Author Topic: Never Seen This Before  (Read 1671 times)

Offline wamille

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Never Seen This Before
« on: October 28, 2010, 09:57:37 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?

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 10:21:06 PM »
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"
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

Offline EHall

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 10:21:19 PM »
You need to post the recipe and method... how much water did you use? Did you even taste it?
Phoenix, AZ

Offline wamille

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 10:53:02 PM »
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.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 10:59:49 PM »
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?   :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline wamille

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 11:18:54 PM »
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.

Offline euge

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 11:33:19 PM »
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. ::)
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline wamille

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 11:39:25 PM »
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. 

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2010, 12:22:50 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.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2010, 12:42:28 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

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

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

Offline wamille

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2010, 12:48:37 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.

Offline euge

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2010, 12:56:41 AM »
Nice. I'm excited to see what happens with it. ;D
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2010, 01:35:57 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.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2010, 03:47:47 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.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline jeffy

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Re: Never Seen This Before
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2010, 04:23:22 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.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995