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Old 11-05-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
DaBills
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Default Interesting fermentation... funky smell/taste

So I brewed up this Chimay Blue Clone Kit from AHB (Partial Mash)
1.25 lb. special B malt
1.5 lb. cara munich malt
3 oz chocolate malt
1.5 lb. belgian pale ale malt
6 oz. aromatic malt
1.5 lb. dark candi sugar
8 lb extra pale extract.
steeped grains approx 155.

I got these milled grains in the kit in the mail towards the end of September. Should have brewed right away but I didn't. I kept them in a cool dark place and brewed on Nov. 1st. I planned to brew in the beginning of October and I made a starter (WLP500) but couldn't brew then so it has been sitting in the fridge for a month. Now I used a plastic gallon jug that contatined distilled water and was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. I will stick to glass from now on.

So this is what happened. I steeped grains for an hour at 155 then boiled for 60 minutes adding hops as recipe called for. Cooled the wort down to 80 in 15 minutes with immersion chiller then added to sanitized(star san no rinse) better bottle and topped off with cold tap water. I added the yeast that was at room temperature and did not decant first. Shook BB like crazy to aerate. I then smelled the starter container for some reason and noticed it smelled a little strange. Like beer but an overpowering odor and strong alcohol that made my nose tingle. Not exactly pleasant. Then I was like oh **** what if that thing got infected in the fridge(it was tightly covered in foil all month) I don't want to waste $50 worth of ingredients. Then I remembered what I do for wine to kill all the nasties(wild yeast, bacteria). I add potassium metabisulfite and that is exactly what I did. I figured if there was an infection this would kill it and I could re-pitch the yeast. I added a half teaspoon. Also I forgot to mention I didn't hit my desired gravity (added a little too much water) so I boiled up some water and a lb. of Extra Light Dry Malt Extract for a half hour then added that after cooling in bath. Lol I am picturing myself on brewday it was hilarious. So anyways I added the DME right before the K-meta I believe for a total volume of 6 gallons and an OG of 1.086. Then I put it in my basement and went to bed.

I figured I wouldn't have any activity because of the K-meta but I was wrong the thing was freaking out. Bubble bubble bubble every second. I still wanted to buy more yeast to add because I didn't want any funny business and have the thing stop at 1.030. So I added two vials of WLP500 as insurance. Now I have a not bad but somewhat funky smell/taste. I think it might be the K-meta. It's kinda sour, maybe a little chemically. The fermentation continues to go crazy. Had to add blowoff tube initially (11-2) but have since gone back to airlock.

From 11-1 to 11-4 my fermentation temp. was 63.7. On 11-4 my gravity was 1.052. At this point I moved my carboy next to the water heater and checked it about 15 hours later and my new fermentation temp was 67.5 and the gravity is 1.042. I moved it a little closer to the water heater and I think the temp will be around 70 when I check it tomorrow.

So do you think I avoided a potential infection that may not have been an infection at all and am tasting/smelling the k-meta? It does have sort of a sulphur quality to it. Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed reading about this experience as much as I did writing about it.


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Old 12-06-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
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So I don't know what the taste is but it doesn't taste as chemically now after a little over a month in primary. The taste is good but there is a dominant sour note on the back end, would taste awesome if not for the last part. It tastes less sour than it used to so I guess it is getting better. It is not infected. I am trying to figure out if this will taste good after even more time. Should I bottle? Should I move to secondary? Should I throw it in a keg? I don't plan to drink it for 6 months and I would like to just bottle/keg it and let it sit but don't know if the bulk aging might be a better idea... Let me know what you think.

Edit: FG is 1.02


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Old 12-06-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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With your next starter keep in mind that they do tend to smell, sulfur/rotten egg seems to be the most common. Your noise tingling was likely due to inhaling co2 in the solution.

I'd guess everything is fine with your beer. Belgian yeast tend to be a little funky/sour and this will mellow with age. I'd transfer to a secondary and let it age a while with as little airspace as possible. Your FG is a little high at the moment but that might be as good as it gets due to the extract and OG. In the future I'd keep the potassium metabisulfite for the wine and try not to keep a yeast starter in the fridge longer then a week.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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Thanks for response. FG is a little high but it's done. Should have been 1.016. Def. will skip the k-meta, just a weird situation and I thought it would help. You say that belgian yeast create this off flavor but I tasted it almost immediately so I'm leaning towards it being the sour beer from the starter. It was a half gallon of liquid. If this is the problem will it get better with age? Thanks again.
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