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Chocolate stout tastes of vinegar

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mrchicken

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Had a Midwest oatmeal stout kit (5 gallon). Thought I would chocolate it up a bit. Added 6 oz of cocoa powder to boil, then added 6 oz cocoa in about a quart of bourbon to fermenter.

Left in primary for 4 weeks at 68 degrees. Looked fine bottled as normal.

Its been in the bottle 3 weeks so I cracked one open to test. Blech! Tastes like 50/50 beer and vinegar. Beer is still very cloudy and not fully carbonated no chocolate flavor.

1. Is it ruined or just way too early?
2. If its shot, what went wrong? Recipe? Infection? Other??
3. Dump it or leave it for a month or so and retest?
 

danielthemaniel

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Sounds like you got acetic acid bacteria infecting your beer. They cause the vinegar taste and can only live when oxygen is present. Perhaps you accidentally allowed too much oxygen to come in contact with your beer after fermentation was complete. Bummer as there is no fix that I'm aware of.
 

Lefou

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If it tastes like vingar it will not get better and the culprit is most likely an infection.
Yes, I'm familiar with this particular problem, too. It happened when I didn't properly boil and sanitize one of my partial mash brews. The brew tasted a bit thin and sourish in the bottling bucket, but I took a chance and bottled it anyway.
It definitely didn't improve after a few weeks.

I vote for the "dump" option.
If it tastes thin and sourish in the bottling bucket it probably won't improve after capping, but it is a good lesson - if making mistakes could be called that.
 
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mrchicken

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Lefou,
Bingo! The beer flavor was thin but it had a sour bitter taste when siphoning to my bottling bucket. Now, where did the infection come from?
I am very meticulous about cleaning and sanitizing.
Boil remove from heat, then ice bath in sink, pour into cleaned and sanitized fermenter bucket ,add bourbon/cocoa, Add chilled bottled water to bring to full volume. Mix with washed& sanitized spoon. Pitch yeast. Cap + thermowell + airlock.....
Probably not my fermenter bucket, Not my thermowell, Mixing spoon washed and sanitized before going into the beer.

Could the post boil cocoa/bourbon addition be the culprit?
Kamakazi fruit fly I didn't see?

It was definitely "wrong" coming out of the fermenter so the problem was somewhere post boil and pre-bottling.... Hmmm.
 

Lefou

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Fruit fly is the likely source.
Fruit flies! LOL
It could be dead of winter and I STILL see those little beggars in my house.

Acetobacter can be airborne and any surface that isn't spritzed with StarSan prior to use can be affected. We make fermented and pickled cabbage (kimchee) by leaving the mix to the open air for a few hours. It's good for fermented cabbage but not so good for making beer.
My beers soured in the primary and I think it had something to do with improperly cooling my wort after the boil, something I've since remedied. It helps to keep a lid on things.
My last beer got cooled in a snowbank. I put a layer of Saran wrap on, poked one or two holes in the plastic to relieve pressure, then clapped the lid on before dropping the kettle in a slushy container.
 
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Lefou

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Yum is right.
We do a few variations using different vegetables. One of my favorites is the aged radish cube (gak dugi).
If the stuff gets too sour it can be used as an addition for spicy soup as boiling tames some of the acidity. One of my boys fancies himself as an incarnation of Morimoto and loves to experiment.
When doing beer I'm almost OCD about getting an infection simply because it's a crime to do all that work and end up with crappy malt vinegar.
 

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