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Old 02-08-2013, 05:19 PM   #11
Aloha_Brew
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Originally Posted by -MG- View Post
This has me worried about a 'taste' I've seen from a few of my kegs (haven't seen if its the same one). Few of my beers had a similar taste to it no matter the style, but I think that could be something else.

But this is pretty scary. I wonder if you could do an acid rinse of some sort on a corny to get EVERYTHING out.
I've seen various discussions about infections as I've researched this. There is something called "house taste" which develops among your personal palette, to the point that local bacteria and wild yeast might get introduced to your beer process over time while you just grow accustomed to it. Supposedly, homebrewers are more susceptible to this and develop an outbreak after a certain amount of batches made while commercial breweries often take longer to reach a similar point.

I know that lacto-bacillus is more of a sour taste and brett develops more of a horse/ hay flavor and acetobacter is a distinct vinegar/ acetic acid flavor. While the first two develop taste slowly over fermentation/ storage they are often overwhelmed by the larger amounts of yeast we throw in. this acetobacter though is kicking my yeasts' collective butts. You'd definitely know you had a problem if you have what I have. Good luck with your stuff though!
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:24 PM   #12
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I don't think you can safely bleach stainless steel.
Try 1 cup vinegar to 5 gallons -- in addition to what the guy above me said re replacing all plastic.
Soak overnight, rinse with super hot (boiling even) water. I would then try a second round of a different cleaner like oxiclean.

I would also replace, not clean, all keg lines.

Sucks to hear about this!
http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-1.html is the reference I used for cleaning stainless steel with bleach; John Palmer's How to Brew. Gonna definitely try the boiling water and then go for bleach and then PBW again (a more expensive oxy-based cleaner). Will also replace all my keg lines though, just in case, even though I soaked them in the PBW before as noted.

Oh, and unfortunately, it is currently swimming in vinegar of sorts... :P
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:28 PM   #13
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You might try steaming. Get a large metal funnel and invert it in a pot (turkey fryer is good) of boiling water. Place the keg over it for 15 minutes....

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Old 02-08-2013, 05:31 PM   #14
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I have a hunch that your keezer itself is infected. You're brewing the beer, and it's fine, as you're not fermenting inside the keezer (at least that's what I presume). You then put the fermenter in the keezer to cold-age/lager, and the exterior of the fermenter is picking up acetobacter while it's in there. As you rack from the now-tainted fermenter (on the exterior), your hands or other instruments are touching that tainted fermenter, and infecting the beer as it goes in the keg.
I actually do place my glass carboy (6.5 gallons) with the usual 5-5.5 gallons of beer to ferment in my deep chest freezer, regulating the temperature with a controller. I then transfer it from that priamry directly into my keg...using it as a secondary/ lager and just serve it from there using party taps, not any type of kegerator setup.

I don't think it is my freezer that is infected per se, as the third keg I mentioned does not show any signs of this infection (and had never been exposed during my move like the other two were) and the amount of beer I put into my growler from the same kegged Oktoberfest is not infected either. It does make sense to clean it out though and I will take up your recommendation to do so. Thanks man.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:45 PM   #15
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Simply leaving a sealed, purged keg of beer at temps above 80 for a few days will NOT spoil the beer. I routinely rack beers from primary to a corny keg and let them sit for several weeks, like a month or two at room temps around 74-76. As long as they are properly sealed and purged, that's the same idea as a secondary fermentation, and would not lead to spoilage for several months without other factors at play.
You had the infection before that point.
I understand how that would make sense but why would only two out of three kegs be infected when they have been handled the same way, unless it had something to do with the beer that was inside them (as they maintained CO2 and pressure even with the beer in the two. Before my move I had kept everything within the same deep freezers and onlythose two same kegs have those problems. So, I know it had to be in those kegs.

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Definitely soak in bleach for 24-48 hours, then soak in hotwater baking soda solution for 24 hours to get rid of the bleach smell, then soak in hotwater PBW/OxyClean solution for another 24 hours, then soak in hotwater StarSan solution for another 24 hours. Do all of this with the keg posts, tubes, and lid at the bottom of the keg to soak. Replace all of the O-rings in the keg posts and lid, as well as all of your kegorator lines.

That'll do the trick! That's how I clean and sanatize the kegs I use bacteria and wild yeast in.
Sounds very thorough, but I've read that prolonged periods (greater than an hour) with bleach in stainless steel can lead to corrosion and pitting. What's your ratio bleach:water? Also, I have party taps, not a kegerator setup.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:49 PM   #16
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I've had similar issues with a diacetyl off flavor and my kegs. I've swapped out almost everything plastic and not I am trying new kegs, tubing, faucets. Fortunately the off flavor isn't terrible and the beer is drinkable.

Check you bev tubing, shank and faucet. Really disassemble and scrub them clean. Use form BLC on your tubing.
Diacetyl wouldn't be an infection though, but a process where oxygen somehow gets introduced into the wort and beer over time. That's why there is a diacetyl rest at higher temps to allow it to "evaporate" out for lack of a better term. I think that was my initial problem with my Oktoberfest I just made, as I can still taste a definite sweetness in my growler. That'll be my next thing to conquer after this bacteria problem.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:53 PM   #17
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I would try a bleach solution for the kegs. While it will oxidize stainless, it's not a problem if left for only a few hours. Just don't leave bleach in stainless for days. After you rinse the bleack out well , re passivate and sanitize with a star San solution. I would throw away all rubber, and replace the lines. Them take apart your disconnects as well as shanks and faucets and clean then boil all parts.
I think I'm resigned to the fact that boiling water and a bleach solution, followed by another PBW cleaning before and after these processes, is my next tasking. I really don't want to toss these kegs, somehow develop another infection later on, and be in the same situation. This really sucks by the way...can't even RWHAHB!!!
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:55 PM   #18
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You might try steaming. Get a large metal funnel and invert it in a pot (turkey fryer is good) of boiling water. Place the keg over it for 15 minutes....
Can't think of a way to regulate a specific temp though or even if it can be done without ruining the rubber/plastic ends which must be sealed to the keg cylinder with some sort of glue. Kind of hesitant to even add boiling water, but I don't have much choice unfortunately.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:31 PM   #19
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why would only two out of three kegs be infected
You said the third keg didn't have any beer in it. Bacteria need something to eat to propogate. No food supply = no bacteria growth.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #20
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Like someone else said, heat only encourages bacteria to grow. I usually wait until I have about 4 dirty kegs and then clean all at once so they can sit all summer in my garage at very high temp and still smell like beer when I open them up to clean.

In general it is pretty hard to get infections but if something sets in it can be a living hell. This is where you break everything down, kegerator in/out lines, weldless fittings, ball valves, everything to its most basic level. Soak it in a cleaner and sanitize. Its not a matter of trying different sanitizers, if you used Starsan, iodopher or whatever and you still have the issue, its because you are missing where it is coming from. Clean your surface areas of your brew area, fridges, kegerator, or whatever equipment you have. Replace your plastic, tubing, and o-rings. Its a lot of work and expense but nothing can make one give up on such a great hobby like having a brewhouse infection issue. Good luck.

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