1 Posted: Friday, March 17, 2017 10:03 PM

I've made a couple of brews recently that I have had to pour away.

First was an English Bitter
Kilo of malt
200 grams Crystal Malt grain steeped and boiled
kit yeast.

Second was a Mangrove Jack Light Ale that I made similar to a Coopers Kilted IPA recipe.
Again with crystal malt, steeped and then boiled.

I probably shouldn't have bottled them but did anyhow. Hardly any of them carbed
up in the bottle. Although having said that one of the English Bitters turned
into a bottle bomb. And there were two or gushers, but for the main they were as flat as.

Both of these were made in my Coopers FV. Both in my fridge at 18C.
I did sip both and they weren't off like vinegar, but definitely did not taste right.

After the second brew went bad I did consider there was a problem with the FV.
So I cleaned it using Napisan, then rinsed, then used a bleach & water solution.
Rinsed again and then used Miltons. Once again rinsed and then then Starsaned.

Then I made a Morgans Lager with just a kilo of malt. After two weeks I drew off
enough to bottle two Coopers PET bottles. Ten days later I tasted it and they
were fine so I bottled the rest. At this point I thought the FV was OK.

Once again I cleaned the FV, this time Sodium Percarbonate and rinsed.
Starsan before using.

Next I made an Amber Ale with a kilo of malt and US 05 yeast. Everything looked great.

Then after two weeks I took a look and found this.


So I'm wondering what actually went wrong with the English Bitter & IPA?
I steeped and boiled the crystal grain. This is probably a stupid question but could
the grain be off?

And the infection in the Amber Ale. I've seen pics of it before on here. But what actually causes it? I didn't open the FV from the time I added the yeast. As it was US 05 I was going to have my first go at washing it.

2 Posted: Friday, March 17, 2017 10:46 PM

Hi Graculus,

Sorry about your infection problems. No, it is not the grain, since you are boiling the grain tea. Hard to say what is causing it. How long have you had your FV? What about your other plastic equipment?

If you are only using the Coopers kit yeast and 1 kilo of DME, the problem might be under-pitching, especially if you dry pitched at 18C. Might be okay if you rehydrate and pitch at 22C, then wait 8-12 hours or so before bringing it down to 18C. Coopers yeast is more vigorous than most though, IME.

Other manufactures often provide less yeast than Coopers; 5 or 6 grams is pretty standard. No idea how many grams came with your Morgan's kit, as I don't use them. Was the Mangrove Jack's Light Ale part of their Traditional Series pouches? If so those suckers only come with 5gm of yeast; that only works if you are using 1kg of dextrose / no malt. I have had a couple of bad batches using Mangrove Jack's Traditional series pouches myself, before I figured out the problem….Their Craft series pouches come with 10gm of yeast, which I still find marginal, especially if made with DME, as they are already 2.5kg in size.

Regarding your Amber Ale with US-05, did you use the same 1kg of DME? I'd taste it before deciding whether to bottle it. Even if it tastes okay, I'd probably not use that particular batch for saving slurry from.

Cheers,

Christina.

3 Posted: Saturday, March 18, 2017 8:55 AM

Thanks Christina.

For the English Bitter I used 2 kit yeasts.
For the Mangrove Jack I used the 5 grams, plus a Coopers kit yeast.
The Morgans with a kilo of malt came out fine and that was just the kit, which I think is
the same as the Coopers, 7 grams.
All of these were rehydrated.
I cool 10 litres or so of water in the fridge when I do a kit and try
to get it down to mid 20's asap.

I didn't think the grain could be causing the off flavours as it was boiled.
But I thought I'd better ask the question.

The FV is just over two years old. I thought after the thorough cleaning and making the Lager in it, it was fine. I could hardly believe it when I saw the infection on the Amber Ale.
I have two other FV's, one of which is very old. At least 16 years old, which was left in my shed unused for at least 12 of those before I started using it again. Brews come out fine in that.

The Amber Ale tasted fine. I syphoned off about 16 litres and bottled it. The rest including the slurry was chucked. Shame as I wanted to try washing and reusing the yeast.

I'm a bit reluctant to put another batch in that FV at the moment.
I've got another Amber Ale going in another FV. I was going to dry
hop it, but now I'm paranoid about opening the FV up.

cheers

Pete

4 Posted: Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:08 AM

Does your FV have a tap? Could that be your problem? Personally I prefer FV without taps.

Cheers,

Christina.

5 Posted: Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:26 AM

All my FV's have taps. I prefer them with a tap.

I have taken it apart and given it a thorough soaking.
Although I don't really want to throw the FV away I've decided when the tap goes on the Coopers FV I won't bother replacing it. Too expensive. Cheaper to buy a water container from the big hardware store and $2 tap.

Pete

6 Posted: Saturday, March 18, 2017 3:54 PM

Hi Graculus.

Sorry to read about your recent brew infection woes.

You seem to be struggling with a number of products & sanitisers/sterilizers in an effort to deal with the problem(s). Perhaps it's your processes & timing that are the problem, & maybe this is the area to put under the microscope?

FWIW, give this regime a go on your next brew…

1). On the day you bottle a brew from your fermenter, once the FV is empty, with a clean sponge/cloth & some warm to hot water, remove any physical debris from the fermenter, & rinse with plain tap water.

2). Fill the FV with hot water a few centimetres above the tap line & add your Napisan/Sodium percarbonate dosage & swirl to dissolve. Take the FV outside & with the lid on give it a good shaking.

3). Leave the solution in the FV for at least 2-3 days, or until the following week when you put together your next brew.

4). On brew day, empty the solution from the FV & give a quick rinse with tap water.

5). At some point on brew day during the creation of your brew wort, add some warm water & StarSan solution mix into the FV totaling approx 1-2 litres. Fit the lid then take the FV outside & give it a good shaking to coat everything internally. Pour any non-foamed liquid off through the tap outlet, then remove the lid & sit the FV upside down over a sink to air dry.

6). Then add your wort into the FV. Note: When adding your brew wort or ingredients into the FV, don't allow the wort or portions of the wort (if you are using extracts or kits) to sit for longish periods before adding your yeast. The wort is very vulnerable to outside infections until your yeast is pitched. Keep that timeframe to as short as you possibly can.

It's a regime that works very well for me.

I hope that helps & good luck getting on top of it.

Lusty.

7 Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 9:20 AM

Thanks Lusty

Well I thought my cleaning regime was OK. No problems for two years and then two in a row.

The Napisan / Bleach / Miltons / Starsans clean was a one off after the two off brews.
I wouldn't normally do all that. Just a clean getting all the crud off after bottling.
Then Napisan, although I've now bought some Sodium Percarbonate.

Anyhow I'll follow your instructions next time I use the Coopers FV. If I do.
As I said my other brews in other FV's are fine.

I'm considering buying a cheap Tooheys kit and a kilo of sugar to give the FV one more go.
I know someone who'll drink it. But on the other hand I don't know how I'll know if there are
any off flavours with that

8 Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 6:28 AM

How's the freezer/fridge that you're fermenting in? Maybe there's something in there that keeps getting into your fermenter

I say that as I had read a thread elsewhere on some persistent infection issues and it turned out it was caused by dampness in the walls in the brewing area leading to mould/mildew development which somehow ended up making it into the fermenters. I know there are small amounts of this crap in my brew fridge but it hasn't caused any problems yet - I do clean it out as best I can each brew but there are certain areas that are just unreachable by hand.

9 Posted: Monday, March 20, 2017 10:09 AM

Otto Von Blotto:

How's the freezer/fridge that you're fermenting in? Maybe there's something in there that keeps getting into your fermenter

I say that as I had read a thread elsewhere on some persistent infection issues and it turned out it was caused by dampness in the walls in the brewing area leading to mould/mildew development which somehow ended up making it into the fermenters. I know there are small amounts of this crap in my brew fridge but it hasn't caused any problems yet - I do clean it out as best I can each brew but there are certain areas that are just unreachable by hand.


I do try to clean it out every so often. But yes I was wondering the same thing.
The other fridge I brew in is big enough for two fermenters. I haven't had a problem
with anything I've brewed in those. It just so happens that the Coopers FV ends
up in that smaller fridge all the time.

Giving it a scrub with bleach and maybe a gurney out was on my list of things to do
before I next use it to brew in.

Thanks Otto.

Last edited by Graculus (Monday, March 20, 2017 10:09 AM)