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Old 05-08-2009, 02:52 PM   #1
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Default Wyeast: Brett isn't harder to kill than anything else

Hey, all.

I started working with some of the Wyeast Brett blends (the Old Ale and the Trappist (Orval)), and wasn't two happy with the prospect of buying all new equipment for just these two batches. So I wrote the following question to Wyeast:

"Is Brett really as tenacious and impossible to get rid of as I'm reading? Do I need an entirely new set of siphons, tubing, paddles (for oxygenating the wort) etc.? I'm prepared to make one fermenter the "Brett bucket". Will campden tablets, bleach, starsan, or boiling water be helpful at all? What about with a glass fermenter?"


This is what Jess Caudill, microbiologist and brewer at Wyeast, wrote back:

"No. It is as easy to kill as any Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain of yeast. No crazy chemical cocktails are necessary... just your normal alkaline cleaning and acid sanitization. It's up to you if you want different equipment for your wild brews."




Thoughts, people?

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Old 05-08-2009, 02:54 PM   #2
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Jess speaks the truth.

That is all.

I would advise using glass for buggy beers. Brett can settle in micro-scratches that are ubiqitous in plastic buckets and escape cleaning/sanitation efforts.

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Old 05-08-2009, 02:54 PM   #3
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I think the problem isn't that Brett is any tougher to actually KILL, it's that if you have any scratched surfaces or any minute irregularities, particularly in a bucket or soft material, the Brett can hide there and you can't get rid of them.

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Old 05-08-2009, 02:55 PM   #4
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If you are using a plastic bucket you might want to keep that as a Brett Bucket, but I use glass and have never had a problem with cross contamination after brett beers. What made you think it was harder to kill than any other yeast?

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Old 05-08-2009, 03:03 PM   #5
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If you are using a plastic bucket you might want to keep that as a Brett Bucket, but I use glass and have never had a problem with cross contamination after brett beers. What made you think it was harder to kill than any other yeast?
I read about it a lot on here about how once Brett gets into your brewery, if you don't keep all equipment separate, it will take over everything.

Brett bucket, no problem. But I was going down the road of--if I aerate with a paddle, do I need a new one? Thermometer? Hydrometer? Straining bag? Bottling bucket? Spigot? Tubing?

A good cleaning regimen, maybe an extra soak in bleach solution or iodaphor, and foaming Star San should take care of everything, was my thinking. And if there's a few Brett bugs hanging around, well, they take long enough to repopulate and have an effect on flavor that it wouldn't make a difference on beer that's already been drunk
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by climateboy View Post
I read about it a lot on here about how once Brett gets into your brewery, if you don't keep all equipment separate, it will take over everything.

Brett bucket, no problem. But I was going down the road of--if I aerate with a paddle, do I need a new one? Thermometer? Hydrometer? Straining bag? Bottling bucket? Spigot? Tubing?

A good cleaning regimen, maybe an extra soak in bleach solution or iodaphor, and foaming Star San should take care of everything, was my thinking. And if there's a few Brett bugs hanging around, well, they take long enough to repopulate and have an effect on flavor that it wouldn't make a difference on beer that's already been drunk
Here's the thing. Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Acetobacter are all ubiquitous in our living spaces to begin with. The dust you see floating down in a sunbeam? Covered with all kinds of buggies. You don't need to duplicate equipment. You just need to a bit anal in your cleaning/sanitation practices. Bleach holocaust if it gives you peace of mind.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyangler18 View Post
Here's the thing. Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Acetobacter are all ubiquitous in our living spaces to begin with. The dust you see floating down in a sunbeam? Covered with all kinds of buggies. You don't need to duplicate equipment. You just need to a bit anal in your cleaning/sanitation practices. Bleach holocaust if it gives you piece of mind.
That's exactly what I was thinking. But you'll see a lot of advice on here that says differently. For example, from our own brew wiki:

"Once brettanomyces has been introduced to a brewery, it can be almost impossible to kill. If you choose to homebrew with brett, you will probably need a separate set of equipment to avoid cross-contamination with your other beers."

Methinks the Wiki needs to be amended.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:11 PM   #8
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The problem is not that Brett is harder to get rid of its just that the results of a Brett infection in your beer are much more noticeable than a different strain of brewing yeast. A few scratches or some poor cleaning may allow some of your yeast to survive to the next beer. However if you did and English ale followed by and American Ale would you notice the difference if a small percentage of the yeast were an English strain? However if it was a brett strain that survived, they may not have much effect initially but brett can eat some sugars that you american ale left behind. So it might not be noticable until it is in the bottle for a while, then you have gushers and funky beer.

If you are careful about your cleaning and sanitation and keep your equipment in good shape, there should be no problem. You may just want to be extra careful with your cleaning of any equipment used with the buggy brew.

Craig

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Old 05-08-2009, 03:13 PM   #9
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The problem is not that Brett is harder to get rid of its just that the results of a Brett infection in your beer are much more noticeable than a different strain of brewing yeast. A few scratches or some poor cleaning may allow some of your yeast to survive to the next beer. However if you did and English ale followed by and American Ale would you notice the difference if a small percentage of the yeast were an English strain? However if it was a brett strain that survived, they may not have much effect initially but brett can eat some sugars that you american ale left behind. So it might not be noticable until it is in the bottle for a while, then you have gushers and funky beer.

If you are careful about your cleaning and sanitation and keep your equipment in good shape, there should be no problem. You may just want to be extra careful with your cleaning of any equipment used with the buggy brew.

Craig

Right. So I think we should edit that Wiki.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:27 PM   #10
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I read about it a lot on here about how once Brett gets into your brewery, if you don't keep all equipment separate, it will take over everything.
I think people are primarily referring to lactobacillus and/or pediococcus infections when they say "I've got a Brett infection that just won't go away".

I've noticed that most people use Star San as their primary sanitizer, which is only partially effective against bacteria that can survive in beer (e.g., lacto and pedio). It will reduce the cell counts, but not complete destroy the bacteria like strong oxidizers (e.g., household bleach, chlorine dioxide) or iodine.

I use plastic fermenters and I've brewed several lambics and regular beers in these containers with no cross infections. But, after cleaning the fermenter, I sanitize with a quat and use a no-rinse iodine solution just before the next use. This kills every living thing in the fermenter and doesn't involve the use of harsh bleach products.

So, my point - if you're brewing lambics and using Star San, consider using another sanitizer (e.g., quat or iodine).
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