After all the effort to brew a clean beer after all the infections, after brewing up a new recipe, after finding that the conical was still infected, after deciding to sour the whole batch and fermenter for good, after working up a great plan, wet cardboard! The conical is opaque so I can't see what is going on inside. Last night I popped the top to see if any progress had been made in 5 days (no, it hadn't), to find an odd smell. I flipped a couple of the oak cubes over since they had some yeast slurry on top of them, and when I pulled my hand back it hit me... oxidized! The conical also holds about 8.5 gallons, so 3 gallons of beer and 5.5 gallons of head space in a plastic conical is not a good thing. I pulled a sample and the taste is the same, wet cardboard. I grabbed as many 2L soda bottles (PET just like Better Bottles) as I could and Oxicleaned them quick, then ran off the beer into them and sealed them up in an attempt to save it from a total bust, we'll see if that worked in about 5 months when I reopen them for gravity and sampling. If not, then I can use them to inoculate other sours. If so, we proceed as planned. I am hoping for the latter.
BTW, the smell of oxidized beer does not wash off easily, nor does it make for a good night's rest when you put your hand near your face.