By this I mean, the worst beer I have brewed - I've tasted a lot worse from the BMC's of the world.... actually probably my first extract beers were this bad, but nothing in the last 3 years I've been doing AG comes close...
Anyways, what we have here is a Mocktoberfest (Jamil's Oktoberfest recipe, just brewed with a US-05 slurry instead of lager yeast). OG was 1.051, and I used a slurry from a big IPA that was taken out of primary the day before I pitched it into the Mock. I usually collect my slurries pretty thin and keep them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days to get a hard pack cake, then decant the liquid and pitch a nice thick slurry. Anyway of course the IPA slurry is damn hoppy which I sort of forgot to take into account, and also after just an overnight in the fridge it hadn't really settled out and was still thinner than usual.
So I make 20 gals of wort, pitch about 250mL of this slurry into each 5gal fermenter, which is reasonable based on Mr Malty for slurry that is even a week old... but fermentation does not take off like a rocket, (it usually does when I pitch a fresh slurry, even at 60F which I was fermenting at) I have a pretty good idea of what my airlocks should look like for different recipes (I've done this Mock before, same mash sched, etc etc... so wort fermentability is not an issue here) anyways the fermentation never really gets going. After 10 days the gravity is only 1.018. So I warm it up to 65F and toss in about 5grams of fresh dry US-05 to each 5 gal ferm, trying to shake each ferm enough to get a little O2 in there. Probably futile, I know. After 3 days of no airlock activity, gravity is still 1.018 so I say screw it and keg it anyways. It did not taste too bad at that point, just a little sweeter than I would like.
Well that was 2 weeks ago - I tapped 2 of the 4 kegs this afternoon for a taste (I keg with gelatin, carbonate at 34F, and always dump the first cup out of each keg) - it had horrendous sulfury smell, kind of cidery and yeasty, and tasted astringent and dry - not sweetish like I was expecting from a 1.018 beer. After 10 mins in the glass, the smell dissipated but the taste remained. It is not UNdrinkable but it is not good beer.
What the hell happened? I've just been googling autolysis and underpitching and getting more confused. Seems like the 2 weeks on yeast cake is not really long enough for autolysis to occur? What sort of flavors will underpitching give me? I know it's probably a little early to serve this beer but the taste is bad enough to make me wonder if another week or two in the keg will help at all. I kind of need this beer for a oktoberbash this weekend.... guess it's a good lesson in hubris vs. humility, etc etc but if anyone knows what I can do, let me know.
what with this and the steelers sucking this past weekend, things can only get better, knock on wood