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Caribou Slobber - infected batch?

I just recently made a batch of Caribou Slobber for the second time, however with dramatically different results this time around. My first batch (ever) was a CS kit from Northern Brewer, which came out under carbonated, but with the flavor one would expect from the description (toffee, caramel, roast malt, etc…) Keep in mind, with my first batch, I didn’t take any gravity readings (had no hydrometer), and I left the package of dry yeast out at room temperature for a week accidentally. I’m guessing this may have led to the under carbonation.

I’ve since brewed several batches, and gotten a much better feel for home brewing. Fast forward to my recent CS batch: OG and FG were exactly where they needed to be, I used the exact amount of priming sugar I needed (according to NB’s calculator), I didn’t leave the yeast sitting out at room temp, all seemed to be going well. The result: very dry, TONS of foam, none of the characteristic sweet flavors that everybody liked about the first batch of CS I made. Since I did everything right with this recent batch, my only guess as to the difference is infection. Does this seem logical?

My only other thought is that the first batch was way under attenuated given the poor handling of the yeast (unfortunately, I’ll never really know), which may have led to the sweeter flavor profile. Is CS supposed to be really dry?

I’ve never done kits, so haven’t actually done CS, but most of the brown ales I’ve done are pretty dry. At least more dry than sweet. But I also do this on purpose with my mash, so not sure about the kit. I think you’re probably right about the under attenuation though, especially since you didn’t get much carbonation from your first batch. Are you getting gushers from your current batch, or just a lot of head?

Gushers more or less. I may have used a little extra priming sugar (maybe + 0.1 - 0.2 oz), but nothing that would create as much pure foam as I’m getting from these. Aside from being dry, I don’t taste anything that would suggest they’re infected though (no sour apple, tart, band aid, popcorn, or other unusual flavors), but I’ve heard that having an inordinate amount of foam is usually a pretty good indicator of infection.

What did your timeline look like? Ie, how long in primary, secondary, bottle, etc? IME, gushers without any other sign of infection is usually due to bottling too early, too much priming sugar, or not long enough time conditioning.

Also what dry yeast did you use, and was the recipe the same from one batch to the next?

I’m almost thinking that the first batch with toffee/buttery flavors came from a high fermentation temp (earlier in the year, summer) and diacetyls. I’ve smelled toffee and buttered popcorn in the blowoff from S-04 that fortunately didn’t make it into the brew. And then you did the second batch of CS when temps were cooler, and the fermentation took longer, and you bottled before it was done. But your gravity readings kind of rule that out.

So what does the beer taste like, does it have a funny tart/sparkling taste like the bite from yogurt?

My timeline was pretty much in accordance with the recipe: Primary for 2.5 weeks, secondary for 2.5 weeks, and after 3 weeks in the bottle, I’m getting gushers. I used Danstar Windsor Ale yeast for both batches, but my fermentation/conditioning temps were actually warmer this time around. I keep my beer in the basement, in the space near my furnace. My first batch was brewed in early Summer, when the furnace wasn’t running and the basement temp is typically cooler (64 -66 degrees). In the Winter, it warms up a bit, and the ambient temp for my second batch was around 68 - 70 degrees. In any case, I should have been within the appropriate ranges both times around.

I’ll crack another bottle tonight and post an update with the specific flavor profile that I’m getting from this batch. Like I said, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with the flavor of this batch, aside from it being considerably drier than the first, but I’ll have do another quality control tasting just to make sure! :wink:

I just cracked open the 1st two bottles of my very first brew (also caribou slobber), and it is extremely dry…high astringency is how I would describe it based on the descriptions of astringency that I’ve read. It’s definitely reminiscent of sucking on a tea bag.

Wondering what I did wrong…and is an infection the possible cause? And what are the results of infected beer? Harmful if consumed? Needs to be poured down the drain or what?

Only thing i varied from the recipe for the kit was that i did a full boil with 6 gallons spring water to account for evaporation. I did 14 days in primary, 14 in secondary, and today makes 12 in bottle.

Beer is extremely cloudy…a flashlight does not shine through.

Any suggestions?

Edit: Maybe I should have started my own thread, but since you mentioned that yours is very dry, it sounds similar. I will mention that when I sampled on brewing day and then again when I racked to secondary, I thought there was a strong coppery taste. Now that it’s bottled and carbed, I’m not getting copper flavor…just that dry, bitter, teabag kind of flavor.

Doing some more reading…I’m thinking the Astringency in my first batch probably is due to steeping the specialty grains in the 6 gallons of water. Denny talks about it in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=113844&p=996567&hilit=astringency#p996567

With the Caribou Slobber kit including just over 1/2 lb of grains, based on Denny’s recommendation of 2qt per lb, it sounds like you should steep the grains in just about 1 quart of water and then add that back in to the boil kettle? Doesn’t seem like much water for all that grain. Does that make sense?

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