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Old 11-11-2010, 02:57 AM   #1
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Default trouble shooting some possible issues.

first problem
spitfire ale clone - brewed 9/12. didnt make a starter and nothing happened for four days. SG was the same, so i rehydrated some dry yeast and pitched late on 9/16. 9/17 it was coming out of the blow off tube like crazy. 9/18, still going good - I left for the beach.
9/21 - i get home and my bucket lid was on the floor, so i sanitized the lid, and put an airlock on it and let it go.

bottled on 10/16 and it had a plastic taste and aroma - almost like brand new PVC pipe. when i was cleaning the primary, i noticed the spigot on it and sheared off I can chalk this one up to some bad luck with the blow off getting clogged and loosing the bucket lid and the spigot disaster. I'm not overly anxious about this.


next beer - smoked ale - brewed 10/17. Everything went smooth. temps held good, all is well. tonight, i went to check the gravity and rack to secondary and it had a slight plastic aroma. same as the other one, but not as strong. racked to secondary and grabbed a SG sample and the beer was THICK. almost like maple syrup thick. I tried to taste, but couldn't get it past my lips due to the thickness. WTF? it had a normal yeast cake on the bottom and nothing looked out of the ordinary other than the thickness. No fur-boogers in it, or odd color slime eels or anything that screams infection.

I'm confused. until this, I've had no serious issues with any of my batches, and then i get two back to back. different primaries, and they didnt touch anything but the inside of the sanitized (starsan) bucket after leaving the brewpot (other than the beerplosion of the first)?

any ideas, especially on the thick smoked ale.

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Old 11-11-2010, 04:50 AM   #2
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I'd be super-suspicious of your primary at this point (since you said "bucket was on the floor" I'm assuming you use a food-grade bucket & lid combo).

First batch, I can all but guarantee was infected if it went for 3 days with no cover on. Clean up, shake it off, she's done (unless you have a penchant for Band-Aid flavored beer).

Second batch, I can't say for sure. I've never heard about an infection causing beer to lose its water content to the point of being syrup-ey, but if this was an extract/partial recipe, did you top off to the correct amount? That's about all I can attribute to the consistency there. Given the history of the primary with batch #1, I can say that plastic buckets are infamous for hiding pockets of nasties. All the tiny scratches and gouges that develop after a few months/years of brewing make the perfect home for infections to sit dormant & cause havoc on a later batch.

Regardless, I'd power-bleach, rinse & sanitize that bucket if you're dead set on using it again. Otherwise, I'd look into a glass carboy or Better Bottle, and also make sure your blowoff tube fits whatever you end up getting.

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Old 11-11-2010, 10:47 AM   #3
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All I can offer is that the plastic taste could be from the bucket itself, I assume it is new. Was it food grade? If so, give it a good wash/soak with a mild bleach solution (1 tablespoon in 5 gallons) and leave it in there for several days, and then rinse throughly with hot water.

The first batch may not be lost. If there was kraeusen, that would have protected it, and then any alcohol would also be protective. If it tastes OK, drink it quick.

Why a beer gets 'thick'; I don't know. Check SG. Maybe too much sugar and it didn't ferment. More details; starting gravity, current gravity, recipe, volume, anything else.

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Old 11-11-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
First batch, I can all but guarantee was infected if it went for 3 days with no cover on. Clean up, shake it off, she's done (unless you have a penchant for Band-Aid flavored beer).
this is pretty much where i stand. its in bottles hoping for something better, but its mostly a lost cause in my mind. I'm not expecting greatness, but there's hope of getting atleast to decency.

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Given the history of the primary with batch #1,
Different buckets

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Was it food grade?
both food grade buckets sold as fermentors. one was an ale pail and the other came from williams brewing. Neither are new and I've fermented in them before without issue.

the second batch was a extract and steep, full boil with an OG of 1.05 and it dropped to 1.011, but its still 'syrupy".
recipe - 1/2 lb smoked malt
1/2 lb caramel 40L

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1 oz hallertau @ 10

whirfloc at 15

Wyeast smackpack - 1338 Euro Ale
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:10 PM   #5
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newbe here but anytime I think plastic or chemically it makes me think of my first brew.....which I am pretty sure is from chloramine or chlorine in the water. I'm bottling my second batch tomorrow and I am suspecting a similar taste because I used tap water again......But my third brew will be from botled water or treated with campden tab. Could be your water company has changed their water treatment. I think most aren't always constant depending on where the water is collected from and other environmental factors.....

But you might already know this or use clean water? I also read that it is possible to get these flavors form using too much iodine or bleach in sanitizing solution. good luck

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Old 11-11-2010, 08:37 PM   #6
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well water, no chlorine

same water I've used for the first 9 or so brews.

also, i only use starsan for sanitizing

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Old 11-11-2010, 08:43 PM   #7
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It could be something in your well water...

What temperatures did you ferment those batches?

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Old 11-11-2010, 09:41 PM   #8
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It could be something in your well water...

What temperatures did you ferment those batches?
it could be something in the water, but why would it pop up in this one and not the previous 8?

also, ambient temps were held in the low to mid 60s
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:47 PM   #9
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and another one bites the dust.
my christmas spice ale has the same plasticy odor and flavor, and is kinda thick, but not as bad as the smoked ale was?

the smoked ale is not as thick as it was, but its still not as thin as it should be.

I think it might be time for new hardware?

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Old 12-16-2010, 10:13 PM   #10
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Buckets are rarely the problem unless they are used to clean bottles etc and get really scratched... I've had more problems with soft plastic parts... like hoses esp. possibly a bottling bucket gasket

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