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Old 11-15-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
Jan 2011
West Orange, NJ
Posts: 376
Liked 25 Times on 20 Posts

My favorite local bar decided to hold it's first home brew competition, so my friend and I were excited to enter.

A little background: we've been brewing for about 10 months and have brewed 5 batches (not anywhere near as much as I would like to have done). Overall, I've been pretty satisfied with our results but I'm well aware that we have a lot to learn and improve upon.

Our most successful brew to date was the Deception Stout recipe found on this site, so we decided to brew that again for this competition. Of course, because we really needed this one to go well, it didn't. We cracked open the fermenter after 4 weeks and found what people on this site said could be a Brett infection.

Since it was too late to brew another batch, we decided to make the best of it. We racked under the infection, bottled, and called it a day. Three weeks later, we tasted it and didn't detect any "infection flavors." It wasn't sour or anything and it still had that coffee taste that it was supposed to. So, we submitted it.

Well, the results came back last night and they were dreadful. There were 3 judged who rated based on aroma, appearance, mouthfeel, and taste. Here were our scores:

Judge 1: 20/50
Judge 2: 19/50
Judge 3: 14/50

Yikes. All three judges said it tasted "metallic" and that the aroma was "baby diaper." They also said it was a little "roasty."

So, what went wrong? Is the infection to blame? Something else? I know we're all a bit biased towards our own beer but this also has me wondering if my palate isn't developed enough yet to taste what the judges did
Primary: Nothing!
Drinking: Analogous IPA (Citra/Mosaic NE-style)

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
bottlebomber's Avatar
Apr 2011
Ukiah, CA
Posts: 14,342
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There's no way for anyone here to tell what you might have done... I think a good place to start would be your water. Are you on a municipal system? What is the water profile and how much chlorine is there? Do you filter it?

I would love it if we could have more contests around here, this kind of feedback is exactly what helps you make better beer.

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:09 PM   #3
friday's Avatar
May 2009
emerald triange
Posts: 185
Liked 9 Times on 6 Posts

Sanitation is the first thing that comes to mind. Sanitation is the difference between a bad beer and a good beer.

Yeast could also be a factor, use a liquid yeast.

Water plays an important role but the first two are what I would focus on first.

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
usfmikeb's Avatar
Jan 2011
Leesburg, Virginia
Posts: 3,148
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There are many nuances which could be making an impact. This is where keeping good notes during the process is critical, so that you can make changes to each variable one at a time. If there's a local homebrew club, join it and start taking samples to meetings to get feedback.

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
Mar 2011
Sacramento, CA
Posts: 270
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts

What's your fermentation like? Are you making a appropriate starter or pitching a couple packs of liquid?

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:21 PM   #6
Apr 2011
houston, tx
Posts: 193
Liked 9 Times on 9 Posts

Remember to look at this as a learning experience and keep brewing to learn more. I saw a hugeimprovement in my beers whe I started brewing 1/2 with tap water and 1/2 with bottled spring water. I think hard water and roasty malts can result in mineral/metallic tastes in beers when the hard water is not diluted enough. Don't quote me on that, it's just my own observation.
Life is too short to drink cheap beer.

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:27 PM   #7
rexbanner's Avatar
Nov 2008
Posts: 1,382
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You submitted an infected beer. Why would you do that? I mean, it's one thing to submit a beer just to get some feedback, but what kind of feedback are you going to get on an infected beer?
Peep my nanobrewery: http://crookedrunbrewing.com

Crooked Run Brewing: Seek Truth, Cherish Nature

Makers of Red Kolsch, Storm, and Shadow of Truth

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:30 PM   #8
Jazz Hands!
mmb's Avatar
Feb 2008
Posts: 30,707
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The infection obviously didn't help but they are also judging your beer against others in the flight and to the standard. All beer might have been judged low in that flight or your beer might have had major problems. But always submit your best work.

Usually I submitted the same batch to more than one event to get some other judges opinions of the beer. Now I save the money and just drink it with friends. Win your first ribbon and then you can "retire" as a award winning brewer.

Black Phantom Brewing Company

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:32 PM   #9
Dec 2009
Debary, Florida
Posts: 464
Liked 26 Times on 22 Posts

Don't knock the dry, a properly rehydrated dry yeast is going to make a good beer as long as it is appropriate for the style. I doubt that's where metallic & diaper aromas are coming from, especially given that there were signs of infection already.

My suggestion is to throw out these results, because you already knew the batch was infected. That infection isn't going to just stay at the top, it's permeated your beer, and is probably detectable by a good nose, or at warmer temperatures. You might not smell it chilled, but upon warming, that aroma might be right out in front.

Instead, concentrate on cleaning and sanitizing that infection. Everything the wort touches from the brew kettle spigot onward are suspect. Replace hoses... scrub, sanitize, scrub, and sanitize more. Take apart spigots, joints, get in every nook. Look for scratches. If you're using any disposable tubing or fermenters, replace them before the next one. Brett is a tough infection to clean up.

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:36 PM   #10
May 2010
Wixom, Michigan
Posts: 609
Liked 21 Times on 19 Posts

I've never read "baby diaper" as an aromatic attribute on Beer Advocate or Rate Beer.

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