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Old 04-25-2010, 04:12 PM   #1
Jan 2010
West Hempstead
Posts: 13

So disappointed. I had brewed an Extra Pale Ale that I had purchased from Northern Brewer. This was the second recipe kit I had made and it turned out to be a disaster. I followed the recipe precisely and followed all suggestions from John Palmer, just like I did the first time when it turned out great. The beer tastes like really sour apple juice, almost vinegary. Everything was sanitized and I made exposure to oxygen was kept to a minimum. I'm stumped. What could have happened?

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Old 04-25-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
nootay's Avatar
Mar 2010
Dayton Virginia
Posts: 597
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

im pretty new to this but from what ive read any type of sour or vinegar taste indicates some type of infection.

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Old 04-25-2010, 04:23 PM   #3
jturie's Avatar
Jan 2010
Valley Forge, PA
Posts: 360
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts

Sorry to hear that...I just kicked a keg of that kit, and it was probably the best beer I ever made.

I'm guessing that you got a sneaky infection in there somehow...sometimes the bottling process is the culprit due to improper sanitation of the valve or the hose or the bottling wand.

Did it taste OK before you bottled it? Did the fermentation process appear to go normally?

You might try sending an email to NB describing your situation and ask for their help. They might give you another kit or a partial credit. They are a really great outfit.
Primary 1: Empty
Primary 2: Empty

Keg 1: Rye IPA
Keg 2: Rye IPA
Keg 3: Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Keg 4: Empty

On Deck: Lemon Line Hefe, Saison, SNPA Clone

"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." -- Frank Zappa

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Old 04-25-2010, 04:41 PM   #4
Nugent's Avatar
Sep 2008
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Posts: 692
Liked 10 Times on 10 Posts

Sounds like an acetobacter infection.

I had one on a stout that I made a year or so ago. It was fantastic up until I bottled. I had learned patience by that point and managed to wait three weeks before cracking one. Ugh. Terrible. I put it down to not sanitizing my bucket spigot adequately, but could have happened at any step.

For me, the lesson was to be beyond-anal with sanitation and I turned to StarSan or SaniClean as my two go-to sanitizers. Haven't had a bad batch since. In times like this - infections, bad batches, bad brewdays - I sit down with Palmer's book and HBTs forums, and review my process. We all get a bit complacent sometimes and thinking about how we do things well carries us beyond the dark times.

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Old 04-25-2010, 07:13 PM   #5
Grinder12000's Avatar
Jul 2008
Columbus WI
Posts: 2,995
Liked 42 Times on 35 Posts

I went through a hideous runner runner series of infections - 5 total and it was all on the bottling side. Bucket spigots was one culprit - the ones with the red handle are a bugger to clean. I replaced hoses and spigots, wand, auto syphone and FINALLY, last of all, replaced the bucket which looked 100% smooth.

It was the bucket.
Grinders Island Brewery - Pipeline

145 batches and counting

West Coast Blaster #4 almost go and on tap and a Dbl Chocolate Stout aging/carbing. Brewing East India Porter #4

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Old 04-25-2010, 09:22 PM   #6
Apr 2010
Posts: 120
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

I read how a scratch in the bucket can ruin your batch? Jeez i used a soft sponge one side, and semi rough on the other. Like the light green soft in, then the rough 1/4 inch rough surface, is that a bad sponge to use? I would just be heart broken if my cider went bad!

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Old 04-26-2010, 04:19 PM   #7
Mar 2010
Boston, MA
Posts: 293
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

That's why it's best to use glass carboys
Primary: Empty
Secondary: Empty
Bottled: Christmas Ale
Conditioning: Nothing
On Deck: Oktoberfest/Summer Ale
In The Garden: 2nd year Cascades

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Old 04-26-2010, 04:42 PM   #8
Hang Glider
Beer Drinker
Hang Glider's Avatar
Mar 2007
North Augusta, SC
Posts: 3,218
Liked 209 Times on 153 Posts

Originally Posted by George7845 View Post
I read how a scratch in the bucket can ruin your batch? Jeez i used a soft sponge one side, and semi rough on the other. Like the light green soft in, then the rough 1/4 inch rough surface, is that a bad sponge to use? I would just be heart broken if my cider went bad!
any sponge with a "side" to it is bad for bottling buckets. If it needs scrubbing, soak it with Oxyclean first. Then it will come out nice and clean, no scrubbing needed.

Fingers crossed for your cider -

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Old 04-26-2010, 04:50 PM   #9
Dec 2009
Trenton, Ohio
Posts: 20

It also seems that just soaking in warm water does quite well too. I tried it after my last batch, and all of the crud from the krausen came right off, no scrubbing needed.

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Old 04-26-2010, 05:35 PM   #10
Mar 2010
New Jersey
Posts: 740
Liked 4 Times on 3 Posts

An apple cidery taste could be from stale extract or too much sugar in the recipe or at bottling. Did the kit have a date on it? Hard to believe anything sits around on a shelf at places like Northern Brewer. Did you open the extract and leave it sitting around?

BTW, you should not even use the green scrubby side on plastic. Get the bucket soaking in detergent as soon as you are done with it. It should not be hard to get anything beer related off with just the sponge.

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