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How 'contagious' is brett?

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bzwyatt

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(I'm talking about brettanomyces and just shortening for convenience, not to sound like he's my good buddy or something)

I harvested yeast from the dregs of a bottle of Temptation. I stepped it up a couple times. I'd never done this before(bottle harvesting or cultivating yeast) and I wasn't meticulous or precise about it, just added a bit of wort and watched what happened. Later I had a gravity sample of a beer I made, and poured it into the jar of brett sediment.

So a few weeks later, I tasted this jar of 'beer' and it was a yummy sour!

I decided to bottle it and see how it is after it is carbed and chilled. So I did that last night, while I was making a starter for my brew this weekend.

Now, I've heard that brett is hardy and easily contaminates other brews. I've heard you have to be extra careful with sanitizing practices if you've got brett in your brewery.

I can't quote specific sources, and I don't remember verbatim the statements of the things I just stated I've heard, so maybe I'm off a little, but I have the feeling that brett is like a super virus and if you touch somebody who has it, you can get it and die. I feel like maybe just setting my jar of starter next to the bottle of brett-beer in my kitchen can ruin the starter, and that brett organisms from the jar of sour brett-beer could jump over to my starter I'm building for my 5 gallons of ale I'm brewing on Saturday.

Does anybody know about that? Can brett, or any yeast, break the normal 'rules' of sanitizing?
 

diegobonatto

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Do not worry about it...Brett is like any conventional microrganism. I have made more than 5 batchs with Brett with the same equipment used to Saccharomyces and never had a cross-contamination. Just keep all material clean and sanitized. However, if you dregs contain lactobacilli in addition to Brett, then you should adopt more rigorous sanitizing procedures to avoid contamination of new batches.
 

Calder

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Brett can be cleaned and sanitized like any normal beer yeast.
 

Cyclman

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I have heard that, and am not contradicting this, but I know a pro brewer with a Davis brewing degree, scared to bring Brett into his brewery...has heard horror stories.

This could be one of those things commercial brewers face that homebrew scale doesn't.
 

thatjonguy

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The concern at the cimmerical level is the opportunity cost of a batch that was infected. They need repeatability of taste and quality. Hence the reason to be scared, especially if you don't catch it or your budget is thin.

Brett is different than an English strain (for example). Any cross contamination can be identifed much easier than two strains of saccromyces.

Brett infections to homebrewers can be delicous and a learning experience. To a pro, they are $$$ lost if the beer can't be saved or used.
 

IL1kebeer

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If you are really scared then get a separate set of plastic parts (tubing for example) for your Brett or sour beers. Glass and metal can both be cleaned and sanitized easier than plastic by using brushes and boiling water.

However if you follow best practice cleaning and sanitization you should not have much to worry about (or so I'm told).
 
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bzwyatt

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Thanks for the replies. None of the brett touched any equipment. I was just paranoid having the jar of starter on the counter next to the jar of brett, haha.

Kinda like when I started with MrB kits and sorta got the idea that if I even looked at my LBK wrong it could get infected.

If I ever actually brew with it, I'll research more of course, but keeping it out of plastic and only in glass or metal, makes sense.
 

eastoak

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you've probably had Brett yeast on your body your entire life, we all do. many people ferment 100% brett beer in the same plastic buckets they use for all other beer without any cross contamination, i know i do. not saying you should do this just that it is possible to do without a problem or feeling like you're taking chances. brett yeast is already all over the place anyway.
 
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