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Old 09-20-2010, 06:21 PM   #1
gyllstromk
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I had success with my first use of Bretts and I would like to continue using them. I wonder about whether the common concerns of Bretts are more paranoia. For example, it is commonly advised to use separate equipment and not mix. I don't really want to invest in new equipment at the time being.

But how dangerous is a Brett "infection", really? No one ever worries that spores from America Ale yeast hide in a scratch and "infect" the next batch and ferment it like an IPA. Is there something biologically about Bretts that make them more risky?

 
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:35 PM   #2
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Brett is able to thrive in wort that has already been fermented, eating more complex sugars that Saccharomyces is able to (some pro-brewers actually do worry about introducing even other strains of Sacch into their breweries). I used the same equipment for my sour and clean beers for awhile, but after a couple years I had a string of batches with serious Brett infections. It is the soft plastic you have to be most worried about, I still share better bottles and glass bottles without issue.

Just "demote" your gear to sour beer duty and get fresh stuff for the clean beers. I do this about once a year with my tubing, bottling wand, auto siphon, and bottling bucket.
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:47 PM   #3
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I keep separate bungs and racking hose for sour beers, everything else is shared. I am paranoid about cleaning my equipment as it is; everything gets a good PBW soak, rinse, and soak in Star San after touching a sour or brett beer. No problems there. As long as it isn't porous (hoses, buckets, bungs, rubber seals) it won't be an issue unless you aren't getting it clean, in which case you likely will already have infection problems in your brewery...

I replace my racking hose every 6 months or whenever it no longer looks new. Like Oldsock my old racking hose becomes the sour hose. I mark it with hash marks all up and down using a sharpie. Same with the bungs. That way there isn't any way I can mix them up on accident.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:35 PM   #4
gyllstromk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldsock View Post
Brett is able to thrive in wort that has already been fermented, eating more complex sugars that Saccharomyces is able to
Interesting point. So what this means is that the risk is not from more likely exposure/persistence of Brett, but rather that a healthy Sacc fermentation can't "fight it off" like it could a bacterial infection. This is quite useful!

But what was the problem with your Brett infections? I assume because you were brewing styles for which Brett is inappropriate/unintended?

 
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyllstromk View Post
Interesting point. So what this means is that the risk is not from more likely exposure/persistence of Brett, but rather that a healthy Sacc fermentation can't "fight it off" like it could a bacterial infection. This is quite useful!

But what was the problem with your Brett infections? I assume because you were brewing styles for which Brett is inappropriate/unintended?
Exactly, you don't always want a nice funk in a beer (although I’ve had a couple batches go funky and were quite nice with some additional aging including a Hefe and a Mild). A Brett infection can also takes months to develop, so you might have bottles of beer with Brett slowly fermenting dextrins and creating more and more CO2… you get the idea.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:49 PM   #6
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At the brewery we're hyper-paranoid about it. Obviously infecting a 250 bbl. brite tank of beer because you re-used a gasket that you just used when racking a Brett beer would be pretty annoying.

Glass, stainless, or any harder metal really is fine when sanitized properly, a nice hot caustic soak, followed by StarSan or Iodaphor. I don't mix anything plastic or rubber. So, on the homebrew side, bottling buckets, siphons, tubing, gaskets, airlocks/bungs, any of that, I have a separate set of everything, and I label it multiple times in HUGE letters so I don't miss it. At work, we throw out gaskets when they're used with Brett. Valves are disassembled, autoclaved, and put back together with new rubber seals.

Brett is some hardy stuff, and will live through a lot in the small pores of plastic.
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