Something terrible happened. Absolutely dreadful. However, this bad thing occurred about two weeks ago, so I’ve climbed off the ledge since and have had a chance to gain some perspective.
My witbier batch had to be dumped!!!
I was prepping to bottle the batch. I got my sugar priming solution made. I racked the batch to the bottling bucket. Everything looked right and smelled right. Then I took my sample for my hydrometer reading. FG was 1.007. Perfect!! This was when I usually drink my hydrometer sample and make sure it’s really good to go. For the first 3 seconds upon putting it in my mouth, it was good. Then ASTRINGENCY reared it’s ugly head on my tongue. FUCK!!! I took a few more sips to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. Yep, astringency. I looked at the bottom of my fermentor. The yeast cake looked uniform and normal. No visual or olfactory evidence of a contamination. Hhhmmmm. I’ve never had an infected batch in over 5 years of brewing. I contribute that to my OCD sanitization practices and the fact that my equipment is pretty simplistic. There are no hidden places, like ball valves, where gunk may build up over time. Hell I even remove my bucket lid gaskets when I clean.
Then I realized what the most probable culprit was. If you recall from my previous post, I did something different. I dumped the entire contents of the kettle into the fermentor, trub and all. This was based on Brulosopher’s xbeeriments. But what also went into the fermentor was all the orange peel and coriander. They sat in the beer for two weeks, where normally they would have been separated from the wort upon racking into the fermentor. I did a little bit of google searching and found a few sources that stated that orange peel and/or coriander can lead to astringency if there is too much of it or left in the beer for too long. Though I don’t have a 100% open and shut case, odds are this was the cause.
So this is a situation of taking my lumps and learning something from it. I hate wasting time, I hate wasting money and I hate wasting beer. But that is the risk we homebrewers take every time we fire up the kettle. I’ve been fortunate enough that it took this long to hit me.
Full disclosure: I’ve had two other batches that had flavor issues. One was too much coffee in a stout (overdosed the batch with crushed coffee beans). The other was too much oak in a bourbon porter (soaked the oak chips too long in bourbon before adding to the beer). The difference is I drank those batches even though they weren’t good enough to share with anyone else. The fact they were dark, rich beers to begin with made those flaws somewhat tolerable. But in the case of this witbier, it was in my opinion, just undrinkable…… even by my standards.