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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Why sanitise?
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
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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 you cant possibly compare modern day beer to the beer from 2000 years ago. It's a totally, completely different thing. Mostly due to the fact that we now understand microbiology and actually do things like sanitize our equipment.


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Old 03-12-2012, 04:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by zeg
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.
Yeah, and they drank nasty infected beer.


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Old 03-12-2012, 05:07 PM   #13
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I've also read historical accounts where a batch of beer was "off" & discarded to start again. So it was hit-or-miss centuries ago. Let alone some 9,000 years ago. I read an account a couple of weeks ago where archeologists found vessels of fermented products that were 300,000 years old. Wild stuff was laways hit or miss.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:25 PM   #14
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There is not way to konw if your beer will be ok or not. Following basic instructions, I'd say you are very likely to have no problem.

But if on 1 thing was done incorrectly, there *could* be a great chance of infection.

And you can't compare a belgian bacteria strain to some of the other bacterias that make, for instance, vinegar...

Keep the flies out, don't spit in it, and pitch a lot of yeast. That's the best basic adivce I can give.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:57 PM   #15
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You guys are missing the point of my post. Yes, you should sanitize as well as you can. Infections do happen, and if your intention is to make reliably good beer, of course you should follow best modern practices.

However, if failure to sanitize guaranteed a foul, undrinkable result, beer would simply not be popular. Much of the time, given reasonable conditions, beer just happens.

If you're making beer using modern methods as virtually everyone here seems to be doing, you've got a leg up compared to most of brewing history. You're using yeast strains that are far more efficient at eating wort than the wild strains, you're probably working in a cleaner environment to start with, at relatively regulated temperatures that let your selected yeast work at their best. Even if you screw up, you're *probably* going to get a good result.

This is the basis for the RDWHAHB mantra. Do the best you can, then trust in the beer.


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