Infection in a bottle -- musings and what if's

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hotbeer

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I think I might have just opened a bottle of beer that might be infected. I had just read a little earlier this reply by @IslandLizard in another thread and I've been thinking about how timely it was for me.


The part about over-carbing due to excess fermentable sugars and the next paragraph about infections sometimes being able to ferment the typically unfermentable sugars.

In this instance the beer was a ale with a OG of 1.055 and a FG of 1.010 and fermented with US-05. It probably would have been an OG of 1.060 or a little better, but I wanted to get a little more into the fermenter and diluted it. Maybe the typical attenuation of the US-05 wasn't appropriate for this beer.

Any how...

I just opened the bottle an hour ago. It'd been in the fridge for several days and was plenty cold. After opening I didn't pour immediately and noticed it slowly foaming up and becoming a seething volcano. I went ahead and poured what remained, but it didn't have the good taste the others of this batch had. And it was cloudy instead of clean as the previous bottles of this batch were.

I am letting the beer come to room temp and plan to check the SG. If it's lower than what I had for an FG, I'm thinking that might indicate some infection from something wild. I'm pretty sure my FG was the actual FG, but temps where I kept the fermenter did vary from 70 to 67F with 69F being the norm. So maybe it simply stalled a little.

But, the first 7 bottles were fantastic and clear with a good hop taste. This bottle I noticed was cloudy even before I opened it. I didn't have any more in the fridge to try, but there are probably 2 more bottles left from that bottling on Jan 4th.

So any thoughts? Do you think infection as I do is likely or wrong yeast for the gravity of the beer and the FG I thought I had.
 
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hotbeer

hotbeer

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I think you missed washing that bottle. I have had the exact thing you're talking about because I didn't wash my bottles only rinsed and sanitized them.
That's actually what I'm hoping it is from.

So I guess that puts you thinking it's infection. I just checked the SG and it is 1.001. Down from the FG of 1.010.

However it's still a little cool and below the 68F the hydrometer is calibrated for and still hasn't gone flat yet. Almost an hour later.
 

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Did you some very large bubbles in the foam? I had a few batches go down that road, as it got worse they also got a cow pasture like aroma/ taste.
 

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That's actually what I'm hoping it is from.

So I guess that puts you thinking it's infection. I just checked the SG and it is 1.001. Down from the FG of 1.010.

However it's still a little cool and below the 68F the hydrometer is calibrated for and still hasn't gone flat yet. Almost an hour later.
yeah, sounds like either infection or cross contaminatio. Have you had saisons in those bottles previously? Could be a sta-1 cross contamination or from any sours that prev were in the bottles.
 
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hotbeer

hotbeer

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Did you some very large bubbles in the foam? I had a few batches go down that road, as it got worse they also got a cow pasture like aroma/ taste.
Yes during the run up to the volcano and till it subsided the bubbles were large in the foam. Not like the entire batch I had 9 months ago that every bottle was a volcano. Those I remember as being fine little tiny bubble in the foam.
 

Sam_92

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Hopefully it's only the one bottle. How do you clean your bottles?
 
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hotbeer

hotbeer

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yeah, sounds like either infection or cross contaminatio. Have you had saisons in those bottles previously? Could be a sta-1 cross contamination or from any sours that prev were in the bottles.
I have done one batch of sours. It was kettle soured prior to the boil for several days with with lactobacillus.

I suppose it's very possible that this was one of those bottles. I call myself doing a pretty good cleaning with a bottle brush after they are opened. And a good soak in iodaphor prior to bottling.
 

bracconiere

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do you condition your grain? maybe had something come up and put off brew day for a day?

that'd be a serious infection....
 
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hotbeer

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do you condition your grain? maybe had something come up and put off brew day for a day?

that'd be a serious infection....
Condition my grain? I'm going to have to read about what that is. So I'd so no for the moment. And once I start the mash, I do nothing else till it's in the fermenter....... except maybe drink a beer and go to the restroom. :ghostly:

This was one of the last of the ingredient kits that I bought from Brooklyn Brew Shop. So it was already milled. They don't publish what the malts are in their kits. But for the most part I've been pleased with the results I've had with them.
 

bracconiere

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Condition my grain?
So it was already milled.

it's when people spritz their malt with water to keep the husks more intact before milling.....wait i see what you did there....
🖕


i was just saying fusarium mold will cause gushers and moldy grain is bad news....aflatoxin is another bad guy......other wise, i'd guess it's just the first bottle you bottled and had more trub in it? which wouldn't acount for the stil priliminary SG reading.....
 
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bracconiere

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I'm a little dense sometimes. I'm not sure what I did that you saw? :oops:


uh, huh...i was reading your post simul typing, then when i got to you pointing out it was already milled...i knew you were pulling my leg :mug:


well it was 1.001 44 minutes ago, give the hydro a spin, don't keep us hangin! could be a good way for me to make low carb beer!!!! new discovery....rebottle it and send it to me!
 
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hotbeer

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Sorry, it was bedtime for me.

This morning it's still showing a SG of 1.001. Still must be holding a lot of CO2 though as when I bump the beaker sharply there are a lot of fine tiny bubbles coming to the surface.

Actually had some trub on the bottom of the beaker and the beer is quite a bit cleaner than last night.

I dug to two remaining bottles out and put them in the fridge. One looks very cloudy and the other clear, possibly hazy as best I can tell looking through a brown bottle holding them up to the light. So maybe tomorrow or later I'll give them a try.

This was a single hop beer. Jarrylo hop, all boil additions. The biggest thing that stood out for taste on this bottle was that it had none of the bright banana like flavors that the rest of the bottles had. In fact there wasn't any hop flavor at all. Though nothing I'd describe as putrid or truly foul. Just sort of an acidy taste of carbonation and fizzy on the tongue.

Maybe with less carbonation now I should taste the sample since it's cleaned up some. I think I put that off till later in the day. 😬
 

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Sorry, it was bedtime for me.

This morning it's still showing a SG of 1.001. Still must be holding a lot of CO2 though as when I bump the beaker sharply there are a lot of fine tiny bubbles coming to the surface.

Actually had some trub on the bottom of the beaker and the beer is quite a bit cleaner than last night.

I dug to two remaining bottles out and put them in the fridge. One looks very cloudy and the other clear, possibly hazy as best I can tell looking through a brown bottle holding them up to the light. So maybe tomorrow or later I'll give them a try.

This was a single hop beer. Jarrylo hop, all boil additions. The biggest thing that stood out for taste on this bottle was that it had none of the bright banana like flavors that the rest of the bottles had. In fact there wasn't any hop flavor at all. Though nothing I'd describe as putrid or truly foul. Just sort of an acidy taste of carbonation and fizzy on the tongue.

Maybe with less carbonation now I should taste the sample since it's cleaned up some. I think I put that off till later in the day. 😬

To degas/defoam a sample quickly, I add some antifoam and pour it back and forth between two jars. Works really quickly.
 

bracconiere

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To degas/defoam a sample quickly, I add some antifoam and pour it back and forth between two jars. Works really quickly.


wouldn't that effect the gravity though? and as usual, recently as of last year, i want to know what a refrac reading says....
 
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hotbeer

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To degas/defoam a sample quickly, I add some antifoam and pour it back and forth between two jars. Works really quickly.
wouldn't that effect the gravity though? and as usual, recently as of last year, i want to know what a refrac reading says....
That will be my question too.

Then that begs the question.... do I need to do that all the time. Sometimes, and I'm only supposing rising temps or falling barometer are the cause, there are very tiny bubbles coming out of beer that is fully fermented and in my sample beaker. Do I need to worry about that too when getting a SG?
 

bracconiere

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Sometimes, and I'm only supposing rising temps or falling barometer are the cause


you know that's a good point! there's 2psi less pressure up here at 4500ft! never consider it pushing the hydro down! or up, how would that work?

edit: just googled it, found HBT as always....



someone made a good point my hydro reads 1.000 in tap water....so i don't think it's a big deal....
 

bracconiere

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I don't see how it would change the density.



2psi less pressure push down on it? to measure the density? but being that the top of it is only like a 1/4" yeah insignificant....
..


sorry....


lost the train of thought...if it disolves into it, then it would change the density wouldn't it?
 

marc1

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2psi less pressure push down on it? to measure the density? but being that the top of it is only like a 1/4" yeah insignificant......


sorry....


lost the train of thought...if it disolves into it, then it would change the density wouldn't it?

Pouring back and forth gets the CO2 out, which makes bubbles. Antifoam gets rid of the bubbles so you can read it quickly.

I don't think a drop or 2 of antifoam is going to change the density by anything that my hydrometer is going to measure. Would be easy to test though. Next time I have it out I'll check water with and without it.
 
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hotbeer

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It occurred to me a little while ago that this was the batch I dropped a bottle cap on the floor and still used it.

Five second rule still applies for that too, or is it just when you drop M&M's or something on the floor? 🤪
 

bracconiere

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It occurred to me a little while ago that this was the batch I dropped a bottle cap on the floor and still used it.

Five second rule still applies for that too, or is it just when you drop M&M's or something on the floor? 🤪



think if i drop my keg lids on the floor and leave them there while i fill my kegs, i can save on gluco? 🤣 Cheers!
 
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hotbeer

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The last two remaining bottles of this batch were opened today. Both were pretty much the same results. A slow to build seething volcano that foamed out better than 50% of the contents.

I didn't bother to check the SG's. Just gave them a taste and like the bottle of the OP, they didn't have the bright flavor the other bottles had. Although when I put them in the fridge a couple days ago, one bottle appeared to be clear inside, they both looked cloudy when I brought them out to open. Quite opposite of the clean appearance of the previous 7 bottles.

Interesting that the last three bottles exhibited this instead of just randomly in the selection. I consider the lower cabinet where they are stored after carbonating to be pretty stable and reasonable and stable temps. The 10 beers in this batch did last for 30 days and the other beers in the cabinet have not had a bad bottle.... yet.

Sad though, this batch I was growing quite fond of the taste of Jarrylo hops. And the other batches are good but not what I'd call great. Hope the ones in the fermenters come out great. Otherwise, I'll have to make more. But I guess I'd have to do that anyhow!
 

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I had that exact same thing happen to me with a batch of smoked porter. It was very good but after three weeks in the bottle every was a gusher. I started cleaning all my bottles with oxyclean or pbw and a bottle brush to really scrub the inside and haven't had any more issues.
 
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hotbeer

hotbeer

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Yeah, maybe I just need to step up my cleaning and sanitizing. When I found it was the last three bottles after over four weeks from bottling I wondered if it is something they all would have done given the time.

It also might be I'm contaminating the beer during the bottling process. I've been experimenting how the beer gets from the fermenter to the priming pot and into the bottle. So maybe I need to look closer at what I'm doing there too.

Tomorrow is another bottling day for me, so the bottles will get another cleaning and then sanitizing with bleach and then iodophor as will everything else.
 

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My first batch of Amber Ale. First 36 bottles excellent. Bottles 37 to 48 were volcano. I thought it was due to sucking too much of the muck at the bottom of the fermenter. Now I added a new step where I filter the whole 5 gallons before bottling .
 
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