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Old 02-09-2013, 08:47 AM   #1
Snowblindz
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Default Brett infection?

I've had my beer dry hopping for 7 days in a hop bag. I removed it today & noticed a lot of white floating bits (see picture below). After doing research on this forum it looks to me like it could be the beginnings of a Brett infection. I've never had any infections in my beer before so would like to get some opinions from people on this forum.

1. Does this look like an infection to you, or something else? The beer tastes and smells great. It could possibly be the best beer I've made so far.

2. If it is an infection, what's the best action to take? Will it help to hit it with campden tablets or potassium sorbate (I force carb so no issue there)? I'd rather not pasteurise.

3. Would adding honey (ie more sugars) to kick start the non-Brett yeast strain do any good in suppressing the Brett strain, or would they just work together?

4. This is the first time I've dry-hopped a beer after primary fermentation & coincidentally the first infection (if that's what it is). I sterilised the hop bag in boiling water, but my understanding is the hop pallets themselves don't need to be sterilised. Is this correct?

Sorry for the long post & thanks in advance for any help.


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Old 02-09-2013, 08:54 AM   #2
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Not sure if it helps, but this is it from a different angle.

It's waxy/slimey stuff.


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Old 02-09-2013, 11:07 AM   #3
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It does look like an infection of some sort - that filmy bubble is a key characteristic. At this point there isn't really mush you can do - though I don't know about the campden idea. If it is infected with Brett the beer will slowly start changing, getting funkier and perhaps sour. I can think of three options:
1) Dump it
2) Leave it be and see where it goes - if you like sour/funky/Brett beers
3) Package it up and drink it quickly

If you choose option 3, which isn't a bad option, just be aware that you'll likely need to replace any soft plastic pieces (racking canes, tubing, etc.) or you'll risk carrying the infection over to the next beer.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:31 AM   #4
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you do have an infection, it could be Brett or it could be something else. Brett does make for funky flavors but not sour if it's only Brett, if you have pedio, or lacto in there too it will get sour. i disagree with JLem as far as your plastics, a good cleaning/sanitation regime will easily take care of any wild bugs. you could replace everything but the next time this happens you will have to replace them again and so on. this happens when your cleaning/sanitation practices slip up in some area or something floated in off of your hands, clothing or just a wind. i would just keep it in that fermentor for a couple of weeks then keg, if it's tasty/not tasty after carbonation you can dump it or not. i have a Brett Claussenii starter going at all times to inoculate whatever beer i want to funk up. in my experience you can brew sour and clean beer side by side with no problems if you are properly cleaning and sanitizing.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:28 AM   #5
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Without equipment or sending it to white labs or something, you'll never know for sure. I think we can all agree that it's not going to hurt you if you drink it. The dead giveaway for brett would be a slow but noticeable drop in s.g., lower than your sacc yeast should be able to accomplish on its own.

edit-
1. It looks like something snuck in there, yes.

2. Unintentional "infections" are only bad if the beer tastes gross. Ride it out and keg if it's good. I personally know nothing about campden or potassium sorbate except that fermentation CAN start up again after using campden.

3. There is no way to favor sacc over brett - if that is indeed the culprit. Lower temps could help if it's a souring bacteria like lacto or pedio, but it would still be there.

4. Interesting thought, since they weren't boiled perhaps they did carry some yeast. The oils inhibit bacteria, but brett can take hopping as well as sacc so perhaps it was there?
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Old 02-10-2013, 04:08 AM   #6
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Camden can add a very unpleasant sulfur aroma easily. Just ride it out and if you force carb and keep it at serving temps it will slow down any molecular activity and should have no real worries. Cheers
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:30 AM   #7
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Another option would be to filter the beer after racking it. This may require a 0.5 micron filter, so it would likely need to be forced through a plate filter with CO2 such as:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/beer...system-173358/

i think that nearly all the yeast cells would be removed, but true sterile filters are typically 0.22 micron. I would think that a 0.5 micron will remove nearly all Brett or other wild yeast strains.


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