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Old 10-17-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
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Default Secondary Additions - Sanitization Required?

I've read conflicting opinions on whether sanitation is required for adding items to secondary fermentation? i.e. dry hopping, chocolate, oak chips etc.

I've heard mostly all around that when adding hops no sanitization is required but what about oak chips, cherries and other ingredients? If it is required how should this be done? I'd prefer not to dump it all in StarSan

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Old 10-18-2013, 01:21 PM   #2
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You could sanitize the chocolate and oak chips by soaking them in vodka and let them sit overnight and then add them and the vodka (that will pick up the flavors too) to the secondary. I assume you can do same with cherries, but not positive.

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Old 10-18-2013, 01:37 PM   #3
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I don't have anything for you other than opinion. I imagine secondary additions are fine to add as is, unless they have been subjected to less than ideal conditions. But then why would you use them?

I think the conditions are unfavorable for bacteria to take hold(but there are some that can withstand it I'm sure).

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Old 10-18-2013, 01:59 PM   #4
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Beer yeast doesn't consume all the sugars in your wort. That's where the balance of bitterness and sweetness comes from. Wild yeast and bacteria will consume these, even in the alcohol environment of finished beer.

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Old 10-18-2013, 04:38 PM   #5
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I made a chocolate chili brew and soaking the chocolate chips in vodka turned out ok because the taste didn't mess with what I wanted too much but doing the same with oak chips I think wouldn't blend too well.

I know some people throw in hops and other additions without even sanitizing but I understand as you're saying AnOldUr theoretically it sounds a bit dangerous.

Have any of you guys had experience with dry hopping or adding additional items? What do you do and what has been your experience?

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Old 10-18-2013, 06:23 PM   #6
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Hops are a natural preservative. That's why they were originally used in beer. Fruit, wood, chocolate and most other additions are not and can harbor nasty bacteria and wild yeast.

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Old 10-18-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
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Gotcha ok, so is vodka or other "flavorless" alcohols my only option?

What about StarSan or would that be super gross?

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Old 10-18-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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If boiling wort is good enough, I don't see why steam wouldn't be good enough. Steam in a covered pot for a long enough time should pasteurize anything.

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Old 10-18-2013, 09:24 PM   #9
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I don't do fruit, but have oaked. For that I'll either steam in the microwave or more often soak for a week or two in a high quality high alcohol vodka and then dump it all in the secondary and rack the beer on top of it.

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Old 10-18-2013, 09:25 PM   #10
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I notice a lot of the vodka taste gets infused into the beer though, maybe I could rinse with preboiled water?

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