Sometimes you get a lot of beer and it’s sent to you so that you can figure out what’s wrong with it. We like taking on the challenge and the more samples we get, the better off we’ll be. Take a look at this video we made about our latest homebrew swap – number 16 if you are keeping score at home.
Ryan from New Hampshire sent us three different beers for us to try and to diagnose his issues.
- An IPA
- An Irish Red
- An American Pale Ale
He told us via email that he was having problems with his beer after he bottled them. He thought that they were good at bottling but after they conditioned for a few weeks, they got this cider-y taste and had no head retention. We told him to send us a few samples and we would try to help him get to the bottom of it.
When we opened the beer bottles, we noticed right away that the carbonation was very spritz-y. There was a feeling right off the bat that an unwelcome contamination had happened. Mike commented later that he didn’t think that was the issue since we didn’t encounter any gushers opening the bottles and no medicinal flavors.
Ryan said that he does use carb drops to carbonate his beers. We’re not sure they are the issue but they can bring problems to your beer if you don’t handle them properly.
Inspecting the bottles, it doesn’t look like the bottles have been cleaned well enough. All of them still have their commercial brewery labels on them and that’s a big red flag for us
If you are going to reuse bottles from breweries, you need to clean and sanitize them for home brew bottling. Using dish soap or washing them in the dishwasher is not the best methods in our experience.
The method we follow and has worked for us is using PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) for cleaning bottles and StarSan for santizing bottles.
We make a solution of PBW and water, enough to fully immerse bottles, for an overnight soak.
Once that is done. we rinse them and then we soak them again in a solution of water and StarSan.
This method takes more time and materials but it’s extremely effective.
Hope that helps Ryan and helps you.
Thanks for reading. We appreciate your time.