Odd smell in primary?

This is my first AG batch, so I’m hyper-vigilant.
Mash temps were within 5 degrees at all times, mash out went swimmingly.
I worried that my sparge did not produce with enough efficiency, but the primary fermentation took a full 10 days until bubbling ceased.
Fermentation temps were all perfect, and everything seems to have gone according to plan.
Let me also state that sanitation has never yet been an issue with any batch I’ve brewed, I’m pretty thorough.
So when I uncap the primary to transfer to the carboy, the initial nose was off in a way that’s hard to describe. Definitely a fermented smell, but not what I normally think of as a beer smell. I’m using a yeast I’m unfamiliar with, but it sort of smelled sour, like a lambic.
Now, here’s the part I’m most confused about. I went ahead with the transfer, and about 1/5 of the way into it, the beer smelled fine. Totally normal.
It seems the yeast was producing another aromatic I’m unfamiliar with, but it doesn’t appear to have been the result of high ferm temps. or I picked up a wild yeast or bac culture, but if so it didn’t take over completely.
Anybody else have any ideas or diagnoses? I’m a real wait-and-see kind of guy, so I’m going ahead as normal and will find out in a couple of months if it’s okay, but I’d appreciate some input from AG veterans, do you think I did anything wrong or missed something?

Thanks a lot!

The beer is bad or it is not. Half will not be bad and the other half good. :wink:

Right? I’m bottling in a month anyway, and we’ll see sometime after that.
Hope I’m not wasting my time.

I’ve had a couple of bad batches in the past. I attribute it to either contaminated hops that I used for dry hopping or just a random crazy yeast strain. I have always used the smack packs. The one time I used the wyeast vial, that was the bad batch. I stuck it out and bottled anyways; needless to say the flavor profile was not what I wanted. It was barely drinkable, and after about the third one, it all tasted the same, LOL. I just had some very bad gas the next day. :cheers:

Maybe check your primary fermentation vessel for scratches in the side? Use of wire brushes on plastic carboys can create small scratches in the side, where bad bacteria can set up shop. If you have a carboy that’s been vigorously scrubbed with a wire brush in the past, that may be the source of your issue.

[quote=“The Mad Zymurgist”]This is my first AG batch,…
… I’m using a yeast I’m unfamiliar with…[/quote]

Let me begin with, there are scores on the forum that have more experience than I…

Plenty of time smells coming from my first batches (primary) made me wonder if I had hosed things up. But in every case it turned out fine. I’ve been “lucky” with contamination (diligent cleaning and replacing equipment periodically). I’d say your right on with let time decide.

Curious about the 1/5 transfer. Was that a racking to a secondary? Did you siphon closer to the bottom or the top? Which smelled “totally fine”, the 4/5ths left in the primary or the 1/5th transfered?

Maybe different density layers of the beer were holding different aromatics. Or did your nose get used to it?

Good Luck!
Brew On

Siphoned from near the bottom, above the trub. The smell came from the primary, and disappeared about 1/5 of the way through the siphon. Beer in the carboy smelled fine. It now seems totally fine, no odd stuff floating or colors, and the off-gas through the airlock smells normal. 2 weeks in, 2 more before bottling. I think I’m good.

There have been a few times (usually following a bad batch) that I think I smell something that is not there. Maybe just paranoya.

Now most of the time just to be sure, after I rack the beer I tend to give the yeast cake the old sniff test. If there are any issues you would be able to detect it in the yeast.