Author Topic: Hope for an unintentional souring  (Read 1508 times)

Offline gigatropolis

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Hope for an unintentional souring
« on: October 18, 2011, 10:26:16 PM »
I had the perfect plan: week one, brew a 2.5gal Saison. week 2, rack the first beer into the secondary then rack the big big Xmas beer onto the yeast cake. Perfect.

  Well, after 10 hours of painfully brewing the Xmas beer with inadequacy equipment, I began racking the Saison into the secondary and noticed a little different smell, but didn't bother to think about it or even taste the beer (brain dead by this time). I then started to rack the Xmas beer then decided to taste the little bit of the first beer and it was "sour".
 
  The second big beer has OG of 1.086 and IBUs about 40. Used pure oxygen (newest gizzmo)

 What are the chances of the Christmas beer being drinkable/good? I was thinking if it fermented fast enough into the 10%+ alcohol range, it might make it very difficult for the bacteria to do much damage. Also the high IBU could help also.

  Not a sour beer person (only had one before), but the saison didn't taste too bad. Kind of an apple-cidery taste, so I plan to bottle some of it and see what people think. My sister digs the sour beers so I can try and unload on her.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 07:32:56 AM »
I had a porter go sour a year or two ago in the primary.  I think it was due to a long lag on the yeast taking off and lax sanitation.

At first, like yours, it was "not bad" and I thought maybe it could be OK.  It only got worse and had to be dumped.

I'm not a sour beer guy either, so I have zero experience with intentionally soured beers, but my guess is that spontaneous sourness (infection of some sort) does not often lead to drinkable sourness.

Best of luck, and hopefully someone who knows more about sour beers can chime in with a more positive angle.

JOE
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 08:30:59 AM »
Apple cidery to me hints at two possible things, acetaldehyde (Green apple like), which can come from an infection or too much simple sugar in the recipe (cider like). I recently heard that the bacteria that carry acetaldehyde like to hang out on fruit flies so if that is the problem you may well end up with vinegar as the acetic bateria also like those little flying demons in which case you will probably lose the saison and the big beer as well, acetic bacteria have no problem with wine strengh alcahol levels so the 10% won't stop them. They do need O2 so until exposed to further air it might not get to bad.

If cidery it won't get worse but it won't get better either.
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Online kramerog

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 10:13:50 AM »
The high alcohol and IBUs can inhibit bacteria depending on the type of infection.  If the bacteria is inhibited by by high alcohol, you can eliminate the cidery note with a small amount of chalk or baking soda added to taste.  If not and you keg, once the fermentation is done to your satisfaction, add some chemicals like metabisulfite, benzoate or sorbate and then force carbonate the beer.  Wine and mead makers can advise you as to amounts.
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Offline skyler

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 11:51:57 PM »
Apple cidery to me hints at two possible things, acetaldehyde (Green apple like), which can come from an infection or too much simple sugar in the recipe (cider like). I recently heard that the bacteria that carry acetaldehyde like to hang out on fruit flies so if that is the problem you may well end up with vinegar as the acetic bateria also like those little flying demons in which case you will probably lose the saison and the big beer as well, acetic bacteria have no problem with wine strengh alcahol levels so the 10% won't stop them. They do need O2 so until exposed to further air it might not get to bad.

If cidery it won't get worse but it won't get better either.

You're confusing acetaldehyde (a fermentation by-product) with acetobacter (a microorganism that converts alcohol into vinegar). It sounds like the former - and saison yeasts can produce lots of tartness without an infection, anyway.

Online Mark G

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 07:46:00 AM »
- and saison yeasts can produce lots of tartness without an infection, anyway.
Good point. What strain did you use? And what was your recipe/process?
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Offline gigatropolis

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 08:23:00 AM »
Used white labs 568

 All grain 2.5 gal batch mashed in my 5 gal gal round water cooler. Only thing different in my process was the new oxygenation system I got: stainless steal wand with regulator to control the O2 flow.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 08:25:07 AM »
Apple cidery to me hints at two possible things, acetaldehyde (Green apple like), which can come from an infection or too much simple sugar in the recipe (cider like). I recently heard that the bacteria that carry acetaldehyde like to hang out on fruit flies so if that is the problem you may well end up with vinegar as the acetic bateria also like those little flying demons in which case you will probably lose the saison and the big beer as well, acetic bacteria have no problem with wine strengh alcahol levels so the 10% won't stop them. They do need O2 so until exposed to further air it might not get to bad.

If cidery it won't get worse but it won't get better either.

You're confusing acetaldehyde (a fermentation by-product) with acetobacter (a microorganism that converts alcohol into vinegar). It sounds like the former - and saison yeasts can produce lots of tartness without an infection, anyway.

According to the off-on taste sheets I looked at the other day acetaldehyde can also be caused by infection. I was under the same impression as you until the flavor exercise we did at the club meeting tuesday. Should have been there Schuyler! it was a blast! Mmmm nati light with butyric acid! yumm-o!

**EDIT AFTER FURTHER RESEARCH** looks like perhaps 'common wisdom' may be wrong. I find lots of reference to fruit flies being attracted to acetaldehyde and none about them producing it. So apparently if you have Acetaldehyde you are MORE LIKELY to end up with a vinegar infection as the fruit flies (vinegar flies) will be just mad to get in there and roll around.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 09:05:19 AM by morticaixavier »
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Offline gigatropolis

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 12:31:37 AM »
Thought I would follow up on this thread because the sour beer took a turn for the better. After 4 weeks in the primary I tasted it and it wasn't too bad. Definitely a sour beer taste but under control, so decided to rack to the secondary and continue the process as normal. The recipe called for adding the liquors I had previously spiked with spices, so decided to rack to the secondary and add the stuff even though the extra sugar might give the bacteria a tasty food supply. Anyway, left it in the secondary for six weeks or something because didn't want to deal with it, but finally decided to attempt a bottling. Tried the beer first and it had it had a very different taste than the last time. The sourness of the beer really mellowed out and took second stage to the malt flavor of the beer.
  Does the sourness of a beer mellow out with time? It really seemed to in this case and should be an excellent beer after aging in the bottle for 3~6 months more.

  So it ain't over till the fat lady sings,

  Kregg

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Hope for an unintentional souring
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2011, 07:54:36 AM »
Acetylaldehyde 'green apple' flavor is also an intermediate step in coversion of sugar to alcohol, so its not really surprising that you'd detect it in a young beer. Given time, the yeast will continue to convert it into alcohol, and all will be good.  However, you did it no favors by racking to secondary - removing it from the yeast that would convert the acetylaldehyde to ethanol.

It can also be caused by acetic acid infection, but that would also produce a very vinegary smell that cannot be missed.
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