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Old 03-12-2012, 02:26 PM   #1
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Default Why sanitise?

I'm sure there is a simple answer but if you want to brew a beer and aren't fussy about style, do you need to worry too much about sanitising?

After reading all the information about the most important thing in brewing is sanitisation, I then worndered, if I was brewign a belgian and my sanitisation wasn't as great as hoped, wouldn't it just become a lambic? I suspect the answer is no, but why not?

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Old 03-12-2012, 02:31 PM   #2
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I'm sure there is a simple answer but if you want to brew a beer and aren't fussy about style, do you need to worry too much about sanitising?

After reading all the information about the most important thing in brewing is sanitisation, I then worndered, if I was brewign a belgian and my sanitisation wasn't as great as hoped, wouldn't it just become a lambic? I suspect the answer is no, but why not?
Well, there are LOTS of bacteria and wild yeast on surfaces. Some of them may indeed give you a lacto beer from lactobacillus contamination but usually the wild yeast and bacteria that are hanging around aren't ones that make your beer a good sour. They are usually just spoilage organisms. You can probably make a good malt vinegar with acetero bacter but that's probably the best case scenario.
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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Yeast isn't the only thing that can grow in your beer, check out the infected beer thread.

Nasty mold, bacteria, etc.

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Old 03-12-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
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Yeast isn't the only thing that can grow in your beer, check out the infected beer thread.

Nasty mold, bacteria, etc.
That thread still haunts my dreams. must buy...more...starsan
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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I'm sure there is a simple answer but if you want to brew a beer and aren't fussy about style, do you need to worry too much about sanitising?
Like you, I'm curious. Here's what I recommend...brew a little bit extra, like an extra half gallon or so, and put it in any old jar, unstantized, open fermentaiton, etc, and pay no attention to sanitation. See what happens. If it's good, cool...but if not, you won't have to dump 5 gallons.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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I'm not intending on not sanatising just slightly concerned that I may not have been as thorough yesterday and trying to convince myself everything will be ok!!

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Old 03-12-2012, 03:15 PM   #7
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I'm not intending on not sanatising just slightly concerned that I may not have been as thorough yesterday and trying to convince myself everything will be ok!!
Haha, I see...in that case...relax!
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:05 PM   #8
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As an intellectual exercise, let's compare the length of time people have been making beer (~5000 years) to the length of time they've been aware of microorganisms and their connection with fermentation and infection (~150 years).

I think it's safe to assume that essential no intentional sanitation was occuring for most of the history of beer production. Odds are good that you're fine.

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Old 03-12-2012, 04:12 PM   #9
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As an intellectual exercise, let's compare the length of time people have been making beer (~5000 years) to the length of time they've been aware of microorganisms and their connection with fermentation and infection (~150 years).

I think it's safe to assume that essential no intentional sanitation was occuring for most of the history of beer production. Odds are good that you're fine.
True, but they also had to do things like drink it quickly before it spoiled.
There were some countries and times where brewing in Summer was prohibited due to the inevitable spoilage.
They just managed it and dealt with it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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I'm not intending on not sanatising just slightly concerned that I may not have been as thorough yesterday and trying to convince myself everything will be ok!!
In that case, let me try to put you at ease...

On my own first solo brew (I had brewed several times with a friend up until that point), everything went swimmingly - the only problem I had was a very slight boil over, but it was easily controlled (and cleaned up, since I had a spray bottle of water at the ready).

I had racked about a third of the chilled wort to the fermenter before I remembered I had thoroughly cleaned, but never sanitized, my fermenter.

I didn't experience my first infection until almost a full year later, and we're pretty certain that was due to an infected oak barrel my club attempted to bulk age about 60 gallons of a stout in.

Chances are you'll be OK!
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