Author Topic: Oak Barrel aging beer with white wax like film? daz Vander SHOOT  (Read 2268 times)

Offline pyrite

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I filled this refurbished 30 gal French Oak Barrel in the first week of January this year with an Old Ale style beer.  I just checked the progress of this beer this morning, and it is full of oak flavor, however, it is so sour.  I also noticed a white wax looking film coating the top of the liquid, with what looked like bubbles that have been hardened and preserved by this wax film.  When I poked my nose in the barrel it smells like oak and Brettanomyces; I remember that horsey, barnyard smell from previous lambic style beers I've made in the past. Yet when I used my sanitized wine thief as I always do to take a sample, it was so sour.  I have never tasted that in a beer before not even my lambics (becasuse they are usually balanced with cherry flavor), and because it taste so sour/smooth, border line almost Vinegary but smooth I was wondering could this be a true infection that I can't shake off?

I always take precaution in my cleanliness, and have never gotten an infection (knock on wood).  Although, I usually always use a combination of citric acid and potassium metabisulfite to sanitize my other oak barrels, I failed to do so this time.  Instead I sanitized this new French oak barrel using circulating boiling water for 10 minutes. I also dumped 2 lbs of Coco nibs in there when I first filled it.  I only began to notice this 3 months ago and only because the air lock was constantly bubbling. The air lock has stopped bubbling and has left me wondering if this is Brett or a different airborne intruder that sneaked in there when I opened the stopper to take a sample? I have mucho dinero and time invested in this barrel aging beer, can you guys suggest anything?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 04:49:12 PM by pyrite »
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Offline richardt

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Re: Oak Barrel aging beer with white wax like film? daz Vander SHOOT
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 05:44:47 PM »
2 lbs of cocoa nibs--any possibility that the "white stuff" could be oil or fat from the cocoa nibs?

Infection can also create a "slime" on top.  Acetobacter and Pediococcus, in particular.

http://www.byo.com/stories/techniques/article/indices/19-brewing-tips/1269-preventing-beer-slime-a-reducing-tannins-but-not-flavor-mr-wizard

Offline pyrite

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Re: Oak Barrel aging beer with white wax like film? daz Vander SHOOT
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 07:06:00 PM »
Thank for that article richardt,

I’m sending a prayer to the beer gods that this is not a case involving Acetobacter.  I don’t think this wax film is from the cocoa nibs, because the final gravity has changed from 1.020 to 1.010. 

The beer taste is still medium bodied, a bit dry and sour but not vinegar yet.  I finished a full glass of this stuff.  It’s smooth with an alcohol taste even though it is sour.

Although I have never tasted a Flanders Red, while I was drinking it, it kinda falls in line with the BJCP guidelines. This was not supposed to be a Flanders Red though.

How should I proceed, I have never been in this situation. Should I keg and bottle this stuff or should I just leave it be. 

I don't know the difference between a horsey taste/smell or a ropy one?
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Offline richardt

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Re: Oak Barrel aging beer with white wax like film? daz Vander SHOOT
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2010, 01:44:05 AM »
Don't throw it out.  Lots of people love Flanders Reds. If infected/sour, that barrel can only be used for sour ales, forevermore.

Isolate the project and the porous equipment (made from wood or plastic) associated with this beer. 
Do not use the barrel or the porous equipment to make future batches of regular beer (unless you want them to be sour).
You won't be able to disinfect the plastic (i.e., bottling buckets or hoses).

Stainless steel and glass are the only things that can be sanitized and reused.  Even then, many replace the rubber gaskets and O rings on the corney kegs after a good cleaning with caustic.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Oak Barrel aging beer with white wax like film? daz Vander SHOOT
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 09:58:09 PM »
I think this should be posted in Wood\Cask Child board.
But, I think that your beer looks really good, nice and clear. Lots of folks
would love your sour beverage.  The pellicle is hard to see in those photos.
But like was mentioned, your oak is prolly going to stay funky.
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