Once in a while it happens, you brew something, taste it and it's so bad you think it's beyond all salvation. I'm not talking about a trace of band-aid way back in the mix, or a bit of green apple in the nose, I'm talking about stuff that is so far off you nearly spew the taste. And that describes my latest brew. It was supposed to be a Dunkelweizen. I had a recipe that had won awards at a local homebrew competition two years straight so I thought I'd "improve" it based on recipe suggestions from "Brewing Classic Styles." And, reading up on the yeast, Wyeast 3068, the literature says fermenting it cooler will make it throw more phenols. And reading on mashing, I encountered something called a ferulic acid rest that's supposed to improve Weizens. So I, overconfident, did all three. The result: Biscuit malt has no place in a Dunkelweizen. Somehow the flavor of a shortbread cookie just throws the entire mix off. And the combination of the ferulic acid rest and cool fermentation temperatures certainly increased the phenols! The stuff tastes like brake fluid. And to top everything off, there's something white growing on the top of the beer, too white to be the yeast. So this one is destined to feed the bacteria in the City of Aurora's sewage treatment plant. Somehow, I think even the most unrefined beer drinker wouldn't find something to love, even the alcohol. So it's back to what worked, converting the three pounds of wheat LME to grains, replacing the shortbread-cookie Biscuit with some dark fruit Crystal 120L and reverting to the proportions and hopping from the original. And fermenting it at winter basement temps, about 66° in my case. There's a moral here, one I've preached several times and in a fit of hubris forgot: Change one thing at a time. In this case, the changes were relatively independent and I was able to tease out two or three flaws to correct in the redo, scheduled for Wednesday but had the flaws been attributable to multiple causes (as are the phenols - they can be temperature, underpitching or infection), I'll never know what was the ultimate cause. So down the drain this one goes. The final observation on this failed experiment is to know when the result is not salvageable. This one, to me, isn't. So to this beer, auf Wiedersehen, and on to the next.