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Old 12-03-2008, 03:35 AM   #1
homebrewflyfish
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Default What does a good primary fermenter smell like?

Hi all, first post ever.

I started HB'n about 4 weeks ago. Got a big kit + extras from Midwest with the Irish Red Ale kit.

Tried my best to be sanitary and put the Irish in the primary, then racked it to a carboy, then bottled it on Sunday. Tasted like warm, flat beer...which would seem to me is exactly what I'm looking for at this point.

My question is about SMELL. When I opened the primary it was a rather strong alcohol smell. Now I know alcohol is expected, but this is a strong smell. Like if you get close it was somewhat of a sledgehammer to the brain. I'm a bit concerned because one day the stick-on thermometer jumped up to 78, so I'm not sure if I got some fusels.

I also put in a double IPA in the same primary bucket the week after I racked the Irish to a carboy. I just opened it to dry hop it on Sunday and there was the same smell, but stronger. Seems to fit given it's about 2x as alcoholic and that one had a much nicer fermentation in terms of temperature.

So really, it would seem to me I don't have much to be worried about.

But, still what is the right smell to expect in the primary? Because that strong alcohol smell doesn't really make me want to take a big gulp.

Thanks for your help. I'm sure I'll have many more questions along the way.

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Old 12-03-2008, 03:45 AM   #2
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To simply answer your question....any smell from ASS to Feet, Rotten grain all the way to mildly pleasing beer smell is right there where it will be.
The important part...leave it to do it's thing.

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Old 12-03-2008, 03:45 AM   #3
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If you inhale a lot of CO2 at once, it will sting the nostrils, and there is alcohol in it, so I'm sure it's just fine.

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Old 12-03-2008, 03:48 AM   #4
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I'm guessing what you are smelling is the CO2, I'm sure the beer is fine.

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Old 12-03-2008, 04:24 AM   #5
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Welcome to HBT!
Your question should not the least bit uncommon but I've never given this little tidbit of advice before but here it is......don't inhale deeply while opening a fermenter!

That CO2 buildup will smack you up side the nostrils hard. Once you take a sample or start bottling, it will smell just like the tasty beer it is.

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Old 12-03-2008, 04:50 AM   #6
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Thanks for the rapid responses all. I can tell that this is going to be a great resource. There's already more stuff to learn on here than I can handle.

I didn't realize the CO2 could be so strong. It was like sniffing a bottle of old Everclear or something. The fermenter still retained the smell a bit even after I thoroughly cleaned it.

Oh well, I'm feeling good that it'll be alright, but not without it's fair share of scares. I'm gonna check a bottle out next week and I'll be sure to share the results.

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Old 12-03-2008, 04:53 AM   #7
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:02 AM   #8
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most of mine smell of rotted ingrediants.

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Old 02-05-2009, 12:11 AM   #9
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What is wrong with mine. When it is really going, you know, blowing krausen and churning, it smells fruity, like apples or something????

The only batch that didn't have much of a smell, was a liquid yeast batch.

When I move it to secondary after two weeks, smells just like beer. I drink a glass at that point.

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Old 02-05-2009, 02:34 AM   #10
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Holy crap. I just bottled the Irish Red from midwest (batch 1). I just took a sample of the double IPA from midwest (batch 2). I just made a thread about how it stung my nose.

Great minds think alike!

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