bac. contamination really that easy?

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ekjohns

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so i have brewed 2 batchs now and neither had contamination. My question is how easy is it to really contaminate your beer? I use star sans and hit everything after boiling for 30 sec to 1 min, but am overly anal about what my equipment touches after being cleaned to the point i get really stressed out. I think i am being a bit paranoid. If i clean my counter tops really good and star sans a dish to set stuff on like my airlock and tubing after i have cleaned then is there much of a chance of getting air born bac. contamination? what about contamination from my hands touching stuff as i use it? It seems like contamination is a rareity but i am still freaked out about it
 

Catt22

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You are worrying too much about it. It's easy to contaminate your beer and it's also fairly easy to avoid contaminating it. Worrying too much can harm your beer. You cannot sterilize everything, you can only sanitize it. It is impossible to rid the beer and equipment of all bacteria. The best you can do is knock them down to a level where they won't get the upper hand over the yeast during the ferment and subsequent storage. I've been brewing for quite a while and have never had a batch go south due to infection. I'm careful and thorough with cleaning and sanitizing, but I don't stress out over it. It's only beer and the worst that can happen is you have to dump it and you are out $30 or so plus your time invested. Even then, all was not lost as you had fun brewing it. There's a value in that. A lost batch is not La Fin du Monde or whatever and for most of us it is a rarity.
 

northernlad

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While researching for my first batch a LHBS suggested keeping a bucket of Sanitizer ready through the whole brew. That way, you can just toss your utensils, etc right back in and don't have to worry about putting it down in the wrong place.
Nonetheless, I am worried as well. We'll see in a month...
 

Munsoned

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Your beer is stronger than you think. Yes, infections can happen. But take a look at the "how many gallons of beer has been brewed this year thread" (I think it's north of 25,000 gallons to date for 2009), and then check the threads where a REAL, accidental infection has occured. My guess is that it's less than 1% of the total beer brewed by all forum members this year...
 

wilserbrewer

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Yep i believe you are stressing...if you need to set something down...i consider "fresh off the roll" paper towels reasonably sanitary.

It's not that difficult!
 

LTS

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Awhile back I picked up a SS food service prep table from a local deli that was closing. It's my brew cart, my table, and pretty much everything else. I simply spray some Star-San every once in awhile and worry about other things. I have a spray bottle I prep for a brew day and I'll just quick spray something. It's not perfect, it's better than not doing anything, it's hardly a problem.

As has been posted, if you are careless you will contaminate your beer, but odds are if you are careless you will screw something else up too. Just worry about the beer, not about the bugs.

A spoiled batch is nothing more than an opportunity to improve your skills.
 

McKBrew

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People are overly obsessed with sanitation. It's not really any different than avoiding contamination when handling food.

Follow the basic steps and the chances of having an infection are about the same as catching an STD as a virgin.
 

Beernik

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When I started brewing, I worried about the AC blowing wild bacteria into my wort.

These day, well, once I cleaned the bathroom in the middle of the boil. No contamination. Looking back at it, I decided that was a bit cavalier and decided not to do it again.

I keep a plastic bucket full of an iodine solution and keep all the equipment I anticipate possibly needing in it.
 

Arkador

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While researching for my first batch a LHBS suggested keeping a bucket of Sanitizer ready through the whole brew. That way, you can just toss your utensils, etc right back in and don't have to worry about putting it down in the wrong place.
Nonetheless, I am worried as well. We'll see in a month...
I fill my fermenter (plastic bucket) with sanatizer at the begining of my brewday, and use it to sanatize everything as the day progresses.
 
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ekjohns

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what if i just soak a paper towel in star sans and set suff on it as i brew that should keep it sanitary right? My biggest question is the chance of airboren bacteria getting on my stuff and then being transfered to my beer
 

Munsoned

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Just get a spray bottle and spray down your equipment with diluted Star San as you go through the brew day.
 

Ridebreck

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I've been using an ice chest filled with a couple of gallons of Star San solution. It's long enough that I can completely submerge my auto siphon parts, various tubing, etc. as well as get my funnel mostly submerged (I just rotate it every now and then during the boil. I put all of the misc equipment in there and close the lid until I'm ready to retrieve something.
 

hexmonkey

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To paraphrase Charlie Talley in a podcast interview: Remember that to a bacteria or yeast cell, a thin film of liquid is like an ocean. You don't need to fully submerge everything in 3 inches of starsan to sanitize it. If the surface is clean, using a spray bottle of properly diluted starsan is enough.

Airborne contaminants, in a reasonably clean house, should be in such small quantities that they will easily be out-competed by healthy yeast. Even lambic breweries need to expose their coolships of wort for several hours in order to inoculate them, and they're literally surrounded by their yeast and bugs!

The real threat of contamination is using equipment that was not properly cleaned in the first place. You can't sanitize dirt.
 
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