly and will grow visual chunks of nastiness in the beer. It doesn't sound like you have an infection, just an off batch.

__________________

Primary #1 - Oktoberfest
Primary #2 - Chamomile Honey Wheat
Primary #3 - EMPTY!
Secondary #1 - Downtown Flanders Brown (brewed August 2012)
Keg #1 - Coffee Vanilla Stout
Keg #2 - Fall of the Ukraine Baltic Porter (lagering in keg)
Keg #3 - EMPTY!
Bottled - NONE!

TopherM is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
Kate00
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 279
Liked 9 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Your off taste may come from underpitching too, not just infection. I had this on a couple of my batches before I learned more about yeast health. If you dont use enough yeast, you end up with some off flavors from esters that they produce as a result. If your OG is around 1.050 or less, you're generally ok with one smack pack or vial, but if you start going above that range you need more yeast. you can get more from a starter, or pitching two packs/ vials. Too high of a temperature results in off flavors too, unless you're using some of the Belgian strains.

__________________
Kate00 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 09:48 PM   #6
jb1677
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 153
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

So what I am hearing is that a beer infection is probably like spoiled milk or a rotten egg, when it happens you will know for sure

__________________
jb1677 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-24-2012, 09:13 PM   #7
Beer_me_plz
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Shreveport, Louisiana
Posts: 164
Liked 17 Times on 14 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jb1677
So what I am hearing is that a beer infection is probably like spoiled milk or a rotten egg, when it happens you will know for sure
I would disagree. I have a batch now I'm not sure about. I think I'm tasting diacetyl along with some other "off" flavors. Best thing you can do is have someone who knows what they're doing try it. That way you can learn as well.

At the risk of sounding like a snob, I think most people underestimate the amount of contamination in their beers. From my experience even a lot of popular craft breweries have problems with sanitation as well. Let your beer warm up and the problems tend to stand out more.

I think I've narrowed my problem down to scratches in my buckets. I'm going to start using all glass or better bottles and see if that fixes it.

One trick I learned is after you boil your wort cool it (and before pitching your yeast) take a couple milliliters and put it in a sanitized jar. Cover with sanitized foil and see how long it takes for something to start growing. 24hrs is OK. A week is awesome.
__________________
Beer_me_plz is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-24-2012, 10:35 PM   #8
duboman
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,151
Liked 475 Times on 441 Posts
Likes Given: 210

Default

Off flavors and infections are not the same thing.

Infections occur due to sanitation problems and something invading your beer. Off flavors are produced if your process is not sound: examples:
Under pitching
Too high fermentation temps
Poor aeration
Poor yeast health
Improper fermentation
Using equipment that is not food grade

Diacytel is an undesired(in most styles) and unwanted off flavor, it is not an infection.

There are other off flavors that occur for various reasons but also are not infections-see link below

Infections will usually cause a beer to sour and its pretty rapid and definitely noticeable with no question of its origin

http://www.kroc.org/Links/TroubleshootingGuide.htm

__________________
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010
duboman is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-25-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
Beer_me_plz
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Shreveport, Louisiana
Posts: 164
Liked 17 Times on 14 Posts

Default

Diacetyl can be from an infection. In normal circumstances the yeast will usually clean it up.

There is always some extent of contamination in any beer we drink. most of the time it's acceptable. That's why we say sanitize not sterilize. It's more like a dimmer switch. Not on or off.

Yes off flavors can be attributed to many different things. But I wouldn't categorize it so strictly.

Make sure you practice good sanitation
Follow a sensible recipe
Use common sense about the age of your ingredients
Always pitch enough yeast
Pitch at the right temps

99% of the time you'll make at least a good beer.

__________________
Beer_me_plz is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-25-2012, 03:01 PM   #10
jb1677
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 153
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

In my case I am trying to eliminate sources of "off flavors" and hoped I could make a sweeping "its not an infection" declaration so that I could eliminate things like my fermenters as the culprit. When I say infection I am talking an unwanted fungus (like Brettanomyces) or bacteria (like lactobacillus) and wanted to be sure that these things are crystal clear, that there is no "slightly infected" with lactobacillus. I guess I am trying to see if its possible to mistake bitter vs sour, if an actual sour beer is so clear that there is no mistaking it.

__________________
jb1677 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fresh fruit in the boil, or "Hey Doc, does this look infected to you?" Raenon Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 03-04-2012 12:32 AM
"Does This Look Infected To You?" Thread number #53676478367831684 BMGfan Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 23 08-12-2011 12:35 AM
Another "Is My Beer Infected - Should I Dump It" Thread Alleydude Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 10 05-03-2011 07:48 PM
Another "Is my beer infected" thread TheWeeb Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 16 04-21-2011 10:28 PM
My first ever "is it infected?" thread (with pics) BlueSunshine Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 11 02-10-2010 03:47 PM