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sour beer again...

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So this time was the oktoberfest hme. I did everything right i thought. Everything was cleaned and sanitized. It was in the fermenter at the correct temps for three weeks I have thermometers on the LBKs. I conditioned in the pantry for four weeks. Put in thr fridge for 2 days.. pull one out to try it and its sour as heck.... what am i doing wrong? Should i pull it out of the fridge and condition for another four weeks?

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So this time was the oktoberfest hme. I did everything right i thought. Everything was cleaned and sanitized. It was in the fermenter at the correct temps for three weeks I have thermometers on the LBKs. I conditioned in the pantry for four weeks. Put in thr fridge for 2 days.. pull one out to try it and its sour as heck.... what am i doing wrong? Should i pull it out of the fridge and condition for another four weeks?

What was the temperature of the wort when you pitched your yeast? Warm pitching temps can cause the yeast to produce acetaldehyde, causing the sour flavor. And what is the "correct temp" you fermented at?

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Try fermenting lower. I ferment at 65. We keep our brewery here at Mr. Beer at 65. lower temps tend to prevent acetaldehyde production. Also, when pitching yeast, it's best if your wort is 70 degrees or cooler.

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Just lower the temps a bit and ferment for a little longer (up to 4 weeks, but no longer). The yeast will attempt to clean up some of the byproducts after the sugar has been consumed. Also, further bottle conditioning should lessen the sourness over time.

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Would it be in your good advice to try and condition it longer? Because if not im gonna dump it lol. I haye to do that but no one is gonna drink it this way

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One of the challenges in brewing is going slowly and methodically.  Another challenge is brewing batch after batch without even tasting the first one to see if you have the process down.  

 

When you brewed the Oktoberfest, you posted that the temps were right.  Now, you're saying they weren't?  

 

If you follow the directions, it's impossible to pitch into too high wort.  Using cold water the temp will be fine.

 

While fermenting at too high a temp can lead to off flavors, it shouldn't be sour.    Here's some resources to look at:

 

http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

 

http://beersmith.com/blog/2012/08/12/sour-off-flavors-in-home-brewed-beer/

 

 

I'd again recommend you slow down.  You're a prime candidate to quit the hobby because you get frustrated at your results.   Don't brew any more until you get to see how these batches come out.  And, when you taste the beer before bottling, if it was off, you should know right then - versus after 4 more weeks in the bottles.

 

When you have all the fermenters empty, go over what notes you have and see what's off about each batch.  If you think it's sanitation, clean them more methodically and sanitize the same.  If it's fermenting too warm, then get it down into the 60s and keep it there.  Do ONE BATCH and see how it comes out. 

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It has to be part conditioning temp... thats really my only unknown variable other than i pitched to hi a temp. I think ill take a break until all is done. I love beer and i want to create good beers so i gotta figure this out

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conditioning temp? the one that is the least critical? only got to keep it @ room temp.

Know your yeast and use cold water to pour into your LBK before the wort.

If you're sanitized, all should go well.

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Like Rick said, if you followed directions you really can't pitch it too warm. Even down here in GA where, by your standards, we don't even have a winter. The tap water is cold enough to get 4 cups boiling water down to pitching temp., don't need ice water. Like Rick said sit down go over your notes look for a common denominator.

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Yes, step back from things.  Pitching temp should be fine if you followed directions.  Fermentation temp is critical - both keeping the right temp and not going up and down and up and down.  Conditioning temp (i.e. in bottles) is as Jim says the least critical - basically if the bottles are 68 or higher - and higher could be even 80 degrees, all should be fine.

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Yes, step back from things.  Pitching temp should be fine if you followed directions.  Fermentation temp is critical - both keeping the right temp and not going up and down and up and down.  Conditioning temp (i.e. in bottles) is as Jim says the least critical - basically if the bottles are 68 or higher - and higher could be even 80 degrees, all should be fine.

I have my LBKs fermenting in a closet that fluctuates between about 62 and 66 degrees F. Is that too much of a change between high and low for fermentation?

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Not likely, because while the AIR temp changes that much, it takes hours for the liquid to change temps.  

 

Temp controllers that many of us use are in centigrade, not fahrenheit, and have a +/- 0.5 C that triggers hot versus cold.  That means that if I set it to 17.8 C (64.04 F), it varies between 17.3 C (63.14) and 18.3 C (64.94 F).   Basically a 2 degree swing.  I doubt you are having 4.

 

I can say with great certainty that BearHandsBrewer's issues are not something like that - it's either sanitation or way too high a fermentation temperature or something like that.  

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You know... me and the lady ade constantly fighting over the thermostat in this house... i tend to keep it where the stick o thermometers stay in the green.. but i know at night she turns it down. and i turn it back up. But the variance in temp has to be +-5°… theres another reason.. itll probably be better for me to brew in the spring when we dont really use the heater or ac. But those stick on seem to always be on the green.. so i dont know...

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You need stick on thermometers - NOT the check box free ones.  They tell you the exact temps.

 

And then put the LBK in a cooler you have - or buy a cheap styrafoam cooler, and use ice bottles (or heat bottles) to keep it 64 - 68.  Let her turn the heat down all she wants.

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That's easy to rule out.  

 

Take a sponge (not scrubby side) or a cloth and soap it up with warm water.  Clean the entire bottom inside.  Then, go from the bottom 1/2 way up all around.  Then clean the entire ends on both sides including the top edge.  Then clean 1/2 way up to the cap area all the way around.  Then clean around the cap area.  Rinse, rinse, rinse.  Always using warm water, not hot.  

 

Take the spigot off.  Remove the washer.  Take the spigot APART by turning it 1/2 way and then using a tiny screwdriver to pry where the two pieces meet until you can stick a big screwdriver in and give it a twist.  Use a bottle brush to clean if you have one.  Look inside the parts and see if you see any crud.  Make sure they are totally clean.

 

Now take the soapy sponge/rag and clean where the spigot was on both sides and rinse.  Put the top on, fill part way with water, cover the hole with one hand and shake.   Dump, repeat until you think there is no soap left.

 

HOLD THE LBK up to the sunlight or a bright light and EXAMINE EVERY SINGLE INCH FOR DEBRIS.  Rewash as needed.

 

When it's time to brew:

 

When you sanitize, drop the PIECES in the sanitizer.  Then assemble the spigot and put it in the LBK.  Then sanitize the LBK and when it's done running some through the spigot.

 

Make sure sanitizer dissolves completely - which takes 10 minutes in warm water and either mixing or shaking. If you see particles floating around, you haven't dissolved it yet.  Make sure it's no weaker than 1/2 packet to a gallon of water.  

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It can't be everything.  The reality is that when you say it could be X or it could be Y - that's because you're going too fast.  Go slow.  Watch the video again.  Read the instructions again.  Make a checklist.  Brew when no one is bothering you, unless you want a helper.  Turn off the TV and music.  FOCUS and go slow.

 

My first batches tasted like crap, worse than BMC...  Now my brews are excellent, people rave about them.  "Oh Rick, you are amazing, you are wonderful, I adore you".  Okay, that's all in my mind, but I can tell you that when I made a recent clone of Bell's Best Brown people were going "oh my god this is great!".  

 

I had things under control within a few months, my Winter Dark batch was great.  It was my 5th and 3 months in.  

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JoshR is doing a stream tonight about bottling.  Could watch that, too.

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Take the spigot off.  Remove the washer.  Take the spigot APART by turning it 1/2 way and then using a tiny screwdriver to pry where the two pieces meet until you can stick a big screwdriver in and give it a twist.  Use a bottle brush to clean if you have one.  Look inside the parts and see if you see any crud.  Make sure they are totally clean.

 

I agree with almost everything you said except the high-lighted sentence.

 

Does the beer appear to be over cabonated?  If so then you definately have an infection.  And it is most likely being caused by crud some where in your equipment.  This is one reason why I stepped away from using the LBK; It's so darn hard to clean.  But even after switching to buckets I was still getting over-carbonated, sour beers now and then.  I blame my spigot.  And I believe the root problem was my using a bottle brush to clean the spigot(s) and getting scratches in them trying to get the brush to go around the corners..

 

There are already lots of nooks and crannies in the spigots for the nasties to hide in.  Don't give them any more by putting scratches in them.

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It actually seemed under carbonated. im starting to think more and more im not doing all i can to sanitize. So i just need to be better at that

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I agree with almost everything you said except the high-lighted sentence.

 

Does the beer appear to be over cabonated?  If so then you definately have an infection.  And it is most likely being caused by crud some where in your equipment.  This is one reason why I stepped away from using the LBK; It's so darn hard to clean.  But even after switching to buckets I was still getting over-carbonated, sour beers now and then.  I blame my spigot.  And I believe the root problem was my using a bottle brush to clean the spigot(s) and getting scratches in them trying to get the brush to go around the corners..

 

There are already lots of nooks and crannies in the spigots for the nasties to hide in.  Don't give them any more by putting scratches in them.

 

 

With a small brush and taking them apart and cleaning GENTLY with a small bottle brush you don't make any scratches, but to each their own.  I don't have any corners since I take the spigot apart.

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It actually seemed under carbonated. im starting to think more and more im not doing all i can to sanitize. So i just need to be better at that

Could be your right, but I suggest you study your notes and make sure. Take your time, don't rush it. It'll be even more frustrating if you try to fix this using the W.A.G. method and guess wrong.

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you say 'sour' do you mean plain yogurt sour milk sour?  or  green apple tart?  or apple cider vinegar pucker sour? there is a big difference and it would help determine the likely cause better.

 

back when dannon first started selling fruit on the bottom yogurt I made the mistake of just scooping up a spoon from the top sans fruit.  it was the most disgusting sour milky crappy tasting thing I ever ate.  if it is that kind of sour, that sounds to me like a lactobacillus infection... which points to sanitation issues.  lacto is everywhere. it contributes to the making of kimchi..which incidentally is sour or can be. 

 

when my pumpkin weis that developed a lacto infection was fermenting I had huge filmy grey milky bubbles on top of the wort. . . not your usual krausen.  did you see that while it was brewing? 

 

if it was burny vinegary sour then you likely got an acetobacter and again it points to sanitation issues.... or opening the fermenter to perv and letting bacteria waft in from your heat ducts for example.  another sour is caused by brett c.  one of the old guard who is now on other forums has brett c in his air ducts..which turns nearly every beer into a sour... which he just happens to like anyway.  the thing with acetobacter is they eat all available alcohol and pee out acetic acid.. eventually making a highly concentrated vinegar which could burn your mouth.... the bastards!  these tend to form white pellicles or skins while fermenting.

 

if it was apple cidery tart which some ppl perceive as sour-ish... acetaldehyde is likely the culprit (see josh's posts).

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It was a puckery sour. Not like sour apple but id say more like vinegar. But lookingvat the liquid it seemed pretty clear... probably because i chilled it for a couple days before pouring. Next brew i gotta be more methodical with my cleaning. More consistent with ferment temps. All my brew tools were sanitized though i wash them and soak them in a pitcher of sanitizer.

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I could drink the stuff lol... but i would rather brew it right and get a great tasting beeR instead of cringing everytime i take a sip just to get a buzz

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It was a puckery sour. Not like sour apple but id say more like vinegar. But lookingvat the liquid it seemed pretty clear... probably because i chilled it for a couple days before pouring. Next brew i gotta be more methodical with my cleaning. More consistent with ferment temps. All my brew tools were sanitized though i wash them and soak them in a pitcher of sanitizer.

 

I gave you links to off-flavors, I suggest you sit with a bottle and diagnose your issue.

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Your pitching temperature may affect the survival of the yeast initially, but it seems to me, from what I have read about your situation so far, is that fermentation temperature was high, but not excessively high. Perhaps you may have some sanitation issue. Counter tops, faucet, faucet handles, sink, stove top, utensils, thermometer, hydrometer, can opener, lid of the extract,  and your hands all need to be sanitized. I even go so far as to put on a freshly laundered shirt. I would try again, use a peroxide or bleach spray cleaner for the counter tops and such (wipe with paper towel, not a sponge). Let the utensils and such soak in the sanitizing agent for 10 minutes or more. Bottling time sanitation must also be extreme. Clean enough is not good enough. Did the beer have a sour odor when you bottled? As I am suggesting, you may have had an infection. Lastly, not to question your judgement, but, was the beer sour, or more medicine like? Did it taste like plastic or Band-Aids? These are different problems and not infection. Hope this helps you. 

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