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-   -   Gasket fell into wort- did I ruin my beer? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/gasket-fell-into-wort-did-i-ruin-my-beer-367995/)

stevedore 11-15-2012 08:05 PM

Gasket fell into wort- did I ruin my beer?
Another 'Did I ruin my beer' thread- looked through the stickies.

Was brewing a 5 gal batch of IPA, my second batch (first was with a 1 gal BBS kit). Did everything I needed to do; sanitized everything like there was no tomorrow and continually washed my hands with antibacterial soap and sanitizer (I'm a med student and a rotation on the surgery service got me in the habit of keeping sterile) between steps.

My primary is a 6.5 gal plastic bucket. When it came time to put the airlock on, I made the mistake of forcing the airlock into the rubber gasket on the cover while it was on the bucket, which made it fall into the wort. I flipped out and thought about washing/sanitizing a pair of metal tongs or serving spoon to look for the gasket. But I didn't want to scrape up the plastic surfaces and it would have taken forever to blindly grasp at it. And maybe since I was mildly drunk (DWB ya know) I decided to wash my right arm with soap and sanitizer, and stick my arm in there to find the gasket.

In retrospect, it was dumb as hell. Even though I'd been washing the crap out of my hands and using sanitizer on everything, I feel that all it would take is some bacteria hiding in my fingernails. What I should have done was to get a clean trash bag, sanitize it and wrap it around my arm before sticking it in there.

It's been 4 days and fermentation is proceeding as expected. Consistent bubbling in the airlock with a good aroma and slowing down as time goes along. But what do I need to be looking for as clear signs that my beer is ruined, at this point in time? Or is the proof only going to be in the pudding?

I tell myself that my continuous hand-washing and sanitizing equipment/hands gives this batch a fighting shot, but how screwed am I? Anyone have a similar brain fart experience, and how did it go?

Doctor_Wily 11-15-2012 08:11 PM

you're probably fine, I've reached in (not quite that far) when taking hydro samples and haven't had an infection. Just keep an eye on it and if it starts to grow a fur coat, you are likely in trouble.

45_70sharps 11-15-2012 08:11 PM

It should be fine.

The best answer would have been to leave the gasket in there and maybe take a wrap of electric tape around the stem of the airlock to seal it.

logan3825 11-15-2012 08:11 PM

I think any soap you didn't rinse off may be more of a problem than an infection would. I have fermented in buckets I forgot to sanitize and didn't have any problems. You can do a quick search and see many bigger mistakes people have made and still had their beer turn out.

stevedore 11-15-2012 08:16 PM

That's an awesome thread.. hopefully it should be okay.

Feeling a bit better about all this. I agree, I probably should have left the gasket in there. Wasn't sure what else I could do other than the trashbag idea that I belatedly thought of after the fact. I suppose taping it to get a good seal would have done the trick.

I'll let you guys know in a month how it turns out!

GASoline71 11-15-2012 08:16 PM

I did the exact same thing the first time I brewed with a bucket fermenter. Star-san'd my hand and arm and went in after it.

It was a Hefeweizen... it has by far been the best Hefe I've ever brewed. So... I wouldn't worry too much.


Doctor_Wily 11-15-2012 08:17 PM

keep us posted, it'll likely be fine. RDWHAHB.

Doctor_Wily 11-15-2012 08:19 PM

from the thread logan posted:


Originally Posted by BassBeer (Post 4443829)
I was moving my kettle to a bucket of ice for cooling and my dial thermometer popped off the rim and fell into the wort.
Without really thinking I sprayed my arm with StarSan and fish it out. I continued the process normally
but was pissed that I let that happen. It's been about 7 weeks now and the beer tastes excellent, and getting better each day.

stevedore 11-15-2012 08:19 PM

Belatedly just saw these "similar threads" under the quick reply.


That plus everyone's comments make me feel tons better now. At least I washed my arm and sanitized it before sticking it in there. Looking forward to tasting the brew in a month.

logan3825 11-15-2012 08:31 PM

Wort pH, the antibacterial nature of hops and yeast eating up all the sugars before most bacteria get a chance to, make it really tough to get an infection unless you step pretty far out of line.

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