Is it wrong to enjoy an infected beer? Is it, though?

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danimal92sport

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I turned a warm fermented lager around in 5 days due to a need to use the fermenter it was in. Was it smart? I was well aware that it might not have been smart.

I used 34/70, it is a Czech Pils, and things seemed normal, the sulfur smell was excessive but died down by day 5 and I kegged it. Fast forward 2 weeks and the beer was cleaning up thanks to gelatin and was decent! Fast forward another 2 weeks (a month after brew day) and the lemon notes are getting strong? Another week on, and this thing seems to be building lactic acid in the kegerator. Is that possible or just my brain? It tastes great, but like a lemony sour pils.

Full disclosure: I had COVID in November and my perception of things like salty and sweet have been off ever since. It’s possible this is just in my head. I know 34/70 can throw lemons, but I’m also getting the tartness and mouthfeel (i.e. phlegm!) that I associate with lactic acid. I have a lacto sour beer right next to this one in the fridge, but I don’t think lacto can survive in a hopped pils if somehow there was cross contamination.

Excuse me while I go pull another pint...
 

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Jayjay1976

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On some level, all beer is infected. If you enjoy it, drink it with pride.

If the lemony snickets ain't exactly your thing, focus really well on sanitation next time around and see if you can beat it. I've enjoyed a lot of batches that had a little something extra going on. I also keep my kegs at ~32-33f so they mature quickly and evolve slowly.
 

tyrub42

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I turned a warm fermented lager around in 5 days due to a need to use the fermenter it was in. Was it smart? I was well aware that it might not have been smart.

I used 34/70, it is a Czech Pils, and things seemed normal, the sulfur smell was excessive but died down by day 5 and I kegged it. Fast forward 2 weeks and the beer was cleaning up thanks to gelatin and was decent! Fast forward another 2 weeks (a month after brew day) and the lemon notes are getting strong? Another week on, and this thing seems to be building lactic acid in the kegerator. Is that possible or just my brain? It tastes great, but like a lemony sour pils.

Full disclosure: I had COVID in November and my perception of things like salty and sweet have been off ever since. It’s possible this is just in my head. I know 34/70 can throw lemons, but I’m also getting the tartness and mouthfeel (i.e. phlegm!) that I associate with lactic acid. I have a lacto sour beer right next to this one in the fridge, but I don’t think lacto can survive in a hopped pils if somehow there was cross contamination.

Excuse me while I go pull another pint...
If these changes happened at fridge temp (35f/2c) then I'm not sure it's possible it's a contamination issue. I don't think much can happen at those temps with wild yeasts or bacteria. Not an expert, though 🤷
 

madscientist451

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My G/F recently tried some home made Kombucha at a friends house. She described the flavor as similar to "vomit". But the people who made it were used to it I supposed and drink it every day. So one person's puke is another person's drinkable beverage.
I once made a peanut butter porter that got infected and turned sour and I drank most of that keg.
So if you like it, go ahead and drink it.
 

monkeymath

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I have a wild yeast starter that probably has a Wyeast #3787 infection... :(

(Meaning: "infection" is entirely a matter of intent, not really one of the final product.)
 

bwible

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People drink Belgian beers, and they use words like “barn yard” and “horse blanket” like they are good things. People intentionally brew sour beers. People intentionally add Brett to their beers, which is a spoilage organism that most of us buy cleaners and sanitizers to avoid. There is no sanity anymore.
 

MickB

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I have 2 session meads, 5.5%, on the same saf-lager yeast. Just honey, nutrients, yeast, and water. Made the first batch and it was so good that I kegged it and threw new must directly on the old and let pressure build back up to 15psi.

The first batch was incredible, crisp, great carbonation (let psi rise to 30 at room temp near the end of the ferment).

The second batch has a slight sourness.... I wish it was the same as the first batch, however, I will probably rack this onto some hops or some citrus peel. The tart/sour is mild and will likely be terrific.

Sadly this will likely be the last time that put must directly on an old yeast cake.

Side note... there is a single gnat is floating on top of the mead. Could that literally be the reason? haha, if so, dang.
 

pvpeacock

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I made three batches -- a stout, an IPA and a red ale -- in the span of about 1 week, and all 3 got infected. I later discovered it was the ball valve on my brew kettle. I knew they were infected because all three had white pellicles on the top when I opened the fermenters. At first, I was going to dump all three, but, instead, I kegged them with priming sugar and let them age. After a few months, I gave each a try. The stout was horrible and I dumped it. The IPA was horrible and I dumped it. But the red ale was fantastic! It was a keeper and exceeded my expectations. It had a slightly tart flavor like a Flanders Red, but much more subtle.

I cleaned and sanitized everything, replaced the ball valve with one easier to open and clean, replaced all my rubber and plastic parts and have not had an infection since. 1/3 is not a good ratio, but I am glad I gave each infected beer a chance rather than dump them right away and was rewarded for the patience.
I
 

Jayjay1976

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I have 2 session meads, 5.5%, on the same saf-lager yeast. Just honey, nutrients, yeast, and water. Made the first batch and it was so good that I kegged it and threw new must directly on the old and let pressure build back up to 15psi.

The first batch was incredible, crisp, great carbonation (let psi rise to 30 at room temp near the end of the ferment).

The second batch has a slight sourness.... I wish it was the same as the first batch, however, I will probably rack this onto some hops or some citrus peel. The tart/sour is mild and will likely be terrific.

Sadly this will likely be the last time that put must directly on an old yeast cake.

Side note... there is a single gnat is floating on top of the mead. Could that literally be the reason? haha, if so, dang.
The gut contents of a single fruit fly contains more than enough acetobacter to spoil a batch. Let it go too long and all of the alcohol will be converted to acetic acid, aka vinegar.
 
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MickB

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The guy contents of a single fruit fly contains more than enough acetobacter to spoil a batch. Let it go too long and all of the alcohol will be converted to acetic acid, aka vinegar.
Geeze, I didn't realize that! I would have taken it off there immediately! Son of a gun!!!! Thanks for letting me know!

Is there any sure way to stop the conversion from happening once I get it off the gnat?
 
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danimal92sport

danimal92sport

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Awesome responses, I love you people.

This beer is using recovered 34/70 from a previous batch, so similar to the comment above about racking on to a yeast cake, there are more chances to pick up something funky. I’m now having another pint, and I’m wondering if it truly is just something about the 34/70 and some odd flavors it imparted.

Because I’m not smart, I’m going to brew this weekend and use the same reclaimed 34/70 (third gen). We’ll see!

Dan
5556460F-E900-49C0-9D49-A84E85AECB25.jpeg
 

MickB

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Awesome responses, I love you people.

This beer is using recovered 34/70 from a previous batch, so similar to the comment above about racking on to a yeast cake, there are more chances to pick up something funky. I’m now having another pint, and I’m wondering if it truly is just something about the 34/70 and some odd flavors it imparted.

Because I’m not smart, I’m going to brew this weekend and use the same reclaimed 34/70 (third gen). We’ll see!

DanView attachment 720010
Let us know how it turns out!
 

Snuffy

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I made three batches -- a stout, an IPA and a red ale -- in the span of about 1 week, and all 3 got infected. I later discovered it was the ball valve on my brew kettle. I knew they were infected because all three had white pellicles on the top when I opened the fermenters. At first, I was going to dump all three, but, instead, I kegged them with priming sugar and let them age. After a few months, I gave each a try. The stout was horrible and I dumped it. The IPA was horrible and I dumped it. But the red ale was fantastic! It was a keeper and exceeded my expectations. It had a slightly tart flavor like a Flanders Red, but much more subtle.

I cleaned and sanitized everything, replaced the ball valve with one easier to open and clean, replaced all my rubber and plastic parts and have not had an infection since. 1/3 is not a good ratio, but I am glad I gave each infected beer a chance rather than dump them right away and was rewarded for the patience.
I
ball valves, plastic bucket valves and pumps. I don’t care how much hot PBW you run thru them. They always got sludge in em. Gross, but not such huge deal on hot side gear. Fermenters tho...🤢
 

Beermeister32

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I’ve always believed that Belgian, Foeder and sour type beers, Oud Bruin, Flemish Red, and similar beers were what they could produce under the conditions. Those Foeders and casks were hundreds of years old, you’d never be able to clean out the bacteria and funk, so they ran with it!
 

Miraculix

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The guy contents of a single fruit fly contains more than enough acetobacter to spoil a batch. Let it go too long and all of the alcohol will be converted to acetic acid, aka vinegar.
It won't. This process needs oxygen, no oxygen, no vinegar!

Lactic acid however.... Different story.
 

Brewbuzzard

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Years ago I brewed a five gallon batch of extract beer. I can't remember the style but most likely an amber ale. It got infected and soured but I got lucky because it was wonderful. I love a good sour beer when it's done right. Happy accidents...
 

Brewbuzzard

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I’ve always believed that Belgian, Foeder and sour type beers, Oud Bruin, Flemish Red, and similar beers were what they could produce under the conditions. Those Foeders and casks were hundreds of years old, you’d never be able to clean out the bacteria and funk, so they ran with it!
They also used open spontaneous fermentation and opened the windows to let it float in to the brewery.
 

Miraculix

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I brewed a red ale once that caught some Brett. I've let it age for a year, it caught some weird bitterness which ruined the beer. Otherwise it tasted really interesting.
 

MickB

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It won't. This process needs oxygen, no oxygen, no vinegar!

Lactic acid however.... Different story.
I have this lager mead in a pressurized All Rounder. Definitely no oxygen! A tiny bit of pellicle tho.
I am considering kegging this with citra hops or a citrus peel that may play well with the hint of sour/tart.
 

Miraculix

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I have this lager mead in a pressurized All Rounder. Definitely no oxygen! A tiny bit of pellicle tho.
I am considering kegging this with citra hops or a citrus peel that may play well with the hint of sour/tart.
If this mead is down to a gravity around 1, all the sugars are gone, then the lactic acid bacterias won´t have anything to eat and will not sour it further. The ones that convert alcohol into vinegar need oxygen, so these guys also won´t do their thing, if it is reasonably well closed. Some wild yeasts can have weird metabolic pathways and might eat stuff in the mead that was a byproduct of other microbes living in there and they might change the ph a bit, but usually not as much as the lactic and acetic bacterias would.
 
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