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Old 10-16-2010, 01:05 AM   #241
EDW5015
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Hey everyone,

I have been brewing for 3 years now and had the occasional contamination but in the past 6 months I have had nearly 1/2 of all beers contaminated by a band-aid flavor that makes you gag (literally like you will throw up). Sometimes it is very intense and sometimes it is very subtle. It seems to favor lighter beers but some I have made seem fine and others are ruined. I have tried all kinds of remedies.

First I brew on a home made RIMS system. The hot wert goes from the kettle through a CFC, through a thrumometer, then into my primary (usually a bucket). I shake the bucket for airation and then add my yeast. I always dunk everything in starsan. and if it is gunky I clean with oxyclean.

I have tried to isolate the source but still dont have any definated leads. I have tried brewing in carboys. Still there. Tried oxycleaning and PBW, and starsan the inside of my pipes and CFC, still there. I am down to assuming it is the air or water I use but if that were the case then everyone would be bad right? I know it is happening in the primary because the taste is there as soon as I go to rack to the secondary.


I have tried to figure this one out and everytime I think I have it licked another one bites th edust. Any help would be greatly appreciated because I am at wits end. If it were every beer I could find it better but it is only every other beer or so. I usulaly brew 2 batches per session. I have tried buckets, kegs, and carboys as fermenters and the contamination seems to be independent of switching. I have tried leaving starsan foam in the primary and rinsing it out with my well water but neither seems to effect the occurance of contamination either. Do you tthink it could be bio film? Airborne contamination? Well water contamination? Thanks again and cheers!

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:39 AM   #242
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EDW,

First thing I'd do is make a batch with bottled water and see if the problem persists. Many gorcery stores around here have self-fill stations for RO water that runs $0.30 per gallon, so it's a cheap experiment. Well water doesn't usually cause band-aid flavors since it's not chlorinated, but you never know.

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Old 10-16-2010, 12:45 PM   #243
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just a food for thought:
I was listening to a BN podcast on cleaning/sanitizing and they said cleaning was more important. They mentioned that a base cleaner (high pH) takes care of inorganics while acidic (low pH) takes care of the organics.
(i may have them swapped)

Since You state: "I always dunk everything in starsan. and if it is gunky I clean with oxyclean" you may want to always clean.

And you rinse out the starsan foam? just leave it in the fermenter, doesn't effect anything.

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Old 10-16-2010, 04:00 PM   #244
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Good idea on the water. the only problem is that I have rinsed out buckets before the wert goes in with my well water and not had a problem with any of those beers. Wouldnt the contamination be in every beer I rinsed the buckets for if it was the water?

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Old 10-16-2010, 04:34 PM   #245
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Cleaning & sanitizing are clear different things; it's never a matter of either/or. IF the surface isn't clean, a sanitizer cannot penetrate it.......and a cleaner cannot sanitize, no matter how clean the surface, because clean is not sanitary.

I use plain old Dawn dishwashing liquid for most of my cleaning; for the insides of carboys, it's PBW* all the way.

For sanitizing, I used bleach for the first half-dozen batches. Then I switched to Star San and never looked back.

*Note: No lectures, please, about how much less Oxi-Clean costs, and how it does just as good a job. Not with our water......our well water is full of dissolved minerals, and Oxi-Clean will leave a white film on the glass that must be removed with an acid wash (i.e., white vinegar in solution). Rather than go through this, I use PBW, which has chelators that enable it to work in hard water.

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Old 10-16-2010, 05:44 PM   #246
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Good to know. I always noticed that after using oxyclean or PBW there is a slimy residue on equipment and that starsan takes it right off.

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Old 10-17-2010, 04:22 PM   #247
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Hi everyone. This is my first post, but I have been lurking for a few weeks now. My first batch is fermenting away as I type, and it's very exciting. It's an Amber Ale that smells wonderful, and the samples have been delicious.

For the last few weeks I've been saving up bottles and last night I decided to soak them in OxiClean (the scentless variety) to remove the labels and any gunk that may have accumulated at the bottom (some of them have been sitting around for a long time). After a 12 hour soak (which I'm guessing was probably overkill) I rinsed very thoroughly with hot water before soaking in hot water for 4 hours or so. Some of the bottles have a faint "chemicaly" smell to them. Should I be concerned? What should I do?

Next time I will soak for maybe an hour or two max.

Thanks again, this seems like a great community and I plan to start posting regularly.

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Old 10-17-2010, 05:02 PM   #248
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The soak in Oxi-Clean is fine, and as long as they're rinsed thoroughly, there's no need for a further soak in water. Nothing penetrates the glass, and the chemical smell is probably just some odors hanging around from whatever you were doing.

Apply some Star San (my favorite method is to use a vinator, available from fine homebrew outlets everywhere), and you're good to go.

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Old 10-17-2010, 05:25 PM   #249
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Thanks, rico.

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Old 10-18-2010, 10:32 AM   #250
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EDW505: just make one batch at another person's home with their water and environment, using your equipment, and leave the carboy there after racking until bottling. There's a few things like contamination of your well water by farming or inudustrial use or contamination of the pipes and faucet in your home you should rule out. I am having a contamination problem also, and figure its the new bottling want attachment or scratched in my old plastic buckets I can't reach with sanitizer.

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