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Old 06-21-2014, 10:04 AM   #1
Yjie91
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Default Please help, new brewer here

Hi guys,

I am a new brewer and currently on the 3rd batch of beer brewing. As of now i am doing wheat beer, but i cant seem to get consistent results. Only my second batch of beer is drinkable. The current 3rd one has been fermenting for close to a week new but its quite sour. I am using live yeast and Muntons LME. I was also sure to make all sanitisation practices done properly.
Btw, some other additional information: i live in singapore, and the weather here is permanently hovering 28-30 deg.C in the day and 25-28 deg.C in the night. My fermentation cycle is 28-30 deg.C in the day, 12pm to 10pm and approx. 21-23 deg.C in the night from 10pm to 12pm the next day.
Also my wort always tastes slightly sour on the 3rd or 4th day, even for my previous working beer batch.

Please help, i really am at a loss here on what to do.

Thanks a lot guys!

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Old 06-21-2014, 10:39 AM   #2
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Well to start with your beer is fermenting at a too high temperature. The ideal range for most ale yeast is somewhere between 16C and 22C. Outside this range you often will get "off" flavours which are produced by the yeast when they ferment too warm.

I have however never heard of sourness being one of these flavours, this would instead suggest to me perhaps you have an infection. Although you might be thorough with you sanitization once you get an infection it can be difficult to get ride of.

My advice would be to either replace you fermenter and all equipment that comes in wort or if that is not possible use a bleach solution and soak all the kit for a few hours followed by a VERY thorough rinsing in water in addition to your normal sanitization practices.

I would then look back at my process and make sure there is nothing you are missing in regards to sanitation. Writing done a flow chart might not be a bad idea, thinking to yourself at each point could that introduce contamination. Also you need to make sure you cleaning practices are as good as you sanitization, if cleaning is poor so will sanitization be.

As for the temps of your fermentation you can use either a fridge to control temps, or a swamp cooler. That is a bucket of water which you stand the fermenter in. In to this you can place ice packs of somesort. You can then wrap the fermenter in a wet cloth sheet which at one end in submersed in the water. You can use a fan for extra cooling.

If you still can't get you keeps low enough, you can make saisions and hefeweizen at warmer temps that most ale yeast.

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Old 06-21-2014, 10:48 AM   #3
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Hi queequeg,

Thanks so much for the really comprehensive reply!!

For me 2nd batch (the successful one) i did bleach the fermenter, but it still gave off some sourness on day 3 and day 4. Following which, day 5 and 6 they smelled and tasted ok. I do know the current temperatures i am fermenting with will produce quite a lot of off flavour in the form of esters, right now as a beginner brewer i would like to get my techniques right first before moving on to better, more sophisticated equipment. However, i will heed your advice on bleaching and soaking it for a few hours before my next brew.

Once again, may i clarify, for the second brew which somewhat worked, the initial sourness which eventually went off is due to an infection?

Thank you so much and cheers!

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Old 06-21-2014, 11:33 AM   #4
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Typically sourness is caused by bacteria or wild yeast. It would not surprise me that sourness can reduced with time as metabolic biproducts are reworked by the yeast.

The only other thing I can think of that might be causing sourness is the water. If the mineral profile contains a lot of Na or Mg this can make the beer sour.

What water do you use to brew with?

Also what yeast are you using? supplier/strain?

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Old 06-21-2014, 12:40 PM   #5
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Hmm I use WB06 for the second batch i believe. The current one is a live yeast recommended to me by a shop owner for wheat beer.

As for water i use the singapore tap water (20 litres) and 3 litres purified distilled water. If i remember correctly, singaporean tap water only contains small ppm for Na Cl ions.

Once again thanks so much for the really quick replies!

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Old 06-21-2014, 12:45 PM   #6
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Hey queequeg,

This is the water quality report in singapore.

http://www.pub.gov.sg/general/waters...gWQReport.aspx

I am not sure how to read it, perhaps you can understand it better than me?

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Old 06-21-2014, 01:09 PM   #7
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That is a odd water report, in that it is very comprehensive in some regards and lacking in others. The are no result for Mg or Na. So unless you ask the water authority you won't know.

However looking at the rest of the report and from a quick google regarding Singapore water it would look like the water is treated in some way prior to supply. The mineral profile for those listed is very low, so I suspect Mg and Na levels would be low also and this is an artefact of the treatment process.

When you say live yeast what do you mean? Liquid yeast or a slant? does this come from a recognised supplier like whitelabs or is it a slurry from the shop/local brewery?

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Old 06-21-2014, 01:13 PM   #8
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Its a slurry, from a local brewery here in singapore called Brewerkz. I don't know whats a slant though, i will goggle it to find out what that is.

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Old 06-21-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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Double post.

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Old 06-21-2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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O.K just to recap the things we have considered

1) Contamination in your fermenter/kit
2) Contamination somehow in your yeast supply (perhaps introduced during handling)
3) To much Na or Mg in your water profile or some other effect from the water
4) Off flavours due to high ferm. temps.

Now of course they could be something your doing that we haven't considered but if for your next batch you correct all these issues and you can check for sourness you'll be able to eliminate /identify the issue.

Therefore for the next batch, try using a swamp cooler, use fermentis dried yeast, use distilled water and change/bleach bomb your kit. If you still get it your'll need to post your entire brewing process in more detail to others to look at.

btw do you have a picture of the Krausen/surface of the wort? Does it look infected?

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