I think I may have found the easiest way to ruin a beer without infecting it outright–oxidizing the heck out of it by not dry-hopping properly.
A couple weeks back I fermented the NB Houblonmonstre IPA, and it turned out perfect. Almost a twin of the Houblon Chouffe, and overflowing with good Saaz flavor. Still, the aroma was a little bit muted, so I decided to dry-hop with 1oz. of Amarillo. Chouffe uses it, and I thought the orange notes would play well.
I put the hops in a muslin bag, tied it up with butcher’s twine and looped the twine through the screw-top opening of my Big-Mouth Bubbler. Screwed the top on tight and forgot about it for a week.
Then came bottling day. The first sign of trouble was that the sanitizer levels on both sides of my S-shaped airlock were exactly the same. I didn’t ponder that long, though, because I opened it right up and got a whiff of sheer oxidation. The butcher’s twine seems to have prevented the bubbler from sealing. I tried bottling it, but it tasted just as terrible with carbonation as it did on bottling day. It was never going to get any better, so down the drain it went.
So, I’m curious: does anyone have a more efficient way of ruining a beer via a single misstep?