On a Drain Pour....

Discussion in 'Brewing Photos & Videos' started by Nosybear, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    yes theres a reason those pesky fruit flies and gnats show up lol I'm dumping one too, worked on fixing a strange flavor for a week just to end up with bad oxidation, buying my first case of beer in a year eeek lol

    check this out
    http://www.brewgeeks.com/try-ingredient ... ewday.html
     
  3. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Come on Guys, drinking through your mistakes only reinforces the desire to get better. :mrgreen:

    Good Luck and keep brewing!

    Brian
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    There are mistakes I'll drink through and there are mistakes I won't even give away. So far this is one. In a brief coda, I pulled a sample last night and it seems some of the worst flavors are going away. There might be a use for this after all and again, I could end up being humbled by yeast as it cleans up after itself....
     
  5. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    So I just have one question: when have you tasted brake fluid?
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Sir, I ask that you grant me a bit of poetic license.... ;-)
     
  7. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    Granted. Though I'm sure that drinking a bad beer is even worse than brake fluid since you didn't have to put time, effor, and money into producing the latter.
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    well low and behold, never thought it would happen,fixed mine with time and keg hopping.....drinking it now :oops:
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'm out of town and can't check on it. Flavors I was getting the last taste aren't promising though.
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    dry hop, keg hop, blend, if still in a carboy add cooked dme, all kinds of things you can do, only dumped one batch of beer in my life but was my second ever and way under mashed, tasted like wet feet. I have to say learning from my mistakes has made me a wiz at changing flavors in finished beer now
     

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