I'm losing my mind over this

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LovesIPA

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Now, hold up a second. Perhaps because I am joining this thread after months of frustration endured by others I have a bit more optimism, but this seems like an easy fix. A good pH meter will run $80-100. The scale is only $10-20. A quick lesson on how to use the Bru'n water sheet properly and this problem might be solved.
I already own a gram scale.

I already know how to use Bru 'n' water.

I do not have pH meter though. It has been on my list of stuff to get for a while.

Yes, it would be an easy fix, for any rational person. You don't know who you're dealing with here.
What a good post with some great advice MrHadack! OP, do you see the time and effort people are putting into YOUR problem... all because you're too bull headed to have this solved months ago.

However MrHadack, water profiles and ph adjustments are advanced brewing techniques, and the op has proven many different times he's not ready for that level of brewing. Keep it simple and build from there.
I am honestly quite tired of you talking out your ass and talking **** about me. In the future if you don't have anything helpful to say then please keep your childish BS out of this thread.
 
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LovesIPA

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You haven't had time to tell if the problem is the same or not, regarding the batch you brewed with distilled.
I guess if you want to get super picky, I have no way of proving if this batch has the exact same off-flavor. I can only rely on my own senses but as far as I can tell, the flavor and aroma is indistinguishable from other bad batches. I guess I will stop saying infected.

The reason nothing makes sense is he's been fighting more than one problem at different points along the way and doesn't know it. That's my opinion anyway.
I agree with you.

The first problem was his water. He had off flavors from the Glacier vending machines he was using. The article I linked to earlier pointed out they had amounts of chlorine and other minerals that exceeded the state guidelines for drinking water. There was even a law suit against Glacier for it. It involved the machines that were tested in his immediate geographical area. This was his source water. Of course it would cause off flavors. He just ruled them out right away because he assumed they had to be fine.
Yeah I had no idea they were getting sued. What about the TDS meter question that I posted earlier? Would that be of any use?

Next, when he finally gets around to using other water sources, he absolutely kills his mash pH and raises his sulfates to ridiculous levels like 500 ppm.
I agree that the water profile on that batch was just plain stupid. Again, I did it to prove it wasn't the water.

Of course he ends up with off flavors again, and as he notes, now it "tastes bad out of the fermenter too."
No, that batch was fine in the fermenter. It's not an off-flavor, the stuff is undrinkable. And it's the same flavor that it always has been.

He chalks this up to a wild spreading infection that's getting into everything including his auto-siphon, completely ignoring the fact that once again, his water is complete crap, only this time by his own doing. And that's not speculation-- that's fact based on chemistry and what he posted above for grain bill, water additions, etc, on his distilled water batch.
It sure it easy to pile on, isn't it? Please read the whole thread before you trash my process.

His problem can't be infection. When I first started kegging, for 2 years I never took my keg apart. 12-15 batches, and the only thing I did to sanitize my keg was throw in an ounce of iodophor and fill with water. I let it sit for 30 minutes, dumped it out, gave it a rinse with a hose, and poured in the beer. Never had an infection. I dry hop, rack, ferment, and mill my grains in the same small basement room of my house. I never got an infection from that. When I rack to secondary, I fill a slop sink with cold water, add an ounce of iodophor, and sit my tubes and auto-siphon in there for 5 minutes, give them a rinse and use them. Same with my brew bucket, and it doesn't even submerge fully because the slop sink isn't deep enough. I just rotate it every 30 seconds so the iodophor water gets on every surface. Give it a rinse and I am good to go. Never an infection. I don't even own star-san. Never used it. I have been doing this 5+ years. There's no way he can be getting that many infections when his process is much more thorough than mine.
That actually makes me feel a lot better.

Thanks... I'm trying. :) I feel bad for the guy. I think he's genuinely frustrated. But like I just posted, I think it isn't one problem but several that he's created in his pursuit of the first which no longer even exists.
[X] Genuinely frustrated.
 

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So now just buy some spring water or distilled water (if you want to build it up), quit using the Glacier vending machines, and I think your problem is solved!
 

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The question must now be asked. Are you still using buckets, siphons, tubing, etc (anything plastic) that was used with infected batches? It sure sounds like you are.
 
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I feel like you guys are dragging me around in circles.
Don't blame me. I just got here.

If you create a specific water profile for each batch then you should have known that it was bad advice to use that much gypsum and dismissed it. But if you're willing to follow advice which you knew was bad to begin with, why haven't you bottled a batch yet to rule out the keg as the problem?

The problem is you haven't been troubleshooting this very well at all. You have not approached this logically. I know you will take offense to that, but sometimes truth hurts. The fact you haven't bottled anything demonstrates this.

This is how you should have done it:

1. Brew a basic batch with distilled water. Water that you buy in a store that comes in a plastic jug. Not water from a Glacier vending machine.

2. Use your standard profile you just mentioned. In fact, before you brew, post your grain bill, strike water and sparge water amounts, and the additions in grams that you plan to make to each so everyone can agree they are correct. (When you make the additions to the water, and they are all dissolved, perhaps you can take a sample and send to Ward labs for analysis.)

3. After you boil, split the wort into TWO SEPARATE BATCHES. Cool each as normal. Use new yeast in one batch, and use your yeast in the other. Label which is which.

4. After fermentation, you will have two batches. Keg some of each batch separately like you normally do but also BOTTLE a bunch of each batch separately.

You now have essentially 4 separate batches:

1. Old yeast, bottled
2. Old yeast, kegged
3. New yeast, bottled
4. New yeast, kegged

This would help you eliminate potential causes, depending which have off-flavors and which do not. In one batch you will be able to isolate whether it was a yeast issue, a fermentation issue, or a kegging issue. Or, more importantly, none of them!

If they all have off flavors, then it is not the yeast, and it is not your keg. If your analysis from Ward Labs comes back with the right levels of everything that you predicted when building your water profile, you can safely rule that out.

There you go. ONE brew day would eliminate almost every concern you have and point you to whatever might be the actual culprit.

THAT'S how to troubleshoot it. If you do not do it this way, no one will be able to help you.
 

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LovesIPA, The frustration building up in this thread is getting you nowhere. Good on your for posting a recap. It makes it easier for others to follow as the thread is quite long.

In order to table some of the frustration, could you post exactly where you are and what your next step is? You do have a batch fermenting, right? When do you expect results from that batch? If your problem isn't solved, based on the information you have received here, what is your next step? When are you brewing again? Maybe we should let this thread rest for a while until you are able to report back with results.
 
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I have a brew day on Monday. I will follow your advice, thank you.
 

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Don't blame me. I just got here.

If you create a specific water profile for each batch then you should have known that it was bad advice to use that much gypsum and dismissed it. But if you're willing to follow advice which you knew was bad to begin with, why haven't you bottled a batch yet to rule out the keg as the problem?

The problem is you haven't been troubleshooting this very well at all. You have not approached this logically. I know you will take offense to that, but sometimes truth hurts. The fact you haven't bottled anything demonstrates this.

This is how you should have done it:

1. Brew a basic batch with distilled water. Water that you buy in a store that comes in a plastic jug. Not water from a Glacier vending machine.

2. Use your standard profile you just mentioned. In fact, before you brew, post your grain bill, strike water and sparge water amounts, and the additions in grams that you plan to make to each so everyone can agree they are correct. (When you make the additions to the water, and they are all dissolved, perhaps you can take a sample and send to Ward labs for analysis.)

3. After you boil, split the wort into TWO SEPARATE BATCHES. Cool each as normal. Use new yeast in one batch, and use your yeast in the other. Label which is which.

4. After fermentation, you will have two batches. Keg some of each batch separately like you normally do but also BOTTLE a bunch of each batch separately.

You now have essentially 4 separate batches:

1. Old yeast, bottled
2. Old yeast, kegged
3. New yeast, bottled
4. New yeast, kegged

This would help you eliminate potential causes, depending which have off-flavors and which do not. In one batch you will be able to isolate whether it was a yeast issue, a fermentation issue, or a kegging issue. Or, more importantly, none of them!

If they all have off flavors, then it is not the yeast, and it is not your keg. If your analysis from Ward Labs comes back with the right levels of everything that you predicted when building your water profile, you can safely rule that out.

There you go. ONE brew day would eliminate almost every concern you have and point you to whatever might be the actual culprit.

THAT'S how to troubleshoot it. If you do not do it this way, no one will be able to help you.
Well said, again MrHadack

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The question must now be asked. Are you still using buckets, siphons, tubing, etc (anything plastic) that was used with infected batches? It sure sounds like you are.
If you're following the thread, you'd see that there are some pretty knowledgeable people saying it's not an infection.
 
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LovesIPA

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Also, as I have said several times in this thread, the distilled water batch was fermented in a new bucket but I did re-use my auto-siphon.
 

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I think that many people are losing touch with what it feels like to be helpless in the face of crappy beer.

We've all been there, we've all been completely at a loss at least once.

We've all researched hysterically about a billion possible reasons behind our ruined beer, because, let's face it, it's downright UPSETTING when all your hard work results in nothing.

So let's take a minute to sympathize with LovesIPA, hand him a beer, and work through this together. After all this, this problem will eventually disappear inexplicably and all will return to normal. Such is life!




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I think that many people are losing touch with what it feels like to be helpless in the face of crappy beer.

We've all been there, we've all been completely at a loss at least once.

We've all researched hysterically about a billion possible reasons behind our ruined beer, because, let's face it, it's downright UPSETTING when all your hard work results in nothing.

So let's take a minute to sympathize with LovesIPA, hand him a beer, and work through this together. After all this, this problem will eventually disappear inexplicably and all will return to normal. Such is life!




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Thank you for the words of encouragement! :mug:
 

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Then it's completely irrelevant. Forget that as a potential cause and we'll move on.
Thanks for this response, this is what I told myself a few months ago in a similar situation. I had an autosiphon also the last part of what i replaced after I had 3 infected in a row still unknown cause (questionable fermenter, grain powders, old siphon lines) still not sure.

I still have the same auto siphon and it wasn't an issue after a bleach bomb, rinse, repeat and sanitize. Small batch tests proved this.

New lines, fermenters, and learning from a mistake or two or three and I felt like no more batches were infected just to have a wild yeast infection, definitely different from first infection which was likely a lacto,in a yeast sample I harvested. No beers fermented with this yeast were sour or vinegary, they tasted like beer just highly attenuated, very thin and kinda bready beer. Not a bad wild yeast for a summer wheat. Facts that they attenuated very high, down to 1.001-1.0, and caused over carbonation made it appear like infection didn't figure this out until i did some small test batches with that yeast as suggested by a LHBS worker.

Then I had over carbed beers I thought were somehow still infected and replaced bottling bucket, spigots and bottling wand before I realized they really were overcarbed because of storage temps. The closet that was closer to 60-65 last summer is has suddenly been almost 75 probably since winter and heat turned on and probably runs through a wall near closet.

After all this I almost got as frustrated as this guy. Truly no disrespect meant, but this honestly made me feel better about how frustrating my experience was. Bad batches are very frustrating but just keep investigating and you'll uncover any issues causing the off flavors.

Good luck and let us know how this next brew goes.
 

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Thanks for this response, this is what I told myself a few months ago in a similar situation. I had an autosiphon also the last part of what i replaced after I had 3 infected in a row still unknown cause (questionable fermenter, grain powders, old siphon lines) still not sure.

I still have the same auto siphon and it wasn't an issue after a bleach bomb, rinse, repeat and sanitize. Small batch tests proved this.

New lines, fermenters, and learning from a mistake or two or three and I felt like no more batches were infected just to have a wild yeast infection in a yeast sample I harvested. The facts that they attenuated very high, down to 1.001-1.0, made it appear like infection didn't figure this out until i did some small test batches with that yeast as suggested by a LHBS worker.

Then I had over carbed beers I thought were somehow still infected and replaced bottling bucket, spigots and bottling wand before I realized they really were overcarbed because of storage temps. The closet that was closer to 60-65 last summer is has suddenly been almost 75 probably since winter and heat turned on and probably runs through a wall near closet.

After all this I almost got as frustrated as this guy. Truly no disrespect meant, but this honestly made me feel better about how frustrating my experience was. Bad batches are very frustrating but just keep investigating and you'll uncover any issues causing the off flavors.

Good luck and let us know how this next brew goes.
Not to get off topic but I don't think temperature plays a role in amount of carbonation when bottle conditioning... the amount of sugar in the wort however does whether from too much priming sugar or an incomplete fermentation. The temp would only affect the speed of carbonation as I understand it.

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Zoidberg

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I read in a couple spots that warm storage or fluctuating storage temps could cause it over carving. I'm skeptical since I didn't find it any reputable source but t may be true. I'm storing a 6 pack of a recently bottled pale in my 72-74F closet and the rest in my 55-60F storage area in my apartment buildings basement and I should know for sure.

It also could have been the appearance of over carb in a lot of them because of being "burped" while warm and seeing of foam due to more co2 in headspace. Same situation with beers I refrigerated to test but only did for a day or less. I learned later that takes a couple days to absorb all the co2 into beer especially when coming out of warmer temps.
 
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Haddack,

You are clearly a very knowledgeable brewer with the best of intentions.
Very kind of you to say. I'm sure you are as well.

But I assure you. You are feeding a troll. You may not want to read this or hear it, but you will come to this realization eventually on your own.
I don't care either way, to tell you the truth. If this is a legitimate problem to solve then I'm helping. If it is a troll, its not really a waste of my time because I'm also reviewing my own procedures in a mental exercise to make sure I know how to troubleshoot things correctly should they happen in the future. We're also coming up with dozens of potential sticking points that others may read in the course of the thread and say "Oh, I never thought of that. Perhaps that was my issue that one time when X happened a while back." A few people have posted things like that. They were helped as well.

There is always low hanging fruit in the forums-- the questions that ask "How do I know when fermentation is complete?" or "How does this recipe look to you?" Questions people can answer in a minute, feel good about themselves, and then abandon for the next one. If that's your preference, have at it. For others, that's mental masturbation that's just as easily solved with a Google search.

What's most amusing to me is the advice given so far. Overdose your water on Gypsum! Throw out all your equipment! If a piece of plastic touched an infection it can NVER. BE. USED. AGAIN! It's like the Simpsons episode from years ago when Homer is teaching Bart how to putt a golf ball:

HOMER: "Keep your head down, follow through."
[Bart putts and misses]
HOMER: "Okay, that didn't work. This time, move your head and don't follow through."

In the entire thread no one suggested a simple procedure that would isolate each stage into separate batches that would immediately indicate the point of failure. Sure, people suggested bottling and he didn't do that. That's frustrating. Honestly if he doesn't bottle this time either I won't bother anymore as well. But at least he now has a realistic reliable troubleshooting procedure.

Your ego might convince you can solve any brewing problem,
I can't. The Latin phrase under my username says as much.

but I assure you, this problem is brewing in the darkest reaches of a human mind.
Thank goodness, I worked very hard for my psych degrees; I was hoping they would be useful at some point.

Don't feed the trolls.
Who motivates the troll more: the ones with helpful solutions, or the one that returns every day to poke it with a stick?
 
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I brewed a batch of tangerine ale back in January and tasted it a couple of times. It never really tasted right so I just let it sit in primary. Since you guys have convinced me the problem really isn't an infection, it must be OK, right? So I kegged it. And I bottled a 12-pack at the same time.
Still have a couple bottles from it that you'd care to send me? I'd like to taste and see what I can detect, if anything. It might help matters.
 
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Still have a couple bottles from it that you'd care to send me? I'd like to taste and see what I can detect, if anything. It might help matters.
I can do that. I was also thinking about it last night and I wish I'd thought of this earlier, but I can fill a couple of bottles straight from the keg and send them to anyone who wants to try and identify what this is. I have a couple full bottles in the fridge now. I'm going to let them sit out for a few days, then put them back in the fridge and see if they still retain the flavor. It hasn't always worked in the past for some reason.

Of course, with so many children clogging up this thread lately :rolleyes: I might get in trouble for sending alcohol to minors.

Send me a PM if you're interested and you haven't been trolling.
 
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LovesIPA

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I stopped by an aquarium shop today and bought a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter.

One of these is straight, untreated tap water, and the other is reverse osmosis water from the Glacier water vending machine. Guess which one is which.

photo 2.jpg


photo 1.jpg
 
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LovesIPA

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Also I tasted the Orange ale yesterday. Good news maybe? Awful. I will be very interested to see how it tastes in the bottle after a week.
 

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So this is pretty interesting:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/question-about-bru-n-water-464187/#post5970018

I never double-checked what Bru 'N water told me to add. Does it really not take into account boil-off or am I doing something wrong?

No trolls please....
You are fine - water treatment are done on pre-boil volumes.

Think of it this way - you are adjusting your water profile to match the water profile from the region the beer style comes from, or at least having enough of the right minerals for a happy mash.​
 
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LovesIPA

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That makes perfect sense. Thank you.


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WayFrae

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Which water is which? I would hope the higher one isn't the glacier but with that lawsuit you never know haha

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Have you tried making a starter with a fresh vial of liquid yeast? Like California Ale or San Diego Super Yeast from White Labs?
 
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LovesIPA

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I've used liquid yeast, dry yeast, yeast propagated from slants and repitched slurry. Makes no difference.

Yes the reverse osmosis water shows 1 ppm dissolved solids. It would be pretty weird if tap water had almost zero dissolved solids.


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LovesIPA

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And you have replaced your beer line and faucet o-rings?
Earlier in the thread, I was pretty well convinced that it wasn't the water, and therefore had to be some kind of infection. But nothing touches the beer that hasn't been cleaned well and soaked in star-san. I guess it could possibly be a handful of bugs hiding deep in the plastic fermenter buckets or auto-siphon (both of which have been soaked in bleach as well), but in the case of the last two beers I've kegged, they've gone from good to undrinkable after sitting in a keg for 24 hours. I could see a dramatic change like that if I pitched an entire vial of lacto. But it just doesn't make sense.

So I don't think it's an infection.

To answer your question, no I haven't replaced them. However, I don't even hook up the tap side to the keg while it's carbonating so it can't possibly cause an infection, even if it seemed like a plausible explanation.
 
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LovesIPA

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I did some reading on TDS meters. They don't detect non-charged particles like chlorine or chloramines. However, if a reverse osmosis system is filtering water down to 1 PPM total dissolved solids (total dissolved ions would be a more accurate term) then it's safe to assume that the system is working quite well and removing the chlorine/chloramines as well.

So it doesn't look like the water is the culprit either. I sure wish I had some fresh ideas.
 

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I did some reading on TDS meters. They don't detect non-charged particles like chlorine or chloramines. However, if a reverse osmosis system is filtering water down to 1 PPM total dissolved solids (total dissolved ions would be a more accurate term) then it's safe to assume that the system is working quite well and removing the chlorine/chloramines as well.

So it doesn't look like the water is the culprit either. I sure wish I had some fresh ideas.

Chloramine is not removed by reverse osmosis. My understanding is that it requires multistage carbon filtration, which is generally present in good RO units. Reverse osmosis would certainly remove other particles even if some part of the carbon setup wasn't working or was improperly designed.

If you still have the issue, use tap water and treat with a sulfite tablet...which is what I think I suggested.
 
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LovesIPA

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2. Use your standard profile you just mentioned. In fact, before you brew, post your grain bill, strike water and sparge water amounts, and the additions in grams that you plan to make to each so everyone can agree they are correct. (When you make the additions to the water, and they are all dissolved, perhaps you can take a sample and send to Ward labs for analysis.)
I was re-reading this (you know, as trolls often do...) and realized that I have yet to do this for tomorrow.

I'm brewing an amber ale. The first time I brewed this it was absolutely spectacular. I've made it twice since then and was forced to make some substitutions (FedEx lost my hops order from Bell's) and it was never as good. The last time I brewed it I had to dump it. You all know why.

Grain bill:

7 lbs 10 oz 2-row
1 lb 15 oz Munich (9L)
1 lb 10 oz Crystal 40
6 oz Special B

Mashing at 152 with 4.0 gallons of water. Sparging with 4.8 gallons.

I will be using distilled water. I'm using the "Amber Balanced" water profile in Bru N water. The targets are:

Ca: 55
Mg: 10
Na: 10
SO4: 75
Cl: 63
HCO3: 39

I am going to use these salts:

Salt / Mash (g) / Sparge
CaSO4 / 1.2 / 1.4
MgSO4 / 1.6 / 1.9
NaHCO3 / 0.6 / 0
CaCl2 / 2.0 / 2.4

Which should give me an actual water profile of:

Ca: 54.4
Mg: 10.4
Na: 10.9
SO4: 85.4
Cl: 63.8
HCO3: 29.8

It says my mash pH will be 5.2.

I have never submitted a sample for Ward labs before. I will have to research it and find out how much water, what container to use, etc. While I'm at it I'd like to submit a sample of the RO water that I normally use and see what I am really working with.

Hop schedule:

1.50 oz Willamette FWH
1.0 oz Willamette @ 10 min
.5 oz Cascade at 5 min
.5 oz Cascade at 0 min

Chill, pitch WLP001 into half of the wort and rehydrated US-05 into the other half.

Am I forgetting anything?
 

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Hey man. I read through this stuff a day or two ago. Been pondering about it. Then a radio report hit involving the usual global warming stuff. Got me thinking though so I looked into it a bit.

Have you looked into carbonic acid? Its pretty interesting stuff. Here is a thread I found with another person in your exact same predicament. Basically its stating the buildup of carbonic acid in a container which has been force carbonated to quickly. I thought it was interesting. So I thought I would bring this to the table for you to consider.
 
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LovesIPA

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Hey man. I read through this stuff a day or two ago. Been pondering about it. Then a radio report hit involving the usual global warming stuff. Got me thinking though so I looked into it a bit.

Have you looked into carbonic acid? Its pretty interesting stuff. Here is a thread I found with another person in your exact same predicament. Basically its stating the buildup of carbonic acid in a container which has been force carbonated to quickly. I thought it was interesting. So I thought I would bring this to the table for you to consider.
That's really interesting, thank you for finding it and posting it. It certainly seems to fit with what I'm seeing.

I force carb at about 30 psi for 24 hours and then dial it back down to 10 psi for a couple days before I start serving.

I will have to try carbing slower and seeing if it makes a difference.
 
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LovesIPA

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I brewed a Bell's Two Hearted Ale clone on 1/25 of this year. Kegged it on 2/13 and... you know the rest. I took it out of the keezer and it's been sitting at room temp for about three weeks gradually going flat because of a slightly leaky gas side poppet. I just hooked it back up and have some interesting results.

First, you would never be able to guess this was an IPA. There is no hop aroma to speak of. It's more like a pale ale hop flavor/aroma wise. The off-flavor is also VERY muted. It affects the flavor of the beer but it's nowhere as strong. I've never tasted astringency that I know of, but it's literally the first thing that popped into my head when I tasted it.

I'm going to let it go completely flat and then re-carbonate it.

This is looking less and less like an infection issue.
 
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