Soured Belgian Ale

Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:54 am

Hi, I brewed what I thought was an amazing batch of belgian ale. Very sweet smelling throughout fermentation. Was dreaming of the day I could drink it. Then I tranferred it to the bottling bucket which I sanitized thorouhly, and then primed it , but within 1/2 hour it started to smell and taste sour. Can infection happen so quickly or is something else happening?

Rocky
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Re: Soured Belgian Ale

Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:29 am

Welcome to the forums

Give us a little more info on your brew & maybe we can pinpoint the problem more accurately. My first question would be what kind of yeast was used and your fermentation/bottling techniques. What did you prime it with? How are you serving it? I'm assuming you bottled it, how were the bottles & caps cleaned & sanitized? How did you clean your bottling bucket prior to sanitization?

We could all speculate & come up with plenty of potential answers, but the more info we have the more we can narrow it down to the actual culprit.
Lee

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Ozwald
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Re: Soured Belgian Ale

Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:26 am

If your question is whether it can be exposed to an infecting organism, that infection take hold and start producing off flavors and aromas in half an hour, the answer would be no. That wouldn't be enough time to notice anything... unfortunately, if there is an infection, that means it was there before you went to bottle. Had you tasted the beer prior to noticing the off aroma?
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Re: Soured Belgian Ale

Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:04 am

The smell came from the bottling bucket initially so I'm assuming the bottles and caps are not the culprit. All were sanitized well with starsan according to specs. i had about a quart of h2o and starsan and swished it around with a brush for a minute or so. Then i rinsed it w/distilled water. I had washed the bucket several months before and there was no visible residue. Starsan was pretty soapy so thought i was covered.

The yeast was safale us-05 dry ale yeast. All smelled out of this world just prior to the bottling bucket. Was talking in my sleep about the day we would drink it.

Primed it with a few cups of sugar after boiling in water.

So I opened the first bottle yesterday (4 days after bottling) and it popped like champagne and foamed out about 1/4 of the beer. Tasted like hell. Sour. Bummed, it was a 10 gallon batch.

The smell just came on so fast I'm confused. Was smelling sour about 1/2 hour after priming and putting it in the bottling bucket.
RockyB
 
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Re: Soured Belgian Ale

Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:54 pm

RockyB wrote:Primed it with a few cups of sugar after boiling in water.


How many is a few? You should have used less than 2 cups (actually closer to 1 cup) for a 10 gallon batch. too much sugar will give you the gushers without an infection.
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Re: Soured Belgian Ale

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:40 am

Wish I had tasted it first but did not. It smelled great one minute and about 1/2 hour later it did not.

Fermentation had to be actively managed because it was so intense. The airlock popped off twice and hit the ceiling (can see where). So I had to try to sanitize the mouth of the carboy with a paper towel soaked in starsan and replace the te-sanitized airlock. The airlock dried up and had to be refilled too. During these things I suppose I could have contaminated it. Airlock popped off and only when I went to check on (several times a day) it did I discover the exposed carboy mouth.
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Re: Soured Belgian Ale

Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:34 am

RockyB wrote:Wish I had tasted it first but did not. It smelled great one minute and about 1/2 hour later it did not.

Fermentation had to be actively managed because it was so intense. The airlock popped off twice and hit the ceiling (can see where). So I had to try to sanitize the mouth of the carboy with a paper towel soaked in starsan and replace the te-sanitized airlock. The airlock dried up and had to be refilled too. During these things I suppose I could have contaminated it. Airlock popped off and only when I went to check on (several times a day) it did I discover the exposed carboy mouth.


That's likely where you picked it up. Any infection had to happen during the ferment, the bucket wouldn't be enough time to cause the off flavors you mentioned to develop. While over priming can cause gushers, you noted it's sour, so sounds like you indeed have an infection. My guess is that it was infected when the airlock popped. Try using a blow off tube (1" dia tube) during the initial vigorous ferment, then replacing with airlock once it's slowed. I'm thinking the infection was there, but may not have been initially noticeable in terms of aroma until it had been agitated going into the bottling bucket, perhaps warmed a bit too...
Spiderwrangler
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Re: Soured Belgian Ale

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:11 am

RockyB wrote:All were sanitized well with starsan according to specs. i had about a quart of h2o and starsan and swished it around with a brush for a minute or so. Then i rinsed it w/distilled water.


This may or may not have played a part, but never rinse after using a properly measured mix of StarSan. If there's residual foam, don't worry about it & just rack on top of it. Always make sure you're mixing the right amount of the StarSan concentrate with the right amount of water as well - too weak of a solution won't be an effective sanitizer & too heavy will take away the no-rinse properties of it.
Lee

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