From the HBD Archive
From: jhersh@rdrc.rpi.edu
Subject: bacteria, yeast settling
Date: 1989-02-16 16:47:15 GMT

hello,

To the person who asked about coliform bacteria. I reference the article
on Yeast by John Piesley and Tomas Lom of Molson Breweries which is
found in The Practical Brewer published by the Master Brewers Assoc.
of America, Madison Wisconsin.
"[coliform] can be dangerous spoilage organisms when wort has been stored
unpitched..... they develop quite rapidly wth production of celery-like or
phenolic odors. They cannot grow in beer due to its low pH."
I would say let it ferment and see what it smells like at bottling time,
you can always throw it out later but it may be that your yeast will
starve out the E. coli.

To the person with the sourness problem. You also said something about
excess carbonation. That sounds like bacterial contamination at bottling time.
Check you bottling procedure. This sounds like it may be due to one of the
various lactic acid bacteria which can grow in beer. Is this sourness
present in your green beer before you bottle it?? Are you sure it is
sourness?? Depending upon your perceptual ability (which develops with
brewing skills and training) you might possibly be confusing it with
another taste, say excess bitterness. If you know someone who has had
some judging experience you might have them try to diagnose your problem.

Regarding aging. The only beers I have made that have aged well are those
that were way too bitter. Typically any ales I have made have always been
best when consumed within the first three months. I find that my beers get
pretty clear in the carbouy before they are bottled. Usually it takes only
3 - 5 days for any yeast stirred up during bottling to settle in the bottles.
If you're having long periods where your yeast remains suspended in the
bottle you're either bottling too early or your yeast has poor flocculating
properties and you should change yeasts. Beer is a product of living
organisms, it is subject to spoilage by bacteria and flavor changes due to
yeast decay. Only high alcohol beers tend to retard spoilage because of the
alcohol content. aging helps the alcohol mellow the way wines and other
high alcohol beverages do. Most beers though have too low an alcohol content
to remain insusceptible to oxidation or bacterial damage, especially with
long aging. I still hold therefore that you should drink your beers fresh,
after all you can always brew a new bacth when it is gone, but can't drink
an old batch when it has gone bad.

- jay h

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