From the HBD Archive
From: (Gene Schultz)
Subject: Salvaging bad beer
Date: 1992-03-23 05:41:50 GMT

I recently made a batch of German-style dark ale (with plenty of
Australian dark malt extract, Hallertau hops, Wyeast European Ale
Yeast, and a few other amenities). I opened the first bottle about ten
days after bottling, and was quite disappointed by a strong acrylic
flavor that made this ale almost undrinkable.

I periodically drank a few bottles over a period of a month or so
anyway, hoping that the bad taste would start to go away in time. It
didn't. Then I remembered an accident with several bottles of a batch
of lager with a similar off flavor that I had brewed about a year
earlier. While out of cold beer one weekend, I had put several bottles
of the ale in the freezer to cool down quickly, and left them there too
long--until they were mostly (but not entirely) frozen. When the beers
defrosted, the off flavor had disappeared. I froze a few bottles of
the German ale, then put them back into the refrigerator to defrost.
When I drank a bottle about a day later, the off taste was gone
entirely. I then asked a friend to take a blind taste test comparing
the regular German ale to the same ale that was frozen then defrosted.
He complained about the taste of the former, but reported enjoying the

I'm not claiming that freezing ale or beer will solve any problem
related to off tastes. I would like to suggest instead that for acrylic
or plastic off flavors, you might try freezing a few bottles and see if
this method improves the taste.

Incidentally, in both cases in which my ale had an acrylic off flavor,
I failed to rapidly cool down the wort after brewing. I am wondering
if freezing the ale afterwards gave me some kind of a badly needed
(albeit late) cold break or something? Any ideas?

---Gene Schultz
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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