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Old 07-31-2011, 04:04 PM   #1
kevjt
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Default Infection help needed..

I am having infection issues and I can not figure out where things are going wrong. I all grain brew and prior to now have not had any issues, I have been brewing for a few years. I use a 1/2 barrel keg and Home Depot round coolers for brewing. My chiller is placed in the keg for the last 15 minutes of the boil. Once off the burner the only things that touch the wort are a thermometer and a large spoon for airation which are both kept in sanitizer prior to use. I brew in the garage and I place the keg outside the garage door while the chiller does it's thing. The wort is always covered with a metal screen to avoid any insects etc. From there the wort is drained into primary buckets and into the basement it goes with a tube hooked to a 3 piece airlock ran into a 2 quart jar which has not gone dry.

I brewed a blonde and an Irish Red on the same weekend, both turned out very sour. The blonde was very cloudy in apperance. Both were let to sit for a while but were finally dumped, the taste was very bad. My next brew was a Southern English Brown. It had a slight sour taste, but just faint. This beer is currently kegged and is borderline drinkable, basically has a tart taste to it that the style should not have. These 3 were brewed within a week of each other, nothing was changed as once I realized I had a problem they were all waiting for the keg. Last I brewed a Kolsch knowing I had an issue prior. I bought new primary buckets and high-temp hose thinking my problem may be either from transfer to primary or primary itself. The kolsch is bad. After 3 weeks in primary and a gravity of 1.010 it has a slimey krausen on it, smells like bread, appears very cloudy and has a sour taste.

Ideas? Am I correct in assuming the problem lies starting with the second it comes off the burner? I really was hoping the problem lied in the primary or hose and now I'm stumped... As far as yeast I used a washed yeast starter, dry yeast and a smack pack so I can not really blame it on yeast handling either. I do not open my primaries for any reason up until right around the 3 week mark when I am ready to keg or transfer so I do not suspect anything getting in that way. Where should I look next?? Thanks in advance.

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Old 07-31-2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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I think the chiller and anything prior to that is unlikely as it is in the boil. Think of either anything that touches the wort post cooldown, like maybe a spoon etc, or the location its in the open air prior to transfer to the fermenter. Try and really clean/sanitize anything that touches the wort. Try chilling the wort somewhere else. Maybe even the screen you mentioned has something on it.

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Old 07-31-2011, 09:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevjt View Post
I brew in the garage and I place the keg outside the garage door while the chiller does it's thing. The wort is always covered with a metal screen to avoid any insects etc.
I agree with the previous poster... sounds like it's possibly something related to placing the keg outdoors to chill.

Is the screen you are using also keeping dust and other airborne particles out of the wort while it chills outside?
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:25 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I will find something to cover the pot with while it's cooling. My problems started once the weather warmed up here in WI so that may be an issue. The screen is good for flies but I suppose not much more.
Another thing is that I normally just spray out my pick up tube with water and splash some sanitizer in/on the valve. Something tells me I should be doing a better job there too.

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Old 07-31-2011, 10:31 PM   #5
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Do you use a plate chiller? I know those are notorious infection sources

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:00 PM   #6
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No, I use a homemade copper tubing chiller.

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:29 PM   #7
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Counterflow or immersion?

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:41 PM   #8
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Immersion.

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Old 08-01-2011, 12:23 AM   #9
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I doubt the cooler, immersion is pretty hard to infect with if it's put in about the last 2-5 of the boil. I'd first think of the firmenters actually since you mention using buckets. That's where I had problems about a year or so ago. Tiny scratches can harbor a lot of bugs but be near impossible to sanitize properly.

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Old 08-01-2011, 12:29 AM   #10
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The last one I brewed (kolsch) was fermented in a brand new primary bucket and it is bad.

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