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Old 12-20-2009, 04:21 AM   #1
AshtrayDinner
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Default Brett infection.

I've noticed that three of my beers have now noticeably formed a pellicle, leading me to believe my siphoning, and possibly other equipment has been infected.

I'm pretty unhappy, and am ready to do a massive clean before I brew my I.P.A tomorrow.

Generally I just use star san to sanitize my equipment, which I mostly wash with water and elbow grease. However recently, due to the insistence of experienced brewers on this site, I've stopped rinsing my star san.

This leads to my question.

Since Star San is a no-rinse sanitizer, it must be relatively gentle on my yeast right? that's why I can pitch yeast right into a carboy of Star San foam, no?

So if my infection is from wild yeast, Star san is probably not going to kill it, right?
This is almost definitely the time to crack out the PVW and kill and that filthy brettanomyces I think.

If my thinking is wrong please help.

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Old 12-20-2009, 04:49 AM   #2
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Before you do anything labor-intensive-

Have you tasted the beers in question? Are they in fact infected?
It's an elementary question, but there are a lot of crazy forms that yeast takes, and some of them make you swear the beer is shot until you take a taste. I've had milky, bubbling films, clusters of little white balls and weird greenish stuff in my beer at one time or another, and those batches turned out fine.

If your beer *is* infected, the easiest route to take is probably just to get new plastic equipment. Option two is a good in-depth cleaning and a switch of your sanitizer for a few brews. I know some brewers who work with wild bugs a lot like to bounce between idaphor, starsan and bleach to keep the bugs on their toes.

As far as starsan goes regarding yeast: starsan is formulated to kill just about every bug it touches if it's in the proper concentration and at the proper pH (it turns cloudy if the pH is wrong). When you dilute out the small amount of starsan left in your carboy with 5 gallons of wort, it is no longer in the proper concentration to kill bugs. At that point it actually becomes a micronutrient for yeast (the phosphoric acid is utilized).

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Old 12-20-2009, 04:52 AM   #3
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From what I understand, StarSan is useful only on PH's below 3.5 and it becomes ineffective above that, like when the wort is introduced.

When you do the cleaning portion, I would suggest using something other than water and elbow grease. You need to make sure you clean off any build up, so you can sanitize what is left.

Beyond that, you are getting into scratches inside of plastic fermenters contributing to the infection, etc.

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Old 12-20-2009, 04:52 AM   #4
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yeah, no, rinse on the starsan. i use it in the airlocks, and everywhere else where a quart or less can or does get into my beer. neverhad an infection that i know of, or yeast health problems. ive heard that starsan becomes yeast food. i wash slurries with it to help kill wild stuff.

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Old 12-20-2009, 05:25 AM   #5
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I always use glass to ferment, I don't trust either of my buckets for anything other than chemicals. I have a large carboy brush that removes any buildup.

I was counting on the star san to kill any bacteria, but it doesn't kill my cultured yeast when I pour it onto star san foam, so I am thinking I need a different cleaner to kill yeast than bacteria?

Any help is appreciated.

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Old 12-20-2009, 05:28 AM   #6
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yeast can live in a ph of 2 i believe. starsan is 2.8-3.

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Old 12-20-2009, 05:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AshtrayDinner View Post
I was counting on the star san to kill any bacteria, but it doesn't kill my cultured yeast when I pour it onto star san foam, so I am thinking I need a different cleaner to kill yeast than bacteria?

Any help is appreciated.
Go back and read my reply- it looks like you might have skipped over it.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:05 AM   #8
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Hot water and soap will kill yeast.

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Old 12-21-2009, 04:29 PM   #9
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Dwarven_Stout

I did read your reply.

I tasted all three yesterday, and they all taste fine.

However just because they "taste" fine doesn't necessarily mean they are not infected, does it?
From what I've read about wild yeasts it sounds like they take a long time to impart their flavor. I had a blonde ale last winter develop a pellicle, and I must have drank half the keg before the flavour started to turn. When it did turn though, it got pretty rank.

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