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georgefh

Think I got infection. What to do?

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Was getting ready to bottle today. Had a final taste, a very harsh alcohol smell. It tasted fine a few days ago. Open the keg, looks like an infection. Can anyone tell what kind of infection this is? Dump it? any way to save it?

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Not sure about an infection. That might smell a little more like an anaerobic bacteria, kinda like the subtle aroma of rotting organisms. At least that's my take on it. But when you say harsh alcohol smell, I'm thinking fusel alcohol. That usually gets produced in the first week of fermentation when the temperature gets too high. I had it happen once, and it was like somebody poured nail polish remover in my beer. Believe me, I had a heck of a hard time drinking it.

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Well, there is a thin film of something growing on the surface, see pic. a quick google search makes me think it may be acetobacter infection. I read acetobacter produces acetic acid, mixed with ethanol, could smell and taste like acetone. which I think is what I'm tasting. But I don't really taste raised acidity, so where is the acetic acid ?
It's been in primary for two weeks. Should I leave it there longer? or is it safe to bottle right now? hoping conditioning would lessen the off taste.

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If it's NOT an infection, I can only tell you that I had the same heat issue, the same hot alcohol smell, the same description. I let it ferment longer, I cold crashed longer (not that it helped), and I just tried one and it was perfectly fine. I also added more hops near the end of ferment. I can't comment on the infection possibility though.

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I'm with Fee on this one. I've got one going right now (although not with that infection looking stuff), but the same hot alcohol smell. I checked it a couple days after I first noticed it and it had reduced greatly. Just as Fee said, I plan to let it go a couple extra days.

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What temps did you ferment at? If you had an infection it would taste more like wet cardboard or have a buttery taste. What your describing as a high alchohol taste comes from high fermentation temps. As far as the stuff on top, yes it looks weird but others have had the exact same thing and their beer turned out excellent.

The rubbing alchohol taste may eventually condition out but it's gonna take time and I'm talking months not weeks. Let it set for at least 2 to 3 months then try ONE. If it still has the taste wait another month and try another. repeat until it's good.

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Really bad taste, and what is almost certainly an infection.

Come on guys I think it's about time you reccomend a dump!!

Just this once?

And then CLEAN and SANATIZE everything twice.

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He did not say it was a really bad taste, just a strong alcohol taste, which certainly could be from high fermentation temps. I would bottle it and wait it out a bit.

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Time heals all wounds.
We will dump no beer before it's time.
Too many drs. of brew in the house to be quick at pulling the plug.

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T-58 yeast, started out at low 70's, brought up to low 80's towards the end. OG was 1.066, FG at 1.013 and has been stable for almost a week.
I'm inclined to bottle it and forget for a few months. But am concerned about bottle bomb. From what I've read, infection can be very slow and still active many month down the road.

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"azmark" post=276629 said:

Really bad taste, and what is almost certainly an infection.

Come on guys I think it's about time you reccomend a dump!!

Just this once?

And then CLEAN and SANATIZE everything twice.

I don't know about that. In some cultures, the smell and taste of rubbing alcohol or nail polish is considered good luck, and perhaps in other cultures, even delicious.

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Was it planned to start in 70's and bring to 80's?

Patience and a storage bucket for protection...

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yeah, trying for something like a saison, so the high temps was intentional. and t-58 supposedly likes high temp.
anyone have experience on how long that pellicle may be around? should I wait for the film to dissipate before bottling?

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"georgefh" post=276639 said:

yeah, trying for something like a saison, so the high temps was intentional. and t-58 supposedly likes high temp.
anyone have experience on how long that pellicle may be around? should I wait for the film to dissipate before bottling?

They say not all batches act the same, and I believe that now. I just recently had what seemed to be a bacterial infection. Started with a mild "spoiled meat" or "anaerobic decomposition" odor, followed by a few floating white circles on the surface. It may or may not actually be an infection.

I came up with the idea of sprinkling a little ascorbic acid on the surface to inhibit the bacteria. Did that two days in a row. Third day sprinkled a little ground hops on surface with same intention. Seems to be improving. No more stuff floating on surface and the smell is greatly reduced. Tasted a bit from spigot and seemed okay. Time will tell.

Mashani suggested dropping a Campden tablet into it to kill any bacteria. Then after 24 hours re-pitching the yeast. That sounds like the best idea of all so far.

Only thing I figure is if a bad taste permeated the beer, it may stick with it even after bacteria is cleared away. But if it tastes okay AND the bacteria go away, I say forge ahead.

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seems like a good plan. nuke them from orbit, only way to be sure :)
how long should I wait to bottle after re-pitching?

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"georgefh" post=276650 said:

seems like a good plan. nuke them from orbit, only way to be sure :)
how long should I wait to bottle after re-pitching?

If you do decide to go that route, I believe Mashani told me 24 hours later would be safe to pitch yeast again. Before pulling the trigger on that, did you taste it and smell it? Like Swenocha says, you may not have to. Though it seems like a fairly reasonable thing to do that shouldn't have much negative consequences. Anyone care to verify that?

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well, so far, all I can detect is a harsh alcohol/solvent smell. That could be from high temp or infection, from what I've read.
How would the sulfur from Campden tablet affect the beer?

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Have you ever used T-58 before? It definitely produces some different flavors. I don't think I'd describe any of them as a strong alcohol taste, but it's definitely a different taste (or a bunch of different tastes).

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yep, used T-58 on a wheat before, didn't have this taste. I've had a similar taste in a batch of apflwein made with Montrachet. That eventually conditioned out in several months. This time, I'm pretty sure I have an infection of some kind, judging by the pellicle. Whether the off favor is due to infection or high temp is uncertain.

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At least you're still ahead of that Milwaukee's Best that I used to drink in college, back in the day. :woohoo:

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"georgefh" post=276639 said:

yeah, trying for something like a saison, so the high temps was intentional. and t-58 supposedly likes high temp.
anyone have experience on how long that pellicle may be around? should I wait for the film to dissipate before bottling?

I've used T-58 before and produced one of my favorite batches to date. But, I kept my temps in the mid 60s when I brewed my batch. You may have been thinking about Saison yeast, which does like warmer temperatures. The temp range for T-58 is 59-75 degrees.


Rick

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Whatever yeast you use, it's good not to have wide swings of temperature if at all possible.

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Id assume the temps. My first few brews i didnt see anything happening right away so I put a heating pad around LBK. Bad idea. I could tell it was supposed to be beer but it was just too much of an alcohol taste. Have since fermented all my beers at a steady 64 and theyve all been wonderful and only getting better.

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It looks looks like a pellicle, but FWIW, I brewed 2 batches with T-58 last summer that had almost an identical pellicle. Both bathces brewed both at warmish temps 72-75 and the T-58 flamed out after 3 days of insane fermentation. Then 2 weeks later, I had that.

I haven't had a pellicle since, until a recent batch of IPA. Again in the summer. Seems to be a local wild yeast thing in my house in the summer. It either comes in the window or my dogs bring it in. All of my pellicles had a similar look, and all had a similar taste in the beer.

I bottled all these batches, and they all turned out to be good beer. At least to me. They were not sour, they did not have nail polish or other bad alcahol flavors. Just a little bit of beglain funk like drinking a Brett beer. Some weird fruit - IE weird pinapple aroma that can't be explained by anything but the infection - some brett strains can do that.

So I'd bottle it and see what happens. If it's Brett, it will take so long to ferment what's left for it to chew on to the point that it will explode your bottles that you will likely drink it all long before it happens (we are talking like a year+ unless you prime your beer like mad... I'd just prime it lightly). Or dump it if you decide you can't stand it. (I drank all of mine).

Note that 80 is pushing it. T-58 and WB-06 both can produce interesting flavors if you let them get up to 78 after initial primary is over. But over 80 is a bit much. You may have some fusels in there, but they should condition out over time.

EDIT: Oh and as far as waiting for the pellicle to "go away". Unless you have a glass carboy and 6+ months, you won't be waiting that long. As long as it's got oxygen exposure, it's going to be there. Just bottle from under it. You can't remove the infection by skimming it off, it's not the infections it's just a layer protecting the critters in there from oxygen.

EDIT EDIT: This is what my Brett infected IPA looked like when I bottled it earlier this summer... I drank one of these last night and I'm still here typing! It's getting better as it ages, not worse. I might stick a bottle of it in a dark corner for 6 months instead of drinking it. Just to see what happens.

[attachment=8557]Untitled_2012-07-26.png[/attachment]

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thank you to everyone for your advice. guess I'll bottle this batch, put it in the bomb shelter and hope for the best

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follow up, 4 days since bottling. I use one MR Beer PET bottle to monitor the carbonation. it is already rock hard. can see pellicle developing in the bottles. tried a 12oz bottle tonight, still harsh, but not too bad, ignorable after a couple of sips. but another weird characteristic developed. a thick mouth feel one wouldn't expect from a LME brew without grain seep. can infection thicken the mouthfeel?

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What your seeing in the bottle will go away once the CO2 ramps up, and likely will just leave a ring or some spots.

I've never had a weird mouthfeel from a wild yeast. Did you check your FG to make sure it was really fermented out?

In any case, at 4 days, the CO2 is probably not really fully dissolved into the beer, so that may be part of it. Might even still be some priming sugar that isn't eaten yet.

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had another bottle tonight. it is conditioning nicely. far less of the harsh alcohol taste. i think the heavy mouthfeel was due to unfermented priming sugar, no problem several days later.
glad I didn't dump this batch. will be a tasty brew in a couple of weeks.

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Excellent. That's why I tell people not to dump it. All of our ancient ancestors drank infected beer, and they liked it. So it can't all be bad (non of mine has been bad, just "different"). So you are just drinking old school beer. Which is pretty cool. EDIT: And infected beers are all the rage you know. Some folks thing sours and brett beers are the "next big thing". Which is funny since it's like the ancient thing that everyone tried to get rid of over the last 150 years.

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