A few weeks ago Nate, Sergio, and I went back to Blind Lady Ale House to talk to Lee. We spoke with him near the start of our homebrew career and he told us that if we ever had a beer we wanted him to try, to bring it in. After our most recent failure we decided it was time to take him up on his offer.
We took our latest marzen in a 22oz and found him speaking with some customers. He greeted us and then poured four glasses, one for each of us. He smelled it, looked up, and said, "that's (messed) up." He didn't even need to drink it to know it was a failed batch. We then had an extended conversation about sanitation and all the various steps in the process that can introduce contamination.
We went back and reviewed every process of our operation, replacing pieces that were old, returning to our most stringent procedures. We also built a wort chiller from scrap at home depot to reduce the cooling process from overnight to 10 minutes. We recently tested out these changes with our first brown ale which we bottled this past Saturday.
We're excited to see if our changes made a difference. We'll let you know.