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Well, it finally happened

Beermates,
It turns out #27 is unlucky for me as my 27th beer was unceremoniously dumped down the drain today. Pronounced dead at 7:45 AM. First time I lost one. She was a Surly Bitter Brewer Pro Series Partial Mash Kit, and she had all the potential in the world. Her life, short as it seemed, never really started. My Wyeast 1335 (brand new) never showed signs of yeast activity in the smack pack. I pitched it anyway, ever the optimist. No activity, no signs of life. Patiently, I waited. Should I put a message on the NB board? No, they’ll tell me to wait. They’ll say it will all be fine. That’s what I would tell the worried brewer.

About a week after constant checking, and still no yeast activity, a white cheesy substance appeared on the surface of the beer and the cooler started having an odd smell. Late fermentation? Still, I waited. Don’t you leave me damn it!

Today, I opened the fermentor. An unrecognizable odor quickly came to my nose. Of course, I measured the gravity, same 1.040 as I started with. Things were bleak. I final taste sample would have to confirm what I already knew. I sipped on the last, awful, wort. For she was still a wort, and never became a beer.

I will brew on, but not today. We all know our #27 is coming along with that hollow feeling of watching your time and effort go down the drain.

Good brews to all! Here’s hoping we can all avoid our own #27!
Chet

It happens.

Next concern: Is this a plastic fermenter by any chance? If so, do yourself a big favor, throw it away and never brew with it again. Contaminated plastic cannot be sanitized effectively. I have tried all different techniques and none of them work. Much cheaper and easier to just replace all plastic and rubber components than to risk additional contaminated batches.

If you fermented in glass, well… you’ll be fine. Replace rubber gaskets, stoppers, or bungs to be safe, but otherwise, no biggie.

Ensure your smack packs always swell. I learned that lesson myself more than once as well.

I went through my first “dumper” in my 5th batch. Terribly under-attenuated weizenbock (1.030). Completely undrinkable. I suppose I was asking for it using 13lbs of LME.

Do you know the date that was on the smack pack? Wyeast has always worked for me but anytime the date was a little old it did take longer to blow up and be ready. The critical time for problems is that period between cooling and fermentation. Normal sanitation usually does the trick but the longer the sugary wort hangs around, the better the chance for something nasty to get in.

Don’t give up! We have all done drain cleaner beer.

One word: Starter.

Dave,
I’m using all glass, so a thorough cleaning will be done. I will never pitch a smack pack that didn’t swell.

[quote=“HD4Mark”]Do you know the date that was on the smack pack? Wyeast has always worked for me but anytime the date was a little old it did take longer to blow up and be ready. The critical time for problems is that period between cooling and fermentation. Normal sanitation usually does the trick but the longer the sugary wort hangs around, the better the chance for something nasty to get in.

Don’t give up! We have all done drain cleaner beer.[/quote]

I did write the date down, but I literally received the yeast pack from NB the same day I brewed, so it was recent. My guess is that the yeast was bad. Dave is right, always wait for the pack to swell.
Chet

[quote=“chetgregg”]Dave,
I’m using all glass, so a thorough cleaning will be done. I will never pitch a smack pack that didn’t swell.

[quote=“HD4Mark”]Do you know the date that was on the smack pack? Wyeast has always worked for me but anytime the date was a little old it did take longer to blow up and be ready. The critical time for problems is that period between cooling and fermentation. Normal sanitation usually does the trick but the longer the sugary wort hangs around, the better the chance for something nasty to get in.

Don’t give up! We have all done drain cleaner beer.[/quote]

I did write the date down, but I literally received the yeast pack from NB the same day I brewed, so it was recent. My guess is that the yeast was bad. Dave is right, always wait for the pack to swell.
Chet[/quote]Yeah but if you are like me, you plan out the day, something doesn’t work out, like the yeast and you think " this will be fine". Feel your pain but I bet the next one will be great.

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