From the HBD Archive
From: Pete Soper <>
Subject: Re: Old Faithful
Date: 1989-06-01 20:52:15 GMT

Tom Hotchkiss <trh@hpestrh> writes:
>Now, I have read in many places that infections can cause geyser like
>action. In this case however, once the foaming subsides, the brew smells
>and tastes wonderful, in fact it's one of my best. Also, I have consumed

This is a description of dextrin fermentation by wild yeast or bacteria and
is more extreme the more full bodied your beer is. These animals are slow to
multiply which is why it took time to develop. I'd put your remaining bottles
in a box inside a garbage bag if I were you and drink it while you can still
pour it and before it becomes dangerous (i.e. Old Faithful unchained).
The beer will become more thin and more highly carbonated with time.

>A couple more notes. I carried out the saccrification step at 158 degrees
>to produce a full bodied, sweet beer (this worked). Also, I left the ale
>in the secondary for 4 weeks, which I assumed was long enough. Perhaps in
>this case I should have let is sit longer before bottling?

You don't mention other times and temperatures which might shed some light.
The time it took to cool the wort and the pitching temperature and lag time
would be interesting to know. Also, yeast preparation would be worth a look.
If you measured your wort pH at pitching time that would be handy, since I'm
told that a wort with pH over 5.8 is more more attractive to bacteria than
one with the usual 5.2-5.5 pH.
Why leave your beer in secondary for 4 weeks? Surely it wasn't active all
that time? I chill and bottle my ales the moment they finish fermenting which
is usually 8 days but once in a while 14 days total from pitching, mainly to
get them off the yeast pack and odd bit of trub. But I'm not saying 4 weeks
is an infection risk and hope this irrelevance doesn't annoy you but I'm
Then there is sanitation. This has been covered zillions of times and we
all agree it is important. One of my superstitions is to turn off the AC during
racking to have as little air movement as possible. We can clean and sanitize
our equipment all day long but can't avoid room air (without expensive

--Pete Soper

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