Did I contaminate my first batch of beer?

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Lazy_Lighting

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I just brewed up my first batch of beer. It was an amber ale that I got as an extract kit from a local brew shop. When cooling the wort I placed the kettle in an ice bath and made the mistake of adding about six ice cubes that were from a tray in my freezer. I was anal with making sure all other equipment was sanitized. The kit called for 3 ozs of hops at various stages. I heard that pthis can help with contamination. I also used wyeast. It has been the primary for 5 days now.

Feel like an idiot for going all out with sanitizing everything then adding a few ice cubes. Did I ruin my first batch of beer? And when would I notice if it is ruined or not?
 

twistr25

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A lot of people use unboiled tap water for top off with no issues and many of other things have been dropped in the wort without issue. You'll be fine.
 

Hopper5000

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When you freeze something it usually kills off anything to a sanitized level so I wouldn't worry too much. I am assuming that you added them into the wort on accident?
 

progmac

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if it was like five ice cubes i'd say you're fine, but six? i don't know. that is like one less than seven. and we all know what seven will do. I'd say keep an eye on it, measure the gravity at least three times a day, count exactly how many bubbles you are getting per minute from the airlock (measure twenty minutes individually and then average the twenty numbers) and after a couple days take ten to twelve high-res pictures of anything foamy or chunky looking that shows up either on the surface or around the rim of the bucket.
 

bigebrewer

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Especially since you said you did a good job of cleaning and sanitizing, you don't have anything to worry about. With your first brew in what I am assuming is new equipment the chance of getting an infection is slim to none.
 

J187

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if it was like five ice cubes i'd say you're fine, but six? i don't know. that is like one less than seven. and we all know what seven will do. I'd say keep an eye on it, measure the gravity at least three times a day, count exactly how many bubbles you are getting per minute from the airlock (measure twenty minutes individually and then average the twenty numbers) and after a couple days take ten to twelve high-res pictures of anything foamy or chunky looking that shows up either on the surface or around the rim of the bucket.
What is the point of this? The guy is asking a legit question and he's worried about his beer? If you were trying to belittle him and make him look stupid, I would consider it a failed attempt.


To the OP - the real answer is: we don't know. None of us could know. Sure, you did increase the risk. Ice from a freezer could certainly contain contaminates. Freezers are known to harbor dormant bacteria. There is no hard and fast rule of - when you do this, you always get this contamination. Rather, every misstep merely increases the risk, albeit the risk is usually small to begin with and often, you'll survive some less than stellar practices just fine :). Of course, no one here can tell you that you didn't cause a problem just because it was only a few pieces of ice or just because they've used tap water in beer, etc. I'd guess you'll be ok. We'll have to wait and see. Glad to see you were diligent with rest of your procedure.
 

stratslinger

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I wouldn't worry too much about it. Yes, it's less than optimal, but you'll probably come out OK. Heck - on my first brew, I had my wort half transferred into my carboy before I realized I had forgotten to sanitize the carboy, and that came out fine (well, the kit itself was kinda lousy, but it definitely wasn't infected or anything).
 

stratslinger

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What is the point of this? The guy is asking a legit question and he's worried about his beer? If you were trying to belittle him and make him look stupid, I would consider it a failed attempt.
I thought his response was over the top goofy enough that his sarcasm was pretty obvious - but maybe that's just me...
 

J187

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I thought his response was over the top goofy enough that his sarcasm was pretty obvious - but maybe that's just me...
I hope that's what it was, but I think in the context it was delivered, it's hard to appreciate it as that. You take it as humor, but you always are a confident brewer and your comfortable with the basics. Imagine you brewed your first batch and you're worried and you're posting in a place for the first time looking for help and reassurance and that's what you get...
 

WoodlandBrew

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Done it before don't sweat it.

however freezers do not kill things to sanitary level as one poster mentioned.
 

gar2376

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What is the point of this? The guy is asking a legit question and he's worried about his beer? If you were trying to belittle him and make him look stupid, I would consider it a failed attempt.
I thought progmac's response was the funniest thing I've read all day. Dude, chill out a little and relax. He's worried about his beer, not his child dying. Humor is OK...
 

Whattawort

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I hope that's what it was, but I think in the context it was delivered, it's hard to appreciate it as that. You take it as humor, but you always are a confident brewer and your comfortable with the basics. Imagine you brewed your first batch and you're worried and you're posting in a place for the first time looking for help and reassurance and that's what you get...
Knee jerk much? I don't know about the OP, but if I were in his shoes, the sarcastic remark would actually put me a little more at ease. If someone is being sarcastic, then that pretty much tells me I'm not screwing it up. I don't think the remark was harsh or even rude, just a jab to say you've got nothing to worry about.
 

progmac

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my reply was entirely meant to amuse the regulars. to the OP, welcome and brew on!
 

bigebrewer

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I hope that's what it was, but I think in the context it was delivered, it's hard to appreciate it as that. You take it as humor, but you always are a confident brewer and your comfortable with the basics. Imagine you brewed your first batch and you're worried and you're posting in a place for the first time looking for help and reassurance and that's what you get...
Yes, while that may have been humorous to those of us that have a few brews under our belt, new brewers are scared as hell when they start that first batch are worried that everything is going to go wrong, and may not know if you are being serious or not ( I realize it was pretty far out there, but some people have no sarcasm detector at all!:)
 

WhiteEagle1

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Six is like one less than Seven....and we all know what Seven will do!!!!
That was classic....made my day....
 

J187

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my reply was meant to amuse the regulars, i didn't mean it at the OP's expense. to the OP, brew on!
My bad.. It just seemed as though you were frustrated by what you thought was a dumb question. Humor is cool, but I think I took that as "oh my god another noob worried about stupid things". I think it I would've appreciated the humor more if you followed up with a helpful post or a reassurance. It just looked like the dude stuck a nerve asking a dumb question - kinda the way I feel when I see the "should I use a secondary" twice-a-day posts :D
 
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Lazy_Lighting

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I did add it to the wort and I did it on purpose, there were six cubes left in the tray that would not fit in the ice bath so my inexperienced brain thought why not add it to the wort...I will never do that again.

Thanks for the help everyone. I will sleep easier tonight knowing that in a month I will be enjoying my first homebrew.
 

Hopper5000

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however freezers do not kill things to sanitary level as one poster mentioned.[/QUOTE]

Why do folks recommend freezing fruit puree before adding into secondary for their fruit beers?

I did somewhat mistype in the "sanitized" aspect, but freezing does kill some bacteria... other bacteria will die once alcohol begins to be produced.
 

Hopper5000

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Lazy, congrads on you first brew and I hope it turns out great... it's funny to read on here about people's screw ups which are way worse than what you did... like sticking their whole arm in the cooled wart to grab something that fell in...
 

J187

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Why do folks recommend freezing fruit puree before adding into secondary for their fruit beers?

I did somewhat mistype in the "sanitized" aspect, but freezing does kill some bacteria... other bacteria will die once alcohol begins to be produced.
One for flavor - cell walls break down increasing flavor when frozen.

Two- freezer will not kill, but will make dormant certain bacteria. Even when thawed they don't wake up right away and often do not in time to compete with the yeast.

Even so, the freezer harbors dormant bacteria, so fruit is still best sterlized before hand and frozen in air tight ziplock bags so the dormant bacteria in the freezer cannot effect it.
 

jmcquesten

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Lazy_Lighting said:
I did add it to the wort and I did it on purpose, there were six cubes left in the tray that would not fit in the ice bath so my inexperienced brain thought why not add it to the wort...I will never do that again.

Thanks for the help everyone. I will sleep easier tonight knowing that in a month I will be enjoying my first homebrew.
If it makes you feel any better. On my first batch, I was cooling it in an ice-bath while using an emersion chiller. I use (nasty) well water in the ice bath and chiller since it's usually a lot cooler than city water. As the ice started melting, the brewpot sank down a little, then a little more. This caused the brewpot to tilt a little, which allowed a qt or 2 of nasty well water to spill into my wort. Amazingly enough, there was no infection, although looking back on it the beer was not good at all. It still got drunk, but it's no where close to what I'm making now, just 10 months later. Anyway, I hope it turns out fine for you, but also, don't get discouraged if that first batch isn't all you expect it should be. There is a lot that goes into getting your beer the way you think it SHOULD be, keep researching and improving your process and it will get there.
 
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