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?