Multiple bad batches

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breewboy

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Hello, started brewing last year and have now made 25 batches this far. Have had the occasional bad batch before but never multiple. In may i made an dr smurtos golden ale that was good after 2-3 weeks but then became undrinkable after 4 weeks, i remember it had a burning throat feeling, peppery? While waiting for this one i made 3 more batches.

2# Bells two hearted ale dry hopped with citra: much flavour from the hops(early) but then turned bad, very bitter(~50ibu)
3# Blonde ale dry hopped with amarillo: hard to describe the taste, just bad, no hop or malt flavour at all
4# Belgian saison: some belgian taste then quickly became mostly flavourless, tart?

These beers doesn't get better with time but not really worse either.

I am lost trying to find what the problem can be, have not changed anything significant this year. have been thinking about the bad batches i have had in the past and recall they tasted similarly and remember one having a taste of smoked ham.

After these 4 beers i started to know something was wrong, replaced all the plastic and made an vienna with mosaic, now 3 weeks later it's mostly flavourless. All these beers have been tasting good at bottling, i have been extra thorough with cleaning and star san, yes i always take apart the spigot and clean it.

My process while bottling is the same as before the bad beers, transfering my beer to the bottling bucket trough the spigot using a hose -> boiling priming sugar and add while stirring -> bottle the beer with a spring loaded wand and yes i clean and star san bottles, bottling bucket, hoses.

I don't see any infections at bottling, no gushers at all, nothing weird floating at the surface in the bottles, carbes up fine. I don't see any air in the tubing while transfering or bottling. i have an temp controlled fridge and mostly use fermentis us-05, 2 weeks fermentation.

All suggestions are welcomed.
 

hotbeer

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Do you open your fermenter a lot to check on things?

Don't.
 

Bobby_M

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It sounds like oxidation. If you're using a bucket as a fermenter, a worthy upgrade would be something like the Fermonster 7 gallon. Don't open it until you bottle. The likely change from your previous batches is that the ones going bad faster are being stored in warmer (summer) conditions so the oxidation is accelerated vs colder months.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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My process while bottling is the same as before the bad beers, transfering my beer to the bottling bucket trough the spigot using a hose -> boiling priming sugar and add while stirring -> bottle the beer with a spring loaded wand and yes i clean and star san bottles, bottling bucket, hoses.
Over the last couple of years there have been active discussions on how to minimize oxygen exposure when bottling. People who bottle successfully get good results by bottling directly from the primary fermenter with a variety of techniques for adding the priming sugar directly to the bottles. There are also some "advanced" techniques for minimizing oxidation when the beer is in the bottle.

If you're interested in exploring these techniques, I can offer a couple of links to get you started.
 
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breewboy

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Do you open your fermenter a lot to check on things?

Don't.
No, only when bottling.

It sounds like oxidation. If you're using a bucket as a fermenter, a worthy upgrade would be something like the Fermonster 7 gallon. Don't open it until you bottle. The likely change from your previous batches is that the ones going bad faster are being stored in warmer (summer) conditions so the oxidation is accelerated vs colder months.
I am only using buckets, been thinking about a fermonster but haven't bought one yet. That's interesting, my Blonde ale was bottled when it was really hot and was bad from the start.


Over the last couple of years there have been active discussions on how to minimize oxygen exposure when bottling. People who bottle successfully get good results by bottling directly from the primary fermenter with a variety of techniques for adding the priming sugar directly to the bottles. There are also some "advanced" techniques for minimizing oxidation when the beer is in the bottle.

If you're interested in exploring these techniques, I can offer a couple of links to get you started.
Started out bottling from the primary and adding sugar in every bottle, will try that again just to minimize oxygen. Please feel free to post the links you have.
 

Brüverine

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What would you recommend as an alternative? I am in the bucket camp as well. I would like to stay plastic if possible (fermonster, big mouth bubbler, etc) but could make the switch to glass if absolutely necessary.
 

Dr_Jeff

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odie

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never had an issue with my bucket. Lids don't leak. My bucket won't even drain until I vent or crack the lid.
 

micraftbeer

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PET is vastly superior to HDPE (buckets) for oxygen permeability. That means comparing two fermentors that have equally sealed lid, the HDPE will allow more oxygen molecules through the walls. So PET is a step up from that perspective.

Then when you look at lid sealing, a lot of the PET options have o-ring seals. When you just have plastic molded lid to plastic molded fermentor, variations in the molding will have some lids with a tighter fit, and some looser. An o-ring's sole purpose is to deal with these part variations.

So PET (or glass or stainless) will be better than HDPE buckets. FermZilla, Fermonster, big mouth bubbler, Better Bottle are all options I'm familiar with.

Back to the OP's question of "what's wrong?", I had beers like these before I got more diligent in keeping oxygen out of fermentation and transfer. As well as water profiles. I swapped water sources one year from bottled distilled water to 3-stage filtered home water and didn't adjust my brewing salt adjustments. I had lackluster beers until I got a water test kit to map in my source water profile.
 

Dr_Jeff

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PET is vastly superior to HDPE (buckets) for oxygen permeability.
So PET (or glass or stainless) will be better than HDPE buckets.

I realize that you are talking about buckets.
How does material thickness figure in to that equation?

We use a couple of Speidel 30L fermenters, they are much thicker that the wall of a bucket and are made from HDPE.
 

mashinary

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No, only when bottling.



I am only using buckets, been thinking about a fermonster but haven't bought one yet. That's interesting, my Blonde ale was bottled when it was really hot and was bad from the start.




Started out bottling from the primary and adding sugar in every bottle, will try that again just to minimize oxygen. Please feel free to post the links you have.
Can you dig in on the priming each bottle? Sounds like you are spooning sugar in to each bottle. Are you boiling the priming sugar first?
 

micraftbeer

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I realize that you are talking about buckets.
How does material thickness figure in to that equation?

We use a couple of Speidel 30L fermenters, they are much thicker that the wall of a bucket and are made from HDPE.
Good question. My internet research for an article I did in the past showed that HDPE allowed 500x as much oxygen to pass through it than PET. But surely that is affected by thickness of the material. And I don't know if it's a linear relationship (like our brains would want it to be), or something more complex that relates to layers of stacking molecules in structures, etc.

Speidel fermentors would also have the benefit of o-ring in the lid. So thicker walls + o-ring lid > standard brew bucket.

I also recall from prior discussions with homebrew gear manufacturers that really this PET vs HDPE doesn't have that significant of an impact until you get into longer (lager) fermentation times, or secondary/lagering/aging.
 

SourLover

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What would you recommend as an alternative? I am in the bucket camp as well. I would like to stay plastic if possible (fermonster, big mouth bubbler, etc) but could make the switch to glass if absolutely necessary.
Just like the previous poster, I too am a big fan of the Fermonsters. I have about a dozen of them in all sizes, and they work very well for me. I have one Big Mouth Bubbler, and I would never recommend it to anyone. In my opinion the lid is garbage. I was finally able to fix the lid with a $17.00 aftermarket part that I bought on Amazon. I also use Fermzilla's at certain times, and they too work well for me.
 
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breewboy

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Can you dig in on the priming each bottle? Sounds like you are spooning sugar in to each bottle. Are you boiling the priming sugar first?
I boil the priming sugar with some water and at it to the beer. I haven't primed each bottle since i started brewing about a year ago.
 

Reneauj62

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No, only when bottling.



I am only using buckets, been thinking about a fermonster but haven't bought one yet. That's interesting, my Blonde ale was bottled when it was really hot and was bad from the start.




Started out bottling from the primary and adding sugar in every bottle, will try that again just to minimize oxygen. Please feel free to post the links you have.
Don't bother with a Fermonster, Fermentasaurus or any other PET fermenters. They are cool to look at during fermentation and are way better than the old buckets. But from a practicality standpoint you should look into the Stainless Steel 7 Gallon SS Brewbucket. The Brewbucket is easier to handle, easier to clean, a smaller footprint, you don't have to replace them when they get scratched like the buckets and PET fermenters (they last forever) and they are stackable and can easily stack inside a 14 CF freezer. The convenience is overwhelming but, they cost a little more... I have two Fermentasaurus and two SS brewbuckets and almost never use the Fermentasaurus....
 
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