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Long story short, I have a wheat beer that has a weird band-aid phenol that isn't going away. Rather than dumping, I thought I would try racking to a new fermentor, adding chopped dried apricots, and pitching a bit more yeast.

The only issue is that this beer has already been carbonated with forced CO2. Is it possible to take a carbonated, flawed beer back to the drawing board?

More simply, if a beer has carbonation, is it possible to conduct a secondary fermentation?


This actually turned out quite well. Not ideal, but better than dumping it. Not huge on fruit beer, but great aromatics, very clean and drinkable, wslightly acetic/tart. Good move to try to save a beer (in lieu of the fruit, sour,age method!)

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Sometimes, it's just best to admit you've got a dumper and move on to the next beer. –  baka Aug 29 '12 at 18:10
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Agreed, just make another beer. If you can't muster drinking it, donate the current to a charity or homeless shelter. –  hartski Aug 29 '12 at 18:26
    
...because the homeless need beer? –  JoeFish Aug 29 '12 at 21:09
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@JoeFish ...absolutely. –  hartski Aug 29 '12 at 21:41
    
admit defeat? Nah. As a Clark Griswold disciple, I will instead futz and mess around with this until I have thrown good money, time, and hope after bad. –  Pietro Aug 30 '12 at 13:42
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3 Answers 3

I don't think that having CO2 in solution will really affect fermentation or aging one way or another. The last lager I made was actually slightly carbonated after primary, presumably due to the cold temperature allowing more CO2 to stay in solution.

If you transfer it while carbonated, be careful to do it slowly and preferably cold to avoid foaming. If you're going to put it back in a fermenter at atmospheric pressure, you might vent the keg slowly over a couple hours to get some of the CO2 out before you start.

However, if this is just a last-ditch effort to save the beer, why don't you just leave it in the keg and add your apricots or whatnot? Or just let it sit for a couple months and see what happens.

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because its my only keg and I want to serve it over labor day! (now have a dynamite California Common it in with a quick force-carb (hopefully)). I think this hair-brained scheme went reasonably well with respect to the wheat that has become an apricot wheat...will report back in a few weeks on how the beer tastes! –  Pietro Aug 30 '12 at 3:55
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I read somewhere that high CO2 concentrations are not good for yeast. But if you leave it at atmospheric pressure for a couple of days and let it warm-up to standard fermentation temperatures, the CO2 will come out of solution. Then you can pitch the yeast and whatever yeast food you want. –  Dale Sep 1 '12 at 12:08
    
Way too late to help, but I wonder whether carbonating would change the pH in a way the yeast would not like... –  Keith Hoffman Oct 4 '12 at 9:23
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CO2 in solution does affect the yeast because it lowers the pH. Yeast don't particularly like low pH. Some mead stuck fermentations can be unstuck by adding calcium carbonate to lower the pH.

I would use the CO2 in the keg to force out the beer into the fermenter. The outgassing CO2 will quickly fill the fermenter headspace and just about eliminate oxidation. The CO2 will continue to outgas (and take some of those nasty aromatics with it, which you welcome) and by the time the yeast starts fermenting the fruit, virtually all the CO2 will have outgassed.

Just be careful to sanitize the fruit you're adding. The way I sanitize my fruit is that I freeze it and then dip it briefly into boiling water. It's the outsides you need to sanitize. I froze my fruit because I didn't want to cook it during the quick dip. Freezing also breaks open the fruit so it's more accessible to the yeast.

Finally, make sure you use unsulfured dried fruit.

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Sorry my friend.

Phenolic acids do not go away.

Phenolic acids arise during Hydrolysis, and most importantly through ATP when glucose is being converted into Ethyl alcohols.

There are a few different phenols in beer. The medicinal/bandaidy ones are typically the chlorophenols, which occur when chlorine from the water or from bleach chemically bond with the normal phenols produced by the yeast.

The main phenol beer people look for has a clove flavor. That is from the Belgian/Hef yeast that produces that particular phenolic acid. In many beers it is a flaw, but it is indeed often intentional for certain beers.

Some ways to fix Phenols: I could first check for infection, check yeast strain and health, and lower fermentation temperature.

The following link talks about phenols from Mash/Sparge to PH of Water used.

http://www.winning-homebrew.com/phenolic-flavors.html

Hope this helps!

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