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Re: All Malt Grain-In Fermentation Problem

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  • azeotech
    No worries, does sound like a possible lactic or other bacterial infection of some sort. I haven t smelt butanol on it s own, but do know what acetone smells
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 24, 2010
      No worries, does sound like a possible lactic or other bacterial infection of some sort. I haven't smelt butanol on it's own, but do know what acetone smells like, and the results I've had were some weird mixture of acetone and another sharp, rank alcohol smell that seemed to be able to be blamed on bacteria. Not like vomit though, definitely thinners!

      Yep, can be hard cleaning a still after an event like that.

      The course could be - flush throughly including any column and condensor parts. A vinegar run (or two), followed by a run with water with a small amount of coarse ground rye added (as reccomended by some copper still-makers)could help. A couple of final "sacrificial" sugar washes may also help flush out the taint, and also give a good indication of any remaining hints. The feints sound like a good idea!

      All-grain mashes (but also any mash)can be a bit susceptible to infection soon after primary fermentation. The general rule seems to be to get it in the still as soon as possible before "off-flavours" or infection result (although rum may be an exception).

      If the sugars aren't fully converted, at least the wash could be used as backslop for following runs...

      Asking some questions on home-distiller and artisan distillers (if not already)could be worthwhile too, plenty of experienced 'stillers on both sites... good luck!

      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "ballard_bootlegger" <meriwetherdistilleries@...> wrote:
      > Thanks for the ideas! The smell wasn't acetone and I'm not sure I know
      > what butanol smells like (if that's the paint thinner smell it did not
      > smell like butanol either), it's hard to explain the smell, it's almost
      > like a mild but rotten vomit smell... So I suppose that is the acid
      > taking hold, and potentially the bacteria mentioned above. What ever
      > the problem, the biggest mistake was putting it in the still. My boiler
      > is a converted water heater so it's hard to get thoroughly clean. After
      > distilling some water though to clean the nastiness I figured it was
      > ready for a nice batch of corn whiskey... Yuck, it came with a little
      > green/yellow coloring and had some seriously strange temp readings for
      > how strong the chemical was being pulled.
      > This morning I loaded about four gallons of vodka feints that I am going
      > to equilibrate in hopes to really clear everything out. I'll keep you
      > posted!
      > Whitney.
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