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Old 07-05-2011, 06:32 PM   #1
Wakadaka
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Default How to fix infection problems

so I have been having some issues with minor infections. Nothing like the pictures I have seen, but my last 3 batches have tasted very sour after 2-5 weeks in the primary fermenters. As of now I am thinking it is my tap water that I have been using to top off. The water worked fine during the winter for topping off, but I guess now that the pipes are warmer it is harboring more bacteria.

I want to brew up a quick small batch with a full boil to see if that is the problem. I have about 2.5 lbs of extract and some cascade hops that I am going to just throw together with some muntons yeast to help keep the experiment cheap. I am worried about doing it in my mr beer keg, because I have already had the infection in both my bucket and my better bottle.

I have read reports of people saying to change any plastic that touches an infection, but then I have also read people saying not to worry about it. My bucket is terribly scratched up, so I don't plan on using that again, but I hope to save my better bottle.

Any advice on what to do from here?

I think I will try a full boil, then ferment in the mr beer to see if my water was the problem. If that gets infected too, then my next step is to change to iodophor instead of star-san.

Also I read a post that was saying a lot of people get infections around their 10th batch and then their 50th. My first infected batch was number 9.

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Old 07-05-2011, 06:38 PM   #2
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topping off with unboiled tapwater could definitely do it. No doubt theres bacteria in your water even if its safe to drink.

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Old 07-05-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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Is it possible for bacteria to be in there just recently in the warmer months? During the winter and early spring I didn't have any problem using the top off water, and I used a much larger proportion.

And the bacteria didn't strongly overtake the yeast in any of my infected batches. Nothing like the pictures I have seen, but the taste and smell were very sour.

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Old 07-05-2011, 10:41 PM   #4
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You could just buy some drinking water and brew it. See what happens. Try brewing without any plastic containers. They can retain nasty critters from previous batches.

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Old 07-05-2011, 10:47 PM   #5
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I don't think you're supposed to use iodophor on plastic. Stick with the starsan, that's not your problem. Scratches most likely are, and tap water (unboiled) could be as well.

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Old 07-05-2011, 10:52 PM   #6
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iodopher on plastic is fine. if it were me i would replace anything plastic if your getting infections. Plastic is cheap.

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Old 07-05-2011, 11:45 PM   #7
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I read somewhere that people develop house strians of bacteria, that are resistant to a specific sanitizer. Seems possible, but I don't feel like its likely.

I am heating up my water now. I put my pot on two burners on my stove, and the water became cloudy sorta. Almost looked smokey inside. When I put it back on one burner, or just stirred it up for a minute it cleared up.

I have taken samples of the water to taste them, and they seem to taste normal to me, but my gf says they taste funny to her. Any idea what that could be? I just checked through my notes and I don't think I have had a successful batch with this new pot.

It is aluminum, but I have built up an oxide layer on it.

Just trying to rule out any possibilities. I guess I should try store bought water next.

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Old 07-05-2011, 11:55 PM   #8
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Probably your water, all that sanitizing and boiling then using tap water would be my first guesss and seems starsan is better for the bucket because it can get in those hiding spots to sanitize it. I dont see the problem as long as you do a full boil or boil all of your water and just sanitize everything and dont spit in it. You dont want fans blowing or talking into your cooled wort when transferring or aerating either, sometimes its just a simple thing like this.

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Old 07-06-2011, 12:27 AM   #9
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Water tastes different to different people. Water that is devoid of all minerals (distilled water) tastes like sandpaper. I'm from Northern Michigan. Our water is known to have very high iron and copper content. It tastes great to me, but most people who visit here can't take it. As I have learned on previous trips, water in Ohio tastes particularly gross to me. Its a locality thing. Palmer says, "If the water is good enough to drink, it is good enough to brew with." Maybe a beer that tastes great for you tastes off to someone from say, the west coast. The only reason may be the water that you started with.

I doubt its the water. Focus on the plastic.

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Old 07-06-2011, 01:35 AM   #10
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Okay, I didn't think it was the water profile necessarily, but maybe the bacteria in the water. At least thats what I'm hoping. The batch that is on the stove now won't touch any plastic except for my mr beer keg which has no history of being infected. I just bottled a batch of apfelwein a few weeks ago that was in there, and it was fine.

If it gets infected I don't know what I am going to do. that will be 3 different fermenters all with infections in them. I guess glass is what I will be replacing them with

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