Need Your Thoughts

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Elvis_on_Bass, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Elvis_on_Bass

    Elvis_on_Bass Initiate (147) Jul 25, 2016 Indiana

    Hey All,

    I would like to know how you would address the situation. I am getting ready to pick up and relocate about 800 miles away (in less than a week) and have had a beer aging for sometime in secondary, it is a Belgian golden ale. I've kept an eye on it for a long time in secondary (glass carboy) and there was nothing significant to note, however it has been sitting probably for the last month without any eyes on it with the exception of the airlock (which has kept pressure). I was planning to bottle it a little early so that I didn't have to worry about hauling a still fermenting beer (and I don't get into my new house for about a week so I have to stay in a hotel). As I was getting everything together to bottle I noticed that there is a pellicle on the beer, now there are only a few bubbles from the off gas that are disturbing the layer but that may be attributed to the lack of headspace. My airlock is under positive pressure and is holding, temperature is about 65 F (the warmest it got was about 73 during the initial fermentation).

    I'm thinking to grab a sample and taste it/smell it, but I don't want to infect all of my equipment, or take a bad infection with me. I packed everything except what is needed for bottling. Now I don't want to bottle it and have bottle bombs form either. From what I can smell through the fermenter it smells like the original beer, just the pungent alcohols have diminished some (hence the secondary). What is concerning is that it went for many months without issue, and I don't know when it took hold during this last month. I've made other beers with the same equipment since and have not had an issue, so the only thing that I can think of is that something made it through the airlock, which likely means vinegar, not sure how that could have happened but I suppose low odds are still odds.

    My other thought is to let it ride, with it being a Belgian with low hop character an accidental sour may be tolerable, just curious if anyone has ever had any luck with that.

    Either way, I would be interested in your thoughts.
  2. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Savant (951) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Taste it and see if you like it. Check the gravity to determine if you should bottle. Sounds like a Brett infection, which may do your beer some good. I'd personally scrap it and brew another batch after you move, especially since you don't regularly brew with is just 1 batch after all and it's just beer. Most infected beers end up tasting just like that, infected, and normally don't produce a quality sour/funky compared to deliberate inoculation.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  3. Tebuken

    Tebuken Disciple (326) Jun 6, 2009 Argentina

    Hard to answer Sr. , I have had the same problem but was a different beer (Pale Ale), it tasted different than a ´regular´Pale Ale ,I didn´t bottled it, just kegged and dispensed half the keg until I felt tired of this weird taste(it was drinkable though) that I didn´t enjoyed at all, so I discarded it. But at least I gave it a chance.Taking into a count it is a belgian blonde maybe you could have more luck because belgian beers have more complex flavor. Take an FG read and prime it with a little bit less sugar to try to keep the bottle-bombs risk away.It is possible your beer had traces of acetic acid, depending the amount present beer could taste a bit to acetone or to vinegar, the former is tolerable the latter is not.

    Good luck !!!!!!!
  4. corbmoster

    corbmoster Aspirant (253) Dec 15, 2014 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Are you in a brew club? Don't have any friends that brew, or even know anyone close to you that brews? If you're in a club or has a friend, someone might be willing to take it in and keep an eye on it and let it ride. And they will probably split it with you. You will just have to be really careful moving it. Two people in tandem, slow speed, do it at night to avoid uv light.
  5. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,148) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    I would dump it because you don't know what you're going to get with an infected beer. You don't need this headache when trying to move, and the time to bottle it may be better spent elsewhere. However, if you are stubborn and don't want to dump it, at the very least I'd transfer to a plastic bucket. There is no way you should risk breaking a full carboy during a move.
    GreenKrusty101 and DrMindbender like this.
  6. Beerswimmer

    Beerswimmer Initiate (179) Mar 4, 2013 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Keg it, put some pressure on it and check it after your move is complete.
    corbmoster likes this.
  7. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (824) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Most microbes that ferment sugar can and do make pellicles. The ones that we tend to use simply have had that gene suppressed via decades of use/selective breeding.

    I would agree with this bit wholeheartedly. If you don't brew with non-lab-grown-sacch., brett, or bacteria, your beer having a pellicle on it is decidedly NOT a good sign.

    Dump this beer, sanitized your equipment after you move, and revisit your sanitization practices.
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  8. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Savant (951) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Not really "most"...most "domesticated" strains of Sacc (including practically all of the S. cerevisiae and S. uvarum strains homebrewers use) don't make pellicles, but many wild Sacc species/varieties and Brett can. Only 1 person has claimed Lacto and Pedio can form a pellicle, but that hasn't been reproduced.

    From my experience, and talking to other homebrewers and commercial brewers that have looked at the microbes from an infected beer to identify them, they tend to more often be Brett infections than wild yeast infections...that's why I mentioned that specifically.
  9. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (824) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Indeed. Is that not what I said?

    If you look at the upper right-hand corner of the link you posted, you'll see a picture of a lacto pellicle. LABs, not just lacto and pedio, can and do certainly form pellicles.

    Unsure of your point here. What do infected beers have to do with pellicle formation?
  10. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Savant (951) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Hahaha....because that's the point of this thread! :wink: Relax dude...have a homebrew!
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  11. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,694) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    This isn't a beer style that requires a lot of aging. I'd be packaging in about 3 weeks assuming I hit terminal gravity and didn't experience classic off flavors that require additional time. Your choices are to bottle and transport bottles, no bottle and risk oxidizing it or smashing the carboy or other major disaster, or ditching it. You may as well draw some sample from under the pellicle and taste it. If it sucks, toss it. If you like it bottle. I don't think you should try to transport it because that will just accelerate aging, and not in a good way.
  12. Elvis_on_Bass

    Elvis_on_Bass Initiate (147) Jul 25, 2016 Indiana

    The beer that I brewed was intended to be a strong ale, it would finish around 9.6%. I'm surprised that something took hold so late in the process, granted it is very thin. I don't think that it was something in the normal sanitation processes, I'm thinking that something got disturbed when it was moved around for cleaning the house or something similar unbeknownst to me.

    I think that I do agree that there isn't much good that can come from transporting, I will have to pull a sample and decide whether or not I want to bottle it. I do like the kegging idea except that I don't have the ability to do that now.

    I do appreciate the range of comments, a lot of these are exactly the thoughts that I had prior to posting the original, so I am at least on track.
  13. Elvis_on_Bass

    Elvis_on_Bass Initiate (147) Jul 25, 2016 Indiana

    Sorry to say, it was vomit... have a beer of remembrance tonight for all the beers we lost.
  14. DrMindbender

    DrMindbender Savant (951) Jul 13, 2014 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    At least it's over!
    Eggman20 and Mothergoose03 like this.
  15. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (824) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Like a rancid/butyric acid type of character?