Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Brewing outside with lots of trees around
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:16 PM   #1
heyyybabbitt
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Default Brewing outside with lots of trees around

I just started brewing outside, and the last 3 batches I've brewed have either created gushers or formed white layers on top while fermenting, so it's safe to say I'm picking up a contamination somewhere.
I'm a clean freak and I PBW and Iodophor everything specifically according to directions. So I can be assured its not a sanitation issue. (Many years of restaurant experience, I know the importance of sanitation VERY well)

Here are some variables:

- My yard is totally covered in trees, so I wanted to know if this could be an issue where pollen from the trees was falling and making it more likely that wild yeast got in my beer.
- By the time I'm done with the brew its almost dark out. Are wild yeasties more active at that time of day?
- is it OK to cover the wort at the end of the boil? I've heard it wasn't a good idea but can't find anything to back up the claim.
- could my aluminum kettle be to blame? (I know, I know... I'm ordering a SS after Xmas) Is aluminum more porous than SS?

Anyone have any advice about what I might be doing wrong, or what I can do to avoid wild yeast outside? I just can't bear to dump any more batches. And I'm not that big of a lambic fan to make the switch to drinking ONLY lambic.

Thanks


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Old 12-03-2012, 06:26 PM   #2
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It is fine to cover the pot after flame out, you have already boiled off the volatile compounds at that point. If you are using an IC you can get a lid and notch it so the chiller goes through it.


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Old 12-03-2012, 06:31 PM   #3
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I brew outside and have tree's near by. Could be the type of tree's though.
When you are heating water and especially boiling, you have one heck of a thermal updraft, especially at night when the temperature is lower.
This SHOULD keep small microscopic bits from drifting into the wort unless the wind blew a solid piece of something into the pot. It wouldn't have to be very big to overcome the thermals from the water heat.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:19 PM   #4
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Gushers are a sign that fermentation hasn't completed and was completed in the bottle thusly causing an increase in pressure inside the bottle and gushing. You didn't mention anything about taste. Just trying to be ananlytical (and not a pr*ck) here and always ask about FG stabilizing before bottling.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:25 PM   #5
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What are you doing to chill your wort? IC? CFC? Plate? Assuming you are transferring into a carboy, installing the carboy cap onto it and using a racking cane into the open hole of the cap will create a more or less sanitary transfer from the kettle.

Yes, keep the lid on the pot after the boil is done. This would be critical for an IC, though rather irrelevant for a CFC or Plate Chiller.

And replace all your tubing!!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:12 PM   #6
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Lebowski:

The taste was pretty bad after a few weeks. Fermentation should have been done at that point according to FG. Gushing started when the taste and smell were off, which is why I thought contamination.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Humpsalot
What are you doing to chill your wort? IC? CFC? Plate? Assuming you are transferring into a carboy, installing the carboy cap onto it and using a racking cane into the open hole of the cap will create a more or less sanitary transfer from the kettle.

Yes, keep the lid on the pot after the boil is done. This would be critical for an IC, though rather irrelevant for a CFC or Plate Chiller.

And replace all your tubing!!!
I'm actually not using a chiller right now, due to.. Well... not owning one. Should be making one over Xmas break so that should solve that problem. I just bring the kettle inside and submerge in alternating ice baths (both PBW'd and IO'd)

And I'm throwing away anything plastic, taking no chances. Just noticed my racking cane had reeeeeeeeallyy tiny cracks in it, so there's another suspect. BLARGH.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:24 PM   #8
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What's your weather like where you live? I haven't had an infection with ice-bathing my beer, but could easily see how it could happen. Your wort IS covered while you're chilling it right? That's an absolute must! I wouldn't open my kettle at all until I was ready to transfer to the fermentor.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Humpsalot
What's your weather like where you live? I haven't had an infection with ice-bathing my beer, but could easily see how it could happen. Your wort IS covered while you're chilling it right? That's an absolute must! I wouldn't open my kettle at all until I was ready to transfer to the fermentor.
I might just be waiting too long to cover after the boil is complete. I'm goin to start covering right as the boil is done. This was never previously a problem for me since I brewed inside, and my kitchen is spotless.

Also these were both brewed on mild MA days in October. It hadn't rained for awhile so there may have been more particulates in the air than usual.

This, and switching out all of my plastic, should be a huge help. Thanks everyone.


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