Author Topic: bad batch  (Read 681 times)

Offline cwh

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
bad batch
« on: April 07, 2015, 04:46:54 PM »
I've all-grain brewed for nearly 20 yrs., largely with success, but not always.   Last batch didn't carbonate and has obvious off taste.  There's no bacteria/infection line (nothing floating) where beer and bottle top meet.  Could I get some opinions, please, about possible screw-ups I might have made to cause this.  I use a lot of grain, so gravity is pretty high; I used three vials of White Labs yeast for about 12 gallons; I did let it sit on primary funk for 4 weeks before racking (this is my greatest concern); I question use of old bottling sugar, but I usu. boil it for 5 minutes.  I use 5 Star cleaning and sanitizing stuff and I'm pretty anal about clean/sanitize processes; hydrometer rdg. indicated good activity OG 1.65 and FG 1.10; I used only my own hops from garden and did not dry hop, all were part of the boil; mash was 90 min. at 152 degrees; boil was 90 min. plus.  Trying to isolate the off taste as anything remotely meaningful is nothing I'm good at (i.e., butterscotch, bandaid, fruitiness, horse piss, etc.).  I'm ready to dump 120 bottles.  Maybe someone sees a flagrant error in this process that has worked for most of the previous MANY batches.   Thanks for your attention to this verbosity..... Bill

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: bad batch
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2015, 04:58:15 PM »
Was the OG 1.65, 1.165, or 1.065?  Those first 2 are very high gravities and I would bet the yeast fermented until the alcohol content of the beer was too toxic for it.  This would then prevent it from fermenting the bottling sugar in the bottles.

EDIT: after looking at the FG again I suspect you are just omitting the 0 in there and it wasn't actually a FG of 1.100 but rather 1.010.  So I suspect your OG must have been 1.065.  If this is the case the above wouldn't really hold true.

I wouldn't be worried about the 4 weeks in primary.  That's no big deal.  The other items you indicated should be fine (though I personally would boil the bottling sugar 15 mins vs 5) Without a better description of the off taste I cannot say much further.  Maybe post the recipe.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 05:02:44 PM by dkfick »
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"

Offline jtoots

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 301
    • View Profile
Re: bad batch
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2015, 04:59:12 PM »
I did let it sit on primary funk for 4 weeks before racking (this is my greatest concern);

That shouldn't have been a problem...

Offline brewinhard

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3217
    • View Profile
Re: bad batch
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2015, 05:00:01 PM »
Unfortunately there are a lot of variables when trying to figure something like this out.  If you had to, how would you best describe the off-flavors you are getting?  Sour, spicy, overly fruity, sugary sweet from unfermented priming sugar, etc? 

When was the last time you changed all of your transfer hoses and plastic parts over to new?  Are you brewing in buckets or glass?   

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9607
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: bad batch
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2015, 05:08:19 PM »
I did let it sit on primary funk for 4 weeks before racking (this is my greatest concern);

That shouldn't have been a problem...

+ 1. This should be your least concern.

Offline gsandel

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 341
  • www.onbeer.blogspot.com
    • View Profile
    • On Beer
Re: bad batch
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2015, 05:11:58 PM »
I think the goal is to try to salvage 120 bottles of beer.  You didn't mention any bottle conditioning procedures, such as amount of fermentables in your batch size (5 cases of beer, is what 12 gallons?  I forget now that I don't bottle), what temp and length of time in bottle conditioning.

I would give the bottles a little shake to rouse yeast in bottom of bottle, and store warm (say 70 degrees for a month or so) to see if you can get the bottles to carbonate....yeast do a fantastic job cleaning up after themselves in the bottle sometimes.  If that doesn't fix both problems (which depending on the off flavor may not) or mask the off flavor sufficiently enough for the girls I go with...then dump.  Unless you need the bottles for next batch.

High gravity beers also take longer to condition/carbonate, so it may just need some time.  I will assume that your 20 years experience and clear track record thus far will serve you in that you will refocus on your cleaning/sanitizing regime as well....sometimes I know I have gotten complacent and a not quite good batch results has straightened me out.  Good luck and report back if you figure it out.
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline braufessor

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 330
    • View Profile
Re: bad batch
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2015, 05:35:32 PM »
You didn't mention any bottle conditioning procedures.......what temp and length of time in bottle conditioning.

I would give the bottles a little shake to rouse yeast in bottom of bottle, and store warm (say 70 degrees for a month or so) to see if you can get the bottles to carbonate....yeast do a fantastic job cleaning up after themselves in the bottle sometimes.  ...

High gravity beers also take longer to condition/carbonate, so it may just need some time. 

This would be my first thought...... How long in the bottle and what temp.  With the long primary, maybe a lot of yeast settled out and it is taking longer for what is left to do the carbing.  I had a barley wine I had problems with.... I turned my cases of bottles upside down and then back rightside up, alternating every couple days to resuspend and left them in a warmer area of my house (73-75 degrees) for a month..... it carbed up then.  Maybe try something like that.

Another possibility...... although, unlikely - are you sure you primed with sugar?  I have heard of "someone" accidentally priming their beer with 3/4 cup of powdered cleanser that was kept in a mason jar alongside "his" priming sugar that was also in a mason jar.............. guess how I know this is possible :o

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8022
  • Ego ceruisam ad bibere cervisiam
    • View Profile
Re: bad batch
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 09:35:28 PM »
I was thinking perhaps you actually forgot to add the sugar. ;) Or added something else at bottling time like starsan.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline duboman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1576
    • View Profile
Re: bad batch
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2015, 09:43:29 PM »
http://www.beerjudgeschool.com/uploads/Beer_Characteristics_Flash_Cards.pdf

This is a really good resource, perhaps you can scroll through and find the proper descriptors and pin something down that can help us out! Sometimes reading descriptors can help in diagnosing the off flavor:)
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: bad batch
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2015, 12:28:20 PM »
I was thinking perhaps you actually forgot to add the sugar. ;) Or added something else at bottling time like starsan.

were you cooking hot dogs at the time?
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3135
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: bad batch
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2015, 01:14:58 PM »
How much priming sugar was used?
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline JT

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1303
  • Bloatarian Brewing League - Cincinnati, OH
    • View Profile
    • Bloatarian Brewing League
Re: bad batch
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2015, 09:06:49 PM »
I think we need some more info here.  Without off flavor descriptors, answering these questions may help narrow down potential problems and off flavor possibilities.
What type of beer are you brewing? 
Do you check mash pH?
Do you check sparge pH?
Lid was on or off the pot while boiling?
Lid was on or off the pot while cooling?
How do you cool your wort?
What yeast are you using?
How do you aerate the wort before pitching yeast?
How do you control fermentation temperature?
What temp was the beer during fermentation?
What was the room temp during fermentation (if beer temp wasn't measured)?
How long have the bottles been sitting?
What temp are they sitting at?

May seem to be a lengthy list, but I think it would cover the usual off flavor suspects.  Then again, it may just be the bottles just need more time to carb!
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 09:11:03 PM by JT »