Goofy, fruity infection off-flavor

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by BedetheVenerable, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Meyvn (1,023) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    After several batches of successful (and the best beer I've ever made) I opened my third keglet (Tap-a-Draft) of an English Mild that I'd made a few months ago. I'd drank several other keglets of other homebrews in between this keglet and the previous one from this batch, so it's been sitting at room temp for a month or so since I last had this brew. Anyway, tapped it tonight, and immediately smelled/tasted a very fruity, peachy/dark cherry/vinous aroma. The flavors were the same, and these notes way overpowered the toasty, malty, biscuity flavors this beer had showcased last time. I spent about 20 minutes trying to peg exactly what it smelled/tasted like, and then it came to me; this is very similar to the infection (several in a row, actually) that I had a couple of summers ago. When those were still in the Better Bottle, they developed a thin, gelatin-like skin and had a very strong dark cherry, tart aroma (I never tasted them). This doesn't look like a Brett infection or Pedio/Lactic etc, at least from pics I've seen. Any idea what this could be? At this point, I'm not even 100% sure it IS infection this time; there's substantially more yeast in this keglet than the previous two (it was the bottom of the fermenter), but I'm not thinking that would give me these flavors either. Any idea what other kind of buggaboos this might be? Or should I just down the last several pints, make sure to use extra StarSan in all my hoses/siphon/etc next time?
  2. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I've experienced some weird off flavors in a lot of English imports.
  3. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,291) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Brett can give a cherry flavor.
    MMAJYK likes this.
  4. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,599) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I second the Brett possibility. I once heard it described as a cherry pie that you left in your car for several days. I got cherry pie from using the Rosealare blend. Mmm. I wouldn't want it in all my beers though. Have you ever brewed with Brett, or do you think this is a spontaneous infection?

    If you have infected plastic equipment, it is supposedly quite difficult or impossible to get rid of the infection because it will be established in microcracks in the plastic. Either replace the plastic or dedicate it to bug beers. I have a plastic bucket, better bottle, and bottling wand that I use exclusively for bug beers. When I replace hoses, the hoses for the non-bug beers become bugbeer hoses and I chuck the bug beer hoses.
  5. premierpro

    premierpro Disciple (384) Mar 21, 2009 Michigan

    I feel your pain. I just went through a similar situation,however my beer was undrinkable. Dump all plastic that has touched that beer.
  6. Naugled

    Naugled Crusader (737) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    I third the brett. I pick up the vinous, dark fruit notes in a lot of aged English beers (whether they are contain brett or not I don't always know). The jelly description sounds like acetobactar, but that is usually more voluminous like a floating jelly fish, and not just a skin on the surface. Unless it was just the beginning of the mother. Also the aceto has a very distinct flavor. To me it's like vinegar but the flavor is very palatable.
  7. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,291) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

  8. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Meyvn (1,023) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    Thanks for the answers, all! I knew I shouldn't have used 'cherry' as a descriptor. It's not really cherry at's more dark, vinous, and...I don't even know. I do have a bit of Brett at work in my brewhouse right now, but this was before that, and that's a strain of Brett B which, in my experience, doesn't give the 'cherry pie' flavors. It could perhaps be wild? It's just weird that at two completely separate apartments, with dift. equipment, I'd get the EXACT same kind of (I'm assuming) infected flavors. It's not bad enough not to drink yet, but I'm certainly glad I popped the keglet when I did, otherwise it might have been. I just don't want this running amok with any of my other brews; and to think, I'd JUST got excited about homebrewing again and was finally starting to crank out GOOD beers for the first time :flushed:
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