Bad beer vs Potential infection

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by CodeMonkey, Dec 17, 2017.

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  1. Dec 17, 2017 #1

    CodeMonkey

    CodeMonkey

    CodeMonkey

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    Hi all,

    I've got an issue with a recent beer that I cannot decide whether it could be an infection or just bad beer.

    I hadn't brewed for a long time 6 months ish, so ended up making a few mistakes on brew day. The resulting beer turned out to be not what I had intended!
    No I am sat here wondering if it is just a terrible brew, or I picked up an slight infection. The resulting beer has very little flavour (there is some!) and the dreaded plastic aftertaste.

    I'm hoping some of you more experienced brewers will be able to help me out.

    On brewday, the biggest mistake was I pitched S04 yeast instead of US05! I assume this may have killed my hop flavour/aroma, but I wouldn't have expected this much.
    Mash temp was good but I think PH was low. I only have test strips but I would estimate it fell below 5.
    I cannot for the life of me remember how well I rinsed my FV after a long soak in VWP (so that may explain the plastic taste). I also didn't treat my sanitiser/rinse water with campden.

    Apart from that, everything went OK. I tasted at 10 days prior to dry hopping and it wasn't too bad then (Still not what I wanted in the hop department and very grainy)
    I let it sit at room temp for a week for the dry hop prior to cold crashing.

    I could not get this beer to drop clear, even with a week at nearly freezing, plus 2 weeks in the keg at around 2 degrees.
    Upon tasting the beer after it's 2 weeks in the keg I immediately thought I was going to have to dump the batch and assumed infection but as the beer was so damn cloudy to the point I couldn't see through it, I ended up adding gelatin to the keg as a test (in case the yeast was the culprit).
    This has cleared it beautifully, and to my surprise, it tastes nowhere near as bad (still bad though). There is now a bit more hop aroma and flavour but nowhere near as much as I would expect from a beer with this much hops (not even a beer with a 5th of the amount!). The plastic vinyl aftertaste is still there. It's drinkable. Just. (only after another beer)

    So, in your opinion, what would you lean towards here. Infection or plain bad beer?
    I have 42 litres of another beer currently cold crashing that tastes great and am terrified of it getting infected if this one is infected.

    The beer is in a keg, in my keezer which supplies cool air to my ferm chamber. So my thoughts are that if the infection is in the keg and I vented to the keg into the keezer (as I did to relieve pressure), It could now be in the keezer and the ferm chamber itself. Am I over thinking it?

    Alternatively, could the bad taste (vinyl) and the lack of hop flavour/aroma simply be down to may process mistakes. Tannin extraction for the astringency; chlorine residue for the phenols and the yeast mix up for the lack of flavours?

    The biggest issue I have is I have never tasted an infected home brew so have nothing to compare against.
    Likewise, I have no idea if chlorophenols cause this taste and whether they have any other effect such as destroying the rest of the flavour profile.

    Sorry for the long post. I'm at a loss and hope you can help.

    Any thoughts will be welcomed!
    Thanks


    Here's the recipe:

    STATS:
    Original Gravity: 1.048
    Final Gravity: 1.012
    ABV 4.71%
    IBU 49.92

    FERMENTABLES:
    3.4 kg - Maris Otter Pale (79.1%)
    0.25 kg - Cara Malt (5.8%)
    0.5 kg - Munich (11.6%)
    0.15 kg - Wheat (3.5%)

    HOPS:
    13 g - Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 9.1, Use: First Wort, IBU: 18.71
    14 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 5, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 4.78
    14 g - Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 5.6, Use: Boil for 10 min, IBU: 3.91
    14 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 5, Use: Boil for 10 min, IBU: 3.49
    14 g - Galaxy, Type: Pellet, AA: 15.6, Use: Boil for 10 min, IBU: 10.89
    14 g - Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 5.6, Use: Aroma for 5 min, IBU: 2.15
    14 g - Galaxy, Type: Pellet, AA: 15.6, Use: Aroma for 5 min, IBU: 5.99
    14 g - Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 5.6, Use: Aroma for 0 min
    28 g - Galaxy, Type: Pellet, AA: 15.6, Use: Aroma for 0 min
    44 g - Galaxy, Type: Pellet, AA: 15.6, Use: Dry Hop for 10 days

    60 min mash/ 60 min boil - US05 yeast @ 17 degrees
     
  2. Dec 17, 2017 #2

    Sadfield

    Sadfield

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    If it tasted ok prior to dry hopping, then you could probably rule out process or Chlorophenols from cleaning. Infection sounds likely given the plastic taste and haze. However, if your cleaning and sanitation regime is good, then contamination of the second batch may be unlikely.
     
  3. Dec 17, 2017 #3

    CodeMonkey

    CodeMonkey

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I wouldn't say it tasted good prior to the dry hop (it was pretty non descript to be honest; didn't taste much like anything), but I couldn't taste plastic. Could that have been brought out by carbonation?
    I am leaning toward infection though. I guess I need to get this keg out of the keezer and everything cleaned up before I keg the next batch.

    I'm tempted to leave this bad beer on tap for a few weeks though. Do you think that would be a bad idea?
     
  4. Dec 17, 2017 #4

    Covrich

    Covrich

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    If your alternative is to dump it what do you have to lose?

    Yeast could have suppressed hops I guess but the plastic is an off flavour, I dont think VWP would cause a plastic falvour.. I think I suffered with not rinsing enough with the bottles on the vwp on my 1st every homebrew and it gave it a more medicinal taste.

    As long as your sanitation is good in general your second brew should be good.
     
  5. Dec 18, 2017 #5

    CodeMonkey

    CodeMonkey

    CodeMonkey

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    Thanks for the advice.

    I guess I'll leave it a few weeks and see how it ages.

    I'd say it's definitely a plastic taste. It tastes exactly like the taste you get from those cheap Styrofoam coffee cups.

    The second brew is currently cold crashing under pressure and will be kegged under pressure too. I only worry about it being kept in the keezer with a potentially infected batch.
    Although I assume people do similar when brewing brett beers anyway.
     

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