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Old 09-11-2012, 11:53 PM   #1
Cincy17
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Default Witbier Turned Sour in Bottle

I'm a long time lurker on this site, and not an absolute newbie to brewing, but still pretty new. I have done several 2.5 gallon batches with a friend starting out with a Mr. Beer kit and continuing to use the Mr. Beer fermenter with ingredients from a LHBS.

I moved a few months ago and just brewed my first solo batch. It was a kit from the LHBS for a witbier, mostly LME with 1lb of corn sugar and some steeping grains plus the spices and a packet of T-58 yeast.

I realized that my hydrometer was broken on brew day and wasn't able to get an OG for the brew, but the kit says it should have been 1.051. I fermented in a bucket in a swamp cooler, keeping the fermenter temp in the mid-upper 60s for the first week and low 70s after that.

After 12 days the SG was down to 1.008 steadily for 3 days, so I bottled it. I racked it to another bucket, primed the 5 gallons with 4.25 oz of corn sugar dissolved in little more than a cup of boiling water, and bottled with an auto-siphon and bottling wand (don't have a bottling bucket). Even though I transferred it off the trub, I ended up stirring up a lot of sediment that went into the bottles (little less than 1/4 inch in bottom of bottle after a week). I used mostly 22s but a couple 12s as well.

I put the bottles in the closet that stays between 70-75 degrees. In the smaller batches I brewed with a friend, I never tried the beer before a minimum of 2 weeks, but this time I wanted to taste the progression as it conditioned. I chilled one for 24 hours after 4 days conditioning and tried it. It was SOUR and not much carbonation. I tried another one today (8 days carbing) and it was the same taste, it has a little better carbonation, but not pouring any head.

The sour flavor is kind of like very tart fruit, and that is all I can really taste except for some of the flavors I expect from a wit in the finish. I can't really tell if it is a vinegar taste or not like I have read others say is a sign of infection. When I took SG readings and even on bottling day, the beer tasted exactly like I expected and not sour at all. I am meticulous about sanitizing and sanitized all of the equipment and bottles with star-san. I also noticed today that there is a faint ring in the neck of the 12oz bottles at the top of the beer, but I can't tell if it's there in the 22oz bottles.

So after that novel, does it sound like I have an infection, or is this a flavor that will go away even though it's really strong right now? I'm sure everyone asks these questions, and I hate being "that guy" but I don't know what may have gone wrong.



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Old 09-12-2012, 02:05 AM   #2
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Not positive, but I think ring on the neck is a bad sign.



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Old 09-12-2012, 02:14 AM   #3
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Sounds like either bacterial infection or yeast flavors produced from you bottle conditioning. if your as maticulous about cleaning as you say you are my bet is bacterial. But let it sit and see what it turn into. I made a whit fine when it went in the bottle, rank in my opionion when it came out from the carbing conditioning that occurred in the bottle. More advanced brewers said it was fine. I could not stand it and gave the beer to them in exchange fr various brews.

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Old 09-12-2012, 03:26 AM   #4
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Sounds like you need to wait another two weeks.

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Old 09-12-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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I attempted to make a Belgian witbier allgrain in June. It's been bottled for almost 3 months and it sounds just like yours. Real sour, unpleasant taste and smell. Smells worse than it tastes, almost like rotten oranges or something along those lines. I think we used way too much orange peel and had a possible infection, although I have no rings around the neck. I've been hoping they will get better, but after 3 months, I'm about ready to dump them so i can make a new batch....

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Old 09-12-2012, 01:16 PM   #6
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The ring at the top of the bottle isn't a concern. It's kinda like the ring left in the fermenter but on a smaller scale. more gunk in the bottle = more gunk to get stuck to the sides.

If you get a sour apple taste with no odor, it is probably just green beer. After only 4 days in the bottle, the yeast are still cleaning up from their mini-fermentation from the priming sugar. If you weren't sampling so early, you probably would have missed this phase entirely.

If you let it sit and it gets worse and worse and starts to smell, it is an infection.

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Old 09-12-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I will just let it go for a couple weeks and see how it goes. If the flavor sticks around and doesn't get nasty, I'll still drink it. Till then, I guess I'll just have to drink some more craft beer and plan my next brew.

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Old 09-12-2012, 02:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
The ring at the top of the bottle isn't a concern. It's kinda like the ring left in the fermenter but on a smaller scale. more gunk in the bottle = more gunk to get stuck to the sides.

If you get a sour apple taste with no odor, it is probably just green beer. After only 4 days in the bottle, the yeast are still cleaning up from their mini-fermentation from the priming sugar. If you weren't sampling so early, you probably would have missed this phase entirely.

If you let it sit and it gets worse and worse and starts to smell, it is an infection.
I agree with this brewer.... I have had some stuff that was funky get better as it conditions... If it does not you have an infection somewhere.

You say you sanitized good but make sure you also cleaned good and RINSED GOOD too...
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:52 PM   #9
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you might be tasting yeast, aka "yeast bite".

when you are ready to taste your next bottle, chill it in the fridge for 72 hours before drinking. this will help the yeast settle to the bottom of the bottle. pour carefully and be sure to leave a 1/2" of beer in the bottle (or stop pouring when you see the yeast starting to flow out).

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Drinking: a chocolate oatmeal stout, a belgian imperial stout, a Vertical Epic 09.09.09 clone
Fermenting: a split-batch belgian blond/saison
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured Saison, my "Wild Oats" brett/sour, and some other stuff i can't think of at the moment...
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:53 PM   #10
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(dubbel post, please ignore)



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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table

Drinking: a chocolate oatmeal stout, a belgian imperial stout, a Vertical Epic 09.09.09 clone
Fermenting: a split-batch belgian blond/saison
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured Saison, my "Wild Oats" brett/sour, and some other stuff i can't think of at the moment...
Up next: who knows. maybe providing links to recipes for the above beers.
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