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Majikcook 01-21-2005 10:51 PM

Contamination
 
Hey all, brewing 1st batch and have read enough to know contamination is not a good thing for your beer. Everything seems to be to plan and just got into secondary. But.. how do you know if it's contaminated?
Is it a taste thing or anything visual?
All replies appreciated!

NUCC98 01-22-2005 01:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Majikcook
Hey all, brewing 1st batch and have read enough to know contamination is not a good thing for your beer. Everything seems to be to plan and just got into secondary. But.. how do you know if it's contaminated?
Is it a taste thing or anything visual?
All replies appreciated!

I think you can tell from the smell. But one of the vets could shed more light on that....

Janx 01-24-2005 01:25 AM

Put it this way: You can tell.

Sometimes there are visual clues (scummy layer on top, greasy looking bubbles). Often it will smell funky (tangy, piney, etc, etc). Usually it'll taste really REALLY nasty. Like you wouldn't want to drink it.

There are a bunch of different "flavors" of infection. I don't know their names, but I've run into several of them over the years and can tell them by smell. In the end, you won't want to drink your beer because it tastes so bad. That means it's infected.

If you were careful, your beer isn't infected. With good sanitation and a big yeast pitch, it rarely goes wrong.

Janx

Witbier 01-25-2005 03:32 PM

I've had a couple of yeast starters go bad. They had a odors that left no doubt that they had gone bad... very foul smell. As long as your batch smells ok, 99.9% chance it is.

rightwingnut 01-25-2005 04:32 PM

What about drinking contaminated beer? Will you get sick, or get a bad stomach?

Janx 01-25-2005 04:45 PM

Nope...you probably wouldn't be able to drink enough of it at any rate...

Now, if you choke down a gallon or two of the stuff, you may feel queasy, but it's one of those things that usually doesn't get that far. ;)

As far as I know, you can't get a truly toxic infection (salmonella, etc) in beer. It's just not the right environment.

NUCC98 01-25-2005 05:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janx
Nope...you probably wouldn't be able to drink enough of it at any rate...

Now, if you choke down a gallon or two of the stuff, you may feel queasy, but it's one of those things that usually doesn't get that far. ;)

As far as I know, you can't get a truly toxic infection (salmonella, etc) in beer. It's just not the right environment.

We used to ferment Cider up at school using raisins in gallon milk bottles. Couple friends of mine fermented a bit too long, and I think they ended up with cider vinegar...but, well, being desperate college kids in the middle of nowhere, they drank it anyway...I'm pretty sure there was some degree of sickness involved...I mean, not counting the mental amount...heheh...

tipsymonkey 01-25-2005 10:22 PM

I just moved my batch from the primary to the secondary, and when i move it I took a smell and it was the first time that I've made a batch and seriously thought it had been contaminated. It didn't smell bad, but it didn't smell good either, so I moved it over and in the process got a bit in a cup to taste. It didn't taste horrible, but what it did taste like was watered down. its sitting now in teh secondary hopefully it will turn out ok.

Janx 01-25-2005 10:29 PM

Watered down flavor is no biggie. The taste of infection is usually a horrid horrid thing. Like just freaking awful. I bet you're OK if it wasn't outwardly disgusting.

rightwingnut 01-26-2005 12:12 AM

OK, so how do the Belgians get away with it with their Lambics? They leave the wort (prononuced "wert"...ick!) exposed overnight to be "spontaneously fermented" by wild yeast and bacteria. What, they just have really yummy bacteria over there? That's not fair! I have a homebrew buzz right now, and I think I like it. :D


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