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Old 02-25-2009, 07:16 PM   #1
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Default How to know if beer is infected?

I've made as much effort to keep things clean and sanitized during brewing.
However I still worry.

How do you know if the beer is infected?
What are the results?

Will it make you sick? Or does just taste bad or off?

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Old 02-25-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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Give it a taste and you'll know. It won't make you sick. Do a search on infections and you will see pictures of infected beer.

And stop worrying!

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Old 02-25-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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I haven't messed up a batch yet...but from what I hear, mold and terrible terrible ass like taste are symptoms. Of course, these are tastes that you should only look for AFTER bottling and waiting the three weeks for carbonation. It's amazing how much the flavor of your brew can change over the course of a few weeks. Try the wort and you probably won't be able to stomach much of it. Wait two weeks after it's fermented and it tastes amazing!

Beer seems to be very forgiving.

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Old 02-25-2009, 07:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by double_e5 View Post
Give it a taste and you'll know. It won't make you sick. Do a search on infections and you will see pictures of infected beer.

And stop worrying!
I'll try. I just have high hopes/expectations and I'd be real disappointed if I screwed up badly.
My beer definitely doesn't look like the pics I found of infected beer haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennychico11 View Post
I haven't messed up a batch yet...but from what I hear, mold and terrible terrible ass like taste are symptoms. Of course, these are tastes that you should only look for AFTER bottling and waiting the three weeks for carbonation. It's amazing how much the flavor of your brew can change over the course of a few weeks. Try the wort and you probably won't be able to stomach much of it. Wait two weeks after it's fermented and it tastes amazing!

Beer seems to be very forgiving.
Well I've still got a week until bottling.
This is my first batch.
Sad part is before I even taste my first, I'll have at least 4 under my belt (probably more honestly) so I won't even know what I may have down right or wrong haha.
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:37 PM   #5
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It's very very very rare that a batch get's un intentionally infected...

Really, it is hard to f' up a batch of beer...

Read these threads....

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/has-...p-batch-96644/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/what...t-great-96780/

Most of the time people think their beer is infected when really it's just green...or they've never seen how ugly and smelly and nasty tasting fermentation can be initially, but then with time the beer turns out great...

AND more than likely they are on their first batch and are obsessing about it, needlessly.

Read this, for some stories of "bad" batches turning out great.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

As to getting sick from beer, No pathogen can grow in beer. You can be allergic to it, some people are allergic to gluten or rarely hops and may get stomache aches or things like that.

...you can have problems with not being able to handle the yeast...but you CAN'T get food poisoning or any other kind of illness from beer...infected or otherwise..

Last year when I was googling for info on pathogens in beer, I came across the microbiologist/homebrewer railing against a fellow brewer (it was on one of those "color coded" brewboards where they are a little less friendly than we are.) I just cut and pasted it and stuck it in a file...here it is.

Quote:
Can you get a PATHOGEN from beer. No. NO *NO* Did I make that clear? You have a ZERO chance of pathogens in beer, wine, distilled beverages. PERIOD!

Pathogens are described as organisms that are harmful and potentially life threatening to humans. These are some 1400+ known species overall encompasing viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and helminths. Of that group, we are only interested in those that can be foodborne. Quite simply, if it can't survive in food, it isn't in beer. That knocks out all but bacteria and fungi. Viruses need very specific circumstances to be passed around... like on the lip of a glass or bottle, not the beer in it. **Ahhh...CHOOO!**

Pathogens as a rule are very fastidious beasts. Meaning that they want very specific temperatures, acidity, nutrients and other conditions to thrive.

Bacteria that *could* live in wort, cannot survive even a little bit of fermentation. There are several reasons for this. One is in the 'magic' of hops. It is the isomerized alpha acids that provide a preservative effect to the beer, which happens to inhibit pathogens! Good deal for fresh wort!

Another reason is the drop in pH from fermentation. Next, yeast emit their own enzymes and byproducts, all in an effort to make the environment hostile to other creatures. The major one is alcohol, of course, but their enzymes will break down less vigorous organisms and they become sources of trace nutrition. Now the latter is very minor compared to the effect of alcohol, but it exists! Most of the time these enzymes work on the wort, not organisms until late in the process. Good deal for beer! ...uh, wine too.

Oh, Botulism specifically... did you know that this is an anaerobic pathogen? It's toxin is one of the few that is broken down by boiling. Did you know tht it is strongly inhibited by isomerized alpha acids, even in water? Since fresh wort has a healthy amount of oxygen in it, the beastie cannot even get started, then once the O2 is used up, it doesn't have a chance against the hops or the yeast.

All that is left are a handful of acid producing bacteria that'll ruin a batch of beer. Overall, there are less than 200 organisms that can survive in beer and lend flavor effects. None of these for very long, or very often. Lambic being the sole exception, and if pathogens *could* survive, that'd be the style where you find 'em.

Hope this info helps.....
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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It depends with what and to what degree the beer is infected. Most infected beer is still perfectly drinkable and can actually taste pretty good, others will taste just nasty. It might upset your stomach a little, but as long as you've had a fermentation, it won't make you sick - human pathogens can't survive in beer.

If you clean and sanitize everything correctly, you may get a bottle or two that taste "off" per batch, but it's very rare for an entire batch to get contaminated unless you do something really stupid. So don't worry.

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Old 02-25-2009, 07:43 PM   #7
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Wow lots of great info there!
Thanks Revvy, I really appreciate it.


My worry has gone back to excitement!

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Old 02-25-2009, 07:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Bizzle View Post
Wow lots of great info there!
Thanks Revvy, I really appreciate it.


My worry has gone back to excitement!
That's why the info's here....you're only the 10,00000th new brewer that's ever come on here wondering if they ruined their beer...and didn't.

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Old 02-25-2009, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
That's why the info's here....you're only the 10,00000th new brewer that's ever come on here wondering if they ruined their beer...and didn't.

Well I didn't think that it HAD been infected, honestly I just wanted to know how tell if it was or wasn't and what bad results there could be.
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:57 PM   #10
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Listen to Revvy!

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