Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > A sad day.. I think my first batch is getting dumped...
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:48 PM   #1
justinthehull
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Default A sad day.. I think my first batch is getting dumped...

I've thought about this quite a bit today after researching for hours... and it seems like my batch is ruined. I'm going to take a good long look at it whe. I get home, but I think I'm going to dump it. This is my first batch and I've made a few mistakes:

1. I boiled hopped extract, because the directions with my kit told me to do so

2. I stirred in yeast rather than letting it sit for 15 minutes because "How to Brew" said to do it in the beginner insructions. In a later chapter (that i read after pitching the yeast) it says to wait 15 minutes to stir just like the instructions on the yeast did.

3. Fermentation got up to 74 degrees in my first spot. I had the carboy wrapped in a blanket and a black shirt over it to block light, but didn't realize it was just a couple feet away from a vent blasting warm air. I moved the Carboy to a closet which is probably the coldest spot in our house in the winter.

4. When the fermometer read 63-64, I moved it again.... into our bedroom. It was again a few feet from a vent (farther than the first time), so I left the blanket off and only had the shirt protecting he beer. Now something smells like a skunk in my room, and it must be the beer. I thought I had used too much starsan for the amount of water when I prepared forma hydrometer test and the new solution I put in the airlock was the culprit, but researching all morning has discovered no other cases of people thinking starsan smells like this. This smell was first noticed a week after brewing.

I'm doing my best to prepare for what I'll have to do tonight, but I'm really depressed about the whole thing. I'm not getting much work done today... What a waste...


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Old 01-25-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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1) not a big deal, just be a lil more bitter

2) nothing wrong

3) a bit high, but depending on the yeast, may not be an issue. probably has some extra esters and maybe some fusels, nothing crazy

4) fermentation can produce some awful aromas, but they generally fade. only yhing that can skunk a beer is UV and flourescents, so its probably just sulfur which isn't an uncommon byproduct.

I see no reason to dump this unless it actually tastes skunked.


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Old 01-25-2012, 02:58 PM   #3
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It wants to be beer so bad. Don't give up on it yet.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:58 PM   #4
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None of the things you mentioned above should have messed up your beer:

1) Boiling extract is fine as long as you stirred it like a crazy man. The only issue here would have been if it sit on the bottom long enough to start to burn, i.e. carmelize, the sugars.

2) Stiring in the yeast is fine, and even perferred to help oxidate the solution. I throw my yeast in and then shake the crap out of them.

3) The 74 degree fermentation is a little high, but isn't going to cause any problems that can't be fixed. Worst case, you'd have a bit of off flavors like fusel alcohols, which can be conditioned out with an extra few weeks of conditioning.

4) The skunk smell you smelled was probably carbon dioxide, which is a natural product of fermentation.

How long have you had this in your fermenter? Once it has been in there about 4 weeks, pull a sample, and if it tastes anywhere close to beer, then the batch is fine.

It is rather difficult to ruin a batch of beer. DON'T DUMP IT!!!
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
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No dumping beer! I swear there is a sticky about this somewhere. And none of what you describe seems horribly wrong to me. You still have beer.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcp27 View Post
1) not a big deal, just be a lil more bitter

2) nothing wrong

3) a bit high, but depending on the yeast, may not be an issue. probably has some extra esters and maybe some fusels, nothing crazy

4) fermentation can produce some awful aromas, but they generally fade. only yhing that can skunk a beer is UV and flourescents, so its probably just sulfur which isn't an uncommon byproduct.

I see no reason to dump this unless it actually tastes skunked.
Agreed on all points.

I would stop moving the carboy/fermenting bucket around. Try to keep the temp stable. But it seems to me you are making beer.

My first beer I just dumped in the dry yeast. No rehydrating. No stirring. After 24 or so hours, fermentation started that I could visibly see (was in a glass carboy) I pitched the yeast at about 80 degrees. The whole fermentation was probably a bit too warm. And it came out just fine.

RDWHAHB
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:00 PM   #7
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I'm a total newbie.. only a few posts here and only 3 batches under my belt, but I've been reading religiously for over a month now. Your batch isn't ruined, to the best of my knowledge.. you may have some off flavors from fermenting at too high a temp originally, but the 63-64 degree room you moved it to at one point is probably perfect (depending on yeast strain). You can't go by the smell of the fermentation.... Also, from what I've read, never dumb a batch. Let it do it's thing, be patient, and RDWHAHB... Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:01 PM   #8
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ok so you did a few things wrong. What about the people thousands of years ago? They didn't know half the crap you did when you started and they made beer.

Don't dump it, I think you're going to get a drinkable product. It may not be "as good as it could have been" but now you know for next time. The important part is, you're learning.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:02 PM   #9
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One of Revvy's good posts about not dumping beer:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/blogs/re...-even-beer-99/
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:07 PM   #10
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Let me see if I can't talk you down from the ledge here:

1. You don't have to boil pre-hopped extract, but doing so won't necessarily ruin your beer. I wouldn't worry too much about that, honestly.

2. This will not have a dramatic impact either way, I wouldn't worry about it.

3. If it got too hot, you'll have some off-flavors - how bad they are depends on how hot it got and for how long and what type of yeast you were using. Overall, though, it should still be perfectly drinkable beer, just not the greatest brew you've ever tasted. Maybe it will taste a little like bananas or bubblegum or something else a little weird, but most likely it won't be an overpowering thing.

4. The smell could very well just be a byproduct of your fermentation, which often smells and looks really nasty. Your yeast have released a lot of gas in the process of devouring sugars, and the process is not exactly neat and tidy. For me, every fermentation has looked and smelled a little different, but I've never caught a whiff of my airlock bubbling and thought: mmmm, yummy! The key is, after all the bubbling and foaming and what not have died down, to actually taste the luke-warm, flat beer. It should taste pretty decent, albeit flat. If that's the case, you know you're on the right track and have nothing to worry about.

My suggestion - don't dump it. Let it sit for another week or so until you start getting consistent hydrometer readings over 2-3 day periods. Then bottle it up and wait for it to carb. Crack one open after a couple of weeks - you'll have beer. Like I said, it may not be the best one you've ever tasted, but I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.

One a higher level note - we've all been here before. Your first few batches are the source of endless consternation and worry. It's natural, after spending time and money on trying to do something, to want it to come out well. And it's natural, just sitting there looking at the carboy, to feel a little helpless if you think things aren't going well inside. After a few batches, you'll learn that yeast are surprisingly good at their job and that you have to do something really, monumentally stupid to make your beer utterly undrinkable. In most cases, my beer comes out a bit above average - better than most, but not an award winner by any means. Sometimes, it comes out great and I have a huge sense of accomplishment. Every time, I get a bunch of beer out of the deal, so it's really a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned. Just be patient and try not to worry.


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