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Old 06-06-2011, 06:38 PM   #1
beardy_mcfacialhair
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Default Brett infection - 3rd beer in a row?

So I've just had my 3rd beer in a row show signs of infection after 5-7 weeks of bottle conditioning. In all 3, the change in flavor has been really sudden, like beer drinking fine one day, open another a few days later and it has a distinct brett flavor, reminds me of brett b. Every subsequent beer has the same character. Nothing really consistent between the 3 batches. Only one went to a secondary (heavily dry hopped). Different carboys. No sign of infection either visible, aroma, or flavor prior to bottling. Bottles sanitized in dishwasher on hi-temp sanitize setting.

My 2nd infected beer, a hefeweizen, is actually really nice with the brett character and does not seem to be overcarbonating in the bottle (this seems odd to me).

After the first infected beer, I did a long hot diluted bleach soak on my fermenters (glass) and bottling bucket, followed by a long Star San soak. Replaced autosiphon, bottling wand, hoses, etc. (was too late for the hefeweizen, already in bottles by the time I discovered the first). But just this weekend, I popped one of the 3rd batch, a red IPA, and the same distinct brett aroma and flavor was there. No sign of it last weekend.

Has anyone had experience with this before? A sudden onset of brett character in a bottle conditioned beer?

Any advice? Is it possible I've just contaminated my 1 bedroom apartment with my couple of wild/sour/brett beers I've brewed in the last 9 months?

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Old 06-06-2011, 10:41 PM   #2
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Did you replace the bottle bucket spigot??

could be the apartment/environment...i dunno.

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Old 06-06-2011, 10:49 PM   #3
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I've used Brett before without any problems, although I did designate a racking cane and siphon tube for wild beers only after I made it. My rule of thumb has been if brett touches plastic, that plastic is used for brett beers only from then on. Glass and stainless steel are easy enough to clean. But the brett can hide in little scratches in the plastics. You might want to replace your bottling wand, spigots, buckets, hoses, and canes that have been used for brett beers.

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Old 06-06-2011, 10:53 PM   #4
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Could be a lot of things. How do you cool your wort? How long does it sit exposed? You use ice and if so where do you get it? It is probably something that happens before it even gets in the fermenter. Another issue is how you sanitize your bottles. I've opened up several old (over year old) extract batches from back when I used the dishwasher on sanitize cycle that had turned into gushers. Maybe your dishwasher didn't sanitize as well as expected?
I started leaving all my bottles submerged in starsan until right before I bottled and no other problems.
this has been long (been drinking post) saying, you are going to have to go through your process from beginning to end and look for every opportunity where and infection would come in.
By the way, if it really turns out to be brett in your apt, capture that and harvest it. You can make some good money selling bugs!

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Old 06-07-2011, 12:08 AM   #5
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I would get a new bottling bucket, just delicate your current one to funky beer. I do suspect your dishwasher, you could try oven sanitization (you can almost sterilize) if you don't want to use starsan or something similar.

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Old 06-07-2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
Did you replace the bottle bucket spigot??

could be the apartment/environment...i dunno.
I didn't. Probably should have but opted to disassemble, bleach sanitize, and put back together - maybe I didn't get something hiding in there.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyebrewing View Post
Could be a lot of things. How do you cool your wort? How long does it sit exposed? You use ice and if so where do you get it? It is probably something that happens before it even gets in the fermenter. Another issue is how you sanitize your bottles. I've opened up several old (over year old) extract batches from back when I used the dishwasher on sanitize cycle that had turned into gushers. Maybe your dishwasher didn't sanitize as well as expected?
I started leaving all my bottles submerged in starsan until right before I bottled and no other problems.
this has been long (been drinking post) saying, you are going to have to go through your process from beginning to end and look for every opportunity where and infection would come in.
By the way, if it really turns out to be brett in your apt, capture that and harvest it. You can make some good money selling bugs!
I use an immersion chiller (sanitized) - my cooling times are usually around 20 minutes. I am leaning more towards believing the point of infection occurs around bottling time since even with a long primary or secondary (one beer was about 10 weeks before bottling), I had no sign of infection until 5-7 weeks in the bottle.

I went with the star-san soak on my bottles with my latest beer, an american brown ale. Close to 5 weeks in the bottle and tasting fine so far. Maybe the dishwasher was really insufficient at sanitizing. Anyone else had issues with this? I feel like the dishwasher is (was) a fairly trusted method...
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:35 PM   #8
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I would buy a new bucket or fermentor. There could be a scratch or something that the Brett is living in. Brett is a fickle mistress who loves to infect everything!

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Old 06-08-2011, 02:46 PM   #9
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you gatta clean that spigot....when you take it apart I can guarantee there will be little nasties living in the nooks and crannies.

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Old 08-07-2011, 07:35 AM   #10
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Does star san kill Brett?

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