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Old 01-10-2013, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default How likely is a "bottle day" infection?

On a closely related note...How likely is a "bottle day" infection? I read all over these forums of additions in secondaries and bottling buckets that have never been "properly sanitized...raw/wild hops, cold brewed coffee, all kinds of fruit/purees/rinds even honey and sugars...etc..etc...etc.

Now I am a reasonably meticulous cleaner (oxy) and sanitizer (starsan)...but isn't a high degree of the fermentable sugar gone...(except for that added to carbonate naturally)?


I'd be interested in peoples' thoughts. Thanks.

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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I don't really get what you're asking? Just like everything else, if you sanitize properly, the risk of infection is tiny. I think oxidation is a much bigger concern than infection during bottling.

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Old 01-10-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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I'd say with normal sanitation you can still expect 5% of your batches to be infected. Yes, I know many have never had a bad batch, but then others have had numerous, even with great effort to avoid it.

Of those 5%, what percentage were infected in the bottle? I'd guess not many. It seems to me that the sweet unfermented wort in the carboy is a much more beneficial media for bacteria and wild yeast. Once it gets to the bottle, the ABV helps protect from most critters. Plus, most of the fermentable sugars are gone.

Bacteria and some yeasts (Brett) can definitely ferment sugars that Saccharomyces cannot, so that is a way they can get a foothold in a fully fermented beer.

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Old 01-10-2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
I'd say with normal sanitation you can still expect 5% of your batches to be infected. Yes, I know many have never had a bad batch, but then others have had numerous, even with great effort to avoid it.
This probably has a lot to do with location and time of year. I try to keep generous billows of starsan foam coming out the top of everything, to keep the nasties from falling inside.

If I leave a glass of beer out, it will begin spontaneous fermentation within a couple days. It just so happens that whatever lives here tastes good for wild ales.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:23 PM   #5
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I have often wondered this myself. My preliminary results seem to indicate that the chance of infection at/during bottling time are very unlikely. On more than one occasion I have failed to sanitize enough bottles and caps and in my haste, usualy after a few too many i have just grabbed unsanitized bottles and filled 'em up. I have also gone so far as to refill a bottle that I had just emptied while bottling. I have seen no ill effects. I should also metion that I am very diligent about rinsing and drying my bottles after consumption of contents so this my explain my good luck with avoiding infections at bottling time but I still feel strongly that infections at bottling time are very unlikely.

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Old 01-10-2013, 04:33 PM   #6
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Unless a lambic or wild brew is being made, shouldn't a few campden tablets(less than five in a five gallon batch, less than one per gallon)
help insure against infection?

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chazzman View Post
Unless a lambic or wild brew is being made, shouldn't a few campden tablets(less than five in a five gallon batch, less than one per gallon)
help insure against infection?
That would kill the yeast needed to carbonate the beer in the bottle.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:54 PM   #8
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The yeast will live fine if lees than one tablet per gallon of wort is used.

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:54 PM   #9
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The yeast will live fine if less than one tablet per gallon of wort is used.

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:35 PM   #10
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I have never heard much of people using cambden in the beer brewing world besides treating chloramine. The more alcohol in the beer the safer you are I would say. There isn't much that will infect a 12% barleywine at bottling time. Yeah I would say its less likely but as you brought up some people have had trouble adding things into secondary without sanitizing in some way.

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