Plastic Fermenter smells

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Smitty27, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Smitty27

    Smitty27 Member

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    So far I usually use my glass carboy for fermentation and use the plastic one for bottling or secondary. I haven't really used it for primary yet. I had to use it recently on a Belgian Dubbel Wyeast 3787. I always smell my beer as it ferments through the air lock. Usually it smells awesome!

    This one was a bit different all around. The fermentation was super fast, almost over night kinda fast. Which I had happen with other yeast but not this kind so the fast fermentation didn't bother me. It had built up a huge krausen like expected so I let it sit for a few weeks. Finally I was to transfer it to a secondary so it could sit there for a while and like I usually do, I went to smell the beer. Since this was a plastic bucket I could just stick my head in. That was a bad idea!

    The smell immediately burned my nostrils and I immediately retreated. My first thought was shit an infection and went to smell it again to see what it is. Really hot alcohol smell that, yep still burned the nostrils. Took a sample for gravity reading and a taste test which seemed to be fine. So I figured if it tastes alright its probably not an infection.

    The only thing I could figure at the time is that there was a lot of CO2 built up mixed with alcohol and nasty krausen stuck to the sides that made it smell so bad. I don't remember getting any kind of smells like that from my glass carboys. Anyone else run into this?
     
  2. W1IA

    W1IA New Member

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    Smell might be diacytal sulfur? Rotten eggs? Mixed with Co2.
    If you got an infection from a wild strain all bets are off. I would let it finish and check gravity and sample. I had to toss a batch of IPA a month ago that I blame on myself. My re-use of a culture from another batch got infected during a starter growth. A lot of my lager yeast produce off smells during primary ferment but go away in time. Plastic needs to be carefully sanitized due to surface scratches that can his bacteria etc.

    P.s. a healthy krausen is a good sign you don't have a problem.
     
  3. Smitty27

    Smitty27 Member

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    I wasn't rotten eggs that I'm sure of but can't really pinpoint the exact smell because of the abrupt assault in my nose! I pulled a sample that day and its in my fridge and it smells and tastes so far like a young flat beer. I also washed some yeast from it to see if I can get any odd smells from that and I've got a second batch that I did at the same time but it was in a glass carboy that I can compare it to.
     
  4. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    It was probably just the CO2 burning your nose. I get that all the time. If it tasted good, you are fine. Let it continue to off gas all the fermentation by products. RDWHAHB!
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I've had that happen recently with a wild batch of yeast, the plastic bucket still smells even after cleaning with Bar keepers friend and StarSan, anyone had experience getting the small out? let me know
     
  6. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Try soaking in a dilute bleach solution for a few days.
     
  7. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    Do you usually smell it through the airlock or the opening in the carboy? In those cases, you've got a pretty controlled opening, while with a bottling bucket, you're exposing a whole lot more of that to your nose. Trust the sample.
     
  8. Smitty27

    Smitty27 Member

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    Thanks! I figured that if it tasted ok then the beer would be fine. Just wanted to ask to make sure. At least now I know what to expect when I stick my head into the fermentation bucket. :D But, I think I'll stick to glass for primary. I like to see what my beer is doing during that time and I'll leave the plastic for secondary or bottling.
     
  9. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    I switched to better bottles - way lighter than glass carboys, no risk of killing yourself on accident, slightly cheaper, and still transparent. My only gripe is the largest one they make is 6 gallons, so I always have to fit a blowoff tube.

    Cleaning them out is a bit of a PITA because a scrub brush will easily scratch the inside. With PBW, a little warm water, and rag inside the bottle I can get it done in under 15 minutes by swooshing around the rag.
     
  10. Sy6

    Sy6 New Member

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    I would not think its the plastic here in the UK there are many micros that use plastic in their systems with no problems i use a 130 ltr fermentor with no ill effects.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Smitty27

    Smitty27 Member

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    If I had one of those I'd use it too. :D

    I almost got one of the better bottles because I could see into it and it was a bit cheaper but they felt so fragile and I'd have to worry about scratching them, which I why I've stuck to glass so far. So far I've been keeping the bigger glass carboys filled with higher gravity beer that needs to sit for a while and using 1 gallon jugs for stuff that will finish much faster. I think I have 10 of those from making cider.

    Since one of my carboys is now empty its time to fill it. I'm think of doing a Tripel SMaSH tomorrow! I'm going to need another carboy soon so maybe I'll give one of those better bottles a try.
     
  12. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Was looking at that today. I need a sink in my basement first.
     
  14. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I bought a cheaper 30 gallon plastic one with a screw top, not a conical for 50 shipped but should hold my 20 gallon batches, problem is moving it lol.... 20 gallons of liquid weights 161.6 lbs
     
  15. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    My plastic fermenters usually hold the smell in of the last brew (often the hop smell). Not an issue. I often get a funky kind of smell (sorta like rubber) when I ferment with WY1007 German Ale yeast. It always tastes good but just produces some funky smells. A lot of people use that strain with Belgian Strong Ales or Dubbels... What yeast strain did you use?
     
  16. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    A Belgian that smells like a barnyard, a locker room, or ass, is just a young Belgian. Taste is what counts.
     
  17. W1IA

    W1IA New Member

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    Ass!! WAH Haha!
     
  18. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That's polite for horse blanket.
     

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