From the HBD Archive
From: "Lance "Turbo" Smith" <lsmith@umn-cs.cs.umn.edu>
Subject: A question of infections
Date: 1989-11-08 01:46:23 GMT

Maybe one of our local microbiology experts can help me track down some off
flavours/problems in a recent batch of beer.

OK, the beer in question was a Scottish Ale made from two cans of Geordie
Scotch Export and some additional hops. After brewing the beer I managed to
cause myself some grievous injury and wasn't able to rack it as soon as
possible. In the end it sat in the primary fermentor (7-gallon glass carboy)
for a little over 4 weeks. F.G. looked ok based on the recipe I was using.
Yeast was Whitbred Ale yeast from Crosby and Baker (?)

When bottling came around I added the customary 3/4 cup corn sugar boiled in a
pint of water to a plastic bottling bucket (William's) and syphoned in the
beer. My bottles had a 30 minute soak in H20/Cl solution (about three
tablespoons in 4 gallons) with a hot water rinse and drip dry. The bottle caps
weren't boiled because the inner ceils boiled off the first ones I tried.
(Some sort of damned lotto contest.)

The problem: harsh taste and massive amounts of carbonation. The beer took a
long time to develop any carbonation. I thought that after a fast ferment that
the yeast may have packed it in. Initially, the flavor was correct with the
appropriate levels of sweetness and malt. Now the flavor is distinctly harsher
with a slight citrus/sour overtone. The carbonation has taken on massive
proportions with all but the most careful pours producing a glass of foam.
There is also a significant amount of yeast(?) residue on the bottom of the
bottles, although it doesn't look as fine as yeast usually does. There is no
ring-around-the collar or rope.

So any guesses about what went wrong or where it sneaked in from? I would like
to avoid a recurrence if at all possible, since the first tastes indicated a
good batch. I'm guessing some sort of bacterial infection brought in by the
bottle caps, but have no hard evidence to confirm that. Ideas?

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