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Old 08-25-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
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Default Acetobacter Infection?

I am new to home brewing and for an initial batch I decided to go with a standard no-nonsense pale ale.

Everything was going great; primary fermentation took off in about 6-12 hours and kept bubbling away for another 3+ days after which the beer steadily cleared and smelled great.

I decided to keep the beer in the fermenter for 2wks and then bottle directly, but I extracted a small sample with a turkey baster a couple of days ago and last night when I went to bottle the beer the entire thing had gone cloudy and from a deep, clear amber to a milky, yellowish brown. The smell & flavor had changed signifigantly as well. I am pretty sure some of what I was detecting was acetic acid.

I am assuming that I must have improperly sanitized the turkey baster and introduced some sort of infection (acetobacter perhaps?)

Any ideas on what this may have been, or some helpful tricks for the sanitation process?

Thanks

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Old 08-25-2008, 12:41 PM   #2
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That sucks about the possible infection. Many people on the board will tell you to ride it out, forget about it for a week, 2, 4 and try again. Do not be quick to dump a batch, as time has a way of mellowing things out. Let it ride for a bit, and see if things improve.

As far as the turkey baster, how did you sanitize it? A lot of people here prefer a sanitizer called Starsan. I have used it successfully for 15 batches and not had any problem with infection.

A lot of kits come with "one step" which is a cleaner, not a sanitizer.

Also look into getting a wine thief to take samples, and never dump the samples back into the fermenter. They are to drink

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Old 08-25-2008, 12:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s3n8 View Post
That sucks about the possible infection. Many people on the board will tell you to ride it out, forget about it for a week, 2, 4 and try again. Do not be quick to dump a batch, as time has a way of mellowing things out. Let it ride for a bit, and see if things improve.

As far as the turkey baster, how did you sanitize it? A lot of people here prefer a sanitizer called Starsan. I have used it successfully for 15 batches and not had any problem with infection.

A lot of kits come with "one step" which is a cleaner, not a sanitizer.

Also look into getting a wine thief to take samples, and never dump the samples back into the fermenter. They are to drink
Im assuming by "one-step" you mean no rinse, if so,

Starsan is a "one step" sanitizer:

http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/tech/starsan.pdf

virginiahomebrew, how did you go about sanitizing the baster?
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Old 08-25-2008, 01:08 PM   #4
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I have been using bleach solution (~2 tbsp per gal) and then rinsing with pre-boiled water. I think my problem is that some of the beer shot up into the bulb (which I dont think I sanitized). I thought I could make the extraction more smoothly than I did (I am definitely considering a wine thief).

I am usually a pretty thorough person (I've worked as a chemist), but got a little excited and didn't pay close attention to what i was doing.

I was just shocked by the massive change in the color and clarity of the beer. It went from a clear, yeungling-like brown, to completely cloudy with a yellowish tinge in just a matter of days.

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Old 08-25-2008, 01:21 PM   #5
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I'm really curious...Just how do you "Know" it's aecetobactor? Have you gone through bjcp certification? Have you tasted a control sample of a beer that knowingly has aecetobactor?

A lot of inexperienced brewers "THINK" they know that their beer is infected, when really all they are experiencing is lack of experience coupled with n00bitus. Take a look at the majority of "is my beer ruined" threads and you'll see how many times the new brewer has self diagnosed their beer incorrectly.

Green beer has a lot of funky colors, tastes and smells, and it is also hard to judge even what a beer looks like until the process is done.

The normal, regular process of fermentation can explain ALL those symptoms, including color and clarity shifts.

Atr this stage of your brewing "career" you don't know what green beer looks, tastes or smells like, let alone something that is infected.

Just bottle them, and leave them alone for 3-4 weeks...I betcha the beer will be fine.

People have stuck their arms into their fermentors and had nothing happen to their beer, it happens to be more resiliant than new brewers give it credit.

Here's some reading for you, to alleive your anxiety.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost...&postcount=101

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=73254

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/...before_action/

Treat the beer as normal for now....bottle it, let it bottle condition for 3-4 weeks then come back to us and tell us everything is fine. Because 99.9% of the time it is.

As to sanitization, one step is not "technically" a sanitizer, the two best for the homebrewer is iodophor and starsan...if you want to know more about onestep, and the true no-rinse sanitizers, read this. It has info on all those, as well as some great tips on good sanitization practices.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthre...tizer+question

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Old 08-25-2008, 01:21 PM   #6
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Sanitize again and taste it.
It's possible that something crazy (HUGE Change in barometric pressure) caused a bunch of yeast to jump back into suspension. Perhaps your wife and or kids shook the fermentor just to mess with you?

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Old 08-25-2008, 01:31 PM   #7
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Sanitize again and taste it.
It's possible that something crazy (HUGE Change in barometric pressure) caused a bunch of yeast to jump back into suspension. Perhaps your wife and or kids shook the fermentor just to mess with you?
Or the "brewing poltergeist" struck again...but yeah, Kahuna's right!
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:16 PM   #8
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Im assuming by "one-step" you mean no rinse, if so,

Starsan is a "one step" sanitizer:

http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/tech/starsan.pdf

virginiahomebrew, how did you go about sanitizing the baster?
One-Step is a brand name no-rinse cleaner/sanitizer, though many people view it as a cleaner only.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
I'm really curious...Just how do you "Know" it's aecetobactor? Have you gone through bjcp certification? Have you tasted a control sample of a beer that knowingly has aecetobactor?
You don't need to go through any type of certification to detect acetic acid - it's a pretty distinct taste. You shouldn't assume that because one is a beginner brewer that they can't identify specific tastes.
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:30 PM   #10
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You don't need to go through any type of certification to detect acetic acid - it's a pretty distinct taste. You shouldn't necessarily assume that because one is a beginner brewer that they can't identify tastes.
True...But does the OP know what it taste like? Or is he in his fear just ASSUMING his beer has it?


More often then not 'chef, the new brewer is incorrectly diagnosing a problem when it is not there....That's all I'm saying.

(I'm not being literal here, I'm just saying that a new brewer with little experience should not self diagnose their beer, that is all.)

Look at how many n00bs have said they had tannins, or diacytal, yeast bite, extract tang, or any number of the scary things mentioned in the brewing boos...and they didn't. What I am getting at is for the new brewer self diagnosis of young beer, is not always a good thing.

Considering at least 4,000 of my posts have been with answering questions in threads that start "is my beer ruined"...MY ASSUMPTIONS have usually panned out.

I don't even self diagnose MY own off flavors in my beers, especially not in green beers. I try to find someone with BJCP training, or simply more experience than me...

I wouldn't want a med student who only has read something in a textbook diagnosing me..or themselves...

Since the OP didn't use a certain key word, which I am sure you know what that word would be, to describe the beer. That leads me to the conclusion that he is simply paniciking.
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