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Old 09-30-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
Deofol
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Default Home MicroBREWology

I find myself always looking at ways to enjoy different aspects of brewing as a hobby. Recently I started getting into yeast ranching and harvesting my own yeast and creating banks. The cost of equipment may not be really justifiable, but as I found there is a whole new side of the hobby to enjoy!

I have always wanted a microscope, and given that most of the magic (good and bad) happens on a micro biologic scale, I finally talked myself into getting some lab equipment.

The following video's and pics were take with a basic "Student" level (4x - 100x - 400X) ($38 special off eBay) microscope and a cannon elf camera. Not bad IMO!

I recently had my first infection, and that got me interested in actually how EASY bacteria thrive in our world. Here's an example of how I got the bacteria in the first video (which I believe are Lactobacilli, aka create lactic acid and sour beer).

I took a plate (petri dish rather), sanitized it in BTF (Idofor), steamed it in a microwave sanitizer and let it cool. Did the same with a 50ml flask and brought 1g agar, 1g DME, and 30ml water to a boil. Let it cool and poured evenly on 2 plates. Sealed plates and stored in a ziplock bag. I was generally 10x more careful than my normal brewing habits, ie. flaming openings, working around a burner flame etc.

WITHOUT even streaking the plates I had a bacterial infection show up withing 48 hours. With a pin prick amount I I prepared the following slide with the growth and water. The shear numbers if Lactobacilli were astounding.



Well, enough of the scare tactices. Here are some other things I captured. The whole Album can be viewed here;
deofol/Home Brewery/MicroBREWology - Page 1 - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Yeast from the bottom of a bottle.

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Old 09-30-2008, 05:18 PM   #2
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Good beer gone wrong! Dregs of the infected Brown ale. Note bacteria to right of pointer.



Fullers ESB yeast?



SN PA yeast, or was it Fliechmans? They looked alike...



So anyway, I guess the point is to "Reduce" your risks, IMO I don't think you can ever brew without bacteria (the **** is everywhere!), just do the best you can to reduce it's impact.

Next up, I've got some stains coming to do more selective viewing. Should be fun.

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Old 09-30-2008, 05:32 PM   #3
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That is some cool stuff right there. I can't wait to see more.

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Old 09-30-2008, 07:19 PM   #4
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Well there's good bacteria and bad bacteria

.I'm not sure about mine.

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Old 09-30-2008, 07:42 PM   #5
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Seriously very cool.

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Old 09-30-2008, 08:55 PM   #6
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bacteria by the pointer.....you can see the endospores....f-ing cool. How do you figure lactobacillus?

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Old 09-30-2008, 09:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scinerd3000 View Post
bacteria by the pointer.....you can see the endospores....f-ing cool. How do you figure lactobacillus?
No scientific method really just a guess since it's most common in brewing, but I guess it could be anything.

I'll be able to better identify them using the Gram stain kit I ordered.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:27 PM   #8
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if i remember correctly from microbiology there are only a few species of bacillus which readily produce endospores which is the inner circle of the cell. Kinda cool you can see this on a 40 dollar microscope.

If its g- (pink) your looking at clostridium and if its g+(purple) then bacillus. What prompted you to plate your samples? i was looking into this type of work for separating proprietary yeast from bottling yeasts in certain beers...

BACILLUS

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Old 10-01-2008, 01:51 AM   #9
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I just ordered a 1000x microcope 2 days ago and you beat me to the punch but it is so I can better understand what happens to yeast under different circumstances and be able to know when the yeast count is getting low. I know you have to use markers to be able to tell dead yeast from the living etc. Thanks for the photos. I spent more but do not have a good camera yet but plan on a 5 megapixel. What are you using now? The pictures are not too bad.

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Old 10-01-2008, 02:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scinerd3000 View Post
What prompted you to plate your samples? i was looking into this type of work for separating proprietary yeast from bottling yeasts in certain beers...

BACILLUS
Pretty much the same reason. I grew tired of spending $7 each batch for yeast. Plus the fun factor of having something else to manage in my brewing process.

Some have asked about links to good information. Here are a few I've collected.

Brewers Laboratory Handbook - Great resource on how to basic procedures.

Sterile Distilled Water Yeast Storage - This is an interesting method to use for short and long term storage of yeast samples. Some argue that its better to use spring water, tap water, or even saline eye drops (Contact cleaner) since it is sterile. Personally I plan on going with saline.

Brewery Bacterial Contaminants - Cool article on normal brewery baddies.

Universal Beer Agar (UBA Medium) - Used to create plates that selectively target brewing specific bacterias and yeasts. I've yet to find this anywhere in a size under 500g. You can use agar and wort instead.

Guerilla Lab Techniques - A bunch of techniques to QA your work throughout the brewing process.

Microscope Tips from White Labs

Home Science Tools - Fairly inexpensive place to get lab supplies. If anyone else has a better site I would like to know about it. I've found it hard to find lab items without buying bulk.

Lab Equipment - Discount lab supplies.

I also highly recommend Chris Whites book (well, pamplet really) - The Fungus Among Us: Yeast Culturing for HomeBrewers (Paperback)
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