Is Your Beer Ruined? Don’t Panic

Raise your hand if you have ever made a mistake in brewing. Or you tasted your beer early in fermentation and thought it was ruined but decided to ride it out anyway. And it ended up being one of the best beers that you’ve ever made. 9 times out of 10 time is what heals a beer. But if you’re curious what those off-flavors taste like and why they happen you need to do some research.

If you are looking for more recommendations on how to improve your beer check out our Avoid These 5 Traps To Be a Better Brewer.

1. Your young beer tastes/looks off. Is it going to stay that way?

A young beer doesn’t necessarily taste the way that we thought it was going to. Be patient with your beers. They will almost always get better. Give your beer enough time to condition out.

2.You forgot to sanitize something and it touched the wort. Is it going to get infected?

A glass of light beer.
Credit: https://www.teamhomebrew.com/homebrewing-articles/homebrewing-infections-and-how-to-prevent-them

Believe it or not, wort and yeast are a little bit more robust than you might think. While this is not a problem that homebrewers should really experience very frequently. As sanitation is incredibly important. All of us at some point in time have forgotten to sanitize something important. The reality is, most of the time yeast is actually the dominant microorganism in that small ecosystem that is your fermenter. It’s very unlikely that you have an infection in your system.

3. You opened the fermenter during fermentation. Is your beer oxidized?

Oxidation is a serious issue. It s a serious risk when you’re brewing any sort of hoppy beer. But for most beer in general you want to avoid contact with oxygen after primary fermentation is done. You shouldn’t have too much to worry about if you happen to open your fermenter for a few seconds. The real risk for oxidation comes in transferring as well as introducing any sort of splashing.

4. Your target OG is way too high or low. Is your beer ruined?

We don’t really care about brewhouse efficiency that much. It’s not a very difficult problem to solve. Your beer might risk being unbalanced but that doesn’t mean it will be a bad beer.

5. You have no airlock activity or it stopped suddenly. Is the yeast dead?

Different yeast strains ferment at different levels of intensity. So while it may be difficult to tell based on your airlock whether there is an activity in your fermenter. Don’t be afraid to take hydrometer samples during your fermentation to get an idea of how it’s going. Even though you might not have airlock activity that the second piece of fermentation is still happening.

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