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Old 10-11-2011, 02:15 AM   #1
TristanLowery
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Default Separate gear for sour beer?

By now, everyone knows that if you plan on brewing with "wild" yeast and bacteria, you'd better have a dedicated set of plastic and vinyl gear (racking canes, siphon tubing, airlocks, funnels, etcetera) separate from your equipment used for beers fermented by Saccharomyces sp. alone. The use of glass and even Better Bottle carboys for both seems to be a more divisive issue, but personally, I've got enough fermentation vessels to keep them apart and do so.

What no one ever seems to talk about, however, is the possible requirement of maintaining separate equipment for bacteria (Lactobacillus sp., Pediococcus damnosus) and for "wild" yeast (Brettanomyces sp.). Of course, a lot of traditional sour beers contain microbiological zoos of both yeast and bacteria, but many do not. If you use the same dedicated "sour" Auto Siphon to rack a multiple-strain Lambic before using it again to transfer an Oud Bruin with only Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus delbrueckii, might you be running the risk of of introducing unintended populations of wild yeast and bacteria into the latter (say, Brett and Pediococcus)?

For the record, I've used the same set of dedicated "sour" equipment on a Flanders sour brown (Wyeast "Ardennes" and "Lambic Blend"), followed by a Berliner Weisse (Wyeast "German Ale", sour mash and house lacto culture), and finally a Saison with Orval dregs. The sour brown developed sourness and "horsey" Brett flavors after four months in secondary, the dregged Saison is picking them up now after two months and the Berliner Weisse has been bottled now for six months without showing any Brett character from cross-contamination.

I realize I probably just answered my own question, but was wondering if any one else has had differing thoughts or experiences on this matter.


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Old 10-11-2011, 03:10 AM   #2
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yep you should prolly get those out of your house asap. you could mail them to me i guess. if that would solve you problems.


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Old 10-13-2011, 02:17 PM   #3
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i'm new to sours and just brewed my first only 2 weeks ago, so please take my comments and questions with a grain of salt.

i was planning to begin purchasing new tubes and plastics to accommodate my new interest in wild beers, but I just read on another site that doing a sustained oxyclean soak followed by a soak in a bleach solution and then sanitizing like normal does not make it necessary to purchase new equipment.

what do you all think about this? i know that bleach kills most things dead, but i don't know if the above procedure would work .....
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:11 PM   #4
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I wouldn't use bleach at all because it's too easy to leave a little residue and get that bleach taste in your beer. (It is not good.)

I made sours and shared equipment for about a year. I used oxyclean and star-san for cleaning and sanitizing respectively. I also boiled a few items. I haven't noticed any cross-contamination in my non-sours. It's always a risk that you'll contaminate a beer. It's really not that expensive to get some extra bottling/racking equipment and eventually you'll want to replace that stuff so when you do, make the old stuff your sour set.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:07 PM   #5
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thanks a lot for the message....i do plan to replace equipment at some point soon for my sours and my cleans....but i have a couple brews i wanna do before i get to that point, so it's good to know cross contamination is avoidable in the short term....
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:21 AM   #6
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I use a separate bottling bucket, hoses, autosiphon, and bottling wand. I use the same fermentors for both brett and or bacteria beers with sacch beers. I use bleach soak diluted bleach soak, then at least three good rinses. Before I use it, I rinse again and use starsan.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:13 PM   #7
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I use my "sour equipment" for all of the different sours I make and I've never had a problem.

Like the common theme is... anything plastic or vinyl, I have completely separate set for sour and non-sour. But in terms of fermenters, I ferment in sanke kegs and carboys. For those... I fill them with 140 degree water, hit them with a heavy dose of oxy-clean and let them sit over night. Rinse them out and then given then a long and thorough splashing with star-san... and I've never had one sour contaminate another.

You MIGHT get some cross-contamination from the plastic/vinyl (hence having two sets) but I would think the dominant bug in the wort you purposely pitched would muscle out, in a big way, any contaminants you might pick up from the plastic.

Just "regular sacchromyces" won't be able to fight off the bugs because it craps out at a certain FG. Bugs won't. The bugs will wait until the regular yeast is done and then they will move in and finish off any last bit of sugars... hence the infection.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:49 PM   #8
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No need.
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Old 10-28-2011, 02:52 AM   #9
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Thanks Cape Brewing; that was the reassuring answer I was looking for specifically.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:13 PM   #10
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thanks for all the tips and info going to brew a Flanders red soon with friends


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