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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: wamille on October 29, 2010, 04:57:37 AM

Title: Never Seen This Before
Post by: wamille on October 29, 2010, 04:57:37 AM
Just brewed a beer last week that literally is viscous... it's like watered down honey.  When I pulled the hydometer out of the cylinder for a gravity check, there was a strand of liquid coming off the hydrometer vice a drop.  I'm guessing this beer has some bacteria or some other critter?  Any advice on what this is... and if the beer is drinkable?
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: 1vertical on October 29, 2010, 05:21:06 AM
Hard to say but, this could be the ropey phase of an infection...and if left alone, it may just
make darn good beer.....google "ropey beer"
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: EHall on October 29, 2010, 05:21:19 AM
You need to post the recipe and method... how much water did you use? Did you even taste it?
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: wamille on October 29, 2010, 05:53:02 AM
I didn't taste it... was afraid it might be too sticky to drink... or kill me  :o.  I did notice that the day previous to checking the gravity I shook the heck out of the fermenter.  The next day, there was a buildup of gunk in the air lock... gelatenous looking stuff all throughout the fermenter, too.  The top layer of the cylinder had a slight, sticky film on top when I did a hydrometer reading.  I'm guessing the entire beer is like this.  Also, of note, when I shook the fermenter, I took off the air lock so the cheap vodka inside wouldn't suck back into the fermenter.  So what is being suggested is that this beer might be drinkable???  It looks normal when all the gunk settles.  It has alcohol in it... so the assumption is it won't make me sick.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: tschmidlin on October 29, 2010, 05:59:49 AM
Pediococcus can make a beer viscous like that, but "the sickness" supposedly clears up after a while and the beer becomes more pleasant to drink.  I've never experienced it though, so I don't have first hand knowledge.  I think Vinnie Cilurzo said that he spoke with some Belgian lambic brewers.  One said that the sickness was key to his best batches of lambic.  The other said when his beers got sick he dumped them.  So it should be obvious by now, right?   :)
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: wamille on October 29, 2010, 06:18:54 AM
If that Vinnie Cilurzo dude knows anything about beer... ;D  So proceed as normal... do a secondary... add dry hops... keg it... carbonate it... drink it, huh?  It was supposed to be a hoppy red ale.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: euge on October 29, 2010, 06:33:19 AM
You know, I'm a firm believer of tossing stuff. Was it what you wanted in the first place? Do you even like bugged beers? That's a consideration. Personally, I don't. Not that much.

If it excites you proceed. If it fills you with some sort of dread or vague variant of distaste I suggest pitching it and starting all over. It's just beer. Or was. ::)
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: wamille on October 29, 2010, 06:39:25 AM
Euge... you're probably right... it's just so much more expensive to make beer here in Korea.  The shipping alone is about 1/3 of my costs.  But if it sucks, what's the point. 
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: tschmidlin on October 29, 2010, 07:22:50 AM
That's why you should just wait, that's more or less free.  Give it some time to clear up, if it does and is good, drink it.  If it does and it sucks, dump it.  If it doesn't clear up, you can always dump it later.  If you dump it now it's money down the drain, and it could have turned out nice.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: euge on October 29, 2010, 07:42:28 AM
That is very true. And it should at least finish fermenting. That's a given. And I had a much more lame scare a few months back myself. Beer turned out f'ing awesome. Weird citrus smell (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=3092.0)

Only wamille can decide. Does it fit your plan wamille? Money aside are you brewing for beer to drink or a beer that'll probably need extended "conditioning" and tie up your equipment? Are you thinking maaan I was gonna drink that in a few weeks...?

I have an extra keg out of 16 so I kept it when a Abbey got bugged. A year later I was asking if I should keep it. Now I got bottles of stuff I'm hoping will evolve. Just looking at the whole pic here as I see it. RDWHAHB

Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: wamille on October 29, 2010, 07:48:37 AM
Euge... I have enough equipment, so I guess it won't hurt from that aspect.  The beer should be finished fermenting... it's at 1.008 if I'm not mistaken... 1.010 at the highest.  When that chunky gunk settles, the beer looks fine.  It does seem to foam a lot though now that I think about it... but stops, at least in the cylinder when I read the gravity.  Again, I was hoping for a hoppy, drier beer.  I'm supposed to put the beer into the secondary ferementer and dry hop it soon.  I guess I'll do that and see if it clears more.  By the way, if I do that, can I leave the beer out on my porch... that gets down to around 45 F at night... maybe 65 F during the day at the highest.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: euge on October 29, 2010, 07:56:41 AM
Nice. I'm excited to see what happens with it. ;D
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: tschmidlin on October 29, 2010, 08:35:57 AM
I would skip the dry hops for now, if it sucks then it's a waste of hops.  You can always dry hop it later.  Plus if whatever is in there turns it sour, a hoppy sour beer might not be to your liking.

As for the porch, that's a pretty big temp swing.  Unless you have something like a breathable bung then I wouldn't subject the beer to that, you'll just end up sucking the liquid from the fermentation lock into the beer every night.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: tumarkin on October 29, 2010, 10:47:47 AM
+1 on the possibility that it's a pediococcus infection

-1 on dumping it

Definitely keep it. Always give a bad beer some time. You can always dump it later, but you may be pleasantly surprised.

Years ago (14-15?), Sam Adams put out a Hazelnut Brown as part of their Longshot series. I decided to brew one. The recipe called for a full bottle of hazelnut extract, maybe a 40z bottle if I recall. I don't like the artificial nature of many extract brews so I cut it back to 1/2 a bottle. Well, it was still too much for my taste. I gave away a bunch of it at Xmas. A while later I moved. I wasn't able to set up my brewery for a while. Ran out of my homebrew. Found a few bottles of the hazelnut beer at the back of my fridge. Well, it was now maybe 6-8 months later and in the interim the flavors had melded into an earthy, rich, complex goodness. Really wished I'd saved more of it.

Anyway, that won't necessarily happen, but given time that beer may surprise you and be quite drinkable at the least.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: jeffy on October 29, 2010, 11:23:22 AM
Just brewed a beer last week that literally is viscous... it's like watered down honey.  When I pulled the hydometer out of the cylinder for a gravity check, there was a strand of liquid coming off the hydrometer vice a drop.  I'm guessing this beer has some bacteria or some other critter?  Any advice on what this is... and if the beer is drinkable?
Back to the original post here.  Why does everyone think this is infected?  There's really not enough description to merit that assessment.  The first thing one needs to do is smell and taste a sample and go from there.
Some clues, "brewed last week" - could it be some yeast still clinging to hop oils?  Is the "liquid coming off the hydrometer" looking like the legs in a glass of whiskey or mead like it's got a lot of alcohol? 
Maybe a picture would help.
Anyway, I rarely throw anything out.  I just make more room somewhere and wait.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: tschmidlin on October 29, 2010, 04:07:37 PM
Just brewed a beer last week that literally is viscous... it's like watered down honey.  When I pulled the hydometer out of the cylinder for a gravity check, there was a strand of liquid coming off the hydrometer vice a drop.  I'm guessing this beer has some bacteria or some other critter?  Any advice on what this is... and if the beer is drinkable?
Back to the original post here.  Why does everyone think this is infected?  There's really not enough description to merit that assessment.  The first thing one needs to do is smell and taste a sample and go from there.
Some clues, "brewed last week" - could it be some yeast still clinging to hop oils?  Is the "liquid coming off the hydrometer" looking like the legs in a glass of whiskey or mead like it's got a lot of alcohol? 
Maybe a picture would help.
Anyway, I rarely throw anything out.  I just make more room somewhere and wait.
I don't know Jeff, "watered down honey" and "a strand of liquid" doesn't sound like legs to me, it sounds like ropiness.  And tasting won't always tell you if a beer is contaminated, some microorganisms won't give off flavors, especially after just a week.  And if it's ropy like I've seen in a commercial bottled beer someone showed me, I wouldn't want to taste it :)
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: uthristy on October 29, 2010, 04:52:46 PM
Way too fast for infection grow to  ropy threads, pediococcus grows slowly (3-4months is whats posted in WildBrews)
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: jeffy on October 29, 2010, 04:53:36 PM
Yeah, but how would it get ropy that fast?  It's barely had enough time to ferment completely.  Vinnie was talking about ropiness as an effect from barrel aging with bugs.  These things don't happen over night.
I think we need more info.
I had a ropy beer once.  My Aunt had some very old Heinekens in her garage that had been there (New Jersey) since her husband passed away many years earlier.  It was the only beer in the house so she cooled a couple down for me.  You could actually see the rope inside the bottle, looking like a dna strand or something.  Yes, I tasted it. (I ain't skird of no beer.)  Very sour.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: 1vertical on October 29, 2010, 05:10:11 PM
IMO, Bugs = Infection....all same....some are desirable, some are not.
Just because something self innoculates, does not mean that it is a bad thing....
let your senses guide you....taste, smell, appearance. 

My self innoculated V8 Peach/Mango Fusion is a REAL good thing.  I am gonna
grow that "bug" up into a culture and brew with it real soon now.... ;)
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: Kit B on October 29, 2010, 05:25:28 PM
-1 to the infection...There's gotta be a different answer.
What was the recipe?
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: denny on October 29, 2010, 05:27:19 PM
Just as a data point, I once had a beer get ropey in a couple weeks.  No opinion on whether or not that's what this is, though.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: tschmidlin on October 29, 2010, 05:37:01 PM
I'm not saying it definitely is pedio, just that it sounds like it.  You make a good point about the short timeline, I forgot that it was only a week old, but under the right circumstances it can grow pretty quickly as Denny pointed out.  Maybe he's stumbled upon IPM (Ideal Pediococcus Media)  ;D

It could definitely be something else, we're diagnosing over the internet.  ;)

I ain't skird of no beer.
I am :)

I've had beers served to me when I was judging that I just couldn't bring myself to put in my mouth.  I've tasted some really foul ones and done my best to diagnose them, but one or two have just smelled too awful to pass my lips.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: jeffy on October 29, 2010, 05:44:39 PM
I'm not saying it definitely is pedio, just that it sounds like it.  You make a good point about the short timeline, I forgot that it was only a week old, but under the right circumstances it can grow pretty quickly as Denny pointed out.  Maybe he's stumbled upon IPM (Ideal Pediococcus Media)  ;D

It could definitely be something else, we're diagnosing over the internet.  ;)

I ain't skird of no beer.
I am :)

I've had beers served to me when I was judging that I just couldn't bring myself to put in my mouth.  I've tasted some really foul ones and done my best to diagnose them, but one or two have just smelled too awful to pass my lips.

Yeah, for sure, but I always manage a sip.  I think somebody was trying to kill me once, but I survived.  It was a habanero mead as I recall.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: ryang on October 29, 2010, 06:14:20 PM
I've had beers served to me when I was judging that I just couldn't bring myself to put in my mouth.  I've tasted some really foul ones and done my best to diagnose them, but one or two have just smelled too awful to pass my lips.

Sorry to be off topic, but in regards to this, I was judging at a comp when a guy at the next table shrieked and said no way to a beer that he clearly noted as smelling of fecal matter.  Ironically, it was an American Brown...
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: wamille on October 29, 2010, 09:29:07 PM
Just for the record, here's the recipe for the Red Ale I made... a hoppy Red Ale by the way as you'll see:

10 lbs Rahr 2-Row
1 lb 40L Crystal
1 lb Carared

.5 oz Simcoe 90-min
.25 oz Simcoe 60-min
.25 oz Columbus 60-min
.25 oz Simcoe 30-min
.25 oz Columbus 30-min
.5 oz Simcoe 15-min
.5 oz Columbus 15-min
1 oz Cascade 10-min
.5 Simcoe 1-min
.5 Columbus 1-min    - I like hops... followed the Green Flash West Coast IPA hop schedule

Yeast was WLP-001.

OG - 1.052
Current Gravity - 1.010

The beer doesn't smell really bad... it does smell a bit like (what some have described) as band-aids. The fermentation didn't fully take the first week... the gravity for six days of fermentation was 1.040.  So I shook the fermenter the next four days to rouse the yeast.  I didn't check the gravity until that fifth day upon seeing globs of gook in the airlock.  When I took the gravity reading, I noticed the liquid wasn't dripping off the hydrometer in drops, but was coming off in long strands... like very watery honey or (disgusting) like a big goober one lets dangle from one's mouth to the floor... although not that strong.

I kept the 4 oz sample of the beer in a pyrex container after reading the gravity... and the yeast has settled at the bottom like normal.  I just don't understand all the chunks in the airlock or why the liquid doesn't drip off the hydrometer in drops.  The beer looks normal when the yeast has settled.  I don't have a working camera, so I can't pass along any pictures.  Sorry.

Thanks again for all the good discussion on this you guys are offering.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: jeffy on October 30, 2010, 12:36:38 AM
"I noticed the liquid wasn't dripping off the hydrometer in drops, but was coming off in long strands... like very watery honey or (disgusting) like a big goober one lets dangle from one's mouth to the floor... although not that strong."

OK this is almost exactly how Vinnie was describing ropiness in his sour barrel aged beers.  How odd.  As I recall he said that you could take strings of the "liquid" and stretch it between your fingers like snot.  Not very pleasant sounding.
If you let it settle, does the clear beer exhibit the same characteristics?  Does it smell OK?  With that much simcoe it's gonna smell pretty "catty" I would think.  Hmmm.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: EHall on October 30, 2010, 01:00:32 AM
"Sorry to be off topic, but in regards to this, I was judging at a comp when a guy at the next table shrieked and said no way to a beer that he clearly noted as smelling of fecal matter.  Ironically, it was an American Brown..."

I was there and tried that one, it was a bit nutty!  ;D

Where's Gordon when you need him.. he may know.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: wamille on October 30, 2010, 02:03:25 AM
My friend Rob (who is the purveyor of Homebrewkorea.com) stopped by my apartment today to drop off some 1-liter swingtop bottles.  I showed him my "snotty" beer.  He said he'd never seen anything like it.  He also marveled at how the beer was honey-like in consistency, but now down to 1.006 gravity.  The liquid seems much more dense relative to water.  He had the cajones to taste the beer.  He said it wasn't particularly good.  I figured I'd show him the fermenter... take a look at the beer.  I pulled of the lid and it smelled sour.  It is now part of the Seoul sewage system.  It's strange this craft we've chosen to undertake.
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: euge on October 30, 2010, 03:06:59 AM
Sounds like you did the right thing and got a physical opinion and a taste test.

Now you can chalk it up to experience and move on with your brewing. A learning opportunity if you will...

Yes it is a strange obsession but it is ours.  ;D
Title: Re: Never Seen This Before
Post by: jeffy on October 30, 2010, 04:06:38 PM
Dang.  Now we'll never know.