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Old 12-29-2012, 03:55 PM   #11
dlutter
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Revvy, you seem to have experience with infection. If not, then at least knowledge and strong opinion. Could you share some more thoughts on infectio, rather than just continuing to insist infection is the problem? I have been wondering the same thing about overcarbing and pasteurization. My beers tend to overcarb around the 3 month range. I hanve not had gushers where they hit the ceiling but they will foam over when 4 to 6 months old. If it is an infection, why does it take so long to show up? What is the best way to go about confirming an infection at this stage? What steps should be double checked or taken to ensure against infection during brewing? I feel my sanitation steps are good, so am not sure where to start. It seems to me these are things the OP was wondering. I know they are questiions that came to me when i read the thread. Thanks for any insight.

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Old 12-29-2012, 04:58 PM   #12
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The reason it HAS to be an infection is simple: you add a finite amount of sugar, the yeast consumes that sugar to produce the desired volume of CO2 for carbonation. That sugar is consumed relatively quickly, and completely, if you are able to enjoy properly carbonated beer for the first couple months.

If after 3 months it's starting to become overcarbed, gushers, etc. then whatever else was in the beer at bottling has started to consume unfermentables, to produce more gas in the bottle, leading to the aforementioned problems.

Steps to guard against infection:

- Never use stiff bristle brushes or scrub pads on your plastic fermentation items. They can cause scratches which can harbour bacteria, and other unwanted guests. In the same vein, take a close look at your plastic/rubber fermentation items for scratches. Consider replacing things that show signs of scratching.

- Give everything a good PBW/OXY soak, followed by a rinse, and a strong bleach water soaking, then a rinse and a starsan wash before use.

- If you're using harvested yeast, consider replacing whichever yeasts have produced beers with issues after 3 months, your harvested yeast might be contaminated.

- Try to isolate your grain grinding/prep areas from where you transfer to fermenters, etc. Grain dust is a good vector for lacto.

- Use a spray bottle for starsan, spritz everything that comes into contact with your wort, or your yeast. Including the outsides of vessels, packages, etc.

- If you use a counterflow chiller, give it a heat sanitizing with some boiling water, starsan may not work if there's some gunk trapped in it.

- Never add anything (except hops) that hasn't been boiled to your fermenter.

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Old 12-30-2012, 05:51 PM   #13
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I appreciate the reply. It was very helpful. You mentioned a couple of things I could change or do better. Not to highjack the thread, but I have one final question. I have three Better Bottles that I have used bristled brushes on. Should I consider them ruined and should they be at the top of my list for replacement? Thanks, I will start a new thread if I have more questions after this.

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Old 12-30-2012, 06:15 PM   #14
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I think the PET Better Bottles stand up a little better to a stiff brush than the really soft HDPE fermenting buckets. If you notice any deep scratches you might think about replacing them, or just try giving them a good bleach water soak after cleaning. I find a good Warm Oxy/PBW soak loosens most of the crusty stuff, sometimes it takes overnight though. Consider some form of carboy cleaner apparatus that doesn't use abrasive methods.

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