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Old 01-04-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
schwibbidy
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Default Plastic contaminated?

I was talking with a guy working at my LHBS and was asking him why I can't get a good batch of beer that doesn't seem contaminated and he informed me that if any of my plastic gets contaminated it will get any other plastic that touches the contamination and make it contaminated as well. He said I would need to replace pretty much all of my plastic and hoses any suggestions?

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:09 PM   #2
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You could first try firebombing as we call it everything with Bleach.....But are you sure you're beer is contaminated, or are you just tasting green beer and thinking it is infected, when in reality, like many new brewers, you sample it too young?

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:10 PM   #3
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You said 'seems' contaminated. When it is contaminated, you will know. You may have off flavors due to your process, rather than contamination. Give all of your equipment a good soak in some oxiclean, and in the meantime tell us how you brew.

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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Plastics can get contaminated through scratches that harbor bacteria that sanitizer cannot reach effectively. Plastic to plastic contact will not contaminate other pieces of equipment. If you are having issues with infected beer, consider a new bucket (and new airlock and stopper if it makes you feel better) and maybe upgrade your sanitizer. What are you using? Star San is pretty popular and very effective.

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:41 PM   #5
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I use starsan after I wash everything in PBW and have done 3 batches so far.

My first batch was sour and definitely contaminated because even 8 months later the beer was sour and undrinkable. My second batch I followed Palmers book to a T and I believe I did have the "green beer" taste because I sampled too early but even after 4-5 weeks later there still was a sour/acidic taste which I've been reading could have been from me steeping my grains in boiling water instead of 150-160 degree water.

I just got a brand new pot and spigots and did a batch this weekend for a stout. Everything is new so far that I've used except for the carboy, stopper and airlock which are still old equipment from the first two batches. I'm going to use the old equipment for the rest of the process and see if it is an equipment issue

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwibbidy View Post
I use starsan after I wash everything in PBW and have done 3 batches so far.

My first batch was sour and definitely contaminated because even 8 months later the beer was sour and undrinkable. My second batch I followed Palmers book to a T and I believe I did have the "green beer" taste because I sampled too early but even after 4-5 weeks later there still was a sour/acidic taste which I've been reading could have been from me steeping my grains in boiling water instead of 150-160 degree water.
No offense, but if you followed his book to a T you wouldn't be steeping grains in boiling water. We need more detail about what you do in your process (step by step), fermentation temperatures, etc.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwibbidy View Post
I use starsan after I wash everything in PBW and have done 3 batches so far.

My first batch was sour and definitely contaminated because even 8 months later the beer was sour and undrinkable. My second batch I followed Palmers book to a T and I believe I did have the "green beer" taste because I sampled too early but even after 4-5 weeks later there still was a sour/acidic taste which I've been reading could have been from me steeping my grains in boiling water instead of 150-160 degree water.

I just got a brand new pot and spigots and did a batch this weekend for a stout. Everything is new so far that I've used except for the carboy, stopper and airlock which are still old equipment from the first two batches. I'm going to use the old equipment for the rest of the process and see if it is an equipment issue
Since it sounds like you had an infection with your first batch, do NOT use any of that hardware without either bleach bombing it, or replacing it. Otherwise, your new batch will follow the same path as the others. A sour/acidic taste after 4-5 weeks is either infection or serious over-carbonation. If it's not bottled yet, then it's most likely also infected.

You have to decide, do you want to continue to make beers you cannot drink (wasting money) or nut-up and replace the hardware that's been compromised? IMO, the cheaper/better/more certain way is to replace the hardware.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:59 PM   #8
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So how do I know which is compromised? Should I just replace every plastic piece as well as hoses? I just got a brand new stainless brew kettle, which is one of the things I won't replace

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Old 01-05-2013, 05:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
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So how do I know which is compromised? Should I just replace every plastic piece as well as hoses? I just got a brand new stainless brew kettle, which is one of the things I won't replace
Anything post boil, in plastic, would be suspect IMO. This includes hoses, fermenting vessels, bottling buckets, autosiphon/racking canes, etc. Unless you KNOW at what step the batch was infected, you can't trust any of it. So, either bleach bomb everything or replace it all.

I hate the smell of bleach to the extent that I would simply toss it all and get new. Luckily, the amount of plastics I use for my batches is extremely low. The majority is either stainless or silicone. So I can use heat/steam to sterilize things, if I ever needed to. Although I would probably only do that with the fermenting vessels and just toss out the rest. Cheap enough to replace some tubing (~2') and even a pair of QD's.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:23 PM   #10
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There is another option for hdpe plastic parts and vinyl hose. HDPE buckets can withstand boiling water, so fill it with boiling water, put the lid on, and let it cool before moving it or dumping it. It will melt an autosiphon though...I've since incorporated a bleach bomb into my plastics every few batches, but will sanitize plastics again with boiling water if I ever have another infection.

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