A story for the sanitation monkeys

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nostalgia

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A co-worker of mine has been interested in homebrewing for a while. He had a couple days off last week and went to a local homebrew shop and picked up a brewing equipment kit and ingredients for two beers, including one White Labs yeast vial.

He spoke with the person working there (whom I believe was the owner) about how he should brew and whatnot.

He was told he didn't need a hydrometer and was given the standard 1-2-3 advice on primary-secondary-bottling. As for the second brew, he was told to just pitch onto the cake of the first one.

And if he couldn't brew again right away? The man told him to take a Dixie cup, reach into the bottom of the fermenter bucket after racking and scoop up the stuff at the bottom. Put plastic wrap on top and throw it in the fridge. "I do it all the time."

I just got a kick out of such a shoot-from-the-hip stance on saving yeast, given the incredible lengths some of us go to maintain sanitation :) I know I was a little horrified, but hey, who am I to argue with success?

-Joe
 

llazy_llama

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There is a huge difference between success and repeatable success. The LHBS owner in the story is like a basketball player who makes a lucky shot from half court at the buzzer and wins the game. Sure, it's possible... but can he do it again? Can he do it every game?

I'll stick with my normal regime of sanitizing my entire neighborhood with Star San, thankyouverymuch. ;)
 

samc

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Not the way I would choose to brew, however I can't imagine it's much worse than the early days of brewing. Don't think people were using much sanitizer and they managed to make beer. As a matter of fact I routinely use & feed sourdough cultures and don't practice anywhere near the level of sanitation I do for brewing.

Of course nobody lived very long back when brewing beer began.
 

drayman86

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Geez! That sounds just plain gross. Does he at least sterilize the dixie cup?
This is a great time to know the difference between disinfecting, sanitizing, and sterilizing.

Curious? Do a Wikipedia or Google search on each term.

It's great to be conscious of sanitary conditions, however the advice of the LHBS owner may not be totally horrendous.
 

DylansDad

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This is a great time to know the difference between disinfecting, sanitizing, and sterilizing.

Curious? Do a Wikipedia or Google search on each term.

It's great to be conscious of sanitary conditions, however the advice of the LHBS owner may not be totally horrendous.
Hah, good catch, I meant sanitize, but in my haste typed sterilize. Thanks!
 

Bernie Brewer

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Believe it or not, a Dixie cup out of a new package should be plenty sanitary. Once the package is opened, I woudn't be so sure..............
 

Joe Camel

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Here's the analogy I've come up with... I can drive backwards down my street at 40mph 10 times and 9 of those I didn't hit anybody, but everyone remembers the 1 time. Just because this guy "never" had an infection doesn't make what he does good practice.

It could be that he's lucky, it could be that he doesn't know his beer is infected, or he has good enough sanitary technique in other places that he can cut a few corners, but telling someone who is totally new to brewing and has no idea what sanitary practice is or how to do it is irresponsible.

Sanitation is the first thing new brewers should be working on in my opinion, it's the one thing that has the biggest impact on beer quality early on. A lot of the bugs we worry about can establish colonies that become next to impossible to clear out, most experienced homebrewers pitch their plastic and tubing rather than fight with an infection. I know I'd be pissed and probably never brew again if the first batch I made was infected and had to replace the equipment I just bought.

Just my 2 cents.. cheers
 

FireBrewer

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I know I was a little horrified, but hey, who am I to argue with success?
I think it depends on how you want to define "success".

"I do it all the time and I've never had a problem" is purely anecdotal and hardly basis for good advice. These are the guys who are dumbfounded when their BJCP score sheets come back in the single-digits. :drunk:

But hey, some people like that wild yeast/bacteria flavor. ;)
 
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