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Old 07-23-2008, 07:03 AM   #1
newbrewr4fun
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Well Tomorrow will have been a week with my first batch of homebrew in bottles. I know I am supposed to wait 3 weeks, but I'll be damned If I can help myself from trying at least one. I think I am going to put one in the fridge before I go to bed so It will be ready tomorrow night when the first week is up.

I wonder how it will taste, I hope that I have done everything the right way, and made sure that I did not get an infection. During bottling I may have touched the tip of the filler with my bare unsanitized hand and I hope that did not lead to problems.
Will the beer be carbonated at all, should I just wait for two weeks and then try one?

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Old 07-23-2008, 08:59 AM   #2
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I typically do the same thing, I 'test' one at 1 week intervals even though I know it's not ready yet. You touching things barehanded isn't going to kill the beer. It's fine. And yes, it'll be carbonated, just not a lot.

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Old 07-23-2008, 10:05 AM   #3
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Just remember, if you post an "is my beer ruined?" thread after trying your flat, green beer after one week, we reserve the right to ridicule you

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Old 07-23-2008, 10:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Just remember, if you post an "is my beer ruined?" thread after trying your flat, green beer after one week, we reserve the right to ridicule you
Okay then
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:35 AM   #5
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I always taste them too. I know they're green, but I seem to randomly have infections.
I always bottle tasty beer, but sometimes they get worse with age. Some infections take a few weeks to show up, so even if they're green and flat, and sweet, I can tell whether I'm going to box them away, or chuck them and brew another batch. Removing most of the yeast, and adding some priming sugar is when the flavours go bad for me.

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Old 07-23-2008, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_h View Post
I always taste them too. I know they're green, but I seem to randomly have infections.
I always bottle tasty beer, but sometimes they get worse with age. Some infections take a few weeks to show up, so even if they're green and flat, and sweet, I can tell whether I'm going to box them away, or chuck them and brew another batch. Removing most of the yeast, and adding some priming sugar is when the flavours go bad for me.
That's not random, Paul. That's a clue that something's wrong with your sanitation process. You're introducing a spoiling organism at some point.

It can be one of the following:

1. Bottles
2. Caps
3. Siphon equipment
4. Bottling bucket
5. Bottling wand
6. Priming sugar addition

(I might have missed something.) In short, everything that touches your beer after you open the fermenter is suspect. Please describe your sanitation procedure post-fermentation.

We'll get to the bottom of this!

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Old 07-23-2008, 11:34 AM   #7
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I'm getting there. I've bought new fermenters, taps, bottle wands, bottles.
I started HB 8 years ago, but could never get rid of this problem so I gave up.
Here I am older and wiser and giving it another go, the price for beer here is ridiculous, nothing decent under $40, so I'm rather more determined these days.
It doesn't have to be after fermentation for an infection. I've had yeast take off and airlock bubbles in a wort after a few hours, strong fermentations and no visible infection, yet it goes bad taste wise befre it's bottled if I leave it 3 weeks.
I've had a few good brews, they only happen when I boil all the water going in to it, every other sanitation aspect is the same to the infected ones that had a 7L boil and the rest cold tap water.
So from now on I'm boiling all water and persevering on.

As far as sanitation gernerally, equipment gets soaked in bleach/water/vinegar.
On brewday, everything soaks in starsan. On bottling days, everything soaks in starsan. Bottles and caps get used while still wet with starsan foam.

So it's either the water, or the priming sugar as far as I know, so I'm just going to keep boiling them until I run out of patience.
I was supposed to start AG this month, but I've put it off due to this issue. I have three fermenters and do 3 brews at a time on a quiet day.
Since I restarted HB this year, I've had 3 bad batches to the same infection due to my lack of knowledge. I then had a few good batches when I boiled all of the make up water to go in the beer.
Then I decided to buy starsan and thought "my issues are over, you shouldn't need to boil water, no one else does, just sanatise everything with starsan", and used tap water again. Those three batches were infected, nothing was different between the two good ones and the three bad ones except for the water.
Since the three bad batches, I've done three more, only I boiled all the water goin in to them, They're green now and too sweet due to low ambients, so I can't say either way yet.

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Old 07-23-2008, 01:09 PM   #8
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Okay - sounds like you've got it narrowed down to your water supply. Good! I want to ask two more questions before I go off to think some more.

Do you use tubing between bottling bucket and wand?

Are your bottles clean before you try to sanitize them? I mean 'scrubbed out with soap, hot water and a brush' clean?

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Old 07-23-2008, 01:34 PM   #9
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The randomness factor seems to hint to me that it might be bottle sanitation over a water issue. If not every bottle in the batch is infected, then perhaps the bottles themselves need a good initial cleansing before sanitizing?

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Old 07-23-2008, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_h View Post
Removing most of the yeast, and adding some priming sugar is when the flavours go bad for me.

This is what really stands out for me...Just WTF are you talking about????

What do you mean by removing most of the yeast? How are you doing it? and more importantly Why are you doing it?

Unless this is your phraseology for racking to your bottling bucket, then you are doing something that is not common for us homebrewers to do...And however you are doing it, may be the problem.

I'm going to post what I wrote in the other thread here, in case you didn't see it.

************

Have you ever actually taken your beer to another homebrewer or homebrew shop to confirm your "infection?" A lot of brewers misdiagnose green beers as infection...A lot of new brewers misdiagnose their beers as just about every pathology/problem they read about...DMS, Diactyl, etc, when in reality it is simply a young beer...

Because honestly....it is a very difficult thing to do...infections are really not that common if you follow basic sanitization practices. And if you do get an infection then it is a good idea to flush everything with bleach water, replace any hoses, and make sure there are no scratches in buckets, etc.

Let's start with some basic science to show you what I mean.

First no known pathogen can grow in wort/beer...It may get moldy but it wouldn't make you ill.

Besides even the smallest amount of viable yeast cells would start some fermentation which would be helping to prevent anything from growing. Don't forget, that hops are a preservative to begin with...

Googling "pathogens in wort/beer" netted me this info from a food microbiologist/homebrewer on another forum...

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.

So, you might make a beer that'll kill your ego, but not your friends, family, co-workers or enemies.
Repeat after me Hops Are Our Friends!!!

Now let's talk boiling...If you've boiled your wort, then you have effectively steralized it...If you've cooled quickly when you put you wort into a sanitized you've reduced the number of infection producing entities greatly.

Fermentation as mentioned above will further kill off more nasties...

CO2...the cushion of co2 produced during fermentaion, does just that cushions the surface of the beer from most airborn particulate matter that could infect the beer...and the slight up/out draft of the co2 pushing away the O2 narrows the odds of it happenning.

Next let's talk sanitizers...If you are using a FDA approved sanitizer (Iodaphor, or Starsan). In order to get FDA approval to use the name sanitizer it must meet the following standard.

Quote:
The official definition (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) of sanitizing for food product contact surfaces is a process which reduces the contamination level by 99.999% (5 logs) in 30 sec.
These sanitizers must be active against bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, fungi, and protozoans.

(there's some good info on using sanitizers here...including the link to the basic breweing podcasts about iodophor/starsan and bleach (the same episode as starsan.) http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=54932

This doesn't even take into consideration the mere antibacterial action of soap and hot water during our cleaning.

So what I am saying is...Each step in the chain of cleanliness/sanitization greatly reduces the possibility of infections...add to that the very chemical/ph composition of the beer and it's inability for Pathogens, greatly reduces just what could grow in it....

So if there's 200 types of entities that could possibly survive in beer...and a Sanitizer is more than likely killing 99.999% of them in a mere 30 seconds of contact....Can you see how the odds are in our favor???

If your beer is infected then you should be able to easily wipe it out with what I mentioned in the top of this long post....If you truly got it once, you could pretty easily nip it in the bud by running bleach water in most things, replacing anything scratched, replacing your hoses, and make sure you are using a strong no-rinse sanitizer.

**************************

So I'm really wondering about this "removing yeast" business....

Or like you seem to have said, you need to boil, boil boil....which isn't a bad thing to do.

What does your infected beers taste/smell like? Vinegar? If we can isolate the nature of it we may be able to figure more out.

You may find this article useful as well..."Basic Elements of Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing in Food Processing and Handling Operations"http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FS077 It's got some good stuff in it.

(Sorry for the length and the repitition some of this is not in here so much for you paul, but for the nervous lurkers who think the mere looking at their beer will infect it. If paul did get infected then it is a rarity, and we are working diligently to problem solve it )
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