Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:46 am

adamjohnson wrote:I'm getting real tired of drinking "sour" homebrew.

It's not likely to be the fault of my contents: I'm just a newbie, so I'm doing nothing but kits....some with grains, some not.....but all from well-known suppliers like Coopers and America's Best.....but EVERYTHING seems to be coming out SOUR.

I'm mostly using either boiled water or RO bought water, so I don't think THAT's the problem.

My cleaning and sanitation is pretty intense, so I'm at the point where I'm MOST suspicious of my PLASTIC PRIMARY.

Anybody had or heard of problems with that "device"??

It's about the only thing I HAVEN'T changed.....and I'm wondering if it's the culprit.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks for anything, guys.


What kind of sanitizer and cleanser are you using? If you are using something like one-step, I would be a little wary. It claims to be an all in one and from what I have learned, it does not do a great job. If you are using PBW and Star san and you are confident in your regimen, then that probably isn't the issue.

It definitely could be your plastic fermenter. While plastic has many awesome things about it (I only use plastic), it does have some draw backs. It is much more susceptible to scratches which can harbor bacteria. No beer is ever trust sterile going into the fermenter from the kettle and so if there was a large or aggressive colony of bugs or a mistake was made, your carboy could be harboring the bugs. A good step if you have made sure your methods are sound is to replace your plastic equipment. I worry so much about my plastic carboy and bucket that I don't touch the insides at all and only clean with chemicals.

Luckily, a plastic bucket or carboy is pretty cheap. It may be worth it to just do your next batch in a new one and see what happens. You won't be out much more than $20 if something is still wrong and then you still have a new fermenter.
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Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:25 am

Brewshki wrote:
adamjohnson wrote:I'm getting real tired of drinking "sour" homebrew.

It's not likely to be the fault of my contents: I'm just a newbie, so I'm doing nothing but kits....some with grains, some not.....but all from well-known suppliers like Coopers and America's Best.....but EVERYTHING seems to be coming out SOUR.

I'm mostly using either boiled water or RO bought water, so I don't think THAT's the problem.

My cleaning and sanitation is pretty intense, so I'm at the point where I'm MOST suspicious of my PLASTIC PRIMARY.

Anybody had or heard of problems with that "device"??

It's about the only thing I HAVEN'T changed.....and I'm wondering if it's the culprit.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks for anything, guys.


What kind of sanitizer and cleanser are you using? If you are using something like one-step, I would be a little wary. It claims to be an all in one and from what I have learned, it does not do a great job. If you are using PBW and Star san and you are confident in your regimen, then that probably isn't the issue.

It definitely could be your plastic fermenter. While plastic has many awesome things about it (I only use plastic), it does have some draw backs. It is much more susceptible to scratches which can harbor bacteria. No beer is ever trust sterile going into the fermenter from the kettle and so if there was a large or aggressive colony of bugs or a mistake was made, your carboy could be harboring the bugs. A good step if you have made sure your methods are sound is to replace your plastic equipment. I worry so much about my plastic carboy and bucket that I don't touch the insides at all and only clean with chemicals.

Luckily, a plastic bucket or carboy is pretty cheap. It may be worth it to just do your next batch in a new one and see what happens. You won't be out much more than $20 if something is still wrong and then you still have a new fermenter.


This^^^^^^^. PBW for cleaning (with super hot water and many hot water rinses). Star san (made with distilled water) for sanitizing. Meanwhile, get a new fermenter and plastic equipment (especially siphon hoses). Post back with next results. Also be sure to double check the bottles you use for cleanliness. How old is your bottling bucket?
"A bad man is a good man's job, while a good man is a bad man's teacher."
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Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:55 pm

Why does it have to be one or the other? It's perfectly normal around here to be ashamed AND stupid! :drink

Start by replacing all cold-side plastic - tubes, buckets, etc. The stuff is relatively cheap compared to the beer you're brewing (don't think of just the ingredient cost, but all that time you've invested in it as well).

Buckets make for great fermentors, but they've got to be replaced regularly. Same with any soft tubing. I numbered all of my buckets & noted on the brew sheet which bucket each batch went into. That way I could note if a particular bucket was starting to impart a flavor into my beer & jettison it before it really caused any problems. Plus I could keep a rough estimate of how many times it had been used (& cleaned).

Also those buckets with spigots on them are awful tempting to use for a primary so it's easier to monitor your gravity. Don't. You're just asking for problems. Those are just for bottling purposes... and replace those spigots every few batches as well. They're cheap & don't clean very well.
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Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:38 pm

One other thing, are you kegging or bottling?
Always taste a sample of the beer before packaging. It should taste good but flat.

If you keg, make sure you completely disassemble your kegs, posts and all.
Replace all the rubber o-rings and the plastic/rubber poppet valves.

If you bottle, the hoses, caps, bottles, etc, should always be sanitized, but don't forget to always sanitize the capper, too. You will be touching it with your hands, which will then touch the caps, etc. It is a very easy thing to forget. A spray bottle of star-san is perfect for this.

Also, I have found that giving my newly acquired (from commercial brews) bottles a good soak in bleach or iodophor after removing the labels but as a pre-requisite to normal cleaning and sanitizing is a good insurance policy. Star San works, but its a good practice to mix it up on the beasties.
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Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:25 pm

Ozwald wrote: I numbered all of my buckets & noted on the brew sheet which bucket each batch went into. That way I could note if a particular bucket was starting to impart a flavor into my beer & jettison it before it really caused any problems. Plus I could keep a rough estimate of how many times it had been used (& cleaned).



I love your OCD Lee! I am just as bad. Hey, if it makes good beer.....!!!! :bnarmy: :bnarmy:
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Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:56 am

One last thing - if you are bottling and cleaning previously used bottles, buy a case of new bottles and bottle half in the new and half in the old. If the new bottles come out tasting good but the old bottles become sour, it's your bottle-cleaning. Little bits of residual paper softened in the sanitizer float around into the bottles .........
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Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:27 am

animaldoc wrote:One last thing - if you are bottling and cleaning previously used bottles, buy a case of new bottles and bottle half in the new and half in the old. If the new bottles come out tasting good but the old bottles become sour, it's your bottle-cleaning. Little bits of residual paper softened in the sanitizer float around into the bottles .........


If you've got residual paper in the sanitizer, you're definitely not cleaning well enough. Those bottles need to be spotless before sanitizing.
Lee

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Re: Don't know whether to feel ashamed or stupic!

Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:11 pm

Or you could just start listening to The Sour Hour and make intentional sours.
Go with the flow and milk the funk! :D
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