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Old 05-04-2012, 01:22 AM   #1
bigivybrew
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Default Beer Smells Like Rotten Fruit

So I just racked to secondary a couple of days ago. When I opened my primary bucket, the wort smelled off. Like rotten fruit! There was a heavy foam on the top, but that is not abnormal. I tasted the wort it tasted like spoiled sweet tea (if you've ever had that you know what I am talking about).

I have let it sit a few days, but I could smell it coming through the air lock. I opened it up today and it smelled really strong- like rotten fruit. I tasted it again, and it was the same spoiled juice spoiled sweet tea taste.

I have never had infected beer. It doesn't look infected. Does anyone know what could be going on? Should I go ahead and throw this brew out and start over?


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Old 05-04-2012, 01:56 AM   #2
ArcaneXor
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Let's make sure we are on the same page and assume that it was beer, not wort, in the primary bucket. Did you take a hydrometer reading when you transferred? And how long had the beer been in the primary?
Next, I would like to ask what your motivation was for moving a beer that still has kraeusen on top to a secondary fermentor. Doing this has a tendency to cause off-flavors such as diacetyl and acetaldehyde, and cause the beer to underattenuate.

Finally, what was the recipe (including yeast), water source, sanitation method, pitching rate, pitching temperature, aeration method/time, and fermentation temperature? Without this information, we can't do better than guess at what might be affecting your beer.


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Old 05-04-2012, 02:31 AM   #3
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This doesn't answer your question, like our magical-logic suggests we need much more information, but you can always read up on sours and pretend that's what you intended to make!
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:36 AM   #4
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As previously mentioned, lots of factors can cause this.

I brewed a Belgian Abbey last year that smelled exactly like rotting fruit when it was very young. After it grew up for a couple of months, it tasted fantastic. The rotting fruit smell was replaced with dark fruit and caramel. Again, this was with a Belgian ale yeast, so if you weren't using a yeast that produces lots of esters, then there may be something else going on.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:26 AM   #5
bigivybrew
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More details:

Recipe:
6 lb gold lme
3 lb gold dme
.5 Crystal
.5 Cara-Pils
2 oz Amarillo
1 oz Cascade
White Labs California Ale Yeast (liquid vial)

OG was 1.050. I did not take a reading when racking to secondary.

I used normal sanitation methods - I can't imagine anything went wrong there.

I used my own well water as the water source. I always do this. I live in the mountains of NC and my water quality is great. Never had any other issues. This is about my 6th or 7th batch.

I transferred to secondary for a couple of reasons- and I admit it may have been a rookie mistake. First, the brew had been in the primary for about 12 days. There was no action in the air lock. So I thought it was a safe move. Secondly, because of this strange smell and flavor, I felt that maybe I needed to go ahead and get it off the trub so it could begin to clarify and maybe clear out of this funk it was in. Again, may have been a mistake.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:37 AM   #6
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What was the temperature at which your beer fermented?
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KegOutlet View Post
What was the temperature at which your beer fermented?

70-72 degrees
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:34 AM   #8
TarheelBrew13
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You said it tasted like spoiled sweet tea. As a fellow Carolinian and native Southerner I am quite familiar with that particular flavor. In sweet tea, it's caused by oxidation but I don't think that's very likely as the cause of your flavor. Could be an infection. I'd let it ride a couple weeks and retry it. Some infected beers turn out pretty good. No matter what it is, you can't do anything about it now.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:10 PM   #9
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So the airlock on the secondary has been dead for a few days. Should I just leave the brew in there for a few more weeks? Or is whatever was going to happen already happened?
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:22 PM   #10
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I let my ales sit in the secondary at least a week and a half. If there are any off flavors, longer. Time tends to cure many things. I made a small porter last year off of a dual stout brew my buddy and I had. The thing tasted pretty damned awful after primary and some time on a secondary. I had no use for the carboy it was in at the time, so I let it sit for 8 months. It aged beautifully.

If yours is no good, a little time might smooth out the wrinkles.


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