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Old 01-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default Infected Beer = Infected Yeast?

So it happened. I finally had an infection. The dreaded white ring of death!

I'm not sure at what point my beer got infected is the trouble.

Here are a couple suspected moments:

Fermentation blasted the bung off my car boy splattering krausen up to the ceiling while we weren't home, leaving it uncovered for a couple hours. I came home, saw the mess, and recapped the carboy with a fresh bung and blowoff tube.

We left again for a couple weeks while the beer remained in primary in a swamp cooler. When we came home I saw that my water had evaporated leaving a molded towel around my carboy. Nasty stuff indeed.

If not then, I suspect it happened during bottling. I didn't notice anything that looked like infection during bottling, and I tasted my gravity sample, it seemed alright best I can recall.

Every bottle is infected so I don't kind of doubt that every bottle would get infected from contaminants in the bottles.

I washed and saved the yeast after bottling and now I wonder if I should trash it to avoid risking future contamination.

I'm super paranoid after my first infection and want to do my best to avoid this happening again.

Would I be able to see or smell infection in the jars of harvested yeast? Because they seem to look fine, though I haven't opened any jars.

Thanks for ur input!

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Old 01-24-2013, 05:27 PM   #2
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my opinion only, but i would get rid of the harvested yeast.
2cents...

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Old 01-24-2013, 05:33 PM   #3
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the spigot on the bottling bucket is a common source of infection. did you clean that thoroughly (remove from bucket, clean, and then re-assemble)?

what are the symptoms of your infection?

i would throw out the yeast. not worth risking your next batch in hopes that there is no infection in the yeast. i'd spend a few bucks on fresh yeast.

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Old 01-24-2013, 05:34 PM   #4
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Your yeast would also be infected if the source beer was infected. Am I mising something here? Yeast is cheap, another infected batch is not.

You will also want to give your bottling equipment a shock and awe regimen with diluted bleach. Or even consider throwing out the plastic stuff if you're paranoid about it returning. Or designate it to sour duty.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:13 PM   #5
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A member of my homebrew club suggested the same thing about the bottling bucket, so I'm going to give everything a thorough oxicleaning and get all new vinyl tubing for my next batch in hopes that this will stop this from happening again.

Honestly, I was pretty well sauced the night I popped an infected bottle and haven't tried any since so my recollection of the taste is a lil cloudy but I want to call it medicinal tasting. Like chewing up an aspirin. The infection is quite visible on the surface of the liquid in bottles, and if you turn a bottle around you can snag a piece of white nasty on the glass.

I know yeast is cheap, but so am I. I have no LHBS and paying shipping on a single vial of yeast for my next brew isn't exactly ideal. I already have grains on the way and I was really hoping I could brew this weekend but it's looking like I'll put this batch on the back burner for now. ...or make a yeast substitution, depends on how bad I get the itch to brew I reckon.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:30 PM   #6
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I have had this happen to me once before, when I was planning on setting back on the yeast cake. Long story short, I checked the beer for FG about a week early. So I went to my LHBS and got the grains to reset, while the grains where in the mast tune I was going to keg the first beer. After opening it up I found out that it was infected. Well in a hard spot what I did was keg the beer, the infection was not that bad, then took the yeast out of the bottom of the bucket. I put the yeast onto a small Ball Jar, about half way full, topping the rest off with Starsan and shaking the jar. Well I didn’t have time to run back to LHBS and get more yeast, so I tossed in the Starsan/yeast into the cool wart. Had no problems with the second beer, now with that said I would not make a normal practice of this?

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input Gear101, it helps hearing from someone that was in the same situation. IF I do reuse the yeast from the infected batch I will only use it this once and discard the other jars.

I'm probably just going to contact a member of my homebrew club that freezes yeast and see if he can save the day, if not I'll see if the local microbrewery has anything on hand I could make use of, and if all else fails, I'll more than likely just substitute for another yeast. This was my first infection and it has me so worried! I'm sure it'll pass after a couple brews but for now I"m just so paranoid about every step I take in brewing

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Old 01-24-2013, 08:10 PM   #8
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If you're feeling very experimental and curious, I'd recommend keeping all of your collected/washed yeast in the fridge. In the meantime, get yourself some cheap-o plastic petri dishes and agar. Make a culturing dish for each jar of washed yeast and grow a small sample from each of your jars. If the dish grows multiple types of cultures, toss it all. If not, then you now know that 1) you can use the yeast you collected ($$yay!!$$) and 2) your source was post-fermentation, ie racking or bottling.
And then you have the ability to culture in the future as well!

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Old 01-24-2013, 08:22 PM   #9
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^That's good thinking, right there.

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Old 01-24-2013, 09:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h4mmy86 View Post
Honestly, I was pretty well sauced the night I popped an infected bottle and haven't tried any since so my recollection of the taste is a lil cloudy but I want to call it medicinal tasting. Like chewing up an aspirin. The infection is quite visible on the surface of the liquid in bottles, and if you turn a bottle around you can snag a piece of white nasty on the glass.
stop the presses - are you sure it's an infection?

Medicinal (chlorophenolic) Chloroseptic, medicine cabinet
Avoid water with chlorine or chloramines (use RO water if necessary). Avoid bleach sanitizers. Reduce astringency/grain husk sources. Avoid excessive whole hop use. Check for infection.
(http://www.bjcp.org/faults.php)

so could be infection, or could be chlorine/chloramine.

are there any other signs, other than taste and the white stuff, that make you think it's an infection?
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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table. Looking for cheap honey?

Drinking: a farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend
Fermenting: wet-hopped harvest ale x 2, sour cherry mead, imperial chocolate stout and its not-so-small second runnings beer
Aging: oud bruin & a few other sours, acerglyn, a BDSA
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