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Old 01-10-2009, 09:46 PM   #1
Jan 2007
Posts: 5

I've been brewing for a few years with a friend but recently moved and started doing it on my own. I have tried 3 batches at my new place and all 3 have gotten a white film on the top in secondary and gone very sour very quickly. So far I had a barely drinkable pale ale, a winter ale that was so sour that I tossed it when I went to bottle it and now have another winter ale in secondary that smells like its a lost cause.

I do mainly extract brewing with some grains. I do a full 6 gal. boil, cool with a wart chiller (put in with 15 min left in the boil) and sanitize everything the beer comes in contact with. For my last batch I switched to StarSan and bought a new siphon kit (I had bought the one where you blow through a "sterile" filter and thought maybe that was the problem. I have only seen the problem in the secondary, each batch has been fine when I racked it. I am getting really frustrated and would appreciate any advice some one can offer. Thanks.

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Old 01-10-2009, 09:52 PM   #2
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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Sour sounds like a lacto bacillus infection. I'd suggest throwing away all plastic and then bleach/water bombing the rest of the equipment.

Do you have any kind of obvious source of contamination? Like grain stored by the fermenter, or any other problems.

One thought I had is that since the infection is showing up in the secondary, to stop using the secondary for the next batch and buy a new autosiphon and new tubing, and bleach/water the bottles you'll be using and rinse them well before sanitizing.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:54 PM   #3
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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Well...biggest thing I see is that despite the "sterile" filter you are still using your mouth to siphon..that worries me...

Have you replaced all your hoses? Made sure yor primary and secondary had no scratches?

You don't rinse after sanitizing do you? THat's one of the biggest mistake people do..

I would suggest you get an autosiphon, and use that...to me mouth and siphon, is still risky...
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:54 PM   #4
Nov 2007
Sacramento, CA
Posts: 88

Hmm. Just double-check all sanitation (siphons, racking canes, carboys, wort thieves, airlocks, funnels, colanders), make sure you are using the right proportion of StarSan / water, and use vodka in the airlock.

The only other thing I can think of is maybe the source of your malt extract and ingredients is bad. You said you moved, maybe your new LHBS has crappy quality control, but even that doesn't make much sense because anything in the extract would die in the boil. I dunno. Must be sanitation. :\

Good luck

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Old 01-10-2009, 09:56 PM   #5
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Jul 2006
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I had 5 out of 7 batches go bad until I replaced all my buckets with better bottles.

I thought the buckets were OK, but they must have been harboring some nasties.

Better Bottles rock! Can't scratch em 'cause I can't reach inside.

I now have 12 batches done using my Better Bottles, and all have been good!
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:10 PM   #6
Jan 2007
Posts: 5

I got an auto siphon, and use all glass carboys, no bucket til bottling day, same LHBS, I'm going to buy all new tubing and the bleach bombing sounds like a good idea. Still open to any more ideas or recommendations. Thanks guys !

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Old 01-10-2009, 10:31 PM   #7
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Aug 2008
St. George Utah
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I bleach bomb most everything every time (except for bottles I just use the sanitation cycle on the dish washer after a brushing.) I have yet to taste a contamination or use any starsan. I keep wanting to buy some, but...
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:39 PM   #8
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Jan 2008
Apopka, FL
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Or you could just start brewing lambics
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:03 AM   #9
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Aug 2008
Portland OR
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I like to bleach bomb all of my equipment every 3-4 brews on top of my normal sanitization, just to be sure. Haven't had any problems yet, knock on wood.
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