Jump to content
Mr.Beer Community
Sign in to follow this  
Gordweav4

Question: Brewed 6 batches all slight vinegar taste

Recommended Posts

I discovered my first few were not at proper fermenting temp. My second few not cold enough water to mix with wort.  My last two were fermented and conditioned at constant range of 67-70 with water temp of 34-37 mixing with wort.  Fermented for 3 weeks and 3 days. Still has vinegar taste. I have no idea what I am doing wrong and about to give up.  Can any of you give me some advice.  I also have been a regular viewer of the video stream

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

vinegar usually comes from a sanitation issue.  there is a nasty little bacteria everywhere. it's on your hands. in the air. .. everywhere to some degree.  it is acetobacter.

 

this nasty little bugger can sometimes get into your wort or inside scratches in your fermenter.  they sit there quietly waiting for your yeast to produce alcohol, then they spring into action. the bacteria feasts on the alcohol and pees out co2 and vinegar. 

 

two things start to happen. your bottled beer starts to over-carbonate.  the beer inside starts to turn into acetic acid. (vinegar)

 

if left to consume all available alcohol you can get bottle bombs... and when you go to drink it, the acid concentration can be strong enough to hurt your mouth.

---

 

if it is very very slight 'sour' instead of in your face vinegar, it might be a lacto-bacillus  infection. they too are everywhere. these guys are more polite. they dont consume the alcohol but produce lactic acid. the same thing in unflavored yogurt that makes you pucker, ends up in your beer.

 

another 'sour' source is a yeast called Brett C.  this yeast is common in nature too...  and it produces the beers known as gueuze,  lambics to name a couple.

 

---

 

take a sip of your 'off' beer and hold it  in your mouth. does it burn in any cuts or scratches in your mouth lining? or is it just sour? if youre hitting the sour notes more than the acid notes you can still drink your beer. i had a lactobacter in a pumpkin weis batch.. god awful on its own. when i wanted to drink it i stirred in a spoon of tang which cut the sour.

 

---

 

fermenting at 67-70f means at peak fermentation (usually within the first 5 days) the temp inside your fermenter can hit 77-80f. your typical ale yeast gets stressed out at high heat and pees out acetaldehyde. this can give your beer a strong apple cider taste.. .which some ppl might find 'sour' or tasting like apple cider vinegar.  work on getting your fermentation temperatures down closer to 60-64 f ambient during the first week. also what sanitizer are you using?

 

----

 

when you opened the fermenter to bottle did you notice a white/grey film floating on top?  (google beer infections for pics) 

 

hope this helps

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you can get the yeast off and running faster it might help keep things from forming in your wort too.  use a yeast pitching calculator to figure out how much is needed. use fresh yeast if possible ie not past best by date.   if instruction packet suggest rehydrating, give it a try.  i think what is going on is your temps are too high and what you detect as vinegar might likely be acetaldehyde.  also your sanitation process could be weak.. or...  you might have an abundance of naturally occuring renegade yeast in your air ducts.  there used to be a brewer here named Mashani whose house was full of brett c. any beer he made had a good chance of coming out a sour. 

 

try using star san. wash everything your wort will come in contact with and then liberally cover with starsan solution. give it a couple minutes of full contact time. watch your ambient temps.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

usually you can tell theres an infection that would cause either sour or vinegar tastes.  at bottling you will likely see a film of grey/white  on top.  really...  google beer infections. the pictures speak volumes.

 

when one of my batches developed a lactobacter infection, it had huge snotty looking grey bubbles and looked really weird.

 

https://www.homebrewsupply.com/learn/is-my-batch-infected.html

 

the first pic kind of looks like what i had in my pumpkin weis. as the article mentions not ever infection is necessarily bad. i would add not every weird thing floating on the surface of your wort is an infection.  some times you get yeast rafts. some times hop oils and other junk floats on top.  if you are getting sour beer or mouth puckering vinegar, odds are really high that your beer looked like one of the pics before you bottled. if it looked fine... it's most like just too high temps.

 

another thing you can try:  for many styles of beers fermentis US05  is a clean fermenting yeast that can take higher temps.  if your ambient temp hits 67-68f it shouldnt care one bit.  it doesnt produce too many esters in my opinion. i like it way more than the mr beer yeast that comes with the kits.

 

  fermentation range:   (64-82°F)
 
rehydration instructions: sanitize a mason jar. add sterile water. warm water to about 80f. sprinkle in yeast. cover with a sanitized piece of saran wrap or something. let it sit for about 20 mins. you should see the yeast diving to the bottom as they fill with water. after 20 mins take a sanitized spoon and gently stir to mix it in. let it sit for about another 10 mins then pitch into your wort. your wort temp should be around 68-70f.
 
if you still get vinegar... especially if your wort looks weird at bottling...  then youre getting infections from somewhere.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what makes it frustrating the most is even under the most perfect conditions, the yeast will still do what they want to do. all you can do is give them a safe home full of good food, at the right temps, and try to keep them happy. the yeast do all the hard work beyond that. 

 

what helps is that most of the problems people have are fixable once the cause is known.  had a coworker who brewed with his dad. they gave it up because every batch tasted like rubber. they hated it. .  .got frustrated and quit. i asked what water they were using?  city water from the garden hose.  ack. so hot baked rubber leeched into water.. with added chlorine from muni water...  easily fixed but they gave up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/24/2018 at 1:32 PM, zorak1066 said:

usually you can tell theres an infection that would cause either sour or vinegar tastes.  at bottling you will likely see a film of grey/white  on top.  really...  google beer infections. the pictures speak volumes.

 

when one of my batches developed a lactobacter infection, it had huge snotty looking grey bubbles and looked really weird.

 

https://www.homebrewsupply.com/learn/is-my-batch-infected.html

 

the first pic kind of looks like what i had in my pumpkin weis. as the article mentions not ever infection is necessarily bad. i would add not every weird thing floating on the surface of your wort is an infection.  some times you get yeast rafts. some times hop oils and other junk floats on top.  if you are getting sour beer or mouth puckering vinegar, odds are really high that your beer looked like one of the pics before you bottled. if it looked fine... it's most like just too high temps.

 

another thing you can try:  for many styles of beers fermentis US05  is a clean fermenting yeast that can take higher temps.  if your ambient temp hits 67-68f it shouldnt care one bit.  it doesnt produce too many esters in my opinion. i like it way more than the mr beer yeast that comes with the kits.

 

  fermentation range:   (64-82°F)
 
rehydration instructions: sanitize a mason jar. add sterile water. warm water to about 80f. sprinkle in yeast. cover with a sanitized piece of saran wrap or something. let it sit for about 20 mins. you should see the yeast diving to the bottom as they fill with water. after 20 mins take a sanitized spoon and gently stir to mix it in. let it sit for about another 10 mins then pitch into your wort. your wort temp should be around 68-70f.
 
if you still get vinegar... especially if your wort looks weird at bottling...  then youre getting infections from somewhere.

 

 

 

Thanks for your suggestion, I just came across it.  

 

I might have to order some of this yeast before I end up with another bad batch, I had batched 3 LBK brews within a close span.  I marked them out on the calendar, and bottled in the 3 week in the LBK as suggested by the instructions.  The tastes were fine, without noticeable issues.  I have since got to the point of conditioning them, and had several in the fridge for up to a week.  From the 1st 2 batches, I have noticed that the color seems rather off, although during bottling and sampling prior to conditioning it didn't seem that off.  Both my Oktoberfest, and my Cream Ale, have a darker amber color.  They smell fine, other than a little yeasty at times, but the flavor is just off and I have been trying to figure it out.  I think that I killed off the yeasts early in the process.  I keep the house about 78 in the summer, and I had placed the LBK's in the closet, without any extra air flow, or cool mechanism.  I did have a stick on temp gauge that was showing me around 76 or so steady.  Noticing now in the instructions that that temp is less than ideal, and given that the inside happenings of the yeast were cooking, it likely was higher there.  I know at least the first 4-5 days or longer the yeasts were doing their things, because I could still see bubbles, and can rule out infection, as nothing was ever noticed floating or odd odors before bottling.  I suppose it has something to do with the conditioning process, and trying to shock the yeasts back into carbonating my bottles.   I guess I need a more warm hearty yeast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Duece,

 

I think I understand what you are saying and here is my take on it.

 

The color being off is not necessarily an issue. 

 

1.  The Octoberfest should be an Amber color.  Without knowing what you used to create the Cream Ale I can't comment on the color there.

2.  You did not kill off your yeast with the higher temperatures you just stressed them and they created some undesirable flavors.  You need to ferment in the lower 60s to prevent this in all but a few yeast strains and even those strains should start off in the low 60s for a couple of days.

3.  If the taste is yeasty, you may be emptying the entire bottle when pouring.  The yeast will settle to the bottom of the bottle and you have to carefully pour to keep it there.

 

Dawg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have had lots of well documented apple cider vinegar taste in almost all of my batches. the darker beers tend to mask it quite a bit. i use the sanitizer that comes with the refills. I don't think my sanitization is the problem. I am going to try using starsan as well. I think temp control in the low 60's is the key. especially during krausen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the problem is that taste is entirely subjective.  i might taste 'cider' or green apples. you might taste vinegar. i can taste banana esters.. my wife cant. peroxide based sanitizers might..MIGHT.. in some cases contribute an odd taste. if you have ever rinsed your mouth with peroxide water see if that matches.  i use starsan and have never had any issues with foam left in bottles... or off flavors from it.  when i used iodophor i sometimes got iodine notes in the background.

 

any time i used the coopers yeast from under the lid i could detect an odd yeasty twang in the beer. after my 3rd batch i think i started buying fermentis or other.

 

IF you detect vinegar notes and didnt have a pellicle on your wort, hurry up and drink your batch before it starts turning really acidic. if it is just a green apple or cidery taste, watch your fermentation temps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×