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Old 07-22-2008, 12:16 AM   #1
Revvy
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Default Never dump your beer!!! Patience IS a virtue!!! Time heals all things, even beer!

New brewers, and those who have ever dumped a beer, or contemplated dumping a beer come pull up some chairs, Uncle Revvy has a story he wants to tell you....It is a tale that teaches some important lessons...

1)Never give up on a beer.

2)Never dump a batch unless it has mold or other noticeable signs of infection confirmed by a brewer with more experience than you. Or if it tastes, as Evan says, "like Satan's anus."

3)Always see your bottled beer through the complete conditioning/carb process....And if it still taste "funny" give it a couple more months.

4)Never ever panic about making mistakes and ruining your beer.

5)Never ever believe that you beer is frail, weak or easily "damaged." It really is hard to ruin your beer, no matter what bonehead n00b mistake you may think you made...

6)Have patience....have Patience...have Patience....

7)Give the yeasties the props they deserve, never doubt them, and Never Ever Rush Them!!! Let them do the job they are made to do...and let them see that job through til the end...(That means leave them at least a week beyond fermentation to clean up...or like me, leave it for 3-4 weeks.)


So here's the story...

Once upon a time, on April 7th to be exact, I brewed a batch of my house amber ale, a simple extract with grains recipe that tastes dead on like Bell's Amber Ale.

I pitched it with a batch of Pacman Yeast that I harvested from a couple bottles of Shakespeare Stout.

On April the 8th we had a surprise heat snap during the day while I was at work. I hadn't yet set up any summer temp control. My loft faces West....When I left for work it was in the low 40's....But with the sudden heat snap, when I came home in the Evening it was 88 degrees in my loft....Think about this....I pitched my yeast the afternoon before, and when I came home the ambient temp of the loft, with the thermostat located right next to my brew closet read 88 degrees during the most crucial period of fermentation, the first 12 hours.

Remember fermentation is thermo elastic...it gives off heat during fermentation...so if the outside surface of the bucket was reading 88...consider that the fermentation temp was another 5-10 degrees higher inside the bucket...The mid to upper 90's are definitely not Ideal temps for ale yeasts...

Yeast at too high a temp produces all matter of off flavors.

Add to the fact that I was not necessarily using a "clean" strain of pacman like out of a smack pack....this was bottle harvested, and since I don't have a "clean room" lord knows what could have been growing along side the pacman.....But either way growing from a couple slugs of yeast, into a large starter...even slowly is going to mean that there is a greater potential to have greatly more stressed yeast, than from a tube or smack pack....

Stressed Yeast can also produce off flavors...

So 3 weeks later when I went to bottle it I noticed a taste that could best be described as "bubblegum." Definitely NOT the post fermentation taste of other versions of this beer.... I couldn't taste the delicious Cascade hops, I couldn't taste any caramelness of the malts....I only tasted bubblegum.....

OK kids....don't be shy...How many of you would have either dumped this batch....Or at least started an "is my beer ruined" thread? Uh huh...come on I know there's at least one of you....Ah, there....Thanks for being brave and acknowledging it...look at all the others who now stuck their hands up....

So what did I do? I went ahead a bottled it....Did I taste it after one week? NO....Two? Uh uh....Did I open one after the third week? You bet your sweet aunties panties I waited three weeks before even opening a single bottle....

What do you think I found? A perfect beer? Or more Bubblegum?

Yep...bubblegum it was....Both in taste and smell...After all that was a hot fermentation, or maybe the yeast WAS screwed up....I'll never know WHAT exactly went wrong....

But I didn't give up on this beer....back in the brew closet it went...A few weeks went by while it sat dark and forgotten in my closet...Until a few weeks back, maybe mid june, when my pipeline hit a crucial low...

I dug the bottles out of the closet and started drinking them....They were less bubblegummy...but still the taste was noticeable...It didn't make you want to hurl...but it just wasn't that great a beer...but I drank them all over the ensuing weeks, til my other, better beers came online...Soon the bad beer was long gone and forgotten...

Or so I thought....

Friday after bottling a batch of beer, I was shuffling my storage closet around, bring beers that will be ready soon to the front...And grabbing a few different bottles to chill up for the weekend...To my surprise there was one bottle with the code for the bubblegum beer on the cap.

It went into the fridge with the rest of them.

Tonight when I got home I reached in the fridge and grabbed the first bottle I could see without reading the caps, and cracked it open and had a long after work draw.....

It tasted dead on like my Amber Ale...So good I had to make sure it wasn't from the batch before the bubblegum batch. But no...it was indeed the bottle I had dug out of the back of the closet on Friday...

It tasted beautifully of Caramel malts and had the crisp bite of cascade hops...It tasted and smelled like it should have, maybe even better than all the other batches of it (perhaps because of the pacman yeast)....I could have submitted it for competition, I may not have placed but I wouldn't have had to hang my head in shame either...

It had amazingly transformed, thanks to our friends the yeasties into a crystal clear, and clean tasting beer, exhibiting no off flavors, no hint of any bubblegum...no hint of high fermentation/fusel alchohols...

It was simply delicious beer!!!!!

People I can't stress this enough...Do not dump a beer because it doesn't taste good right away...even after 3 weeks...just stick it aside, let the yeasts keep swimming around cleaning up their messes (both in the carboy and the bottle) let the Co2 in the beer do it's thing as well helping the "Volatile chemicals break down into more benign ones, and longer protein chains settle out."

Or like spaghetti sauce and chilli, let the flavors marry and balance out...

You will be surprise at the magic that happens when you get out of the way...

The sad ending of the story is that the old saying is true;

That "the best beer in any batch, is the last one..."

So stick at least one beer of every batch aside, no matter how bad it was, or how dissapointing, put a date on the bottle...and one day, 6 months or a year down the road, chill them down...and savor the magic!

You won't regret it.




(Story time is over, kiddies, it is time for Ale and Cookies! And if you like this story, then Prost the thread, so more people can read it, and maybe together, we can help stamp out the alcohol abuse that is prematurely dumped beer!)

Edit There's an update to THIS beer here, Revvy's further adventures with this beer. It wasn't gone.

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Last edited by Revvy; 07-22-2008 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:40 AM   #2
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Wow... that was quite a story!

I recently had 2 batches (10 gallons total) that each had a bothersome off-flavor at kegging time. I was greatly disappointed. I figured I'd let them sit for a while to see if the flavors disappear, but I wasn't hopeful.

So hearing a story like yours, Revvy, encourages me to be patient, and give me hope that they'll work themselves out!

-Steve

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:45 AM   #3
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I'm honestly surprised at the quality of the last beer...if it weren't for the code of the bottle cap I wouldn't have believed it was from the same batch....

My brown ale has a similar problem, only to a lesser extent...and it was the recipe I was going to enter into the Michigan State fair in August....I'm crossing my fingers that on deadline week (I think in 2 or 3 weeks, I hope) it will be all nice and tasty.

I just cracked open one and it is getting there....I hope, I hope....

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Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman

I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:49 AM   #4
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Epic.

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Old 07-22-2008, 02:11 AM   #5
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So true. This should be a sticky thread, IMO.

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Old 07-22-2008, 02:23 AM   #6
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I made a Hob Goblin Clone with a little munich in there just for experimentation. Damn was it bad, even after a month in the keg. I actually could also describe the off-flavor I was experiencing as being like bubblegum, though intense "artificial fruit flavor" would be more accurate I think, like someone dumped a shot of artificial fruit syrup concentrate in my beer. Funny I should stumble upon this thread, because I just poured myself one about a half hour ago and.... it's now an amazing beer. More confirmation that Revvy speaks the truth...

except for that part about the last beer being the best. I keg. Therefore my last beer is full of sediment. It's the second to last beer that's the best when you keg.

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Old 07-22-2008, 02:36 AM   #7
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Great post. I'm now drinking a FINE 9 month oktoberfest that I was ready to dump after 3 months of cold conditioning. BUT, I had a keg and room in the fridge so I saved it.

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except for that part about the last beer being the best. I keg. Therefore my last beer is full of sediment. It's the second to last beer that's the best when you keg.
Cut 1/2" off your dip tube. The keg will die just before it starts to suck the dead yeast.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:58 AM   #8
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Thanks Revvy.

As a noobie with 48 bottles of hot fermented beer sitting in the closet that tasted like cinnamon on bottling day, you give me hope.

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Old 07-22-2008, 03:23 AM   #9
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Great thread. I keep telling myself, "Brewing will make you more patient, be patient..."

This is a great example of being patient. Brewing is bringing out the zen in me! We are all just a leaf on the river of beer...

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Old 07-22-2008, 06:07 AM   #10
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thanks...i will age for at least longer now...and NEVER dump a batch

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so barley is a leaves of hops? or barley is a different plant? and blend with hops? I need that to be cleared thanks..
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