Picture Sundays: Bad Beer

bad beer

I might have cracked these beers open on New Year’s Eve if they hadn’t got contaminated and turned into bottle grenades. I’ve ruined the last three batches of beer. Something I need to blog about in the coming year.

Hope your home brew projects have been more successful and best wishes for a happy new year!

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  1. Oh crap. I just made a batch on Christmas day, my first batch of homebrew.

    It seems beer is easier to screw up than cider. I hope mine makes it.

  2. My husband has been doing homebrew for a few years now, and only one batch has come out “bad” (negligence on our part – too much air exposure).

    Now, some come out wrong (aka not what we were going for), but rarely bad.

    Any idea why the last 3 batches were ruined? Something you did (or didn’t do)? As long as you learn from the mistakes, it is not a total loss… but 3 batches in a row is quite a pretty penny in supplies…

    • I’m pretty sure it was negligent sanitation of one of the two fermenters that I use. The first two times it happened I thought it was the bottles so I bought a sanitized a new bunch of bottles. After batch three went bad I decided to take a break from home brew. I’m going to try again soon.

  3. This happened to a batch I made in the fall. I didn’t let it ferment down far enough before I bottled it. Use your hydrometer! Out of about 40 batches I’ve made, it’s only the second that’s turned out bad. My XMas beer was fantastic.

  4. Are you sure they’re contaminated? (Do they smell bad?)
    A far more easy thing to get wrong is not letting the initial
    ferment finish and producing too much CO2 in the bottle.

  5. Hey Eric.. sorry to hear about your bad batches. I’ve been brewing strongly ever since you walked me thru it in Eagle Rock. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you want to run thru stuff. I still owe you some home brew too! Have some holiday stuff here if you would like a sixer.. 🙂

    • True for some! But in fact we don’t have slugs…it’s too dry for them, I think. And we don’t have snails either. I suspect the rats eat them. Ah… home sweet home!

  6. Our current batch of beer is great, but the batch before was a bit of a disaster- it sat in the bucket too long, I think, and no amount of bottle-conditioning was improving it.

    Homebrew has a reputation for being terrible in the UK- is it the same in the US? When we offer ours, people politely take a tiny sip…and then drain the glass. Apart from that last batch of course…

  7. how does the beer smell/taste? bottle bombs happen, as some mentioned previously, because of too much CO2 being released by the yeast continuing to eat sugar in the bottle. either it wasn’t quite done with initial fermentation, or too much additional sugar added at bottling time.

    i was hoping to have some beer ready for NYE, but it took a longer period in the primary fermenter than i thought it would, probably because of the high gravity. i’m making a bourbon vanilla imperial porter and patiently waiting for it to finish.

    • I wouldn’t compost it. Alcohol is anti-microbial and you want to encourage microbes in a compost pile. You can, of course, compost the spent grains. People with dogs should be careful, however. Hops are very toxic to dogs and dogs love to eat compost.

  8. Hi, you need to buy a hydrometer and a test tube to put it in. Don’t bottle until the reading is static between 2 readings taking 48 hours apart. This will ensure that primary fermentation is complete before it gets into the bottles.

    If the beer smells bad, then you have a sterilization problem, make sure you have clean kit and bottles, and use sterilizing powder from your local brew shop.

    If the above two points are taken care of, then the issue would be too much priming sugar at bottling time… either use carbonation drops, or try batch priming by siphoning all beer into a secondary container which contains dissolved sugar in a little boiling water. Sugar should be approx 5 grams per liter, but it does depend upon the style of beer you are making. In my case I add 100g sugar [sucrose] in as little boiling water as needed to dissolve it.
    When you siphon it between containers try you best to not get too much air into it.


  9. That’s a real shame! We’ve only been brewing a bit over a year, but so far, so good. I hope you have great success next time you give it a go.

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