Last year for a work party I brewed 5 gals of an Irish Red Ale and it was a great hit. This year I was asked to brew the same brew for this year’s party. I said okay. So on Memorial Day, I brewed three 5 gal batches to fill a 15 gal keg. The sad part of this story is during the transfer from primary to secondary, I noticed a hint of a sour taste, from all three brews. Now I live in New Mexico and brew in a metal garage and it can get hot. The brews all went well and I hit all my numbers. But the following day was a work day and I had to have a blow off tube for a very active fermentation. Normally one bottle will fit in my temperature controlled (old Fridge beer kegerator) but not three bottles. Therefore, I left the brews in place (in garage) and it did get “hot” the next day was over 100 degrees, and even hotter in the metal garage. Sign me up for AA now! By the time I got off work, and when it no longer needed a blow tube, I moved the brews indoors, however at this point I think the heat damage was already done. I think the sour taste is based on this heat. However, I will not count out infection, but it would have needed to infect all three equally.
The party is at the end of July, and I have two other brews that will be completed by then, Just not Irish Red. Painfully, two very nice Lagers as an alternative, which leaves me with 15 gals of sour Irish Red.
The question: Should I pitch this brew? If the damage is heat and I can stand the aftertaste, is it safe to drink? This brew is not prime time and I would not serve it as is. Will aging help to mellow it out? I can’t bring myself to pitching 15 gals without asking the experts first, but if it is an infection and unhealthy it must go. Any recommendations are welcome.