2 batches poured down the drain!

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drjim
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2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by drjim » Sun Apr 21, 2024 3:19 pm

It's my neighbours 50th in a few weeks so I said I'd bring beer to the party. I have several kegs of shed lager and my catfish vienna lager ready to go. However that's not enough really, so I brewed a guinnish stout and a bodgles bitter, used the recipes before. Done on separate days as 25L brew in bag, same boiler but different ingredients yeast and fermenters - guinnish in the stainless klarstein, bodgles in a plastic bucket.

All seemed to be fine, and the gravities were spot on.

Both batches were mashed using the new temperature controller I got recently.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09 ... UTF8&psc=1

I had stuck a supposedly waterproof probe on it - it's in a plastic tube which is clearly leaky as it's full of liquid post brewing. I'd used it for the previous batch with the original probe, but not BIAB, that was using my mash tun and a big 60L batch (the two lagers I have in keg now that are nigh on perfection!).

Both batches seemed sluggish when they got going, and stopped in a day or two. Yeasts were a CML Ale and their Beirm 5. Both are normally really vigorous so something seemed wrong.

After 2 weeks gravity is still over 1020 in both, the guinnish tastes OKish, but I dropped 19L into a corny and then looked in the fermenter, theres a thick layer of white/greenish mould on the to which stuck to the sides as it drained out. Put me right off so the whole lot down the drain. The bitter didn't have any mould, but tasted sickly sweet and just weird. Down the drain that went too.

All very odd, not had anything like this before.

Only thing I can think is that the temperature controller was running the mash at 75 rather than 65 and gave me loads of unfermentables. That is the common piece of equipment other than the boiler itself.

I'll have to try again and double check the temperatures.

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by Jim » Sun Apr 21, 2024 7:11 pm

Throwing one batch of beer away is soul-destroying; 2 must be unimaginably crap. Sorry to hear it.
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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by guypettigrew » Mon Apr 22, 2024 8:39 am

Sympathies, drjim. Somehow it always feels personal when a batch of beer has to be chucked away. Getting rid of two batches is way beyond horrible.

As to the reason: an infection has clearly ruined these two beers, but the question is why?

Non-viable brewing yeast allowing wild yeast and bacteria to swamp the normal fermentation is usually the reason. But two different yeasts which have been fine for you before? Seems unlikely unless something about the way they were stored had killed them both off.

The mash temperature too high? Possible, but it would be surprising if it gave the result you had. At 75C most of the enzymes would have been denatured, so it's hard to see how you could have hit your desired gravities. A vaguely helpful thread here.

How do you control your mash temperature? Do you raise your mash liquor to strike temperature, add the grain then leave it to do it's thing? Or do you apply heat during the mash? If the former, there's a really useful strike temperature calculator on here. It always gets the mash temperature within a degree of where I want it to be. Good enough for me!

Whatever's happened you've definitely got a major clean up and sterilisation task ahead of you before your next brew.

Once again, my sympathies for losing two brews. Better luck next time.

Guy

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by vacant » Mon Apr 22, 2024 9:10 am

Ouch!

It's deep clean time. Many years ago one of the most experienced home brewers in the Bristol club had repeated infected batches. Deep clean eventually fixed it, no culprit identified.

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by drjim » Mon Apr 22, 2024 9:31 am

The fermenters are sat with chemclean in, and will stay there for a while. I'm going to give the cooling coil a boil in something strong as well.

Next batch will be done using the mash tun/HERMS, wood fired boiler, and into the 60L spiedel fermenter, so different kit all round apart from the copper cooling coil.

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by drjim » Mon Apr 22, 2024 9:33 am

The yeast packets were bought last summer, and have been sat in the shed since. Mostly been cold out there, these were the last two packs of the batch I had, so maybe been there 6-8 months.

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by MashBag » Mon Apr 22, 2024 1:33 pm

Do you need to calibrate the controller?

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by drjim » Mon Apr 22, 2024 1:52 pm

It was bang on first time but maybe changing the probe messed it up. I'll see what temps it actually runs at next time.

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by guypettigrew » Mon Apr 22, 2024 6:26 pm

How does your temperature control system for the mash work, please, drjim?

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by IPA » Tue Apr 23, 2024 7:03 am

I think that the answer lies here.
"I had stuck a supposedly waterproof probe on it - it's in a plastic tube which is clearly leaky as it's full of liquid"
Much better to attach the probe to the outside of the FV. Or even better install a thermowell.
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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Apr 23, 2024 7:17 am

IPA wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2024 7:03 am
I think that the answer lies here.
"I had stuck a supposedly waterproof probe on it - it's in a plastic tube which is clearly leaky as it's full of liquid"
Much better to attach the probe to the outside of the FV. Or even better install a thermowell.
Not sure, IPA. The probe was in the mash. Any infection introduced would have been killed in the boil.

Unless you're thinking the liquid which leaked into in the plastic tube covering the probe stopped it properly measuring the temperature.

I'd still like to know how your mash temperature control works, drjim. My mash is done in a well insulated container. Get the strike temperature right and the mash is then at 66C (or whatever you want) and stays there for 90 minutes.

Guy

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by drjim » Tue Apr 23, 2024 9:18 am

I built a HERMS thing a couple of years ago which has a 20L buffalo boiler wrapped up in foil insulation as the heat source, acopper coil in there heat exchanges to the mash tun. For the HERMS batches the probe was sat in the 20L tank rather than the tun itself. Previously I just had the thermostat on the boiler set to a point that gave about the right temp, but it was a bit tricky to get right. Hence buying the controller.

For the BIAB approach I have a 45L buffalo also wrapped in foil, again used the thermostat before. With the new controller I dropped the probe into the middle of the mash. I noticed on the guinnish batch that the probe had lifted out towards the end of the mash, so on the bitter I made sure it was properly secured.

It's very odd, maybe I should fire up another BIAB and rerun the process with extra monitoring, but supplies are runnning low so a 60L batch is called for!

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by IPA » Tue Apr 23, 2024 6:47 pm

Guy
I assumed that the same controller was being used to control fermentation.
If not how was it controlled ?
Ian
"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin

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Re: 2 batches poured down the drain!

Post by drjim » Tue Apr 23, 2024 10:24 pm

Fermentation is at ambient in the chosen room!

Guinnish was under the stairs at about 20 degrees, the bitter was in the boiler room on the floor with its temperature sticker showing 20 as well. The previous lagers were done in the shed in Feb/March so very cool slow lager fermentation as it should be - maybe why they are so nice!

I do have a fridge, some plywood, some insulation, and a plan to make a temperature controlled fermenting chamber, but various other stuff keeps happening - most recently building 4kWH of solar panels onto my sheds!

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