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What does infected taste like?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by fredmugs, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. fredmugs

    fredmugs Champion (830) Indiana Aug 11, 2012

    Last night I had a Dragonmead Crown Jewels IPA and it was awful. It tasted like a sour version of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (sip, sip, drain). When I posted that on Untappd one of my friends asked if it was infected.

    How do you know if a beer is infected? Taste? Smell? Look? All of the above?
     
  2. Lutter

    Lutter Advocate (650) Texas Jun 30, 2010

    Loaded topic. There's lots of tastes associated with bottles that are infected or contaminated. Wild yeast will make a beer sour, tart, or funky to varying degrees. Diacetyl makes a beer very buttery (in smell and taste). Lots of times when you open an infected bottle it'll almost explode with billowing foam.

    Just general off flavors and/or strange carbonation.
     
  3. It really depends on the bacteria that it was infected with. Generally an infection will almost never be visible but you will get it in the aroma and the taste. The flavors and aromas vary from a Diacetyl like movie popcorn / butterscotch, to an Acetic like sour vinegor, or even a Lactic like sour, sour milk, yougurt. DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) is also possible through infection and that will have a creamed corn or vegetable like taste and aroma. Acetaldehyde can also be the result of an infection and that will give off green apple, pumpkin like flavors and aromas.

    Hope this answers your question!
     
    Mothergoose03 and starkmarvelo like this.
  4. GregoryVII

    GregoryVII Savant (335) Michigan Jan 30, 2006

    Saying a beer is infected could cover a wide range. Pediococcus and lactobacillus are two common bacteria to beer that could create a sourness such as you are describing. So could wild yeast. But there isn't a one size fits all descriptor of infected.
     
    fredmugs likes this.
  5. Metallic taste is a common beer infection, as far as infections go...it's pretty gross. But I guess there is no way to really know if one is infected, without having tried it before.
     
  6. DropInBrewer

    DropInBrewer Aspirant (40) Vermont Oct 25, 2012

    Most common infection is lactobacillus which gives a sour milk like taste along with some buttery flavor. The beer may also be a little murky and perhaps a little over carbonated but as is often the case these days an unfiltered beer could have those same attributes. All the others mentioned above (wild yeast, pediococcus, bretanomyces, and acetic acid bacteria causing butter, pumpkin, green apple, corn, or vinegar) are much rarer or are related to other brewing problems.
     
  7. Lactic Acid and Acetic Acid caused flavors and aromas are the most common with bacterial infection. Diacetyl, Acetaldehyde, and DMS are more commonly related to brewing issues and fermentation issues however, they can also be the result of bacterial infection. This is rarer though as stated above by DropInBrewer.
     
  8. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Advocate (710) Illinois Apr 8, 2010

    I usually ask the beer "Are you infected?". If it answers me, I know for sure that it is infected with LSD.
     
  9. CCB's Cubano Espresso is one of my favorite beers. Bought a 4-pack last year so I could show my girlfriend how awesome it is but it didn't taste right. There was a little bit of coffee and a little vanilla but there was an overriding funkiness to it like you would taste in some wild ales. Come to find out, they were experimenting with wild yeast on some of their beers and their entire facility had become infected. I'd heard they needed to sanitize every inch of their fermentation vessels a few times over to be sure they wouldn't have anymore infections. Since then, I haven't experienced any off flavors with any of their beers. So I guess what I'm trying to say is infection is real easy to spot when you know what a specific beer is supposed to taste like and when you've tasted beers with wild bacteria in them.
     
  10. I bought a bad beer once. It was a Tripel. SUPER carbonated and taste super sour and had an unusual smell to it. Tried another after the brewery was very kind to me and it was spot on.
     
  11. The BJCP has some Off-Flavor Flashcards used for studying for their exam. They can be helpfull identifying off flavors from infections and understaning how they were caused.
    http://www.bjcp.org/docs/OffFlavorFlash.pdf
     
    Rainblows and fredmugs like this.
  12. Ruger

    Ruger Savant (270) Kentucky Aug 15, 2010

    I had a infected Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale before... it wasn't pretty.... I called them up and apparently there had been a recall and the place I ordered from didn't get notice.... Man it was the worst tasting thing I had ever had.


    Joey Redner never did get anything in the mail for me like he said....Atleast the beer got pulled from the place I ordered though.


    Trust me you will know if it's infected.
     
  13. mdanberg

    mdanberg Aficionado (135) Delaware Apr 26, 2010

    Here's my take from a recent infected batch I had of Mirror Pond. It rarely comes to Philly so when I heard this year's batch had arrived and was on shelves, I went up and grabbed a few singles from a bottle shop. I also stopped at a distributor about 30 mins from Philly and grabbed a case thinking it was this year's batch. Turned out they were old cases, 6 months expired.

    The taste of the fresh bottles is really smooth, a bit citrusy and overall a refreshing pale ale taste. The 6 month past expiration bottles have a slightly off smell. When you drink one, you immediately notice there's not much of a pale ale taste and the flavors have turned rather earthy mixed with a little funk. Wasn't completely bad, but the taste is way off and seemed more like a lager. It's probably on the verge of starting to taste really bad if it sits much longer.


    Long story short, if it's infected or bad, you'll know because it won't taste anything like you're normally used to.
     
  14. champ103

    champ103 Champion (870) Texas Sep 3, 2007

    Diacetyl and DMS? This are byproducts of fermentation. The flavors they impart might not be wanted in the final product, but they are not infections. No wonder most people don't know what an infection is.
     
  15. bdonley5

    bdonley5 Aficionado (240) Michigan Dec 30, 2011

    If they smell and taste like nail polish remover (I'm thinking of you, DH King of the Forest) thats a good sign.
     
  16. Diacetyl can be caused by an infection, pedoicoccus is usually referenced.

    DMS is from the malt's SSM, which changes to DMS with heat and is driven off in the boil. It can also be caused by an in fection, I forget which bacteria causes that.
     
    JackHorzempa, champ103 and GregoryVII like this.
  17. champ103

    champ103 Champion (870) Texas Sep 3, 2007

    Sure, but the presents of those two does not automatically mean infection, and if those two are in an infected beer I am probably going to be tasting a ton of other nasty stuff other than Diacetyl or DMS. If I have a beer, that to me just tastes like buttered popcorn or cooked veggies, I am not going to say that is infected. Just a poorly made beer.
     
  18. This sounds like a sci-fi/horror premise. "No beer is safe in... Attack of the Wild Yeasts!"
     
    Rohkey likes this.
  19. Hanzo

    Hanzo Champion (955) Virginia Feb 27, 2012

    I always make my beers get tested for infection before I tick them. Don't want to spend any extra time in the free clinic if I don't need to.
     
    LMT likes this.
  20. [quochamp103, post: 1212207, member: 156510"]Sure, but the presents of those two does not automatically mean infection, and if those two are in an infected beer I am probably going to be tasting a ton of other nasty stuff other than Diacetyl or DMS. If I have a beer, that to me just tastes like buttered popcorn or cooked veggies, I am not going to say that is infected. Just a poorly made beer.[/quote]
    DMS from an infection often tastes more like cooked cabage, so that can be a sign.

    Of course, Diacetyl and DMS are acceptable in low levels in some beers.
     
  21. LMT

    LMT Savant (330) Virginia Oct 15, 2009

    A combination of very sour milk and vomit is a good description of the taste. Once I've had a sip of infected beer and spit it out, my mouth has the same exact taste/feel to it as if I've just vomited.

    And, I can't even take another sip of a non-infected beer for at least a day. The taste of an infected beer just seems to coat my mouth & stay there. It's only happened a couple of times to me, but I remember exactly how it tasted.

    You'd know right away if a beer was infected.
     

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