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Infected Beer?

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lmccrone

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Good morning Ladies & Gentlemen

I have been brewing an Octoberfest style beer, taking advantage of the cold temps for the lagering. However after about 4 weeks in the fermenter the beer seems to have developed a thin film across the surface and i am very worried i may have an infection! This bad boy needs another month of lagering and space in the fermenting fridge is at a premium so do i persist with this? I have attached a picture if that assists.

Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Cheers

Luke

beer_photo.jpg
 

Nick JD

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Taste? Smell? Yeast used? Age?

Doesn't look unduely wrong to me - yeast is pretty disgusting stuff - but I'm not there.

EDIT: just read the "thin film" bit. If it tastes okay, get it into secondary out the tap leaving a couple of liters of the surface behind. Monitor the secondary for off smells and be prepared to dump the fermenter.

If it smells and tastes okay - carry on. But the word "film" is a gong. Yeast doesn't form films, bacteria do.

And - you don't wanna open the lid after the krausen has collapsed. Really don't.
 

craigo

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Looks fine to me. Looks like yeast on top.
 

bulp

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Is the beer still on the yeast cake after 4 weeks ? If so i'd probably start thinking about getting it off there, read up on Autolysis Click here. If its in secondary and tastes all right you should be ok.
 

glenwal

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Is the beer still on the yeast cake after 4 weeks ? If so i'd probably start thinking about getting it off there, read up on Autolysis Click here. If its in secondary and tastes all right you should be ok.

4 weeks in the primary with a lager yeast isn't unusual.
 

Wolfy

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Is the beer still on the yeast cake after 4 weeks ? If so i'd probably start thinking about getting it off there, read up on Autolysis Click here. If its in secondary and tastes all right you should be ok.
Due to an irrational fear of autolysis many home brewers remove their beer from the yeast too early and as a consequence the beer quality suffers.
A few weeks - especially at cold lagering temperatures - is nothing to worry about.

I brewed a beer in 10th August last year (it will be 1 year old in 3 weeks), it has been sitting in primary, unrefrigerated since fermenting/lagering, and has none of the burnt rubber smell/taste described in that article nor is it undrinkable or unapproachable.
 

mr_tyreman

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another one to look out for is sitting on any trub that made it through to the fermenter, after the 4 week mark, this can breakdown the fatty acids and start tasting soapy, im far from a lager brewer, but i would rack off the yeast and lager in a secondary.
 

lmccrone

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Good work fella's, i can always rely on the Aussie Home Brewers to come to the rescue!

So i have tasted it and smelt it, both fine (actually tastes pretty good, nice malty and rich).

But i am very worried about the white film thats starting to form on the surface, so my plan is to bottle it tomorrow then do the secondary fermentation at a low temp for about 6 weeks. How does this sound?
 

Wolfy

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But i am very worried about the white film thats starting to form on the surface, so my plan is to bottle it tomorrow then do the secondary fermentation at a low temp for about 6 weeks. How does this sound?
Wouldn't hurt, as long as it smells/tastes fine, just relax and don't worry.
 

Nick JD

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Wouldn't hurt, as long as it smells/tastes fine, just relax and don't worry.
Unless it's lacto (highly likely) and it gets in the bottles and they continue fermenting and all become gushers...
 

bulp

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Due to an irrational fear of autolysis many home brewers remove their beer from the yeast too early and as a consequence the beer quality suffers.
A few weeks - especially at cold lagering temperatures - is nothing to worry about.

I brewed a beer in 10th August last year (it will be 1 year old in 3 weeks), it has been sitting in primary, unrefrigerated since fermenting/lagering, and has none of the burnt rubber smell/taste described in that article nor is it undrinkable or unapproachable.
1/ I wasn't suggesting that we all run to the hills with our hands in the air coz the village is burning . 2/ Can you give me a good reason why you'd want to leave the beer on the yeast for more than 4 weeks , if the yeast hasn't done its job it aint gonna.
 

Wolfy

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1/ I wasn't suggesting that we all run to the hills with our hands in the air coz the village is burning . 2/ Can you give me a good reason why you'd want to leave the beer on the yeast for more than 4 weeks , if the yeast hasn't done its job it aint gonna.
Because racking to a new fermentor (for no other reason than to remove the beer from yeast) is unnecessary and opens the beer to potential infections and oxygenation. More to the point is that there is no good or logical reason to put the beer into a new container, involve more washing/cleaning, potential sources of infection and introduce oxygen, simply so it can be removed from the yeast.
 

Nick JD

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Because racking to a new fermentor (for no other reason than to remove the beer from yeast) is unnecessary and opens the beer to potential infections and oxygenation. More to the point is that there is no good or logical reason to put the beer into a new container, involve more washing/cleaning, potential sources of infection and introduce oxygen, simply so it can be removed from the yeast.
You're not removing it from the active yeast - just the inactive stuff, and the dead stuff. And the break material. All the active yeast is in the beer.

I often rack to secondry for other reasons (space, yeast harvesting, need that particular fermenter etc). It's a common commercial practice, and what they do nearly always is a good idea.
 

Wolfy

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I often rack to secondry for other reasons (space, yeast harvesting, need that particular fermenter etc). It's a common commercial practice, and what they do nearly always is a good idea.
No argument there, but that's not what the suggestion was. In addition, most commercial practices are related to turning the beer over as quickly as possible (storing beer is expensive) to achieve maximum profit.
 

bulp

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Because racking to a new fermentor (for no other reason than to remove the beer from yeast) is unnecessary and opens the beer to potential infections and oxygenation. More to the point is that there is no good or logical reason to put the beer into a new container, involve more washing/cleaning, potential sources of infection and introduce oxygen, simply so it can be removed from the yeast.
I never said anything about transferring to another fermenter, i transfer to a keg and Lager it, nice bed of C02 on top and without the oxygen permeability of plastic fermenters, The OP could bottle it, carbonate it and then lager it for as long as he wants, it's not ideal to carbonate before lagering but i'd rather do that than leave it on dead yeast and trub for 8 weeks.
 

Screwtop

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I never said anything about transferring to another fermenter, i transfer to a keg and Lager it, nice bed of C02 on top and without the oxygen permeability of plastic fermenters, The OP could bottle it, carbonate it and then lager it for as long as he wants, it's not ideal to carbonate before lagering but i'd rather do that than leave it on dead yeast and trub for 8 weeks.

I'm wit im!

Screwy
 

Wolfy

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I never said anything about transferring to another fermenter, i transfer to a keg and Lager it, nice bed of C02 on top and without the oxygen permeability of plastic fermenters
Actually you said this:
Is the beer still on the yeast cake after 4 weeks ? If so i'd probably start thinking about getting it off there, read up on Autolysis Click here.
Directly suggesting to the OP that that after 4 weeks, the beer is at risk of autolysis, even if the link you quoted says:
"by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis."
4 weeks is not 'several months'. Nor does suggesting the beer is at risk of autolysis help the OP in regard to if the beer is infected or not.

Wit beers might be a special case Screwtop. ;)
 

bulp

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I also said this in regards to the OP's worry, which you seemed to have dropped off my quote. Interesting.

If its in secondary and tastes all right you should be ok.
 

Screwtop

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I have to say that my only experience of yeast autolysis in homebrewing has been gained from using yeast collected by top cropping, then being so sure this yeast would undoubtedly be the "be all and end all" of yeast that I reused it after 12 months of storage. I can say that autolysed yeast made into an active starter and pitched to your hard earned wort will produce beer with vegemite esters :blink:


I force myself to drink these mistakes, to ensure I never do it again :lol:


Screwy

Edit: Must qualify by saying All Grain Homebrewing Experience
 

Wolfy

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I also said this in regards to the OP's worry, which you seemed to have dropped off my quote. Interesting.
Not interesting so much as logical.
The additional comments suggest the beer has already been racked away from the yest, - which further highlights the misguided insistence that the OP should be concerned about autolysis - which given the question is about a film on-top of the fermenting beer and worrying about infection - is equally misguided and irrelevant to the original question.
If anything, the process of racking the beer to secondary opens it up to additional sources of infection (which is one reason to avoid it) so one assumes that the OP would have mentioned it when posting.

@Screwtop, my yeast does not survive 12 months of storage, but maybe it's an advantage because Vegemite esters belong on breakfast toast not in beer. ;)
 

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