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Old 02-21-2013, 02:55 PM   #31
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After really cleaning the corny and replacing every oring, how about dropping a campden tablet in before transfering beer?

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Old 02-21-2013, 03:09 PM   #32
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Is there a lab that you can send samples off too and get results for an affordable price?

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Old 02-21-2013, 04:49 PM   #33
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[QUOTE=Aloha_Brew;4878739] The only thing I haven't done so far is to attempt to sterilize with boiling water, bleach and water solution, or steam/ autoclave (to which I have no idea how to accomplish it even if I wasn't afraid it would render the attached rubber/ plastic completely useless).

Just for the record, kegs are autoclavable! Some rubber tops get softer than others temporarily while hot, but I've not had a problem doing this. Once they cool I've had no issues with the handles - or poppets, or any seals.

I'd give a serious look to everything you use, not just the kegs, in your search for the source of contamination.

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Old 02-21-2013, 07:17 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishfoolz View Post
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.
I'm fairly sure that it's the amount of yeast that I have been pitching, or the lack thereof, that is causing the sulfur taste. I'm not too sure about the diacetyl though, whether that is increased by the supposedly stressed yeast or if I'm somehow introducing too much oxygen during my whole brewing process. I got another thread that had addressed this topic.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:21 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Premnasbiaculeatus View Post
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.
Well that would just suck, as it sounds as if I can't do anything to stop this leeching process from occuring again in the future... I'm hoping that such a situation does not apply to me, but I will keep on eye out for a reoccurance. I can only think that I didn't replace the poppets and relief valve on the removable cover before and that's what was causing it. I've changed those out with new ones, spending a pretty penny altogether, and would hate to think that I would have been better off just buying a new keg.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:32 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_mil_guy View Post
After really cleaning the corny and replacing every oring, how about dropping a campden tablet in before transfering beer?
I bought campden tablets for future cleanings, after each use, but I figured if bleach/ boiling water/ PBW/ StarSan didn't solve the problem then a campden tablet would not have been able to do much more. Before I transferred beer into the kegs a few days ago, and after the StarSan question I asked a few posts ago, I did not notice any further sour/ vinegary smell. It had not been sitting for long with any exposure to air for any long period though. I'm hoping I fixed the problem and I'm back to active prevention rather than actively combating another infection.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:42 AM   #37
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Well, it would seem as if all my efforts were for nothing. I have been dispensing my recent pilsner over the last four days and yesterday noticed a slight "huskiness" (the best way I can describe the onset) to it. Today it had less huskiness and more of a malt vinegar bite and smell. It is definitely still drinkable and I will "monitor" the severity of the taste over the bext couple days, but I fear the worst.

Once I'm done with this keg I'll try my Helles and then the Dopple, just to make sure the infection didn't also end up in them. I believe that I will have to cease my brewing for the next couple months, or at least the kegging, to save up for brand new kegs. I've done all I can and I can't think of anything else I could possibly do that wasn't covered in some other fashion by my previous efforts.

A side note: when I bought the kegs they were definitely used, having surface scratches and dents as well as similar evidence if use on the inside. I don't know why this problem has only manifested in two of three (only one of the two I had shipped from kegconnection, and the one I had purchased from my local HBS) but I fully understand that the infection SHOULD NOT be living in the keg and originated from outside; as I've not found any evidence of leaching in steel kegs that imparts the same type of flavor I have, increasing over time and only manifesting after 6 months of use. So, I will save up and buy some brand new kegs and dispensing hoses.

Thanks for all the advice guys, and I truly hope that all of you and myself will never experience such crap ever again.

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Old 02-27-2013, 01:14 AM   #38
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never use bleach on stainless, unless you plan to polish and re-pacify.
Oxy clean will leave a film unless you rinse and use a 3m as you are rinsing.

1/2 gal of warm water and 1/4 cup of lye will clean any residue from stainless (it's dangerous so protect yourself) you can dilute it afterwards and distribute in your drains and it will kill off the drain fly's

full strength muriatic acid will re-pacify stainless. Wear proper protection and use the rinse to remove the oil stains in the driveway or bump off the fire ants.

After you are satisfied that they are squeaky clean replace the o rings (don't forget keg lube) dump a couple of quarts of star san in put the lid on and shake it around. Pressure up to 30 lbs and purge (if you invert the keg and purge a little it will do the relief valve) hook up the liquid line and drain the rest through the tap

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Old 02-27-2013, 06:07 PM   #39
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Reading John Palmer's "How to Brew," as mentioned before, he didn't mention anything about re-pacifying. I understand how that could solve the problem if it really was leaching, but I am not tasting any metalic flavor. It is a distinct souring that is closer to malt vinegar than anything, especially as it sits in the keg. It also is not affected by a "lack" of oxygen, as I carbonated before serving by slowly bleeding CO2 while the relief valve was up for about 30 seconds and then released full pressure twice at 17psi.

I've never dealt with those chemicals before either and would not feel that it would be cost-effective/ worth the time/ beneficial with my particular situation. If I was a brewery, I might have to deal with that, but with all that I've done so far I sincerely doubt that any more effort (regardless of the agent being used to "clean" or "sanitize") will yield any more success. I might just as well try and find an autoclave that some business or individual owns on the island and ensure 100% sterilization. But again, that would probably be costly and I know about as much as where to find an autoclave as I do those chemical agents.

It would be far easier, and probably just as costly, to just buy new equipment. Something has to be in those kegs that isn't letting go, and there is no explanation I have as to why it is even possible that it is remaining there but all evidence points to that conclusion. I'm just tired of spending time and money trying to fix something that's already broken, even though it would be beneficial for me to understand how to eradicate such a problem that might occur again in the future.

Replacing o-rings and StarSan have also not solved this particular problem, to include replacing poppets and relief valves. I wholeheartedly agree that everything everyone has recommended is good practice and what I have done should have fixed the problem. Unfortunately, it has not and I am not hearing from anyone who has had a similar experience; so, I must conclude that this is something out of the ordinary and likely involves no solution that anyone has discovered themselves.

As for sending it off to a lab, I just might go ahead and do that. That would be more worthwile in my opinion, in order to get an expert opinion on what else I might have tried or what I could have done to prevent such an infection. I think White Labs might be able to help, but anyone who has any other suggestions for this type of thing please feel free to share.

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Old 02-27-2013, 06:46 PM   #40
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Maybe destroying them would be the last and perhaps best solution.

Just to review:

Did you thoroughly scrub and clean the inside of the dip tubes with stiff brushes? And all the nooks and crannies inside the kegs and lids? The most likely places for dirt to hide out is where you can't see it or get to.

There is a possibility those kegs in question are gauged in a place where you can't see it, like right under the top, or have a bad weld, crimp, or dent that harbors dirt and the tenacious bugs. Even autoclaving won't be a permanent solution if that's the case.

If you have one, stick a USB camera in them to inspect those areas.

Remember, a dirty surface cannot be sanitized, whatever you do.

I'm sure there are ways to test them without filling them up with good wort. Simple "sterile sugar water" as a test liquid should get infected too.

Good luck with your research project.

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