Beer smells and tastes sour

So I just bottled a Czech Pilsner and right away I smelled a sour odour coming from the fermenting bucket. But the beer doesn’t look unusual in any way. So I tasted it and let me tell you it was AWFUL! It smelled like by girlfriends kombucha tea. But i bottled half the batch anyway to see if it turns out. Anyone else have this before and if so did it eventually turn out? I’m thinking maybe some nasties got into it at some point and ruined it.


That doesn’t sound good. What yeast, and fermentation schedule?

When you say AWFUL what did you taste?

Used Nottingham dry yeast and fermented for 21 days. And loopie by awful I mean a very watered down sour taste.

Sounds to me like you have a bacterial infection in that beer. The body of the beer comes from dextrins and other complex sugars that yeast can’t ferment but bacteria can making the beer thin (watery) and produce acids and other biproducts that would make it taste sour. What’s your cleaning and sanitizing routine?

Let it age a bit and see what happens.
On a somewhat related note I recently brewed a gluten free batch with millet that has a bit of a sour smell to it, but not in the taste.

Hmm interesting. I wipe down the 5 gallon bucket i use to ferment then let some star san and water sit in the bucket for the duration of the boil and some of the chilling. While its chilling I put a sanitized lid on to help keep nasties out. But I don’t have a wort chiller so i fill up the tub full of cold water and dump a couple bags of ice into it, so it is exposed for longer. It was a dry yeast so I pitch it directly into the wort and sanitize the packet of yeast and even the scissors I cut the bag with.

Make sure your equipment is clean and then sanitized. Cleaning removes organic matter which then allows sanitizing to work. Also, plastic buckets are easily scratched allowing bacteria to hide from the sanitizer but then make their way into the wort. Run your hands all over the inside surface to see if you feel anything rough or slimey.

watch those bottles. If it’s infected, as it sure sounds like it is, it’ll continue fermenting in the bottle and you could have bomb issues.

Ya good call. I’m thinking of just dumping them as I have to bottle a nut brown ale today and i’ll probably need a few extra bottles today!