Infection? red ale and choc milk stout

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Angry Chemist, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Angry Chemist

    Angry Chemist New Member

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    I recently brewed a one gallon red ale from extract and then a few weeks later a 5 gallon chocolate milk stout. The red ale kit came with sugar drops for carbonation. This beer didn't car well at all, seems to "fizz" quite a bit, almost sparkly. It had little if any head retention, which I know isn't uncommon for a red ale, but still it was disappointing. Also, it has this slight tart flavor up front and a hard to describe faint sour-like odor, almost like the way a beer can smells the day after drinking it. I used some of the same equipment for my stout and I cracked the first one open tonight. It carbonated much better using the priming sugar instead of fizz drops, however, the "stout" itself seems to be on the weak side. It's not a porter, but it just doesn't seem to have that heavy body characteristic. The chocolate is noticeable, but not very strong. I also noticed the same sour odor and faint flavor as I did with my red ale. I soaked the cocoa nibs, some cinnamon, and vanilla bean in vodka for several days before adding to secondary. Both of them are "drinkable", just not something I'm keen on sharing with friends.

    What infection does it sound like it contracted?

    How would you go about preventing it in future batches?
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Lactobacillus is my guess going by the sour description. Better sanitation and cleaning should sort this out for you.
    I usually soak my fermentor in sodium percarbonate so it's touching all surface areas of fermentor over night 24hours then get to work with a soft chucks cloth or spunge. Then I run the whole lot through the tap (bucket fermentor) then undo tap and hit this with a tooth brush till I'm satisfied then rinse everything with cold water twice. Boil kettle pour in shake crap,outta fermentor to get all soap residue that may remain pour through tap. Then enters stars San 4 liters or so add all bits inside fermentor air lock grommets transfer hose shake and foam leave till wort is ready to transfer to ferment vessel.

    I hear Mark does a combination of this one time then hydrogen peroxide steriliser the next correct me if I'm wrong Mark :).

    Anyhow it may come down to your bottles I'd say repeat process on these.

    It's my dreaded Brewers curse to get that bloody infected batch cross fingers touch wood it hasn't happened for a while :oops:.
     
  3. BoomerBrian

    BoomerBrian Active Member

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    I just star san everything. Never had any issues.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    You don't mention what sort of equipment or your brewing regimen. Or what sort of recipes you're using.
    If you're using vessels with spigots and you've used then a few times, the spigots can get grunge in them and cause just the sort of flavor and over-carbonation that you're mentioning. I had the same thing happen to a couple of batches early on before I started using different equipment. Pulling everything apart and cleaning with PBW followed by sanitizer solved all my issues. Plastic fermenters are hard to keep clean. If they get scratched up, they'll get infected and ruin batches.
    Check all your equipment and make sure it's clean. Be certain that you're handling the wort carefully.
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    I brew like Im in a hospital, everything is sterile right before I use it and I mean minutes
     
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  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Star san. Accept no substitute.
     
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  7. emsroth

    emsroth Member

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    Disassemble everything and give a healthy scrub and nice long soak in PBW. Then plain water to rinse. Then a 30 minute soak StarSan solution.

    I had a series of bottles get infected from a tube that I kept around too long. Tubing is cheap and infections are demoralizing.
     
  8. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Well that begs a question... how often should you change them out?
     
  9. emsroth

    emsroth Member

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    Sanitary (cold side) hose? Every 2-3 months. If it ever gets discolored or stained. If it's ever left uncleaned and gets moldy. Silicon hoses crack after a few months. Those are hard to replace because of the $$. But $10-20 in hose is worth $50 in spoiled beer.

    Hot side hoses can go as long as they function.

    Other plastic equipment like racking canes, siphons, thiefs...somewhere in the 3-5 year range.

    Unless you have sanitary tri-clamp, everything on the cold side should be fully disassembled and cleaned after each use.
     
  10. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    One can never be too obsessive when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing. We just kicked our first Keg and cleaned it with One Step along with all the keg components (disassembled), then reassembled and connected to the co2 and ran the One Step solution through the beer lines and out the beer faucet. Then disassembled the keg again and repeated the same process with Star San. Before beer goes back into that keg, we will repeat the process again... yes redundant, but why not. We use the same level of effort for everything that comes into contact with the beer.

    With our glass carboys, we soak them in One Step for 24 hours, then repeat with Star San for another 24 hours. Then repeat the process before brew day.

    Unlike the flexibility in cooking (sounds like a discussion we were just having in another thread :) ), there's no flexibility in cleaning/sanitizing.
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I just leave the phosphoric acid in the keg till I need it dump that then transfer in beer. I use a silicon hose for Transfering beer that way you can preboil it as well as phosphoric acid it :) anything that keeps them nasty off tasting bugs away.
     

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