Chapter 21

Is My Beer Ruined?

(Probably Not)

This phrase has got to be the most frequently asked question by new brewers, and usually the answer is "No." Depending on the cause, it might end up with an odd flavor or aroma, but you will still be able to drink it and chalk it up as another lesson on the way to brewing that perfect beer. Although a lot can potentially go wrong with a batch, most problems arise from just a couple of root causes. If the recipe was good and you used quality ingredients, there are three main culprits: poor sanitation, bad yeast or the wrong temperature. Most problems become noticeable once the beer is in the fermentor and nothing (or something weird) is happening. Let's examine some common symptoms and their possible causes.