Bacteria in Beer

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Polo32417

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I am a beginner and am new to the home brewing art. I’ve read articles and books to give me some knowledge that a beginner should know. One of the things I’ve read over and over is the importance to make sure everything that comes in contact with wort needs to be sterilized or else bacteria can grow and spoil the beer.

I’m sad to say that this weekend was my first time brewing and I already made a rookie mistake. I was careful to sterilize all of the equipment and was in the clear until the final moment when I had to close the cover of the fermenting bucket and put in the fermenting lock. I put the cover on first and then pushed the fermenting lock into place. However, when pushing the lock in place the rubber gasket around the hole was pushed through the hole and into the buck. I was hoping I would find it floating on top, but it sunk to the very bottom. Needless to say I had to stick my arm in and fish it out of the bottom. I did clean my hand and arm before reaching in, but I’m sure this is not a good idea and bacteria is now in what I was hoping to be great beer.

Has anyone else ever had to do something like this before? Am I wasting my time by letting it ferment over the next month just to find out it will be spoiled?
 

BoisePorter

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You will find that this has happened to many a brewer. As long as you washed and rinsed your arm/hand, you'll probably be OK. Using a sanitizer might have lessened the chances of a problem, but it might not have been great for the skin either.
 
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Polo32417

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Thank you for the input. I thought about what the sanitizer would do to my skin so I used warm water and soap. I made sure to wash all the soap off.
 

theredben

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Soap + rinsing well is as good as sanitizer. No problems. Let us know in 3-4 weeks in this thread how it went.
 

KevinW

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Your beer should turn out just fine, once the yeasties start to take over there is very little that can win in their battle for dominance of the wort.

It is like world wort III (LOL)

If this happens again just cover the hole with some foil or plastic wrap and put an empty plastic cup on it or something like that which will allow the co2 to escape and keep creepy crawlies out!!

Just my thoughts!
 

johnnyspade

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I've done that. With BBQ season just around the corner, consider picking up a pair of long stainless steel BBQ tongs. Restaurant places will have them as well. They're cheap, easy to sanitize, and will save you from washing your arm.
 

knotquiteawake

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how clean was the towel you dried your hands on after washing them? I shudder to think at how not often some people wash their bathroom handtowels...
 

joelshults

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I did the same thing on my first batch (I guess those little gaskets are a lot less flexible the first time you use them). The beer came out fine. I'm not saying there's no way you got an infection, but I've read about a lot of people doing the same thing.

Just don't stick your arm in every batch. ;)
 

aggiejay06

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You would be amazed what you can do to your beer and how durable it is...especially considering this was your first brew, I wouldn't worry...your equipment (including the stopper) shouldn't (unless you bought someone's used equipment) have old beer gunk that might have harbored bacteria that you could have potentially missed cleaning.
 

DarksideOTM

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My Brother and I had the same thing happen to us on our first batch. Beer came out fine. We used to joke that in order to brew that recipe again he'd have to stick his arm in it befor puting the lid on. Havent brewed Daves Arm Ale in a while.

I wouldnt worry too much about it. I find it helps to wet the end of the airlock and twist it into the gromet.
 

thughes

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I've done that. With BBQ season just around the corner, consider picking up a pair of long stainless steel BBQ tongs. Restaurant places will have them as well. They're cheap, easy to sanitize, and will save you from washing your arm.
A good suggestion, but wouldn't a few extra grommets be cheaper? ;)
 

Gremlyn

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I dropped a pair of pliers into my freshly cooled wort once. Didn't even wash my arm and just pulled em out. The batch came out fine :)
 

VoodooManX

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Did the same thing two weeks ago. From now on I'll put the airlock in before putting the lid on. Also, remember it's sanitize not sterilize. The difference is huge and might help set your mind at ease.

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