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Old 08-21-2012, 11:44 PM   #1
corkpuller
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Default So my APA is Infected, now what?

I had a killer Galaxy, Citra APA conditioning for a Labor Day BBQ. I pulled a sample tonight to see how the dry hopping was progressing and it has a very strong dimethoxyphenol aroma and extremely assertive bitterness.

Tracking down the cause of the infection will be nearly impossible as I'm pretty meticulous about sanitation. Nothing gets near the beer or wort without getting soaked with starsan.

...anyway....

Do you guys/gals take any special precautions cleaning up after discovering an infected batch? I'd hate to have this spread.

Enjoy your BBQ's and Homebrew.

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Old 08-22-2012, 01:50 AM   #2
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I would suggest giving everything a very intense sanitation. If you ferment in a glass carboy, that should be OK. If you use a plastic bucket, clean it carefully, examine for scratches, gouges, etc. Soak it overnight in a strong sanitizer solution. Starsan should be OK, though you could also use a strong solution of bleach water. Remember to very thoroughly rinse out afterwards. Then rinse it some more.

Also if using a plastic bucket, consider replacing the rubber washers at the spigot. They can become infected beyond the point of no return. Similarly with your plastic hoses. If your next batch is infected, you may want to replace the plastic bucket.

My guess is that you don't have a lot to worry about. If your beer is infected, there is probably something you missed during your cleaning/sanitizing. That aroma I think should smell something like an electrical fire, and is a product of a wild yeast infection. Where did your yeast come from? Did you make a starter or harvest the yeast from a prior batch? That could be the source of the contamination. It seems unlikely that the yeast was contaminated from the factory, but I suppose it is possible.

Alternatively, does your wort sit exposed to the air for a long time as you chill it and transfer to your fermenter? Is it possible something fell into it?

Just throwing ideas out there, but yes, I would carefully clean and sanitize all equipment.

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Old 08-22-2012, 11:35 AM   #3
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I'm guessing the infection happened when I dry hopped. I fermented with S-05 and i spray the yeast packet with starsan prior to opening it.

I ferment in my basement which is 60F ambient. When fermentation stops (or slows to less than 1 bubble/min) I bring the better bottle up stairs to warm for 24 hours, add my dry hops (after spraying the bung with starsan), then return the fermenter to the basement. The beer smelled fantastic when I added the dry hops.

I noticed fermentation picked back up after the warming period which I expected; however, after 5 days back at 60F, I was still getting one bubble/min. At this point i cold crashed at 34 for two days and the beer fell clear. I racked the beer to keg 4 days ago and my sample tasted great, but slightly more bitter and aggressive than I expected. By yesterday, the beer was foul - It has a milky white haze that actually separates slightly in a glass. I smells of electrical fire, burnt rubber and wet socks - the bitterness is overwhelming.

My guess is that the infection happened when I dry hopped, but was kept in check by a lack of oxygen. Then, when I racked the beer the wild yeast got some extra oxygen and took off. Amazing that they can work between 34 & 42 F.

I would blame the new (used) keg I racked into, except that I was using it as my Starsan container for 2 weeks prior.

....for those that are still with me, do I need to disassemble the keg and replace my rings? I have extra sets....

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Old 08-22-2012, 11:43 AM   #4
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Replace cheap stuff and clean/sanitize all other equipment thoroughly. I've had an infection and it's just not worth the chance of spoiling another batch by saving few bucks.

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