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Novice Homebrewer: My First Infection

Dumping the Infected Batch

For my company’s golf outing, I agreed to brew an IPA and re-brew a batch of strawberry wheat since my coworkers loved it so much. My plan was to use the same Cooper’s kit that I used previously to make Batch #3. When I arrived at the homebrewing store, I was confronted with the fact that they did not have the Cooper’s Wheat Beer kit in stock. Therefore, I had to resort to using a recipe that the homebrewing store had on hand.

I was absolutely fine with using this new recipe, as I would consider it the next step up from the Cooper’s kit. So I went about my merry way, brewed the batch, and added the strawberries. After about three days, the fermentation slowed pretty significantly. Thinking nothing of it, I waited until the sixth day and transferred it to the secondary.

Upon removing the carboy plug, I was greeted with a rather foul aroma. It was slightly tart, but had a horrendous funk to it. Maybe it was just the way this beer smelled, I thought to myself. While transferring, I poured a small taster glass as I always do and took a sip. It seemed to be off, but I had also just brushed my teeth so I got a second opinion from my fiancee. She agreed that it was off as well.

Ultimately, I thought i would give it a little more time and let it sit in the secondary for a few days. Knowing that I was limited on time to re-brew this batch, I tried the beer three days later and it was one of the most foul things I have ever tried. So what went wrong?

I soaked the strawberries in water to remove the pesticides for about an hour. Then, while brewing, I cut them up, placed them in a blender, pureed them, and placed them into a sanitized carboy. Once the wort was cool, I added it to the carboy with the strawberries and pitched the yeast. Did you spot my mistake?

The first time I brewed this beer with the Cooper’s kit, I poured the boiling water on the strawberry puree. During this brew, I believe that since the strawberries did not come in contact with extremely hot water they were never fully sanitized. Sadly, it was a bit price to pay as i had to dump the entire batch of strawberry wheat. Thankfully I had enough time to brew another batch and have it ready for the golf outing.

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Written by Jeff Kupko

Jeff is a traffic engineer that loves his beer, and especially loves trying new beer. As a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Yuengling was a staple and the beginnings of liking something better than fizzy yellow water. This has evolved into an entire hobby, with Jeff keeping a blog of all of the beers he tries. Vacations most certainly involve at least one brewery or bottle shop visit to gather a region’s coveted fruits. Now, Jeff has ventured into homebrewing, and there is probably no saving him from being engulfed entirely by beer. While Imperial Stouts and IPAs rank highest in Jeff’s eyes, sours are sneaking up on those styles, and Jeff loves to try all different styles. Find Jeff Kupko on Google Plus

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