How often does your beer get infected?

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mat_890

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Hey everyone, been lurking the forums for a while and picked up a couple of beer kits (the no boil pre hopped ones) and have one going in the primary now.

I have made wine for a few years without any problems or infections but looking around in the newbie forum i have seen quite a few posts about infection almost as if its a common thing.

I think I sanitize and clean everything properly and with proper products but with that being said how often does your beer get unintentionally infected?

Thanks
 

Professor Frink

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Welcome. Generally, not that often. Beer is pretty forgiven. In over 60 batches, I've had only a few that have gotten contaminated, and I can usually trace back to to where that happened (not fully clean bottles, dirty beer lines, etc.).
 
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All I can say is Air Conditioning ruined my perfect 15+ year record. It was incubating pedio and blowing it around the brew room.

Drove me nuts trying to get rid of it. Then one day I clued in. Felt the air blowing on my shoulder from one of the ceiling vent a few feet from a carboy. Eureka! Problem was solved. (I had replaced EVERYTHING plastic and was still getting this damn infection till I noticed it was the AC).

All the beers but one were drinkable, and since I was kegging, I just filtered and kegged. Pedio takes quite some time to actually sour your beer. It was the weird white scum that becomes really flaky when you spoon through it that made me notice.

The undrinkable beer was an IPA that was sitting in a closet for 3 months. I forgot to check it till kegging time and I discovered an inch thick crust of pedio. I aged it for 2 years hoping it would become interesting. Nope! Had to toss it. But the 4 inch pedio crust looked interesting! (sniff.. my one and only toss...sniff)

BTW this is what led to my discovery of oxiclean and it's greatness. 1 scoop per gallon will kill anything.
 

jmlabeck

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Once in fifteen years...I was in a rush, and forgot to sanitize my bottlecaps. Now I just plan my time better, so everything can get done.

Joe
 

Grim_Ale

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Ive only had 1 that I think was infected and it was a kit that came with the wort already hopped and done, you just added it to the primary and added 2 gals of water and the yeast that came with it.

I recommend if anyone uses these kits to BOIL them first REGARDLESS what the directions say. It was a stout that came out sour.

Every since then ive been buying extract kits from B3 and boiling my own wort and so on and have had 0 infections since.

My beer has also been so comparative to the brands I love and drink most often so im very very happy.

Infections seem to very rare if you do everything you are suppose to.

Ive seen a lot of is this infected posts and most of the time 9 out of 10 its not.

Also, some infections will not even effect taste.

Infections can effect taste, smell, mouthfeel and so on.

So you may even get infections and not know.

Beer is very forgiving.
 

Grinder12000

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it's one of those things where you want to say that you REALLY have to work at it to get an infected beer - but then it sounds like you don't have to keep things clean.

If you just keep everything wiped up and sanitize whatever is going to touch your beer you should never have an infection.

Odd things happen though (air conditioners).
 

Coastarine

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I've had a batch of apfelwein that tasted very vomity and now a batch of orange kolsch that tastes slightly vomity. I also had a pumpkin beer which was medicinal/gross, but I'm not sure if that was infection. I'll call it 2 batches out of 21. Really more than 21 because I'm not counting batches that I did when I brewed with my dad, because that was different equipment, different house, etc.
 

Yooper

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I've never had a contaminated batch, but I did get a few bottles out of one batch a while back that gushed. I must have not sanitized the bottles correctly- the beer was good, but then started to sour and gush. It sounded like a lacto infection, but it wasn't in every bottle. I think that around around batch 175 or so.
 

Stef1966

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0 in a little over 2 years of brewing, and i only use chlorine based soap to sanitize my stuff.

I put my bottles in the dishwasher with that soap too then rinse them with tap water.
 

Baldy_Beer_Brewery

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Keep in mind that many of the posts in the forums you mentioned are "Is my beer infected" posts that usually are not infections rather than "My beer is infected" posts. Usually everything is OK.

You are going to notice the same worry over stuck sparges, but to a lesser degree if you decide to go all grain.
 

alee

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The only possible infection I've had so far was from a hopped dark bitter kit that I brought over when I moved from england 20 years ago. I found it in the garage and thought it was worth a shot. Turned out sour and each bottle shot a 10 inch high fountain. Did make a good shandy though....at least for 20yr old malt!
 

syd138

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Ive done about 10 batches so far.

My second one went bad. As stupid as this sounds, before I added the priming sugar to my bottling bucket, I let it cool in the pot in my fridge. There is probably more bacteria in my fridge than anywhere else.

But I think as long as you don't do stupid stuff like that, you'll be fine.
 

Figbash

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One bottle in three years. After opening, it proceeded to empty itself all over the counter. Yeast pretty much overpowers most bacterial infections. Even casual attention to cleanliness is adequate.

Tom
 

chumprock

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Two infections that were easily identified by mistakes in my process or just stupid drunkeness.

First was not properly sanitizing the drain on my bottling bucket (duh.)
Second was drunk and fiddling with the airlock and I dropped the grommet into the wort. (Then fiddled about trying to get it out).


Since then I've moved to glass carboys and kegs and haven't had any problem. I think it did me a favor because now I'm all OCD about sanitizing.
 

ArcaneXor

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I've had one infected batch (A Mr. Beer recipe - go figure). I usually end up with one or two bottles per batch that seem to have something going on with them, but for the most part, they still taste ok.
 

Clonefarmer

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I have had 1, using packages of store bought frozen raspberries. It was just a thin white film in the carboy and in the bottlenecks. After a few days in the fridge the film dropped and they tasted fine. Next time I will pasteurize any fruit at home even though it says pasteurized on the packages to be sure.

Two lessons from one batch :). Always pasteurize fruit and infections don't mean the end of a good batch.
 

malkore

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Zero infections so far. I'm keeping that record going for as long as possible, too.
ditto. other problems have arisen but I have yet to have an infection.

and this spans clear back to my first batch of mead at age 17, which wasn't sanitized one bit. 14 years no infections.
 

histo320

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9 Batches under my belt, I by no way am crazy about sanitizing, I do it but I don't over do it and not a single infection yet.
 

Eves

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12 batches an not a single infection.

Quite frankly I just don't worry about it. I just do basic sanitizing steps (good ole Star San) and just make beer. It takes really bad luck or carelessness to end up with infection. Just imagine the people brewing beer thousands of years ago. Do you believe for a second they had Star San or bleach or whatever available to them? Nope. You can bet that had infection been a signficant problem that brewing would have been quickly ignored.

Its all good.
 

beersydoesit

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Still a newbie, no infections so far. (~10 batches)
I understand though that you should not grind grain where you brew(?)

But I don't see any reason that an infection is inevitable.

Regards
 
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