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Old 12-14-2009, 09:22 PM   #1
Dec 2009
Posts: 11

my first batch of beer has been in my primary for 8 days. it took 96 hours to begin fermenting, but since friday it has been bubbling pretty steadily. i checked on it last night and it smelled great. but today, it smells terrible! almost like a rotten egg smell... is this batch contaminated?

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Old 12-14-2009, 09:28 PM   #2
Jan 2009
Pea Green, Colorado
Posts: 2,936
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Sounds like the essence of perfection.

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Old 12-14-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
JOHN51277's Avatar
Nov 2005
Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,019
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It only gets better! Its fine! Let it go.
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On Deck: Centennial Blonde, Midnight IIPA
Primary: SMaSH Citra/2 Row, KBS Clone
Secondary: ???
Bottled: Gulf Oil Spill Stout, Breakfast Stout, Amarillo SMaSH, Orange Wit, RIPA Oak/Bourbon Aged, Barleywine, Apfelwein,

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Old 12-14-2009, 09:33 PM   #4
Mar 2008
Posts: 132
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Relax. Fermentation smells funny sometimes.

There is a really good "Is my beer ruined thread" you may want to check out. I would reccomend just letting it be without opening the fermenter until you bottle.

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Old 12-14-2009, 09:38 PM   #5
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,945
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Perfectly normal....Look up Rhino Farts on here.

If you did you would be less worried. If we didn't have a cute nickname for it do you think we would think it was a serious issue?

The thing to remember though is that if you are smelling or tasting this during fermentation (AND THAT INCLUDES SECONDARY) not to worry. During fermentation all manner of stinky stuff is given off (ask lager brewers about rotten egg/sulphur smells, or Apfelwein makers about "rhino farts,") like we often say, fermentation is often ugly AND stinky and PERFECTLY NORMAL.

It's really only down the line, AFTER the beer/cider/mead has been fermented (and often after it has bottle conditioned even,) that you concern yourself with any flavor issues if they are still there.

I think too many new brewers focus to much on this stuff too early in the beer's journey. And they panic unnecessarily.

A lot of the stuff you smell/taste initially more than likely ends up disappearing either during a long primary/primary & secondary combo, Diacetyl rests and even during bottle conditioning.

If I find a flavor/smell, I usually wait til it's been in the bottle 6 weeks before I try to "diagnose" what went wrong, that way I am sure the beer has passed any window of greenness.

Fementation is often ugly, smelly and crappy tasting in the beginning and perfectly normal. The various conditioning phases, be it long primary, secondarying, D-rests, bottle conditioning, AND LAGERING, are all part of the process where the yeast, and co2 correct a lot of the normal production of the byproducts of fermentation.

Lagering is a prime example of this. Lager yeast are prone to the production of a lot of byproducts, the most familiar one is sulphur compounds (rhino farts) but in the dark cold of the lagering process, which is at the minimum of a month (I think many homebrewers don't lager long enough) the yeast slowly consumes all those compounds which results in extremely clean tasting beers if done skillfully.

Ales have their own version of this, but it's all the same.

If you are sampling your beer before you have passed a 'window of greeness" which my experience is about 3-6 weeks in the bottle, then you are more than likely just experiencing an "off flavor" due to the presence of those byproducts (that's what we mean when we say the beer is "green" it's still young and unconditioned.) but once the process is done, over 90% of the time the flavors/smells are gone.

Of the remaining 10%, half of those may still be salvageable through the long time storage that I mention in the Never dump your beer!!! Patience IS a virtue!!! Time heals all things, even beer:

Long story short....I betcha that smell/flavor will be long gone when the beer is ready.

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Old 12-15-2009, 12:19 AM   #6
Dec 2009
Posts: 11

thanks guys!! i feel better now...

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:11 AM   #7
Apr 2009
Canada, eh!
Posts: 274

Mmmmmmm....Rhino Farts! Dumped a Samiclaus clone onto a nice Hella Bock yeast cake from an Old Speckled Hen (essentially a nice starter) last night and 24 hours later, has GREAT krausen and HORRIBLE smell, hahahaha.

Lookin' forward to the end product.

Primary: Dunkelweizen
Secondary: BrewHouse IPA
Forgotten about: Samichlaus
Keg: Special Bitter
Keg 2: American Barleywine

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