Just got to ask about Infections - Home Brew Forums

Register Now!
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Just got to ask about Infections

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-29-2011, 03:44 AM   #1
TastySalmon
Recipes 
 
Dec 2009
N. Idaho/NW Washington
Posts: 103


After tonight's browsing of threads, I realized something: People talk an awful lot about getting beer infected. It's not just newbies doing it, but people who I perceive as being experienced. It's not that it's just subtly mentioned every now and then, but it's brought up all the time.

So, I got to ask -- how many times has a fermenter of yours actually been infected with bacteria? The reason I ask is because in the 250+ batches of beer I've made, I've never gotten a bacterial infection before. I don't go overboard with sterilizing either. Fermenters get a quick splash of iodophor and a rinse. Airlocks get a quick boil. Hoses get a rinse and every now and then I give them an iodophor bath.

Is it unfounded paranoia for many people, or is it actually based on experience? Am I just lucky? I will admit that last winter a bottle of mine got some sort of a bug. It developed a haze while carbonating and smelled a little off.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 04:42 AM   #2
cvstrat
Recipes 
 
Apr 2009
Richmond, VA
Posts: 691
Liked 7 Times on 6 Posts


Infections are like train wrecks, they tend to attract a lot of attention, but they don't happen all that often. I guess since it's every brewer's worst nightmare people tend to check on infection threads, and newbs tend to think everything that materializes in the carboy is an infection.

I've brewed approximately 40 batches with no infections either. I'm not saying it couldn't happen and that it doesn't happen, but with proper precautions it should be rare

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 04:45 AM   #3
xeerohour
Recipes 
 
Feb 2010
Tulsa, OK
Posts: 168
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


I've only had one true infection in something like 20 batches. I got a phenolic infection when bottling an imperial stout. Likely something on the sugar or in the bucket.
__________________
Impudent Brewing

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 04:56 AM   #4
blizzard
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
blizzard's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2009
Denver, CO
Posts: 3,339
Liked 866 Times on 583 Posts


I just got an infection... lots of smoky phenolic flavors in a batch. I used a brand new BB, but I was in a hurry to transfer after cooling the wort and I didn't give it a proper wash because it was new.
__________________
Primary/Secondary/Bottles/Kegged: Delicious, delicious beer

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
Nightbiker
Recipes 
 
Jul 2008
Dover, FL
Posts: 558
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts


I haven't had one yet, not in roughly 30-40 batches. But as was said up there -its the 'train-wreck' syndrome, and as was said -its every brewers' worst nightmare (even the 'big boys' sweat this sort of thing -after all, in OUR case its bad enough -it represents a bit of lost time and twenty or thirty (give or take) bucks worth of ingredients -they stand to lose a whole lot more.
Its only natural that we concern ourselves with fear of infections.
I confess that I should be more diligent with sanitizing, but I haven't had any issues and my sanitizing sounds a lot like yours (though I rinse and sanitize all the hoses and draw tubes immediately after use, and sanitize before use as well).
I have a brother who bottles and he has had a batch of a red ale that got infected. When we opened up some of the bottles, they fountained until literally half the beer had blown out of the bottles. The rest had a thin taste with some very interesting (but certainly not desireable) flavor profile. He sanitized the heck out of his equipment and hasn't had the problem since.
Lesson learned.
__________________
GOT BEER?
FERMENTING:
LAGERING/CONDITIONING:Simply Sweet Mead
Kegged: Big Bad Brown Ale (Brown Ale and Porter blend).
Bottled:

Plans: Oak-Smoked Porter, Honey Brown Ale.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaybird View Post
we do it for the love of beer! Not for the love of money! We can all make great BEER! Not so much when it comes to money!

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 11:22 AM   #6
sudndeth
Recipes 
 
May 2010
Charleston
Posts: 311
Liked 11 Times on 8 Posts


Can you have a slight infection though? I've drank beers while a runner at a beer comp that tasted good, but were said to be infected. One of the experienced judges was telling me that many beers are infected, more than most people think. I guess you can get some slight smells and faint tastes from it.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 01:08 PM   #7
badmajon
Recipes 
 
Feb 2010
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Posts: 949
Liked 33 Times on 23 Posts


I've had one real infection in my 15 batch brewing history, the one before the last one. Undrinkable plastic flavor, with sick looking yeast (barely any cake at the bottom of the carboy) and no it wasn't chlorine etc. One time I even "sanitized" with water, thinking it was starsan, and the beer was just fine. It seems to be totally random.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 01:16 PM   #8
two_hearted
Recipes 
 
Apr 2010
Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 2,251
Liked 192 Times on 155 Posts


Not a one.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 01:17 PM   #9
Bradinator
Recipes 
 
Oct 2008
Calgary, AB
Posts: 655
Liked 25 Times on 22 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by sudndeth View Post
Can you have a slight infection though? I've drank beers while a runner at a beer comp that tasted good, but were said to be infected. One of the experienced judges was telling me that many beers are infected, more than most people think. I guess you can get some slight smells and faint tastes from it.
For some styles of beers (and I just learned this the other day) specific styles of infections are desirable. I mean isn't yeast just a cultivated mold to begin with? Or is it a bacteria... I am not sure. It just comes in little backs and stinks when wet. Maybe its dehydrated dog?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2011, 01:21 PM   #10
Yooper
Ale's What Cures You!
HBT_ADMIN.png
 
Yooper's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 69,214
Liked 7717 Times on 5420 Posts


I had one, about batch #260 or so. I had lactobacillus. The beer tasted fine after a week in the fermenter, but when I went to rack it to the keg a week after that it was getting "thin" and there was a hint of sourness. I covered it back up to see if it would get better (and I didn't want to contaminate a keg if it WAS infected), and a week later it was terrible. It was obviously lacto- sour, thin, slimy.

I ditched my plastic and bleachbombed the glass. Everything else has been fine.
__________________
Broken Leg Brewery
Giving beer a leg to stand on since 2006

 
Reply With Quote


Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What have your infections been like? cheezydemon General Techniques 21 01-04-2008 06:04 PM
Infections or What? Help If U Can 5gBrewer General Techniques 5 04-16-2007 11:08 PM
Question about Infections. Reverend JC General Techniques 14 11-29-2006 07:34 PM


Forum Jump