Originally Posted by AllHoppedUp
I know that sanitation is important throughout the brewing process. But when I started brewing and had a lot of sanitation concerns I was told by multiple sources that by the time your beer is in the secondary, the alcohol content is high enough that the antiseptic properties of the alcohol made the beer nearly unspoilable. Sure, it's always good policy to play it safe. But it seems that boiling honey, for example, could be a messy endeavor. Wouldn't he be safe to just toss the honey in?
Another example: fresh fruit can't be boiled and it can be added to secondary without worries. I know some who recommend campden tablets but I've never used them and never had trouble. Maybe I'm just lucky . . .
Using honey (or even fruit) without some sort of sanitizing ritual would make me worry about introducing bacteria or wild yeasts to the mix.
When you consider that various yeast strains can work in an environment that can approach 20% alcohol by volume, and a 'typical' beer is somewhere around 5%, I would not, for one single second, consider beer in the secondary to be 'unspoilable'. Some strains of yeast can eat sugar chains that brewers yeast cannot, so wild yeast can initiate a whole second round of fermentation and provide tastes that you do not want in your beer.
Furthermore, bacteria can turn an alcoholic beverage into vinegar EASILY.
I'm glad you havenot had any issues, but I think that adding fruit or honey directly to the fermenter with no sanitizing is a spoiled batch waiting to happen.