I've got to get obsessive here

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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I've got to get obsessive here

Postby joemez » Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:44 am

my latest batch is infected again.
I am hoping my new cleaner and sanitizer will solve this problem, but I want to get some opinions about the way I brew...
first, the spoon I use to mix the wort while it is brewing sits on a dish inbetween stirs. should I be rinsing and sanitizing each time. Also the pot I use is not sanitized, just cleaned like all my other wares. I figured that the boiling water should take care of the nasties.
I usually boil about 2 or 3 gallons then mix with cold tap water. Maybe picking up something from my plumbing? Or maybe my water is not good for brewing? We drink it strait from the tap(no filter) and it tastes fine.
Now to the carboy... I use a 6.5 gal carboy with airlock for primary. Should I be using a blowoff tube?
Thats what I can think of for now.
Thanks guys
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Just Say No

Postby fitz » Wed Sep 03, 2003 3:43 am

Don't use tap water!
Every municiple water system is different, but all are in adequate. most check for ecoli, and a couple other bacterias, shoot the water full of clorine, and declare it safe to drink.
Unless you have an extensive filter system in you home, the water is not suitable for brewing. Unless you are making a old european style beer to be authentic. Their water, wasn't even potable!
Anyway, try bottled water to see if that is your problem. Brewing is a little bit of science. Keep trying until you figure it out. Did you try the recipe, that you said turned out well the last time?
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not yet

Postby joemez » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:10 am

I havent had a chance to try that one again yet. It was an IPA kit. I have another IPA kit from another Co. that I will try next.
There is a local ice co. that doubles as a brewery. Mabe I will try their water. I heard it is good for brewing, or should I just use some from the store?
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what type

Postby joemez » Wed Sep 03, 2003 5:16 am

distilled or regular spring water?
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Water

Postby jayhawk » Wed Sep 03, 2003 6:20 am

I think the problem you have originates from the "mixing of cold tap water" with your wort. While tap water is not always the greatest for brewing (but I use it anyway), the real problem is that you are taking water straight out of the taps and adding it unboiled to your wort. I am almost willing to bet money that this is your bacteria source. All water that you add to the wort should be boiled to ensure it is free of bacteria. Or, you can go to a purified water store and buy jugs of clean water that should be free of bacteria and use them to top of your wort. The fail safe way, though, is to boil your own water. BTW boiling drives off the chlorine that is added by the municipality.

Good luck
Chris
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it makes sense

Postby joemez » Wed Sep 03, 2003 8:15 am

it makes sense. my only batch that really came out good was an IPA. possibly from large amounts of hops? I heard that hops can take care of small amounts of bacteria, is this true?
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Quite probable

Postby jayhawk » Wed Sep 03, 2003 8:42 am

Hops have natural anti bacterial properties. IPAs was originally made in Britain and then shipped to India, and therefore it needed to be heavily hopped to help preserve the beer on the long journey.

If you want an example of how bacteria filled tap water is, all you have to do is open up the tank on your toilet. Unless you are a cleaning busybody, or you use a bleach tablet to clean the toilet, you more than likely will find it has a film of scum on the sides created by all the organisms the live in tap water.

Keep up with the hobby. I have experienced a number of bad batches over the time I have been brewing. I had a string of 3 in a row that went bad and it was very discouraging. You just have to stick it out. I personally don't subscribe to the homebrew hero mentality of "drinking our mistakes". If the batch is bad, I chuck it out. It hurts to pour bad beer down the drain, but at least you won't have a bad batch of bottles in the basement reminding you of your mistakes. Just remember, anything that touches the wort after it has been boiled needs to be sanitized, including the water you use to top up the batch.
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Just going out on a limb here...

Postby zeno » Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:13 am

You know, I can't help but wonder if maby it's just not finished ferminting. The more malt in the beer, the longer you need to age it. That foul tast COULD just be the yeast still lingering around in the brew.

How long do you age your beer in the secondary? Do you allow longer for beers with more malt? While an IPA could be drinkable relitively quickly, a brown may take 4 weeks or more to completely stop fermintation.

Taste would be kinda a dry tart bitter taste. Normaly makes your mouth curl up like you just bit into an unripe pair (not that it tastes like an unripe pair, but that face). If that's the case, let the beer age a few weeks and try it again.
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cant boil full5 gallons

Postby joemez » Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:16 am

at this point, i dont have a heat source nor a pot big enough to boil 5 gallons. its ok to put in a few gallons of spring water to top it off without boiling?
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Bottled water is good...

Postby broon » Wed Sep 03, 2003 10:07 am

When I was doing extracts I would buy three 2.5 gallon jugs of drinking water (not distilled) and put two in the freezer. The other was for the boil. After the boil and an ice bath, the really cold water out of the freezer mixed into the fermenter ensured pitching temp was low enough. Since I've gone to all grain and I boil the entire amount I use my tap water. I have not had a bad batch yet.
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to be honest

Postby joemez » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:11 am

I have never checked gravity to see if fermentation had stopped. For fear of infection, i try to limit my contact with it. I usually just go a week in the primary and another week in the secondary.
My brother sometimes refers to the taste as bitter, but to me it seems more rancid than bitter. would that taste subside in the keg? I have had a batch that tasted that way in the keg for over a month and it still tasted the same, if not worse.
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Hrmm.. Maby something IS in the water...

Postby zeno » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:46 am

Well, if your force carbonating, I would definately age the beer for 4 weeks. In the secondary or the keg is prolly fine. I determine the time in the secondary based on the clairity I want and if I need the carboy for another brew yet.

What was the really bad brew? Was it a wheat beer possibly? Or a really heavy beer?

I know how bad a beer tastes if you drink it when it's not done ferminting yet, and I think it's a match to your description. But if a beer around 5% by V was still rancid after a month, it's probally not the yeast. I guess the water is your most likely suspect.

One thing though, never be afraid to check gravity. Cleanlieness is important, but not to the extent you shouldn't do your routine checks. I promise, if you rense the thing off with the bottled drinking water (The Grocery Store should have big 2 gallon spout bottles for cheap), even if it's not boiled, it should be fine. I don't take half the precausions you do, and I've never had a bad beer.
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One more thing..

Postby zeno » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:54 am

I know you said you left the idophor solution in the carboy until brewday... But did you let it fully evaporate before pumping in the wert? Idophor doesn't need to be rinsed if you let it evaporate, but if Idophor was still in the carboy from simply being poured out (and not let to air dry until no idophor solution dropplets were left) that could have possibly caused some issues.
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uh oh

Postby joemez » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:19 pm

jeez, i thought that a small anount of iodopher in solution was not bad. tasteless and oderless. Sometimes I dont let it completely evaporate.
The bad brews were an american light ale(not all malt), an american pale ale, a nut brown ale and another one that I cannot remember.
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You don't have to do full boil

Postby jayhawk » Wed Sep 03, 2003 2:01 pm

I am not suggesting that you perform a full wort boil. Just have a stock of pre boiled water on hand and stored in a sanitized container. Boil your wort and cool it (which can be partially done by adding the preboiled water that has already cooled to room temp), and pitch the yeast. You can boil the extra water days in advance, or you can boil it after you finish boiling the wort. Or you can buy bottled water and dump that in there too.
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