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Old 11-22-2008, 07:03 AM   #1
Zero8684
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Default 3 bad brews so far

We first started with a Brown Ale, then a Irish Stout, Pumpkin Ale, last a Lawnmower and Xmas Ale.

We did one a week and so at this point the brown ales been in the bottle for at about a month and a half and irish stout a week less and so forth. They all seemed to taste fine as we bottled from the secondary but something has gone wrong after carbonating. Some of the bottles will just overflow instantly when opening. But regardless they almost all taste the same- BAD. It's hard to describe really as its a pretty disgusting taste. It's almost a vinegar taste that hits you at your first gulp. The first two batches were pure extract and fairly basic(hops-barley extract-dried yeast). From there the other beers had steeped grains- irish moss- liquid yeast- yeast food(or accelerater?)-and the lawnmower had an alcohol increase. Unfortunately for the most part we forgot to the OG on a couple of them and the rest I don't have on hand. Our setup consists of a stainless steel pot- primary- secondary- bottle. Primpary and secondary sit in fermentation at 65- 70 degrees. Typically 3-2-1(weeks) at least. Sometimes a bit a longer for each.
We were thinking that perhaps it is the actual water we are using. We heard tap water would be ok but we just found out that the tap water we were using actually comes from a well. So perhaps that could be it? We are at a loss and honestly I feel like as each week goes by each beer gets worse. Any ideas?


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Old 11-22-2008, 07:10 AM   #2
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The gushing bottles and vinegar flavor are likely a sign of an infection. I'd take a look at all of your hoses, buckets, etc... and make sure they are clean. I might consider replacing all hoses at a minimum.

Take a look on this,
One more question: What are you using for a sanitizer and how are you sanitizing?


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Old 11-22-2008, 07:11 AM   #3
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If your water smells and tastes OK, it probably is NOT the problem. Any water you use is boiled at least 60 minutes which will kill any nasties, but just make sure it smells and tastes OK. My first guess would be sanitation of the primary fermenter, tubing used to rack to primary, funnel, etc. Anything that touches the beer after the flame is out is suspect, and you'll need to work from that point. Try cutting out the secondary, also...it's really unnecessary unless you are storing for a long time or dry hopping. How are you cooling the wort, and how long does that take? The longer between flame out and sealing that primary just means more time for contamination.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:13 AM   #4
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Sounds to me like a systemic infection. Gushing bottles is one of the sure signs of this. (As is the bad taste.)

Are you boiling all of the water that goes into your brew? or are you topping off with unsanitized well water? When you prime and bottle, are you boiling the water and sugar before you add it the wort?

Be careful with those bottles. If there is indeed an infection working within then those bottles can be explosively charged.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:22 AM   #5
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ya. we are using a iodine based sanitizer. I cant recall the name but it came with our brew kit and we typically put everything in a bath tub or a container and let soak. Wash with warm water. And we built a wort chiller with copper tubing and surgical. Typicall takes 15 20 minutes to get down to 80. We boil the sugar and water for carbonation for a minute a believe and then cool it down before adding. The water tastes ok but sometimes you can pour it in a glass and tell it doesn't seem that clean. I wish we would have done this to begin with. In addition we typicall dont boil the 3 gallons of water added to the wort. The beer always looks fine- no mold or visual signs of infection ornything so I'm not sure. I feel like maybe vinegar is too descriptive to describe the taste cause its a kinda like that but a bit different at the same time. Sorry for the vagueness.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero8684 View Post
The water tastes ok but sometimes you can pour it in a glass and tell it doesn't seem that clean. I wish we would have done this to begin with. In addition we typicall dont boil the 3 gallons of water added to the wort.
That could be your problem right there. The top off water could harbor contaminants that are not that harmful to you but , given the right medium ie sugary wort, could survive and thrive and go onto to great success as beer infectors.

Boil the rest of the water. or get bottled spring water from the supermarket.
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Old 11-22-2008, 08:33 AM   #7
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I don't boil the water I add to the wort, but here the water quality is gauranteed and slightly clorinated and it makes perfect beer, at least I haven't had a problem so far. I'm not sure about getting water from a well though.
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Old 11-22-2008, 10:24 AM   #8
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Anything that touches the beer after the boil and cooling must be boiled or soaked in sanitizer. Do not rinse after using the sanitizer.

Bottles must be totally clean and sanitized. Do not rinse after the sanitize solution has been applied.

Bottle caps must be soaked in sanitizer. Do not rinse after the sanitize solution has been applied.

Make sure your hands do not touch anything that has not been sanitized as this would transfer to the items that come in contact with the beer.

Anything that is added to the boiled beer such as top up water must also be boiled to kill bacteria.

The bottling bucket which must be sanitized. Do not rinse after the sanitize solution has been applied to the bucket.

Priming sugar must be boiled and cooled before adding it to the bottling bucket.

If you pay attention to the above you will most likely start to make good beer. Infections can be prevented but you have to be careful to not do things that can get it into the beer.
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Old 11-22-2008, 12:19 PM   #9
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I would also look at the sanitation of everything, especially the bottles. If the beer taste alright before going into the bottles after sitting in carboy's for 5 weeks, I would suspect that you need to pasy closer attention to washing and sanitizing bottles. Don't know what bottles you use, but if you use commercial bottles, make sure you rinse them out after drinking, scrub them and sanitize them. Like everyone else said, don't rinse the sanitizer if it's iodine. And lastly, I would probably switch to a phosphoric acid sanitizer instead of iodine. Good luck.
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Old 11-22-2008, 12:28 PM   #10
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Since it seems you do have an infection problem, take extra care when cleaning the bottles you have used. You may actually find a ring left in the bottles from the infected beer that has to be removed to prevent further infections.


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