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Old 01-29-2010, 04:19 PM   #1
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Default Infection after during fermentation

Thier a ton of post on infection during the wort and yeast pitching process, But can your beer still be infected when fermentaion has started or is over? Or does the alchol you just produced kill all the bad stuff off. The reason I ask is I just took a gravity reading and forgot to sanitize the hdrometer tube and took out several samples with a turkey baster. I did sanitize the turkey baster but it did touch the sample tube twice. also when you open the air lock to do this can infections get in this way?



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Old 01-29-2010, 04:28 PM   #2
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I would say it is less likely once fermentation has started, since the yeast have established themselves as reigning kings of the primary, but it is not impossible by any means. It sounds like you did everything right by sanitizing the turkey baster, some quick contact with an unsanitized but clean sample tube is unlikely to have transferred enough microbes to innoculate your beer. As far as opening the airlock, again, probably wouldnt be enough to cause infection, just keep it open for the shortest amount of time that you can.



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Old 01-29-2010, 04:45 PM   #3
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It may appear that there's a ton of infection threads, BUT if you actually read the content of the threads, and not just the title, you will realize that there's not a lot of actual infections, just a bunch of scared new brewers who don't realize how ugly fermentation can actually be.

Just like you, I bet, they think that their beer is a lot weaker than it truly is. Just the opposite, it is really really hard to get an infection.

And infections RARELY happen to the new brewers who are so paranoid that they think the mere looking at their fermenters will induce an infection.

Most of the time on here the beer in question is not infected. It's just a nervous new brewer, who THINKS something is wrong when in reality they are just unused to the ugliness that beer making often is.

It creates sort of like the hypochodria that med students often get when they start learning about illness, they start to "feel" it in themselves.

There is a lot of info here on "infections" http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/has-anyone-ever-messed-up-batch-96644/

This is one of the best posts on the subject....

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Originally Posted by Saccharomyces View Post
If you pitch enough viable, healthy yeast to do their job, it's hard to contaminate your brew to the point it isn't drinkable. Trust me, I've had an infection in my brewery, and I had to work really hard to get it! In my case, it was on the fourth generation of re-using yeast which I had not washed properly (I was still a n00b back then). Every time you reuse yeast you are growing the level of contamination by 100-1000x, so I learned the hard way you have to be very careful going beyond 1 or 2 re-uses of yeast.

BUT A new brewer following sanitary procedures using new equipment is very unlikely to have ruined beer. The worst thing that may happen is your beer will go sour after 4-6 months of room temperature storage. I doubt your beer will last that long.
You'll find that since beer has been made for millenia even before anyone understood germ theory, that even just the basic fact that we have indoor water, clean our living spaces and ourselves regularly and have closed waste systems, and a roof over our heads, that we are lightyears ahead of our ancestor brewers.

And despite the doomsayers who say that ancient beer was consumed young because it would go bad, they forget the fact that most of those beers were usually HOPLESS, and that the biggest reason hops were placed in beers was for it's antisceptic/preservative function.

So even if the beer had to be consumed young, it still must have tasted good enough to those folks most of the time to survive culturally for 4,000 years, and not go the way of pepsi clear or new coke. I'm sure even a few hundred or thousands of years ago, people were discerning enough to know if something tasted good or nasty...

Go take a look at my photo walkthrough of Labatt's first "pioneer" brewery from the 1840's http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f85/labatt-pioneer-brewery-128740/

Wood fermenters, open cooling pans, open doors, cracks in the logs and beams letting air in, and not one bottle of starsan in sight.

The way I figure even just having some soap and water, basic 21st century hygiene, and a basic understanding of germ theory trumps how it was done from Gilgamesh's time through Louis Pasteure's....

In most places we don't have to even worry about boiling our water before drinking it.

Best advice I have for new brewers, If you brew from fear, you won't make great beer!

You might make drinkable beer, or you might make crap...but until your realize that your beer is much hardier than you think it is, you will find that this is much more enjoyable of a hobby.

But infection worry, It is NOT something we have to freak out about, like new brewers do...It's just something to be AWARE of and keep an eye out.

But it's kinda like when you have a brand new car, you park at the far end of the lot away from everyone else, you are paranoid about getting every little scratch on it...Then you are backing out of the garage and take off a mirror, or get a ding on the bumper, then you no-longer stress out about it, because you've popped the cars cherry...If you do pick up a bug, you just treat it and move on.

And the reason I have collected THESE stories is to counter the fear and fear mongering that often happens.

So rather than looking for infections under every bed or in every brew closet, focussing from fear on the negative, I think it's better to look at examples of just how hard it is to screw up our beer, how no matter what we can do to screw up, it still manages to turn out fine.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/what-some-mistakes-you-made-where-your-beer-still-turned-out-great-96780/

And there is a cushion of co2 protecting your beer, so unless you or a bird take a crap in your fermenter, opening it up to take hydrometer readings will not lead you to automatically have infections...

Just relax about infections, and enjoy brewing.

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Old 01-29-2010, 05:33 PM   #4
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Thanks alot those posts were great.

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Old 01-29-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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Thanks alot those posts were great.
That's why I created them
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Old 01-29-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
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Yes you can contaminate your beer after fermentation, but it's hard to unless you bottle in dirty bottles or something. But something as small as a little contact with an unsanitized hydro jar probably won't do anything. It's good to see new brewers concerned about sanitation, though! But just don't let it keep you up at night.

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Old 01-29-2010, 06:18 PM   #7
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Only today I've got a contaminated batch. It was after fermentation when the beer was in the bucket for a week waiting to clear. Yesterday I checked it and it had almost the level of clarity I prefer before I keg it, so I planned to wait another day. Discovered today that I forgot to put the lid on completely, cursing I checked the clarity again just to discover that it had gone almost as hazy as it was when I started out.
I think that the extra little air that got in because of my mistake was just enough for some sort of bacteria to reproduce at a super speed. Possibly I could have let the organism in when the lid was open, but I doubt it. How could it reproduce so quick.
No, it must have been in there all the time, as long as there is no air it cannot grow to any number.

I kegged it anyway, it will take a very long time for the beer to clear itself, maybe 2 months. What I have experienced before is that sometimes the infecting organisms attack the head of the beer, more seldome they affect the tast (as far as I can perceive)

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Old 01-29-2010, 06:20 PM   #8
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Bacteria replicate about twice as fast as yeast do - those of you who have soured a starter know what I mean Sometimes a day is all it takes.

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Old 01-29-2010, 06:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hasseg View Post
Only today I've got a contaminated batch. It was after fermentation when the beer was in the bucket for a week waiting to clear. Yesterday I checked it and it had almost the level of clarity I prefer before I keg it, so I planned to wait another day. Discovered today that I forgot to put the lid on completely, cursing I checked the clarity again just to discover that it had gone almost as hazy as it was when I started out.
I think that the extra little air that got in because of my mistake was just enough for some sort of bacteria to reproduce at a super speed. Possibly I could have let the organism in when the lid was open, but I doubt it. How could it reproduce so quick.
No, it must have been in there all the time, as long as there is no air it cannot grow to any number.

I kegged it anyway, it will take a very long time for the beer to clear itself, maybe 2 months. What I have experienced before is that sometimes the infecting organisms attack the head of the beer, more seldome they affect the tast (as far as I can perceive)
Um, hazy beer doesn't mean you have an infection....And bacterias really don't work at "super speed" especially if you were ready to keg, meaning it was alcohol already and therefore not likely an environment hospitable for infections to take hold.

Besides alcohol you have HOPS in there preventing spoilage as well.

It's doubtful you have an infection just because you left the lid open. A lot of folks, especially those with arthritis don't place their lids on tightly even during fermentation, when beer could be vulnerable. And some folks just put a piece of plexiglass over the bucket and let the co2 push out.

Even if you left the lid slightly open, the co2 is STILL cushioning the beer. So it is highly doubtful your beer is infection.

And you wouldn't have an infection showing up over night....

I think you just have kicked up some stuff from the trub, maybe you nudged the fermenter when you were taking a reading or putting the lid on, even loosely, or something nudged your fermenter.

I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 01-29-2010, 06:38 PM   #10
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Well super speed and fast are different. They do take hold at a faster rate than yeast do.



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