Is this an infection or protein haze?

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emerinohdz

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Hi!

When brewing, we like to take samples of our wort to test our sanitation practices. On our last brew, after transfering the wort we took a sample from the fermenter before pitching yeast.

After a few days (6-7), we started to notice a strange dandelion-like thing forming at the bottom of the test tube. At first it looked like haze so we thought it was just caused by the trub, but today it looked as shown in the picture.

The fermented beer itself does not have any off flavors, but we wanted to know what is it we saw since all infection pictures (and other infections we've had in the past) develop at the top while this is sitting at the bottom.

It's a bit difficult to see the dandelion-like structure in thr pics attached, has anyone seen something similar?
 

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HazyBeer

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I'm not sure that keeping unpitched wort can offer much insight into your sanitation. Whatever air that the wort was exposed to would have microbes that in the absence of yeast will take over. And if it was transferred cool and the sample tube not sanitized..

Everything post boil should be cleaned and starsan'd. And keep the lid on if you are using a bucket to ferment. Maybe I'm lucky but I follow this and have never had an infected beer.

Just my two cents.
 
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emerinohdz

emerinohdz

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Thanks all for replying. The wort on the tubes turned out to be infected, however it was expected since we are not in a lab so we don't have a sterile environment. We do however take extra precautions on the cold side while transferring, such as avoiding air drafts, not opening the fermenter lid wide open (just the bare minimum to keep the transfer hose going), using kn95 mask and minimizing conversations while doing a transfer, as well as using an alcohol lamp while transferring and taking samples.

The purpose of this experiment is to kind of assess our ability to keep things as sanitized as possible, and by seeing nothing obvious (infection wise) happened for over a week seems like a good outcome. A failure would have probably been that there's visible signs of active fermentation happening (caused by wild yeast and bacteria) after a couple of days only.

The other experiment we do is take a sample of the beer after fermentation is done, and let it sit for a while loosely covered with some aluminium foil and see if any contamination is visible after a few days at room temperature. On our last batch we did this, it's been over a month now and there hasn't been a sign of infection, which to us means the beer is as good as it gets for a homebrew environment in terms of sanitization. This of course has a different expected outcome, given any bacteria that may have made it while transferring was outnumbered by the pitched yeast.

Would love to hear from others though, whether these assumptions make sense or not!
 
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