About a week ago, I racked my Golden Road Pro-Am Mystery Hop Beer (tentatively called Rule 34) to secondary. I also pulled one gallon out of the five into a smaller carboy and dry-hopped with 3/4 ounce of the mystery hop, just to see how that would taste. The competition instructions encouraged us to feature the hops, and I thought that was a worthy experiment.
This morning, while preparing to bottle both brews, I discovered what looked like an ugly infection on the surface of the large carboy:
It looks pretty nasty, and I had a big old sad.
Luckily, the dry-hopped gallon is fine and healthy, so I think that’s what I’ll submit into the contest.
But here’s the thing: I popped the airlock out of the carboy and took a big smell (Thinly rolling for a Smell Check and getting a critical success). It didn’t smell sour or gross or off at all. Intrigued, I pulled a few ounces into a glass (using massively sanitized equipment, of course) and tasted it. It didn’t taste weird to me at all, so I asked Anne to taste it, and she also thought it tasted fine.
So I suppose it’s possible that what I thought was an infection is actually something yeasty that looks bad (there is a big, ugly whitish bubble on top, which is what really makes me nervous) but isn’t a problem. If it is infected, I’m worried about bottle bombs, so I decided to keg that four-ish gallons and let it naturally carbonate right up until it’s time to submit my bottles. I’ll use my beer gun to bottle some, and then make a decision about submitting the dry-hopped version or this one. At the very least, I’ll submit the dry-hopped version and hope for the best.
And if the infected(?) batch is drinkable, I’m calling it Patient Zero Pale Ale.