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Old 07-08-2012, 04:09 AM   #1
Jul 2012
Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1

My roommate and I have been getting into homebrewing this past year and we've had a few successes, but now they're starting to turn into failures and we're not sure why.

Our first two batches of beer turned out fine. One was quite good, and the other was at least drinkable. Then we did two more batches at once, one of which was good, the other had become infected somehow. We chalked it up to an anomaly and brewed two new batches. Both infected. We're very confused at this point because we're doing everything the same and somehow they're getting infected.

I figured that maybe we had gotten lax with our cleaning, so we did one more, and we were SUPER careful about cleaning everything really well. We were going to bottle today, but alas, this batch was infected as well... I could actually see mold or something growing on the sides of the fermenter where it had risen. All but one of the infections occurred in the primary fermenter. The exception may have been infected there as well, but we might not have noticed it until later.

So I'm at a loss to explain this. My roommate thinks we're leaving the beer in the primary for too long... this last batch was in there for a month. Could that be a problem? Also, I don't think the primary is air tight either... would that make a difference? We did have 3 successful batches with the same equipment earlier...

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Old 07-08-2012, 04:30 AM   #2
helibrewer's Avatar
Nov 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 3,813
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You are sure it's infected? What does it taste like? You will need to give us a pretty detailed process flow to try to help.
Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

Kegged: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
On Deck: German Lager

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Old 07-08-2012, 04:48 AM   #3
FatBaldBeerGuy's Avatar
Jan 2012
Swan Point, Maryland
Posts: 94

It is almost impossible to leave your beer in the primary too long... 7-10 weeks are generally perfectly acceptable for an Ale as long as temps aren't too far off, etc.

That said; If the primary is not airtight that could be a VERY big issue... Airlocks are important for proper fermentation. Provide a very detailed work flow (as listed above) so we can determine what exactly may be happening.
On Deck: Irish Red
Primary: Saison
Secondary: Black IPA
Drinking: All gone!!!

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Old 07-08-2012, 06:51 AM   #4
Mar 2012
spokane, wa
Posts: 1,971
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bleach soak everything (EVERYTHING), then wash everything. add a different sanitizer into your process. if you using sarsan, iodophor your equipment for a batch. If iodophor, starsan all your equipment for a batch.

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Old 07-08-2012, 07:10 AM   #5
Jul 2011
Tucson, AZ
Posts: 513
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did you get rid of all your plastic after your first infected batch??? are u using glass carboy's or plastic ale pails?? if using plastic you might want to ditch them and re get new buckets.

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Old 07-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #6
Captain Damage
Captain Damage's Avatar
Apr 2008
Lowell, Massachusetts
Posts: 1,230
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Replace your bottling bucket spigot. Replace all your tubing and racking cane.
Stop using so much caramel malt. Your beer will thank you.
(yes, Carapils is a caramel is Special B)


pujwI HIq Mild Ale
KPA Khitomer Pale Ale

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Old 07-08-2012, 07:53 PM   #7
lupulin shift victim
chickypad's Avatar
Jul 2010
SF Peninsula
Posts: 5,140
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Originally Posted by helibrewer View Post
You are sure it's infected? What does it taste like?
What I was wondering too. Were the batches sour? Vinegary? Mold on the side of the fermenter would not necessarily signify a ruined batch (if it really is mold to begin with). From How To Brew:

Cause 2: Mold A simple case of mold.
Cure: Mold can usually be just skimmed off with no lasting effect on the beer's flavor. Withdraw a sample of the wort with a siphon or turkey baster and taste it. If it tastes foul then its not worth keeping. Otherwise the beer was probably not harmed. Infections in beer caused by molds are not dangerous. Be meticulous in your sanitation and you should not have any problems.

Any pics?

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Old 07-08-2012, 08:03 PM   #8
Feb 2012
Little Rock, Arkansas
Posts: 196
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I would soak everything for a day or two. Also scrubbing your fermenter with harsh utensils can cause scaring on the inside, leaving cracks for organisms to grow and breed.

Helpful hint would be to soak everything while your wort is boiling. Fill the fermenter all the way to the top. Drop all your gear in it to soak as well.

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Old 07-08-2012, 09:06 PM   #9
May 2012
Morristown, TN
Posts: 105
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I dunno too much about infections, but pics would help. Sounds like if it's up above the beer line, my guess would be left over krausen ring.
Hopelessly lost... But I'm making great time!

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Old 07-08-2012, 09:15 PM   #10
midfielder5's Avatar
Jan 2009
San Francisco, CA
Posts: 1,448
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You just mention "cleaning", nothing about sanitizing. They are different processes. You clean with one product (oxy clean-free for example) then sanitize with another (i like star san).

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