How do you know if your brew has gone bad?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

When it comes to brewing beer, it’s important to have patience and not jump to conclusions too quickly. It can be tempting to dump a batch if something seems off, but before you make that decision, there are a few things to consider.

Firstly, unless you see visible signs of mold or other obvious signs of infection, it’s best not to assume that your beer has gone bad. Sometimes, during the fermentation process, the beer can develop unusual flavors or aromas that might make you question its quality. However, these flavors can often mellow out and become more balanced as the beer carbonates and ages in the bottle.

So, my first piece of advice is to reserve judgment until your beer is fully carbonated. Carbonation can make a significant difference in the overall taste and mouthfeel of your brew. Sometimes, what initially seems odd or unpleasant can actually transform into a more enjoyable drinking experience once the beer has conditioned properly.

It’s also worth mentioning that different beer styles have different flavor profiles, and what might seem strange to you could be completely normal for a particular style. For example, some Belgian beers have funky or sour characteristics that may take some getting used to if you’re not familiar with them.

If you’re still unsure about the quality of your beer after it has carbonated, give it some time in the bottle. Flavors can continue to develop and evolve over time, so what tastes odd initially might become more pleasant with a little aging. I’ve had batches that I initially thought were ruined, only to find that they improved significantly after a few weeks or even months in the bottle.

Of course, there are cases where a batch truly has gone bad. If you notice visible signs of mold or a strong off-flavor that is unmistakably unpleasant, then it’s probably best to discard the beer. Trust your senses and use your judgment in these situations. But remember, if you’re not sure, it’s best to give it some more time rather than prematurely dumping a potentially good batch.

Don’t be too quick to dump a batch of beer unless you’re certain it’s infected or has visible mold. Reserve judgment until the beer is fully carbonated and give it some time in the bottle to develop. Trust your senses, but also be open to the possibility that what initially seems odd or off may actually improve with time. Brewing beer is a process that requires patience, and sometimes the best results come to those who wait.