sour porter

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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sour porter

Postby beerbugger » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:15 am

About 2 weeks ago I tanked up a 6 gal batch of my own all-grain chocolate porter.
I over carbonated the crap out of it (impatient prick) at 25psi at 5C which I know was a mistake.

The taste started out smooth and roasty - mostly dry but with a hint of crystal maltiness (think rolo machiatto) with a fine, silky head. Near perfect porter if I do say so myself.

a week or so later the uncontrollable foam was the least of my worries.
The taste developed an acrid soda-like character.
It has become so sour you would swear you're sucking on a lemon.
I have heard that can happen from over carbonation.

If I pour a glass and swirl off the gas as it warms up a bit I can get rid of the soda taste but the acidity doesn't seem to go away.
And my creamy "nitro" head has been replaced with big dishwater bubbles and ginger ale fizz.

If I drop the pressure and let the gas slowly settle off could this be salvagable?
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Re: sour porter

Postby slothrob » Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:32 pm

beerbugger wrote:If I pour a glass and swirl off the gas as it warms up a bit I can get rid of the soda taste but the acidity doesn't seem to go away.

That doesn't sound good, but if the beer isn't infected and it tasted good before carbonation, then it should be recoverable by getting the CO2 low enough.
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Postby conman » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:25 pm

if the beer hasnt been infected by the ball lock fittings or something in the keg dip tube, I would be surprised.
I have had something similar and both times it turned out to be from not replacing an older ball lock connector on the gas in line from my C02 tank. before I had check valves on my tank, I had beer back up into the line a couple of times and this is where I suspect it was hiding.

if it's not infected, what you suggest is surely possible.
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Postby bobcat_brewer » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:27 am

I've never seen gas make a beer sour. I'm pretty sure your beer is infected, probably happened either in the keg or while kegging.
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I can hardly beleive it myself!

Postby beerbugger » Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:04 pm

The bad (and I do mean bad) taste went away.
I bled off the pressure and I turned the psi down to a trickle (2 or 3lb) for a few days. I slowly warmed the tank just a few degrees to encourage it to bail a little more gas. I was really carefull not to shake it out but just to let the gas settle out over time.
It's still a bit too fizzy and I seem to have lost some nitro (I run straight CO2) but the taste is good again - right back where it started.
Without "beer gas" I probably won't get back the softer, creamy head that it started out with but otherwise it's still a pretty respectable porter.

In the past, I have run the gas pretty heavy on lagers, honey wheats and thinner pale ales without any detrimental affect on the flavor which is why I was so concerned about this one.
Tonight I'll bump it back up to serving temperature and pressure (about 4 psi +/- for this one).
I've promised myself that I won't taste it or even look at it for annother week while the laws of physics run their course.
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