Down the sink or wait?

Discuss making up beer kits - the simplest way to brew.
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Down the sink or wait?

Post by wiredcharlie » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:04 pm

I picked up a couple of near "sell by date" Directors kits at a bargain price ( or not! )

After a couple of days there was no significant sign of fermentation so I took the yeast from the second kit, made a yeast starter and chucked that in. Fermentation then picked up and went as usual. I had a taste when I barrelled it and got a bit of what I guess people describe as TCP. Also, when cleaning out the primary, the yeast in the bottom of the bucket smelled strongly of TCP or that kind of thing.

I now have a barrel of beer with this off flavour that I've never had before. Reading around this forum and the net, it would appear that the most likely cause is either chlorine contamination or a Brettanomyces infection that took hold when the initial pitch failed.

My understanding is that if the problem is chlorophenol I have to chuck it because it won't improve. If it's Brett, is there any hope of improvement or should I chuck it anyway? If there is hope, I could bottle it.


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Re: Down the sink or wait?

Post by WalesAles » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:56 pm

Has it finished fermenting?
I would leave it for the two weeks fermentation, then smell, taste, down drain if it is still `off`.


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Re: Down the sink or wait?

Post by Robwalkeragain » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:53 pm

TCP is likely chlorine in your water, which won't get better. Can also be from your sanitizer, which again won't heal with time, or if it's fusels from bad yeast heath, that won't improve either. Probably not looking good, but it could just be stressed yeast which might get better. Hang on to it for now and see what happens, but might be one to chalk up to experience.

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Re: Down the sink or wait?

Post by Kev888 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:32 am

Yes, it isn't very likely to improve but it possibly could, depending on the cause. So probably premature to discard it, unless you need the vessels or space for the next brew, anyway.

Unless the cause becomes clear, it could be worth a particularly careful clean and disinfection of all equipment before next use - paying attention to things which have nooks and crannies or may be slightly porous or easily overlooked (like hoses, bungs, taps, stirring sticks etc).

Obviously, to mitigate the other possibilities, a good rinsing after cleaning and (if you aren't using it already) sodium metabisulphite or campden tablets to treat the brewing liquor. Many people's water doesn't need it/them, but it is an easy and cheap insurance if theres any doubt at all.
Last edited by Kev888 on Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Down the sink or wait?

Post by Jocky » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:48 pm

I've tasted TCP in a commercial brew that had the same issue - it was a new brewery that didn't have heating and the first time they experienced a cold snap the yeast stalled out.

It got there eventually but the beer was quite TCPish. So it was either a stressed yeast flavour or a wild yeast had got hold before their brewing yeast got going.
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