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Old 06-16-2009, 12:02 AM   #1
tom_m
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Default How hard is it to contaminate?

So being really paranoid...how hard is it really to contaminate your beer?
When's the highest risk? What part of the process?

I always boiled water that I used to clean with or added PBW. Cleaned out bucket/carboy with Star San...

But let's say what happens if you clean with just tap water? Or boiled water? Or bottled water? How bad is tap water? I assume depends on many conditions, pipes in building/house, well/city water, etc.

I guess basically reading a thread about how screw ups can yield good beer I see people dropping phones into wort and all sorts of stuff...A cell phone must be pretty greasy and full of contaminants... So how hard is it really to screw up?

haha, I guess to put my mind at ease.

Thanks!
(Everyone here has been awesome with other questions I've had.)

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:09 AM   #2
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RDWHAHB. I don't boil the water I clean with, sometimes it's not even hot. Just make sure that you've saoked or sprayed anything that comes in contact with the post-boil wort with Starsan or BTF and you'll be fine

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:12 AM   #3
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I've accidentlly spit into my fermenting bucket while siphoning and still never had an infection. It can happen though. I think you are probably at greatest risk around yeast pitching time through the 1st few days of primary.

No need to boil the water you clean with. I use a garden hose to rinse my gear after use. Just be sure to sanitize it prior to usage and you should be ok. You don't want to use abbrasive scrubs with your plastic buckets either. Little scratches become hiding places for bacteria.

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:17 AM   #4
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here is a little secret, but keep this down or people will freak out.

all beer is contamanated. unless your do your boil in a clean room with gama iradeated hops. ect...

but its like a WAR!
and the yeast are your toops. ever played age of empires, or star craft or populace if you are really old,
the thing about war is its over if there are no more resorces(ie food cant make new soldurs with no food)

so the trick is to flood the battle field (your wort) with so many troops ( your liqud yeast starter or properly hydrated dry yest) as to over welm the enemy so thay cant get a foot hold , and too consume all the food so thay have nothing to launch an offence with even if a few hold up in some crag.


i only keg and store my kegs in a huge refergrator,
most of my beer gets drank within 30 to 45 days of taping and when kept cold
thats all i have ever need to keep my beer good. the most i age low point stuff is 90 days , but i am sure there have been lots of great beers i drank that if had sat
untaped in the keg a year would have been more suited to be poured on a fish plank (think long johns) rather than a pint glass

so long as you have a really good yeast pitch it takes along time for beer to go bad even if you did contamanate it with something bad like spit, money or a cell phone,
so in closeing if you think you screwed a batch , ferment it a the optmale temp for your yeast type and then Keep it cool and drink it fast and will most likely be ok

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:20 AM   #5
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only things that will toutch your beer after the boil need to be sanitized. Carboy, siphon, airlock, stopper, wart chiller, bottle filler, bottling bucket, bottle caps, bottles. all you really need to do is rinse everything your worried about in some StarSan on brew day. StarSan is non toxic in its recomended dilution.

your wart is at most risk after the boil because the boiling is what kills any microorganisms thats in your wart. generaly anything below about 180 or so is prime bacteria territory.

tap water is AOK for brewing just boil it and drop in a campden tablet. i assume your not doing all grain yet. if and when you do then you need to worry about the condition of the tap whater it will affect the taste of your beer.

PBW is used after you are done brewing and want to get the wart residew off the item in question. dont put PBW in your beer or beer water. i dont think it will kill you but it will probably affect the quality of your beer.

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:25 AM   #6
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It's one of those things....it can be incredibly hard to get a bad enough infection to cause off flavors.

But then again it can be so easy if you didn't fully clean a racking tube or something and let it get nasty for a week. Lots of diligent people can end up with infections.

But adding tap water and stuff like that? I put the risk very very low. Look at my previous replies, I dropped a nasty gunked up pot holder in my cooled wort and that beer came out just fine.

The yeasties are a force to be reckoned with. They just have to out compete any bacteria before the bacteria live long enough to cause problems, and they're very good at doing that (this is why lag times scare me. It's like expecting a Zerg rush ^-^).

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:26 AM   #7
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I've not read all the new posts today, but I'll wager Clayton's reply to this topic is among the best not only today, but this month.

Edit: And I bet he buys at High Gravity too.

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:27 AM   #8
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I'm still fairly new at this, however I had an incident 2 brews ago that has convinced me its pretty hard to infect beer. Make a long story short, my wort sat outside on the deck, wind blowing like crazy with an unsanitized lid halfway on top for almost 2 hours before I was able to pitch and rack. Broken Nose Ale is finished and in the keg carbing. Tasted the beer during racking and it was just fine. I'm convinced at this point that unless I carefully place bacteria in my beer while racking to secondary, it will be fine.

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:24 AM   #9
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oh. I used PBW to clean my stuff first. Then Star San. I didn't realize PBW was for tough scrubs... the kit I got didn't say that. Now I want my starter packet of PBW back...

Even the book I got didn't go into much detail.

Thanks guys. REALLY helpful.

I know I'm not brewing in a clean room =)
So let me get this straight...the yeast will kill off or eat all food for bacteria to thrive on?
So consider the foaming out the top, active fermentation I've had the first day, day and a half... I'm probably pretty good even if I did spit in there? (not that i spit in there)

...and then even if contaminated, it takes a while to go bad? so if you drank it fast, you'd never know? But then later grabbed a bottle a few months old, then you'd notice?

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Old 06-16-2009, 04:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldy_Beer_Brewery View Post
I've not read all the new posts today, but I'll wager Clayton's reply to this topic is among the best not only today, but this month.

Edit: And I bet he buys at High Gravity too.
thanks
ya i love thoes guys thay are great
and there bird
the Marshall Brewing Company is kick ass too
i met them last weekned and was very impressed.
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