What have your infections been like?

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cheezydemon

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I thought it would be good to hear what infection does look like, so that people can know when to panic, and when not to.

Obviously solid white circular floaties are a bad sign. Vinegary taste I think?
 
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I've never observed an infection visually. Once I had an acetobacter infection that manifested itself several weeks after kegging. It didn't change the beer in appearance except to make the head a bit more "fizzy," but it definitely tasted like vinegar. I made it through about half the keg before I had to dump it.
 
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I agree with Yuri. I've never seen it, but it can be tasted.

A beer that shows visual signs of an infection would extremely rank and undrinkable because by then it would be way too late.

I think to the n00b brewer any photos of an infection would be indiscerable from normal fermentation.

Edit: The analogy is "What does malaria look like?"
 

BrewDey

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I've had a few mishaps-and they have all had a 'ring around the neck' of the bottle at the surface of the beer. Apparently this is a tell-tale sign. For one batch, it left a very strong bitter taste...for another, a very phenolic, medicine-y taste. Another APA had a ring too, but it was very hoppy-so it tasted fine.

FWIW-I began filtering my water and replaced all of the vinyl tubing I'd been using and haven't had any problems since.
 

WortMonger

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My beer alwys gets a yeast infection, lol. As far as other infections, I have only thrown away 5 gallons of golden ale and have no idea why it went bad.
 

Jamo99

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I've had a few infected batches in a row. I've replaced all my bottling equipment, tubes, buckets, auto-siphon, etc., but I have good reason to believe that the culprit is a funnel that I had been using to top off. I've replaced the funnel, but still have 20 gallons of beer/5 gallons of cider that made it's way through the faulty funnel (since replaced) that I have to bottle still. I can't NOT bottle it.

I have an imperial pale ale that was supposed to finish dry. It's at 1.008 after 2 months in primary/secondary. With this one, and my other batches, I think I'm just going to wait to see if the gravities keep dropping past 1.010. Then I can just dump :( and not go through the charade of bottling. It kills me, but it's definately a lesson learned. DO NOT top off with a semi-scratched funnel!!

Anyway, my infections haven't "looked" like anything. There is a phenolic taste that I couldn't pick up right away. The guys at the LHBS could pick it up quickly though and I now know exactly what to look for. Also, these guys were gushers. Not so much when I opened them at colder temps which fooled me for a bit, but when I tested em room temp they were definately gushing. When poured cold they would slowly foam in the bottle, but I'd get a pint glass of foam on top of a half inch of beer.
 

Joker

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No infections here yet *knock on wood* I imagine at sometime I will have an infected batch but will do everything I can not to.
 
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cheezydemon

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Right biermuncher,
I guess I meant how would they look on paper, ie., description, etc.
Vinegar seems to be about it. Good deal!
 

Dr Vorlauf

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Jamo99 said:
I've had a few infected batches in a row. I've replaced all my bottling equipment, tubes, buckets, auto-siphon, etc., but I have good reason to believe that the culprit is a funnel that I had been using to top off. I've replaced the funnel, but still have 20 gallons of beer/5 gallons of cider that made it's way through the faulty funnel (since replaced) that I have to bottle still. I can't NOT bottle it.

I have an imperial pale ale that was supposed to finish dry. It's at 1.008 after 2 months in primary/secondary. With this one, and my other batches, I think I'm just going to wait to see if the gravities keep dropping past 1.010. Then I can just dump :( and not go through the charade of bottling. It kills me, but it's definately a lesson learned. DO NOT top off with a semi-scratched funnel!!

Anyway, my infections haven't "looked" like anything. There is a phenolic taste that I couldn't pick up right away. The guys at the LHBS could pick it up quickly though and I now know exactly what to look for. Also, these guys were gushers. Not so much when I opened them at colder temps which fooled me for a bit, but when I tested em room temp they were definately gushing. When poured cold they would slowly foam in the bottle, but I'd get a pint glass of foam on top of a half inch of beer.
Just out of curiosity what did you use to sanitize?
 

bobjenkins79

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I had some kind of nasty white film all over the surface of 2 batches. It seemed like one was way worse than the other, in that it had a lot of bubbles and stuck to the side of the carboy.

It really pi$$ed me off, so I left both batches on the shelf to remind myself to do a better job sanitising.

I finally came to the conclusion the culprit was my siphon hose. It only makes sense. There were 3 batches siphoned that day: One turned out alright, one had the thin white film, & the other had the huge nasty bubble crap in it. I think I just transferred more junk each time, or something like that:drunk:

Now I buy new siphon hose every single time.
 

EvilTOJ

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One time I had a slight discharge, and the nurse had to take this really big qtip and .....

oh wait, not THAT kind of infection! I've only had one bad batch, and it had what looked like waxy icebergs on top, and it reeked of vinegar. I dumped that one. I've also had gushers from bottles I hadn't completely cleaned all the way.
 

cowgo

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I had a batch awhile back that tasted like sour black licorice. Took one drink and channeled Cleveland from Family Guy....That's just naaaassstty
 

Khirsah17

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I've only ever had one infected beer, on the third batch I ever made. When I looked in the bottles, there were long white, spiderweb strands stretching from the top of the bottle to the bottom. Back then, I didn't document things as well as I do now, so I don't have pictures or any taste info. However, I can still vividly remember crying as I dumped 52 bottles of beer down the drain :(
 

ohiodad

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I just had my first infection... Had a slight white film on top... And I thought it was just yeast from that silly 1332 NW strain that behaves oddly.. When I started racking though the beer had the ropey stuff in it. Didn't taste that bad nor smell horrific, but I'm pretty sure it is headed towards vinegar. I think my problem was a slightly loose bung in the top of the carboy that I didn't catch til bottling day. I first thought it was the dry hopping but I think more likely it was the oxygen getting in there. I think one infection in 40 brews isn't too terrible though... I just hope now that I got one it doesn't cause more! Replaced all the racking equip just to be sure....
 

modenacart

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I got the phenolic flavor with all my bad batches. Its been about 4 in a row when I discovered water was dripping into my airlock from the roof on the fridge so I made an AL tent and they are all gone.

The best way to taste it is to cover the glass and swirl. You should be able to smell something like bandaids then and taste it. Once you taste it, it gets worse and worse.
 

Fish

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You know I think I would pay money to be able to purchase a kit from a LHBS or online that had a half dozen or so samples of what bad things taste/smell like so I could have it on hand when something sucks. I thought I had an infection took it to the pro's at the LHBS and they said it was fusels from the heat. I don't have the experience to know what off flavor is from what so its all guess work.
 

AnOldUR

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You know I think I would pay money to be able to purchase a kit from a LHBS or online that had a half dozen or so samples of what bad things taste/smell like so I could have it on hand when something sucks.
How about some kind of strips that turned different colors for different types of infections? I’d pay for that.
 

Poindexter

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I had two batches in a row with the cloves flavor.

It started right after I started disinfecting bottles with the heated dry cycle in the dishwasher.

Since I went back to a liquid bottle sanitizer, no more trouble.

EDIT: Gosh, I hope no more trouble. The more I read about clove flavored phenols the more places they can come from.
 

TexLaw

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What your infection is like depends on what sort of infection you have.

Wild yeast infection usually results in unwanted phenols, which results in those clove and medicinal (Band-Aid) flavors and aromas. Wild yeasts also can produce fusel alcohols, acetaldehyde (green apple), and those sweat sock/horse blanket aromas.

Bacterial infections are what give that sour/acidic smell and flavor. Depending on the bacteria, you can get lactic, citric, or acetic acid.

Any unwanted bugs in there tend to attentuate your beer beyond what you want, leading to gushers and dry beer.


TL
 
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cheezydemon

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Poindexter said:
I had two batches in a row with the cloves flavor.

It started right after I started disinfecting bottles with the heated dry cycle in the dishwasher.

Since I went back to a liquid bottle sanitizer, no more trouble.

EDIT: Gosh, I hope no more trouble. The more I read about clove flavored phenols the more places they can come from.
Lol, I guess I am lucky. I have bottled thousands of bottles with only the heated dry to disinfect.

I have had 1 infected bottle. It tasted fine, but the beer turned into foam in my mouth.
I poured it into a glass and then into another glass to let it gas off.
After that it was fine!

The reason I started this is because I have a brew that is fermenting for EVER. Now at 5 weeks of primary fermentation with still a bubble every 2-3 minutes and a slight decrease in SG from day to day. But it tastes good and has no off aroma and no white goop.
 
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