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Old 09-15-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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Default Possible infection

So I just went to keg an extra pale ale, and there were little flakes foating at the top of the beer in my carboy. I'm assuming it's an infection as I've never seen this in my beer before. I took a gravity reading and tasted the beer. It was really good actually, so I decided to keg it. I stopped the siphon before the flakes could make their way in.

Should I have dumped this? Is there a possibility this could make someone get sick?

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Old 09-15-2010, 10:06 PM   #2
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shouldn't make anyone sick unless it just starts to taste so bad they can't keep it down Maybe drink it quick, but it may not be infected at all. did the 'flakes' cover the whole surface?

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Old 09-15-2010, 10:57 PM   #3
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if the hydrometer reading told you it was done...then there is about nothing that beer can harbor that would make you sick. The only thing beer could do to make you sick is cause an alergic reaction

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Old 09-16-2010, 12:55 AM   #4
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I wish we had a pic...

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Yo, What's Wrong With The Beer We Got? I Mean the Beer we got drank pretty Good Don't It? I Ain't Never Heard nobody complain about the beer we have..... It Drank Pretty Good. Budweiser...What's the name of some of them other beers ?

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Old 09-16-2010, 01:03 AM   #5
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It is more than likely like 99.5% of threads like this and simply yeast rafts. Little bits of yeast buoyed up to the surface by rising co2 bubbles. It's perfectly normal. The surface of our beer is rarely perfectly clear and free of floaties.

Relax, you tasted the beer, and it is fine...and that is really all that matters.

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Old 09-16-2010, 01:09 AM   #6
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And to the rest of your questions...

I wrote this awhile ago and it's been posted all through here. It was written for an old thread. But the information is something you all need to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy
Ok for the sake of all the noobs on here, who are terrified that one wrong look at their fermenter and it is going to turn poisonous and kill them,

Get it straight people, no known pathogens can grow in your beer....nothing in your beer can kill you. Or make you sick!!!!!

In fact it was because water was often dangerous to drink that brewing became popular to begin with, because the brewing process killed most pathogens including e-coli

That's why the even brewed table beers, the third runnings from a partigyle session so that the children could have a drink that was safe to consume....

I came across this from a pretty well known and award winning homebrewer railing against a fellow brewer (it was on one of those "color coded" brewboards where they are a little less friendly than we are.) I just cut and pasted it and stuck it in a file...here it is.

Quote:
Can you get a PATHOGEN from beer. No. NO *NO* Did I make that clear? You have a ZERO chance of pathogens in beer, wine, distilled beverages. PERIOD!

Pathogens are described as organisms that are harmful and potentially life threatening to humans. These are some 1400+ known species overall encompasing viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and helminths. Of that group, we are only interested in those that can be foodborne. Quite simply, if it can't survive in food, it isn't in beer. That knocks out all but bacteria and fungi. Viruses need very specific circumstances to be passed around... like on the lip of a glass or bottle, not the beer in it. **Ahhh...CHOOO!**

Pathogens as a rule are very fastidious beasts. Meaning that they want very specific temperatures, acidity, nutrients and other conditions to thrive.

Bacteria that *could* live in wort, cannot survive even a little bit of fermentation. There are several reasons for this. One is in the 'magic' of hops. It is the isomerized alpha acids that provide a preservative effect to the beer, which happens to inhibit pathogens! Good deal for fresh wort!

Another reason is the drop in pH from fermentation. Next, yeast emit their own enzymes and byproducts, all in an effort to make the environment hostile to other creatures. The major one is alcohol, of course, but their enzymes will break down less vigorous organisms and they become sources of trace nutrition. Now the latter is very minor compared to the effect of alcohol, but it exists! Most of the time these enzymes work on the wort, not organisms until late in the process. Good deal for beer! ...uh, wine too.

Oh, Botulism specifically... did you know that this is an anaerobic pathogen? It's toxin is one of the few that is broken down by boiling. Did you know tht it is strongly inhibited by isomerized alpha acids, even in water? Since fresh wort has a healthy amount of oxygen in it, the beastie cannot even get started, then once the O2 is used up, it doesn't have a chance against the hops or the yeast.

All that is left are a handful of acid producing bacteria that'll ruin a batch of beer. Overall, there are less than 200 organisms that can survive in beer and lend flavor effects. None of these for very long, or very often. Lambic being the sole exception, and if pathogens *could* survive, that'd be the style where you find 'em.

Since nothing pathogenic can grow in beer, that's a really silly worry and would be a waste of potentially excellent beer.

That's why I've been collecting success stories like this, to hopefully teach you overly worried new brewers the folly of your ways.


Most of the time a new brewer (and it's usually new brewers who do) is because they think something like that, though, and are actually tasting their beer usually when it is really green. Or they make a mistake and because of all the worst case scenarions they've come upon in books, they dump it thinking in their naievty that their beer will instantly go bad.

I wrote this awhile ago...it should be committed to memory...

Quote:
You don't dump your beer, for making a minor little mistake. Your beer is hardier than that.

And you don't dump something because you think it's going to turn out bad. You only dump a beer that you KNOW is bad, and you give it at least a couple of months in the bottle before you even make THAT decision.

Read theses two threads that were compiled for nervous new brewers to realize that your beers are not a weak baby that is going to die if you look at it wrong.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/what-some-mistakes-you-made-where-your-beer-still-turned-out-great-96780/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/never-dump-your-beer-patience-virtue-time-heals-all-things-even-beer-73254/

Our beer is really resilient despite the boneheaded things we do to it. And even if something appears to be wrong, often time and the yeasties go along way to correct itself.

And if everyone dumped their beer just because of a common thing like an airlock suckback, no one would be brewing. We ALL have had sanitizer from our airlock get into our beer at one time or another. There's a ton of panic threads on here about that, and the answer is always the same, RELAX.

I think about it in terms of my time and money, I'm not going to dump 30 or more dollars worth of ingredients, 6 hours of brewing time, and at least 2 months from yeast pitch to cracking the first bottle, on what could be a minor mistake (that may not even harm the beer anyway,) until I have exhausted all probability that the beer won't improve. And even then that means at least walking away from the bottles for maybe 6 months or more.

And so far I have never beer wrong.

After all these years of brewing I still haven't had a dumper.

And I've made some big mistakes.

But I have never had a beer that wasn't at least palatable, after all that time.

They may have not been stellar beers, but they were still better than BMC or Skunky Beers in green bottles that people actually pay money for.

So just read those threads and next time, relax, and give your beer a chance to prove how strong it really is.


Read these stories while you relax...And especially erase the words "Should I dump this" from your thought process....
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:14 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I wasn't panicking, I just never had an infected batch before.

The flakes covered most of the surface, but that was it. I took a gravity reading, and the beer was done fermenting. Plus it tasted fine.

Like another poster said this is probably just some yeast floating. It smelled and tasted really good. I'm still alive several hours later so I'm not worried

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