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My beer turned on me!

So i went back and tasted some saved bottles of my bitter and brown ale from may. I don’t have the specifics with me right now, but they are BITTER! they both came from my kegs, and back in may/june they were perfectly good, drinkable brews. Now, they are bitter and somewhat astringent. so much so that i had to pour it out. Any thoughts? Why would this manifest itself months later. I have 5 gallons of a christmas ale aging that i’m now really worried about. They are also my first all grain batches, but i can say that i didn’t mash too hot. At least I drank the bulk of it while it was still good.

Astringency usually is from the brewing process, rather than bottling from the keg. See this:

http://www.winning-homebrew.com/astringency.html

Bottling from a keg can be a little tricky - sanitation is key, obviously, with the bottles and tubing used, but also concerns about oxidation (cardboard flavor) and spoilage can also occur. There are plenty of techniques for bottling off the keg that can work (I have a Blichmann beer gun, but I know others simple freeze the sanitized bottles and pour slowly using a cobra tap and a tube to extend to the bottom of the bottle). I have had kegged beers that I have bottled and they remain fine for even a year or more, depending on the type of beer.

Also, milder beers just tend to age less well (while 6 months is not long in my experience there can be flavor degradation in milder beers in that short of a time period). Exceptions for longer times for milder beers include a Berliner Weisse or similar, where a souring is intended and it takes time for the bacteria to achieve the full flavor profile sought. Chalk it up to experience and don’t save those lighter beers too long.

Did the beer in the kegs ever go bad? Reason i ask is that i had kegged beer go bad on me before. It went bad on me because i had overlooked the dip tube as a source of beer stone (or other funky build up).

no, i don’t think the kegs are the issue. i mentioned the keg to point out that i did not bottle ferment. as they were my first all grain batches, now i wonder if the issue is in my sparge. i’m not too worried about an infection, i am pretty strict about sanitation.

so much for not being worried about sanitation… taking a sample to my LHBS, we determined that it’s an infection. all the bottles, all the kegs… i have to dump some serious beer. I always thought i was off in my bottle carbing, but tasting it now, and seeing it, i think almost every batch i have ever brewed was infected… kegging it hid the infection, as the cold inhibited the bacterial growth. I seriously have no idea where it’s getting in. everything that touches the beer is sanitized. I have to completely reevaluate my process, but i still have no idea. i’m really shaken.

Start with replacing any tubing. Plastic racking cane?

Rubber stoppers and air locks should not be an issue. But they are inexpensive to replace also.

Plastic pail? Getting a little more expensive to replace. Better Bottle? Oh no. Glass carboy should not have an issue. A good soak in a bleach/water/vinegar solution (cheap and effective sanitizer). Also being different than StarSan or Iodophar, keeps the bugs on their toes :slight_smile:

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