Need advice, because I'm an idiot

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raunnating

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At the cost of exposing myself as just another paranoid first-time-brewer, I digress: Being my first time brewing, I have a few questions for the experienced brewers out there.

I am brewing a Belgian style wheat ale (I used Belgian Wheat yeast). Since I have never brewed before, I brewed a double batch with a more experienced brewer. Everything went perfect until we parted ways and I brought the beer home to ferment.

Did I mention that in addition to being a noobie to brewing, that I am an idiot too? Well it's true, because when I set up my carboy in a cooler full of water, I made the mistake of putting way too much ice in along with it, taking the temperature down to around 15 degrees.

After 2 days with no signs of life, I realized that my bath might be too cold, so I drained the water and ice out, leaving it overnight with nothing to cool it. The next morning I noticed a little foam and thought I must be on the right track, leaving the carboy un-cooled for the rest of the day.

Now, I mentioned that I was an idiot, but this just goes above and beyond. I had my air lock on this entire time, but I never put any water in it. When I got home that evening, I put water in my air lock and filled the cooler back up with water and added a 2 liter of ice. That was on day 3.

Now it has been 6 days and things seem to be on track. Fermentation is continuing to occur slowly with 8-9 seconds between air lock bubbling. However, I am starting to notice and my wort smells off. The best way I can describe it is smelling like sour milk in a garden hose. If it smells this bad, I hate to see what it tastes like.

I'm hoping that this is completely normal. However, given all the mistakes I made, is this something to worry about? And if so, is there anything I can do at this point to salvage it?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

An Idiot.
 

HOP-HEAD

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1. How did your ice and water get the temp below freezing? Or are we talking Celsius? Because if so, 15 is about 60 F... which is cool, but not crazy cold.

2. Your monies already been spent... no sense dumping it no matter what it smells like at this point. Might as well see it through and then make the call.
 

Thumper

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You said that you used a beligan wheat yeast. Which one? I use WLP400 and that makes some funky smells while fermenating.

I agree with hop-head. Don't dump. Wait it out.
 

Nurmey

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You are a paranoid new brewer! :D
It all sound perfectly fine and normal nor do you sound like an idiot. All fermentations are different in looks and smells. Leave your beer alone for a few weeks and all will be fine.

Welcome to HBT!
 

sassy_mollassy

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I wouldn't worry yet, either. I brewed a belgian wheat a month ago (using white labs belgian wit yeast), and it smelled and tasted awful while fermenting. Truly horrific. But now that it's in the bottle, it is much nicer. Maybe it's just a characteristic of this yeast? Wait and see, wait and see...
 

KayaBrew

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I beg your pardon kind sir, but it is I who is the idiot. Some say I'm the king.
 

Col224

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I just brewed a belgium white last night using Belgian Wit Ale 400 yeast(is that the same as the WLP400?). I don't notice any smells but it has only barely begun fermenting.

As to the temp(I'm assuming you meant Celsius), I've gotten my beer even lower than that(about 50F) before and it still turned out to be one of my best brews yet.

RDWHAHB.
 

phatuna

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not sure if you said this, but you should use sanitized water in your airlock - or I think that vodka works too.
 

pompeiisneaks

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BTW, I also used a belgian wit wyeast ale and it was STINKY bad but its mellowing out really well now, I'd let the yeast do its job, mine seems to be getting better every day.
 

bull8042

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You are a paranoid new brewer! :D
It all sound perfectly fine and normal nor do you sound like an idiot. All fermentations are different in looks and smells. Leave your beer alone for a few weeks and all will be fine.

Welcome to HBT!
Dang, Nurmey beat me to it! Anyway, he hit the nail right on the head. You just need to relax and see it through, you will be fine.
Welcome to HBT.
 

Thumper

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I just brewed a belgium white last night using Belgian Wit Ale 400 yeast(is that the same as the WLP400?). I don't notice any smells but it has only barely begun fermenting.

As to the temp(I'm assuming you meant Celsius), I've gotten my beer even lower than that(about 50F) before and it still turned out to be one of my best brews yet.

RDWHAHB.
As far as I know Belgian wit ale 400 and WLP400 are the same thing. If not someone please correct me.

Cheers,
 
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raunnating

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Thanks to everyone giving such great feedback. I'm starting to feel a lot better about my chances now.

I used the belgian wit ale 400 yeast as well, so maybe that has something to do with it.

As for the temp that I had my wort in, maybe it wasn't 15 degrees, but it was cold enough where I could only keep my hand in the water for a few seconds. I need to get a fermometer. I will get one for sure for the next time.

As far as how much longer should I let it ferment before I start bottling, I know one of you said to leave it for a few weeks. Would the rest of you agree with that? It's only been 6 days so far.
 

Nurmey

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I let my beer sit in primary for 4 weeks. This allows enough time for the yeast to finish its job fermenting, cleaning up off flavors, and making my beer crystal clear. If you decide to use a secondary, give yourself AT LEAST two weeks and check for FG before racking. Most beers are fine with primary only but it's a personal choice.
 
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