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When do I give up on the batch?

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andre the giant

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I'm thinking, now is a good time.

Just a little review. Its a Stong English ale. The recipe called for London ESB. I smacked the pack 5 days before brew day. After 2 days the pack swelled, but not as much as they usually do. I made a starter and pitched the yeast into it. Three days later, still not much activity. I gave it an extra day and then brewed. The OG was 1.070 and three weeks later, it was at 1.050 so I moved it to the secondary and pitched more yeast. I took a hydrometer reading last night, the troubled batch is down to 1.040, but it has a distinct vinegar like smell. I think it's got an infection. It's not something I'd want to drink.

What do I do? I'm of the mindset to call it "Dumperbrau," pour it down the drain, sanitize the sh** out of the fermenter, and brew something else next Saturday. Is there any merit to hanging on to 5 gallons of stuff to see if it magically corrects itself?
 
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I've never had a batch go bad yet (15 or so batches) but that sure sounds like it's a candidate to become draino. :( Dare take a sip? Could have that neighbor you don't like much (if you have one) give it a try 1st...
 

homebrewer_99

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Sample it and get back to us.

Sounds like you need to pitch some more yeast just to get the gravity down lower...then sample again.

You'll never know if it's salvagable until you try it.

Vinegar, huh? That's a new one.
 

Turricaine

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My friend made a bad batch one time when he used a old piece of garden hosing a siphon. What you have described sounds very bad error. No yeast activity in two weeks! There must be something wrong with the smack pack. You should pour it down the sink and write a letter of complaint to the yeast company.
 

homebrewer_99

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Turricaine said:
My friend made a bad batch one time when he used a old piece of garden hosing a siphon. What you have described sounds very bad error. No yeast activity in two weeks! There must be something wrong with the smack pack. You should pour it down the sink and write a letter of complaint to the yeast company.

Better yet...send them a 12 oz sample and ask if all their yeast taste like this?
 
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andre the giant

andre the giant

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I've had great experience with Wyeast in the past... Something must have gone wrong in shipping to knock the yeast down like that, cause I stored it in the fridge as soon as I got it, and I tried to give the yeasties a good home...

I smelled and tasted it trying to find a hint of the beer I wanted... Nope... doesn't taste like any beer I've ever tried before. Doesn't taste like beer at all. I'll let it sit until next week. If there's still no sign of anything desirable, that's it, I'm calling it quits. On to the Blueberry ale.

Then the question becomes, does this problem batch actually count in my numbering system? Does #36 get retired in honor of a batch that met an unfortunate and untimely demise?
 
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andre the giant said:
Then the question becomes, does this problem batch actually count in my numbering system? Does #36 get retired in honor of a batch that met an unfortunate and untimely demise?
I think I'd look at it like the Baseball Hall of Fame. Keep it in there but put an asterick next to it. (Gambled on Baseball, Steroids etc.). :D
 

Sasquatch

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My thought is pitch it - not so much because it's hopeless (though, it sort of sounds like it) but because for me, personally, I could never drink that beer and enjoy it. I'd always be thinking "Hmm, this is that skunky vinegary garbage I hadda pitch 5 pounds of yeast into and was never sure about". So for my money, it's not worth the stress. Clean er up, and get back on the horse.
 

Sir Sudster

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You have what is called a "Acetobacter Infection". You might save some and put it on some sliced cucumbers. At least it wouldn't be a total loss.
 
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andre the giant

andre the giant

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Sudster said:
You have what is called a "Acetobacter Infection". You might save some and put it on some sliced cucumbers. At least it wouldn't be a total loss.
Can't I just get a shot to clear this up? Will antibiotics work??? :D

Next Saturday, I'll be brewing a couple batches. (with healthy yeast!)
 

ian

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Sudster said:
You have what is called a "Acetobacter Infection". You might save some and put it on some sliced cucumbers. At least it wouldn't be a total loss.
I'm curious about this, what exactly would the cucumbers do?
 
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andre the giant

andre the giant

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Update: I took a hydrometer sample yesterday. The beer is down to 1.030 and it's bubbling. I tasted the sample, and while it's still kinda funky, it's not nearly as vinegary as the last time I sampled it. My wife tasted it, and said I should stick with it. She said that it wasn't too bad, and the batch is for her. So I'm going to make the spice tea (boiled), put it in the beer when fermentation is complete, and see how it tastes at bottling time.

I guess I need to change my sig again....
 
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