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Old 02-08-2013, 09:09 PM   #21
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http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-1.html is the reference I used for cleaning stainless steel with bleach
thanks for the link. I was thinking at first "yeah do bleach" and then google said it would pit SS so I said what I said. JP certainly knows better than me !
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:43 PM   #22
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Cleaning and disinfecting is not really a mystery, it's easy to kill stuff. Even the toughest stuf doenst stand a chance against bleach. If you've taken everything apart and disinfected it(from the keg to the faucet). The taste can not be coming from your draft system, it has to be something else. Have you taken apart your faucets down to the idividual parts? Did any beer backflow into you gas lines......

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Old 02-09-2013, 07:52 PM   #23
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It sounds like you had your infection before you took the beer out of the fridge temps, the fridge temps were just keeping the infection in check.
Agreed. I'd be looking at anything that touched the wort between the end of fermentation and going in the keg.

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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.
It's very likely an infection in your racking cane, transfer tubing, or other equipment that touches the beer post fermentation. A tiny infection in something like transfer tubing may only transfer small amounts of bacteria/wild yeast to the beer that passes through it, and in some cases not enough for an infection to take hold in the beer. I once had an infection that I eventually narrowed down to a bottling wand. Only ~1/4 of the beers bottled with that wand ended up infected though.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:55 PM   #24
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Have you considered the equipment you are using to transfer to the keg? Hoses autosiphon?

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Old 02-09-2013, 07:56 PM   #25
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Agreed. I'd be looking at anything that touched the wort between the end of fermentation and the going in the keg.



It's very likely an infection in your racking cane, transfer tubing, or other equipment that touches the beer post fermentation. A tiny infection in something like transfer tubing may only transfer small amounts of bacteria/wild yeast to the beer that passes through it, and in some cases not enough for an infection to take hold in the beer. I once had an infection that I eventually narrowed down to a bottling wand. Only ~1/4 of the beers bottled with that wand ended up infected though.
Yea I am with this guy check your hoses. Racking can.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:57 PM   #26
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Last weekend I cleaned all three of my corny kegs. Did the scrub with dish soap, rinsed with water, added bleach (70ml for the 5 gallons) to water that topped off each keg, rinsed with boiling water, and then filled with water and PBW. I let that sit overnight and then rinsed thoroughly with water before adding StarSan solution, letting that sit for the last week.

Today I emptied the kegs and noticed a white residue around the lower lip of the rubber seal on the removable lid. As I emptied each keg I noticed a few white globules and some dendrite-looking whitish forms. I could see the a similar whitish residue on portions of the side chamber inside the keg also. I'm definitely going to rinse these again and then reapply StarSan before racking my bear, but I just wanted to make sure this wasn't some other type of infection and was only probable residue from the StarSan.

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Old 02-19-2013, 01:42 AM   #27
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It's probably just the star San reacting with the minerals in the water. I get a similar residue if I leave it it for a week.

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Old 02-21-2013, 06:33 AM   #28
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So far, so good with the cleaning. Time will tell if the problem is truly solved. I'll taste it again before I hook up any lines to the kegs, just to make sure that if any problem develop they would be more likely to have come from them rather than the keg. Now all I have to do is figure out the best pitching rate for my lagers so they stop developing this annoying sulfur/sweet diacetyl taste! Hopefully, this remains my biggest worry for at least the next few months...

Thanks for all the help everyone, but I would like to note again the following: I used the same equipment over a 6 month period (and about 3-4 brews per keg) but only had a problem with 2 of 3 kegs, and I had cleaned all 3 kegs thoroughly but obviously not enough to stop a distinct sour-/vinegar-like smell from developing in one keg that had just been Star San'd. I understand that an infection needs food to feed on and cannot exist in a "clean" beer spontaneously. That is why these particular facts confused me so much.

Also, it had nothing to do with my fermenters or siphon because the samples I drew and stored in growlers were unaffected. It only started in the keg, and only two of the three I had even though all are stored the same way and handled with the same recycled (cleaned and sanitized) connections. That is what stumped me, and from what I can gather from the previous responses, also seemed implausible to many. Yet, despite my "approved" cleaning methods resulting in a lack of bacteria, it somehow survived a PBW soak and a StarSan coating BUT only in two of three of my kegs.

I cannot explain it, and from the advice I have been given here it seems that my situation was an impossibility, but I can only hope that the symptoms do not return! I shall drink to this and chalk this up to Murphy's Law, rather than find a specific flaw. At the very least I have become more sanitary minded and will take what I have learned with me as I brew more. Thanks again for the support everyone.

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Old 02-21-2013, 07:16 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Aloha_Brew
So far, so good with the cleaning. Time will tell if the problem is truly solved. I'll taste it again before I hook up any lines to the kegs, just to make sure that if any problem develop they would be more likely to have come from them rather than the keg. Now all I have to do is figure out the best pitching rate for my lagers so they stop developing this annoying sulfur/sweet diacetyl taste! Hopefully, this remains my biggest worry for at least the next few months...

Thanks for all the help everyone, but I would like to note again the following: I used the same equipment over a 6 month period (and about 3-4 brews per keg) but only had a problem with 2 of 3 kegs, and I had cleaned all 3 kegs thoroughly but obviously not enough to stop a distinct sour-/vinegar-like smell from developing in one keg that had just been Star San'd. I understand that an infection needs food to feed on and cannot exist in a "clean" beer spontaneously. That is why these particular facts confused me so much.

Also, it had nothing to do with my fermenters or siphon because the samples I drew and stored in growlers were unaffected. It only started in the keg, and only two of the three I had even though all are stored the same way and handled with the same recycled (cleaned and sanitized) connections. That is what stumped me, and from what I can gather from the previous responses, also seemed implausible to many. Yet, despite my "approved" cleaning methods resulting in a lack of bacteria, it somehow survived a PBW soak and a StarSan coating BUT only in two of three of my kegs.

I cannot explain it, and from the advice I have been given here it seems that my situation was an impossibility, but I can only hope that the symptoms do not return! I shall drink to this and chalk this up to Murphy's Law, rather than find a specific flaw. At the very least I have become more sanitary minded and will take what I have learned with me as I brew more. Thanks again for the support everyone.
Speaking of the sulfer/sweet taste, that may be because the pitching temp is too high. It lowers the amount of yeast cells from developing and start to cause the cells to produce a lot of waste that cannot be eaten up later in the conditioning phase because they spent too much time early in the initial pitching trying to eat sugars instead of dividing like they are supposed to. Try pitching at a lower temp and let it gradually come up to the desired temp. The yeast cells will then be able to acclimate to the environment, divide into a ton of healthy cells which will be important later when they are able to eat much more complex sugars and waste products from earlier cells.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:19 PM   #30
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A couple things to ponder on:

If it really does taste like vinegar, the metabolic pathway that turns alcohol into acetic acid is an aerobic one. Depending on various degassing methods many vintners have a tendency to aerate their wines to some extent post primary, but this rarely turns said to vinegar. Acetobacter / Mother of vinegar is basically on everything and is extremely tolerant of low PH, thats why wine makes use sulfates and not starsan in their sanitation processes. Acetobacter shouldn't ruin a beer unless it's severely oxidized. If you're force carbonating with bottled CO2 and purging all the air out of the keg before hand, it's unlikely to be acetobacter.

If it doesn't taste like brett or lacto, you could consider the possibility that the steel of your keg has become porous somehow and is leeching out some nastiness that it dissolved during storage. The fact that the flavor comes out gradually and cleaning and sanitizing doesn't fix the two out of three that are effected could point to leeching.

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