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Old 08-03-2011, 12:51 PM   #1
Asrial
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Default How sensitive is beer to infection?

This is a question put out for worries;
I did my first beer a couple of days ago, right now it's in the primary, but I want some of my fears blown away please.
My very first brew was a blueberry/raspberry mead, which I actually didn't handle that good at all. I opened the fermenter and just plunged my gravity measurer into the barrel and read it from there. I cleaned it with regular water before and after... And I let it ferment directly on a heated floor, in a room where there might have been directly exposed to sunlight. The mead is fine now though, but now it's quite

Now, my points of concern:
1. We didn't have ANYTHING to cool down the wort with, so my dad and I covered the cauldrons and sealed them with the lid on, and let it rest the night over. Lids were heat-treated, so they were perfectly clean, but what's the odd of foreign bacteria entering the wort this way?
2. I added some dry hops to the wort before closing the lid on the fermenter, but is cleaning hands/scissors/bag with disinfecting agents, then opening the vacuumsealed bag with the scissors and plunging the measured amount of hops into the wort the proper way of dryhopping, or does it have a chance of infecting?
3. Is using clean, plain socks as hopping bags a hygienic way of adding hops to the wort in the boiling phase? (we had nothing besides socks, and we've just used 2 hrs of hand-pressing the malt-grains for residual sparging sugars.)

I'd very much like to know, since it's my first beer, and want to know if my method was too bohemian.

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Brews I want to do in the future: A kölsch, a brown ale, an octoberfest and a ginger ale
In the planning: "Scottish riot stout"
In the fermentor: Nada
In carbonation: British-inspired homestyle pale ale
Done: Nade

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:08 PM   #2
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Lucky for you, honey is a very difficult environment for bacteria to breed in. I wouldn't worry about letting it chill overnight-- I did this with a tripel recently and I tasted a sample yesterday and it's going to seriously break some hearts.

It is MUCH harder to infect a batch than one thinks.

Hops make it harder for bacteria to grow-- they're a great anti-bacterial.

Socks would be okay, but you definitely want the water to flow through the holding medium to pass along all those oils-- use stockings if you can.

Or run to the hardware store and pick up nylon strainer bags from the paint section. They work like gold!

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:09 PM   #3
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Wow.... Socks? If I had half these issues, I wouldn't brew...but, you'll probably end up with beer, so don't worry too much. You say you cleaned everything with water...no sanitizer? This is a very bad idea. You absolutely need to clean everything with sanitizer or the risk of contamination skyrockets.

1. This is my biggest concern for your infection. Long cooling times mean the beer is stuck in that "sweet spot" where bacteria loves to play. Having the pot sealed was a good idea, but there's still a good chance that there was already bacteria in the pot.

2. This sounds fine to me.

3. First off, you shouldn't be pressing the malt at all, it's a bad practice. Second, using a sock as a hop back probably doesn't allow much of the hops essential oils and flavors to get through to the wort. Not to mention....who knows what's in the sock (dust, bacteria, dirt fibers) regardless of whether you think it's clean.

I would check your inventory before you brew next. If you don't have something, don't brew. Cutting corners will lead to an infection or bad beer eventually. You may get by this time, but it'll happen.

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:12 PM   #4
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Here, read this, Revvy's advice for the new brewer in terms of worry. You might find the info and advice helpful....And see what we've all done to our beers in this thread, What are some of the mistakes you made...where your beer still turned out great?

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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@Suthrncomfrt1884 Yes, I used sanitizer for everything that touched the beer post-boil. And may I ask why pressing the malt is bad?
And I kind of figured out that since the socks are relatively dense in comparison to stockings and other fine mesh cloths, I had to dry-hop to get my desired level of aroma.

@Revvy I just skimmed the threads, nice reads indeed and it just made me way more comfortable in this case!

Anyway, this was a first try, learning experience! Materials cost me 60$ for a 22 liter batch, so it isn't a bank breaker if it flops.

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Brews I want to do in the future: A kölsch, a brown ale, an octoberfest and a ginger ale
In the planning: "Scottish riot stout"
In the fermentor: Nada
In carbonation: British-inspired homestyle pale ale
Done: Nade

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:43 PM   #6
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Short reply - beer is harder to infect than you'd think. It is something to be concerned about, but not to freak out over if you did something wrong, chances are you will be fine, especially if you used sanitizer.

Long answer - Socks?!

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:52 PM   #7
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^ My beer is now labelled "Asrials socky pale ale! Contains 5% sock!"

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Brews I want to do in the future: A kölsch, a brown ale, an octoberfest and a ginger ale
In the planning: "Scottish riot stout"
In the fermentor: Nada
In carbonation: British-inspired homestyle pale ale
Done: Nade

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:59 PM   #8
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Um, prisoners use socks in their version of "homebrewing" all the time. (But that's USUALLY where they get the yeast from.)

Since they were clean, and you added them to the boil, they are fine to use them as hopsacks.

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Old 01-31-2012, 01:55 PM   #9
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I wouldnt want to drink any beer filtered through sox... Im just saying..... Panties maybe Sox Hell no!

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Old 01-31-2012, 02:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asrial View Post
And may I ask why pressing the malt is bad?
It releases tannins into your beer. I made this mistake the first time I brewed and it had a very strong taste of the specialty grains I used and the beer wasn't very tasty.

You make mistakes to learn from them. My first all grain this past weekend was a nightmare, but I did learn a lot about the process. My beer looks like a bowl of Cream of Wheat in the fermenter though; live and learn!
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