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Old 11-06-2013, 05:09 PM   #1
raindogmx
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Default Is it supposed to smell like this?

Hi all! So this is my first post and my first couple of batches which are fermenting side by side. They are two 2.5 gallon APA extract batches with s-04 yeast, one is almost two weeks old and the other is just a few days.

I have searched and read FAQs and I don't want to make this a "is my beer infected" post , but I can't help it! I need some advice...

The fermentation started fine, with nice krauzen and bubbling during the first 30 hours. I am using a fermenter with a spigot and I took a couple of samples and both batches smell awful with a bit of rotten eggs, a bunch of a kombucha-like smell and one faint tiny smell of beer in the distant background.

I had read about a week it should taste like flat beer but the taste is sour, definitely not any good. I can taste the beer in there but it is nothing but an after taste.

I made the two batches separately and both smell similar, the older one smells more, also the beer is full of white floating things which I assume are yeast.

Soo... Is my beer infected? I still intend to go all the way through to bottle conditioning in another week, hoping the smell will go away, but maybe I should cut my losses and try again...

Thanks a lot!

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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Rotten eggs is not a good smell and if the beer tastes sour than yeah I would say you got something in there. I would try again and focus harder on sanitation. What kind of yeast did you use and did you make a starter or revive the yeast? Some lager yeasts give off a sulfer smell during fermentation. If you do have a contamination issue and you bottle it you could be making bombs so be careful.

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:24 PM   #3
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Rotten eggs is not a bad smell to have, many yeast produce sulphur, especially some strains of hefeweizen.

The larger concern is a sour taste as that signals a possible infection but again, it could also be a byproduct of the sulphur you're smelling.
If the beers are still fermenting then let them finish and clear and sample again

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
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Thanks. I am using Safale s-04 yeast and using Star San for sanitization. So this is not one of those let it ferment another week situation, right? How should a 2 week old beer taste/smell?

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
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Do you take the spigots off and take them apart and clean them between brews? There are a lot of nooks and crannies in those spigots that soaking alone can't get to. Sounds like you do indeed have an infection based on the sour taste, and the spigots could be the culprit.

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:44 PM   #6
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Sorry, I'm going to emphatically disagree with the responses suggesting there's an infection here. I think the beer just isn't done yet. Everything the OP has described is pretty common.

Sulfur/rotten egg smells are very common during normal fermentation. And if you think that's bad, wait until you experience the dreaded "rhino fart" smell that still produces perfectly good beer.

As for the sour flavor, yes it "could" be an infection. But I'm putting my money on it just being green beer. A week into fermentation, I have tasted green apple, yeast/bread and vinegar in my samples. The one thing I have NEVER tasted is week-old fermenting beer that tasted like plain old flat beer.

And yes, the white floating things are yeast rafts which indicate that active fermentation is done ... but you are right to keep the beer in fermentation for conditioning for 3 weeks or so.

raindogmx: I think you're fine. My advice would be to assume everything is fine, relax and have a beer. Check your gravity over the next 2 weeks. If it has reached terminal FG then fermentation is done. After 3 weeks in fermentation, taste it again. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Even if you're not sure, bottle it and give it 3-4 weeks. You can always store the carbonating bottles in a Rubbermaid bin if you're worried about bottle bombs ... but I don't think you have any reason to worry at all.

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Old 11-06-2013, 07:28 PM   #7
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Thank you! I can't see how this foul liquid is ever going to become a drinkable beer or even just drinkable, but I will listen to your advice, shawnbou and duboman. It's not like I have anything to do with those fermenters until my next set of ingredients arrive so it might as well just get good in a couple of weeks.

Thanks to the guys who suggested it's a dumper, you have encouraged me to go on with the batch now that I have nothing to lose.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I took a gravity reading a few days ago and it was unexpectedly low! I don't remember what it was but it was below the target gravity. Does this mean anything at all? Maybe I took the reading wrong.

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Old 11-06-2013, 07:36 PM   #8
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What temperature is it fermenting at? S-04 can get pretty funky above 70 degrees.

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:38 PM   #9
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75 degrees going by the stick on thermometer in the fermenters. Maybe that's the cause?

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raindogmx
75 degrees going by the stick on thermometer in the fermenters. Maybe that's the cause?
ya, that's pretty warm, active fermentation can actually be 5-10 degrees higher

You need to control your temperatures better if you want to produce good beer.
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