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What Causes Sour Homebrew Beer?

By October 1, 2016Blog

Every homebrewer has had this experience: You followed a recipe, you brewed your beer and the moment of truth has arrived!

You crack one open, take a sip… And wonder if you can find a way to politely spit it out because it is – to put it mildly – not what you were expecting.

Sometimes, this is a happy accident. Sure, the result is not really what you had in mind, but it’s not half bad either. And sometimes it’s something, like overwhelming sourness, that makes you literally cry in your beer. Let’s look at some of the causes of sour homebrew beer so you can avoid this “surprise” in the future.

Bacteria: The Sworn Enemy of Good Beer

An overgrowth of bacteria is the bane of the brew master’s existence. From flat beer to face-pinching sourness, these little critters are often to blame. To help avoid this problem, make sure you review the proper beer equipment sanitation process before your next batch.

Be Patient With Your Beer

You know the saying “a watched pot never boils?” It’s kind of the same for beer in the midst of brewing – opening the fermenter during the process does not speed things up. In fact, it slows fermentation down, and messes with the delicate balance of the beer, thus risking a whole bunch of unpleasant changes to the flavour – including sourness.

Check the Thermostat

As we know, beer has been around in some form or another for thousands of years, long before we had the ability to control the temperature indoors. However, that doesn’t mean that end results were always delicious. The scarcity of other available options led people in the dark ages to drink beer even when it was bad, those poor souls.

However, now we have the means to be picky, and one cause of sour beer is fermentation at a higher-than-ideal temperature. If you have checked your sanitation procedures, and you’re not opening the fermenter during brewing, it might be time to investigate cooling options in your brewing space.

Don’t think of a bad homebrew result as a failure, think of it as an opportunity to apply what you learned to your next batch. Every beer recipe, even one that doesn’t turn out quite as expected, is made better with fresh ingredients. Order fresh hops online to get started on your next batch!