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T_McD

Vinegar Beer

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Ok so my first batch was going good or so I thought. I have followed all instructions to the letter, 3 weeks ferment, 4 weeks carb/condition. Chilled a few in the fridge for three days... and vinegar. Not the slight "green" taste that I had at bottling time, but a strong odor and taste of vinegar. After that I realized that most of my bottles had not stiffened up completely. I had 4 bottles out of 11 that were "rock hard" the rest were carbonated but only slightly. I also had no head when I poured it into my glass.

 

What did I do wrong? I am pretty frustrated as I did a lot of reading before my first attempt, and have already started on my second, which will be bottled in a few days. I want to correct any errors before I screw up a second batch and call it quits.

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Sounds kind of like an infection - was there any sort of "scum" or even an oil-slick-looking haze covering the top of the wort after krausen dropped, at least that you noticed?

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Slym, not that I noticed, and it tasted fine at bottling. I mean being my first batch and all, it tasted green like everyone said it should... just flat beer. I am wondering if some of the bottles did not seal properly. I am chilling the 4 bottles that were very stiff right now and will see if they taste like beer. I had one that was somewhat stiff and I think was actually OK, but I just didn't trust it since the rest of the soft ones were bad....they all got dumped.

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Rick, right off the bat I am gonna say the spigot is the culprit, because I don't remember sanitizing it which probably means it never happened. Would I just take a glass of sanitizing solution and submerse the spigot or what?

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Yes, that's exactly the way to do it.  Or spray with a spray bottle from the bottom up, into the spigot.

 

I OFTEN forget to do this at bottling, although I do it after I take the sample for my FG before cold crashing.  

 

Remember when you clean your LBK to REMOVE your spigot, separate the parts, AND separate the bottom and top - turn it to the middle, pull apart or use a small screwdriver to pop the connection by twisting where the top and bottom both have edges.  Wash, use a small bottle brush in the spigot parts CAREFULLY, make sure clean.  Sanitize the parts when ready to bottle, THEN reassemble, THEN run sanitizer from the LBK through the spigot.

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yea I definitely did it between batches, so I should be good there. And I realized that the bottles that are stiff (maybe good beer) were at the end of the bottling session, when the beer had rinsed off all the crud. Hoping to salvage at least something from this batch.

 

It sucks to waste so much time, but happy to at least have something to blame that can be easily fixed next time.

 

Thanks for the responses guys.

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Definitely an acetobacter infection. Be sure to clean your bottles and spigot really good before you start your next batch. I recommend a diluted bleach solution to start. Also, even if the beer is infected with vinegar, there's no reason to dump it. It's still great for cooking with. ;)

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josh... exactly!  everything is salvageable in one way or another unless you get ecoli growing in a beer (hard to do).   the problem with acetobacter besides making your lovely alcohol into vinegar, is that it can make extremely strong vinegar.  if theres lots of alcohol for the buggers to eat they pee out lots of vinegar. 

 

I would dilute it to taste and use it as a malt vinegar for salads rather than toss it all out.

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Nothing like home-made malt vinegar to go onto home-made chips (home fries).

 

  :wub:

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do acetobacter produce co2 while rendering alcohol into vinegar?  if so wouldn't bottle bombs be an issue?  for kicks I googled acetobacter infection and went to images.  ick...  I guess the big blobby thing is the mother of vinegar as it's called.  some of the growths on top of the beer were almost alien-like. 

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HBT.com has a thread devoted to pictures of the pellicle on top of infected beers. Some are disgusting, some are wild, and some are fascinating.

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do acetobacter produce co2 while rendering alcohol into vinegar?  if so wouldn't bottle bombs be an issue?  for kicks I googled acetobacter infection and went to images.  ick...  I guess the big blobby thing is the mother of vinegar as it's called.  some of the growths on top of the beer were almost alien-like. 

 

Acetobacter does not produce Co2. I make vinegar in wine bottles and have never had any explosions or high pressure.

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Yes, that's exactly the way to do it.  Or spray with a spray bottle from the bottom up, into the spigot.

 

I OFTEN forget to do this at bottling, although I do it after I take the sample for my FG before cold crashing.  

 

Remember when you clean your LBK to REMOVE your spigot, separate the parts, AND separate the bottom and top - turn it to the middle, pull apart or use a small screwdriver to pop the connection by twisting where the top and bottom both have edges.  Wash, use a small bottle brush in the spigot parts CAREFULLY, make sure clean.  Sanitize the parts when ready to bottle, THEN reassemble, THEN run sanitizer from the LBK through the spigot.

Oh goodie, I certainly did not do any of that above before making my second batch.  I guess I just assumed the sanitizer in the lbk prior to brewing then running it thru the spigot would have been enough to clean that.  Batch 2 (belgian spiced) is done a week from today.  Will test it in a few days to see if I got this vinegar taste/smell.  Hopefully I lucked out!

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Mafifer, there is no reason to think you got any infection because you didn't disassemble your spigot.  However, good brewing practice is to remove and clean the spigot each time, versus leaving it on the fermenter.  

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Oh goodie, I certainly did not do any of that above before making my second batch. I guess I just assumed the sanitizer in the lbk prior to brewing then running it thru the spigot would have been enough to clean that. Batch 2 (belgian spiced) is done a week from today. Will test it in a few days to see if I got this vinegar taste/smell. Hopefully I lucked out!

Running the sanitizer through the spigot probably was enough to clean it initially. Unless your fermenter is being stored in a positive pressure clean room environment with micro filtration of the air supply, ambient air is loaded with bacteria, yeasts, fungal spores, viral particles, pollen, etc. In addition most people don't sanitize the entire outside surface of the fermenter, and bacteria are motile, they will crawl around into the spigot opening. Raising a shot glass of sanitizer as far up the spigot opening as you can before bottling should solve the problem almost all the time.

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remember too that beer was first made by dirty sweaty men who thought the magic stick they stirred the wort with made the beer. magic sticks were passed down for generations within families and treasured if they made good beer. wars have been fought over the thefts of magic sticks!!  entire nations have crumbled because the royal magic stirring stick for making beer went missing!!!!

.

yes you can get infected beer. will you? only time will tell. 

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Actually just took a tiny sample of the wort last night and it did not taste infected or anything.  It actually tasted, smelled pretty good.  Still going to give it another week to complete 3 week cycle, but I am no longer at all worried.  

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Heh - not saying anything concrete, but some infected beers taste delicious.

 

 ;)

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Heh - not saying anything concrete, but some infected beers taste delicious.

 

  ;)

And now I am worried again, way to go  :mellow:

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Sours are the new IPA, man!

 

 *pokepokepoke*

 

Just kiddin' with you, man! I am positive there is nothing to worry about.

 

 :)

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Sours are the new IPA, man!

 

 *pokepokepoke*

 

Just kiddin' with you, man! I am positive there is nothing to worry about.

 

  :)

I do actually enjoy sours....when I am intending to have them that is.  

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Well, out of 11 bottles, I made 4 bottles of beer... and only have 2 left. I was just happy to have not completely ruined that batch. Dunked the spigot with a shot glass this time at bottling, so hopefully all is good.

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