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Old 05-11-2009, 12:02 PM   #1
baer19d
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Default I think I made Vinegar!

Now after 3 weeks in the primary the Pilsner smells a lot like vinegar. What went wrong? I'm assuming the beer is ruined, can it be saved or does it just need more time? Thanks, Mike
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:26 PM   #2
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Could you tell us a bit more about your recipe and method? My advice would be to let it ride as long as you can before dumping it.... most of the time it will turn out fine.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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To me, fermenting beer can smell pretty funky. If i get worried i usually just pull a sample to check.

Have you pulled a sample lately? Does it taste like vinegar too?
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:43 PM   #4
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You'd have to taste it to see....Fermentation can smell nasty, but untill you actually taste it you won't Know

But if it did turn to vinegar than I would bet you have been noticing a lot of fruitflies around your house or wherever you brew. That is the bane of warm weather brewing. Vinegar is often the result of acetobactor infections from fruit flies. A lot of us had fruit fly issues last summer. Did you happen to notice anyone around?

BUT if it is vinegar, it's not a total loss...what you have made is malt vinegar....you could bottle some of it in nice bottles to give as gift.
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Old 05-11-2009, 04:40 PM   #5
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I've had fermentations smell like vinegar before, and taste like watered down beer. Once it was bottled it was fine, so I'm sure you will be too.
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:18 PM   #6
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you may just be smellling the sulphur...
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:12 PM   #7
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or smelling the acrid stench of CO2 build-up, mixed with the other aromas of fermentation.

does it taste like vinegar?
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:19 AM   #8
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I've had a few batches that smelled like vinegar at bottling, and they all turned out fine.

In fact, the brown ale I recently bottled smelled really bad of vinegar, the worst yet. Now, after five weeks, It's the best tasting yet.

I would give it time and not worry about it. It will probably be just fine.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:35 AM   #9
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OK, I'll taste it tomorrow and if it doesn't taste like vinegar than I'll keg it. Should I leave it in the primary any longer to see if it cleans up or should I keg it now? Thanks, Mike
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:36 AM   #10
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Now that's looking on the bright side.
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
You'd have to taste it to see....Fermentation can smell nasty, but untill you actually taste it you won't Know

But if it did turn to vinegar than I would bet you have been noticing a lot of fruitflies around your house or wherever you brew. That is the bane of warm weather brewing. Vinegar is often the result of acetobactor infections from fruit flies. A lot of us had fruit fly issues last summer. Did you happen to notice anyone around?

BUT if it is vinegar, it's not a total loss...what you have made is malt vinegar....you could bottle some of it in nice bottles to give as gift.
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