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Old 01-20-2009, 06:37 AM   #1
garbs
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So...my second batch of beer ended up getting an infection . It tasted great coming out of the primary, but I racked it over to a better bottle to add a spice tea and let it clear (it was the thunderstruck pumpkin ale recipe posted on this board).

I waited for everything to settle out and decided it was time to bottle. Everything looked great from the outside, but the second I removed the airlock and took the stopper out, I could smell it. It was clearly sour smelling and tasted exactly the same. Not the same beer I tried just a couple weeks ago.

After a period of denial, the batch went down the drain. Unfortunately, now I am afraid to brew again due to risk of another infection from my equipment.

I decided that I'll probably just retire the bucket I used to ferment in (even though it was brand new). I also soaked the better bottle it was in with a bleach solution for about 3 days. Just a while ago, I dumped that and started a new soak with Star San.

What is the best way to kill this thing for good? Do I need to throw out all my plastic such as the auto siphon, thief, etc.?

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Old 01-20-2009, 07:30 AM   #2
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Granted this is coming from someone with not a lot of experience, but why wouldnt bleach and/or Star kill just about anything?
I thought bleach was strong enough to kill just about anything.

And if not those, how about iodine?

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Old 01-20-2009, 09:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by garbs View Post
So...my second batch of beer ended up getting an infection . It tasted great coming out of the primary, but I racked it over to a better bottle to add a spice tea and let it clear (it was the thunderstruck pumpkin ale recipe posted on this board).

I waited for everything to settle out and decided it was time to bottle. Everything looked great from the outside, but the second I removed the airlock and took the stopper out, I could smell it. It was clearly sour smelling and tasted exactly the same. Not the same beer I tried just a couple weeks ago.

After a period of denial, the batch went down the drain. Unfortunately, now I am afraid to brew again due to risk of another infection from my equipment.

I decided that I'll probably just retire the bucket I used to ferment in (even though it was brand new). I also soaked the better bottle it was in with a bleach solution for about 3 days. Just a while ago, I dumped that and started a new soak with Star San.

What is the best way to kill this thing for good? Do I need to throw out all my plastic such as the auto siphon, thief, etc.?
Looks to me like you know what you need to do and are already doing it.

Yes, get rid of all the tubing. I would purchase a new thief and syphon and other pieces of equipment used.

But then, I would sanitize that old equipment and store it away. Eventually your, "new" syphon may need to be replaced and you can bring your, "old" one back and try it. This way, you may be able to cycle the equipment back into use.

Or, dump it all.
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:14 AM   #4
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Definitely sounds like you have a grasp on the proper approach. Replace all your tubing and anything plastic that could have been scratched and is now harboring an infection. Adopt a scorched earth policy with a 10% bleach solution to nuke any nasties.

Can you describe in a bit more detail both your sanitation regimen and how you came to identify this infection? Visually, what are you seeing? A pellicle (sort of a skin on the surface of the beer) definitively indicates an infection. Did you pasteurize the spices before adding them to your beer? If in fact you had an infection, this may well have been the source.

In my experience, pumpkin beers (especially those that are spiced) are rather sour and off-putting when young so I fear that you may have jumped the proverbial gun.

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Old 01-20-2009, 12:03 PM   #5
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In my experience, pumpkin beers (especially those that are spiced) are rather sour and off-putting when young so I fear that you may have jumped the proverbial gun.
I agree....

I posted this about mine, last week.

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Last week I poured the last of my Partigyle pumpkin Porters...Brewed on Labor Day, bottled 1 month later...First ones cracked on Halloween still green but carbed, so we drank a six whilst giving out candy...Left the rest alone til turkey day, and my family loved them, and I've drank a few now and then...But this one sat...until now, bottled on October first...Consumed 3 months later...

When it was green, even though it was carbed, you got a hot alcohol burn, and a really funky sourness from the pumpkin in the back of the throat..and way too much spice, especially the clove....Not undrinkable, but far from wonderful,

The last one was amazing, and sublime; the pumpkin and spice are nicely balanced, somewhat tart against a backbone of a deep rich burnt caramel and toffee note, with even a black coffee hint coming through. Nothing overwhelms, instead they meld together seamlessly.

There's a nice blend of both carbonation and a lingering mouth feel, and a deliciously seductive nose of toffee and cloves.

I would without hesitation pay 9 bucks for a 22 of this if it had the name Rogue, or Stone on it....and it kicked the ass of any pumpkin ales in the stores last October. This beer right now is at it's peak....and it was the last one.
Besides my story...other people have posted in this thread THEIR stories about what often happens if we don't abort the beer and forget about it for a few months.

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

Next time you have a "questionable batch" don't be so quick to dump it...If you dump you have 100% lost beer...if you stick it away for a few months you have 50% or greater (based on my experience) of something drinkable, if not stellar.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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Revvy.. I took your advice about never dumping my beer. I made a brown Ale about 3 months ago and it went bad.. nasty stuff floating in the bottles, smelled like crap, etc.

I cracked one open a few days ago and it smelled even worse.

So how long should I wait before I have to dump this stuff.. I can definitely use the bottles.

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Old 01-20-2009, 12:10 PM   #7
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I will mourn your assassinated pumpkin ale with much libation!

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Old 01-20-2009, 12:12 PM   #8
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Revvy.. I took your advice about never dumping my beer. I made a brown Ale about 3 months ago and it went bad.. nasty stuff floating in the bottles, smelled like crap, etc.

I cracked one open a few days ago and it smelled even worse.

So how long should I wait before I have to dump this stuff.. I can definitely use the bottles.

That may be a lost cause.
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:17 PM   #9
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Revvy.. I took your advice about never dumping my beer. I made a brown Ale about 3 months ago and it went bad.. nasty stuff floating in the bottles, smelled like crap, etc.

I cracked one open a few days ago and it smelled even worse.

So how long should I wait before I have to dump this stuff.. I can definitely use the bottles.
If it's worse after 3 months then more than likely it's a dumper...I usually check at 3, and if I note improvement I'm not desperate for beer I stick it back in for another 3....So far of 3 batches that I have found iffy... 2 (the above pumpkin and the Bell's clone were stellar) the third one an Ordinary Bitter based on Papazian's recipe...is drinkable...Nothing I would serve to anyone...but it works as a break in pipeline beer.

But at three months if you are positive that it got worse as opposed to better...then bye bye...

The advice is really because a lot of new brewers don't know the difference between a green beer and a bad beer, and may more than likely dump a batch that may even in a few weeks be fine....Like I said, if you dump immediately you have 100% chance of having no beer...if you wait you have 50% chance that you will end up with drinkable beer....I'd rather know for sure before I pour my money and the time down the drain.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:12 PM   #10
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That may be a lost cause.
+1. If it's gotten worse and you could use the bottles, then dump it and move on to better batches.
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