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"Failed" Brews

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Snow

Beer me up, Scotty!
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Has anyone got any stories of a brew that went horribly wrong, and what the suspected cause may have been? i.e discovered a strange fungal culture they found at bottling time, or a completely unbalanced brew that was undrinkable?

Although it's not too bad, my last brew was an IPA with which I overfilled the fermenter when I was topping up and then primed with maltodextrin instead of dextrose at bottling time (I got confused as to what Corn Sugar referred to in American recipes). The result was very flat, watery beer - undrinkable. I managed to partially salvage it by chilling all the bottles and then opening them and adding half a tsp of dextrose and re-capping. This gave it fizz, but it's still watery. I just pass it off to my friends as my "light" beer! :(
 

T-henry

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My first batch.

Sterilised the bottles using SO2. Didn't rinse the bottles properly. Rather strong after taste, I was determined, and after a couple of beers you could harldy taste anything.

I finished off the batch as a lesson to myself about rinsing. Funninly enough never happened again.

Tony
 

RegBadgery

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Made a batch using Danstar Manchester ale yeast - think the fermentation temp was too high and it tasted like nail polish remover (not that I've drunk npr but you can imagine) - it was vile - the most disgusting acrid flavour - it went down the sink in a flash.

cheers
reg
 

Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
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I've got two stories, but neither are really horror ones.

My second brew I used a recipe from the LHBS that involved different bits and pieces including hops which is completely different to the first brew I had done (k+k).
Anyway after three days I hadn't seen any activity in the airlock and opened the fermenter. The brew had this big white and brown thick froth on top. I thought it was infected and threw it out. Doh, I later found out I didn't have a good seal so the airlock wasn't moving because the gasses were leaking out the lid. Would have probably been a great brew too, as I brewed it a few batches later and it was fantastic.

My second is I thought I would add some coffee to a stout kit. I over did the coffee additions and the resultant brew was like one of those energy drinks you buy now. The beer was trying to relax you but the coffee was making your head spin. Luckily my brother in-law thought it was terrific so he got the whole batch.

Doc
 

RegBadgery

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Doc - that first story is funny in a sad sort of way :) - I just checked a non bubbling fermenter this morning and found a revolting foaming scum and I was glad to see it.

cheers
reg
 

Snow

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Reg, being a Brisbane brewer, with the Queensland heat, the result of your story is my main paranoia! Can you remember what the temp would have been?

I'm actually surprised at how well the wet towel on the fermenter trick works. We had 32C+ temps about a week before Christmas and my brew never got above 26C, which is pretty good, considering.
 

kook

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Snow said:
Reg, being a Brisbane brewer, with the Queensland heat, the result of your story is my main paranoia! Can you remember what the temp would have been?

I'm actually surprised at how well the wet towel on the fermenter trick works. We had 32C+ temps about a week before Christmas and my brew never got above 26C, which is pretty good, considering.
The wet towel trick works great for me. Before I leave for work in the morning, I soak the towels (and I mean *soak*), wrap them round the fermenters, and put a margarine container ontop of the fermenter, with part of the towel draping into it. I fill up the marg container with water and point a fan at them. Come back in the arvo and theyre normally dry by then, but it still manages to keep my temps between 22-24 on a hot day (it was 37-38? yesterday in perth!).

Hopefully by next summer I'll have a more controlled system :) This works ok for the moment though.
 

RegBadgery

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Snow - I don't think the temp was much above the recommended maximum for that yeast strain (which I think was 24 degrees). Someone suggested it might have been a yeast strain particularly susceptible to temp. I haven't used Manchester since and it was the last time I brewed outside my bung fridge (ah, the wonders of a bung fridge - can't speak too highly of my bung fridge - if only I had room for a colony of bung fridges - or better still, functioning fridges with auto temp control).

I'm also surprised at the success of your wet towel method. I would have thought that the humidity would lessen the effectiveness. A 6 degree temp drop is pretty impressive, particularly given the heat that a fermenting wort generates in the early stages. I'd be interested in hearing how the resulting brew turns out.

cheers
reg
 

Trev

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My horror revolves around the morning after. I make a far bit of Dark Ale using one of the kits (Beermakers Old + Dextr'+Dark Malt). One batch I made a few months ago though caused me some grief. It tasted fine, more or less like the others but hell, what a headache. It didn't appear to have a higher alcohol content ( based upon the "how many I drink till I start bumping into walls" index) and the ingredients were the same.

Some reading I then did pointed out that higher brewing temps can lead to the formation of 'fusal alcohols' ?? that can cause grievious headaches etc.

Trev
 

RegBadgery

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Yes Trev that's a sure sign of the old fusels alrighty. I remember when I first tried brewing in the mid 1980's. As well as tasting like cider, having very little head, being over carbonated to blazes, I did get some head splitting brews - what with brewing in mid Summer with no thought of the effect of temp ("by gee it's brewing well - look at all that foam coming out the airlock") or brewing in Winter with an electric blanket wrapped around the fermenter - no wonder I gave it away till recent times.

cheers
reg
 

PostModern

Iron Wolf Brewery
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I used to brew with the fermenter on top of the hot water service :) "Yep 30C. Great!" I used to wonder why my Lagers all tasted like crap or blew the crown seals off when I opened them... Ah the internet. Gotta love it!
 

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