What turns your brew to vinegar?

I would like to know where I went wrong with my first beer. I brewed Caribou Slobber Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains using Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast (SG 1.045 before pitching). I pitched the yeast at 68 degrees however once fermentation started 3 hours later the temp went up to 74 and I wrapped the carboy with a wet towel and placed a fan in the closet to try and keep it cool. At 9 hours I was woken up to what I thought was a break in, however it was a blow off! I quickly placed a hose which was stored in 5 gallons of star san in the carboy and my batch of sanitizer I had planned to keep. Bubbles continued for several more hours and then stopped completely. After two weeks in the primary I took a reading of the SG 1.020 and a taste which was promising. After 2 weeks in the secondary I noticed small white dots on top of the beer. After one more week the small dots were much larger and looked similar to mold. I took out the bung to smell and had a vinegar smell hit me in the face. I used a thief to take a sample taste and yes it taste like it smells.
I need some help as I am planning to brew again this weekend and if I made a mistake I don’t want it to happen again.

Acetobacter is the most likely culprit. Possibly when the carboy was open something was able to get in.

Don’t dump the whole thing. Save some for cooking. Do you know any one that has a smoker? It can make a good marinade for many meats.

I had a batch that the 3pc air lock went dry for several weeks. It re-fermented and turned to vinegar also. But I didn’t think ahead about cooking with it.

Start off with a blow off tube and not worry about the top blowing off.

An acetic acid infection will turn your beer into vinegar. acetobacter is the common culprit

to prevent an acetic acid infection or any infection. you’ll need to be very diligent with sanitation. get some star san or iodofor and soak everything that you use after the boil in it. what were your sanitation procedures like?

the benefit of acetic acid is that you dont HAVE to dump your beer. you can let it go to vinegar, and use it for cooking.

edit: looks like nighthawk beat me to it :cheers:

Maybe you can use it to make a nice German dish like sourbraten.

I like malt vinegar on my fish and chips

[quote=“S.Scoggin”]An acetic acid infection will turn your beer into vinegar. acetobacter is the common culprit

to prevent an acetic acid infection or any infection. you’ll need to be very diligent with sanitation. get some star san or iodofor and soak everything that you use after the boil in it. what were your sanitation procedures like?

the benefit of acetic acid is that you dont HAVE to dump your beer. you can let it go to vinegar, and use it for cooking.

edit: looks like nighthawk beat me to it :cheers: [/quote]

To late for the not dumping! After my taste test I saw no other alternative than to make the dump! I will buy marinade.

As far as sanitizing I used Star San and followed the directions to the letter letting everything soak during cool down of the wort. Could it have been the air getting to the beer after the blow off and before I placed the hose in the carboy? There was only a maximum time to maybe 15 minutes.

Maybe. It’s hard to say for sure. All you can do now is be extra careful next time. Good luck!

:cheers:

Next time skip the secondary completely and let it sit in the primary for up to a month. My guess is that the transfer from primary to secondary compromised the sanitation, which is why I don’t do a secondary for bulk aging, other than kegs for lagers.

Your next one will probably be great!

:cheers:

My first batch was also the Caribou slobber, and the EXACT same thing happened down to the little white things on the top of the wort after racking to the secondary. It is really not drinkable, has a tin like after taste. Unfortunately I bought the whole kegging kit so I just feel like I should try to drink it out of guilt. Have a black IPA in secondary now that looks to be much better, and a 3 day old bourbon that I cant see right now because of the thick Krausen. My black IPA developed a krausen that made it look like 5 gallons of Guinness with a nice creamy head. Hope my results are better, and its a shame about the Caribou…I was looking forward to it.