Recurring "infection" cleanup - here is my plan

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Pivzavod

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I have 3 plastic buckets (2 Coopers + another one thats not a pail). I really like them all since they are easy to transport, easy to clean and 2 of them have spigots. I do not want to throw them out but I am in the process of getting 5 & 6.5 gallon carboys.

Here is one kind of "infection" that I sometimes get:


So far this has not caused any off flavors to my beers and I've drank a few batches without any problems.

My very first infection came from a bucket that was kept inside a cooler with some water. I think it developed mold and somehow it got inside the beer (maybe when I opened to peak inside). This was the only batch that I dumped since it still tasted like ass after 2 months in bottles.

This picture is from someone else on the forum but it looks identical to me:


Here is a picture I took yesterday of my 3/14 batch of Half Wit. I noticed with my British Pale Ale that it was going fine and at 2.5 weeks it started getting some funkiness (I believe it is the first kind, white filmsy kind of stuff). Same thing happened to Half Wit but it looks completely different:


The primary that I emptied last week I filled to the brim with hot tap water (~140F) and let it sit for some time. I than added some Coopers sanitizer that I still had from my original equipment kit purchase. It contains Sodium Percarbonate and I left it sitting for ~36 hours. Next step that I did I filled my bucket 95% with used, old Starsan and letting it sit for a few days.

After this I plan to use hot tap water on it again and thinking of buying more sanitizers from AHS - Chloromelamine Sanitizer, Potassium Metabisulphite. After that I guess I can go for another Starsan run but this time with brand new solution.

The Starsan solution I've been using has been at least 2 months old and it was kept covered for a few weeks in my 3rd (non Coopers) bucket filled to the brim for a few weeks. I also kept it in my bottling bucket which has no cover so it might not be as strong as it should be.

I've back traced all my brewing procedures and here are possible infection sources:

1) I have good tap water but always filtered with Brita filters and I only washed out the pitcher I dont think Ive sanitized it every time. I will change that step.

2) Ive used old empty plastic gallons jugs to measure the amount of water I've used. I usually fill them up with old Starsan and let them sit for a few mins. I will try nuking them harder before using them again in new Starsan solution.

3) I've used a stainless steel strainer to pour the wort from the pot to the primary and I've always put it into Starsan for a few mins. Next time I will boil it.

4) I plan to go over everything in my kitchen with Starsan

5) Another option is buying some bleach

What do you think of this plan and is using Chloromelamine Sanitizer, Potassium Metabisulphite excessive or can it help me.

I thought this was an infection in October but since I've learned that its just the way French Saison yeasties like to roll.


Can anyone suggest what kind of infections they might be? I've heard some say it could be mold and some say its lacto (first one)
 

The Blow Leprechaun

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I would replace all my vinyl tubing first thing - that stuff is so cheap anyway.

I'd fill my buckets with bleach solution and let them sit for a while - I love starsan for its convenience, but if I really want to kill something, I'll still go with bleach. I'd give the bleach treatment to anything that isn't metal. Make sure to get your airlocks, too.

You can always get new buckets, too. They're only like $12 at my LHBS, I think.
 

jeffmeh

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I'm sure someone on here will be able to identify the infection, but not I. A few observations: You need to hit everything that comes in contact with the wort post boil. Read up on sanitizing with bleach, to make sure you use the correct proportions and then properly remove the bleach. You may even want to replace some of your plastic if this continues.

After you get rid of the infection, you may want to try a different cleaning and sanitizing regimen. A sodium percarbonate solution in hot water is a great cleaner. You need to thoroughly rinse it, sometimes with a weak acid solution if you have hard water (fortunately for me, my water does not require this). Star San can serve this purpose, but its acid will be neutralized and you you will need fresh Star San then for sanitizing. If you are going to use "old" Star San, you need to check its pH and make sure it is below 3.5. It keeps much longer if you use distilled water.

I wish you luck in ridding yourself of the infection.
 
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Pivzavod

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I would replace all my vinyl tubing first thing - that stuff is so cheap anyway.

I'd fill my buckets with bleach solution and let them sit for a while - I love starsan for its convenience, but if I really want to kill something, I'll still go with bleach. I'd give the bleach treatment to anything that isn't metal. Make sure to get your airlocks, too.

You can always get new buckets, too. They're only like $12 at my LHBS, I think.
I dont use tubing to transfer the wort, I pour it thru a strainer to aerate it.

If it would be $12 bucket I would throw them out without a problem. I use Coopers buckets and they cost as much if not more than Better Bottles.


Will try nuking it with bleach.
 

samc

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The Coopers fermenter is pretty easy to use (I have a retired one). However the spigot and threaded area inside can harbor bacteria. I don't look at those as a long term use product, I would look to go with metal (SS) fermenters. Either conicals ($$$) or corny kegs ($) are great and easy to sanitize and clean.

BTW - one infection would have me tossing all plastic and nuking everything else in my brewery. I don't want to go through all the effort of brewing to have an infected batch.
 

JOHN51277

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Could it be caused by the residue from the sanitizer solution sitting in those buckets for a day and a half? I know if I leave it in my botling bucket for more than an hour it has a nasty film on it.
 
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Pivzavod

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I cleaned the inside of the spigot and threaded area. You should've seen how I cleaned the threaded area for the lid. I went over every thread with Starsan to loose it up, I used napkin / toothpick to get every little piece of gunk out.

Starsan is a no rinse sanitizer. Its not Starsan that causes this since it takes 2.5 weeks for the funky stuff to appear. Before 2.5 weeks the beer is just fine and at 2.5 weeks mark new critters appear. I think that the yeast is done eating most of the sugars and slows down and some neighbors decide to crash the party.
 

bf514921

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i had same issue, turns out i had a hell of a scratch in m fermenter bucket, i went to all glass and have not had any problems so far. i also switched to start san as a sanatizer
 

jeffmeh

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I cleaned the inside of the spigot and threaded area. You should've seen how I cleaned the threaded area for the lid. I went over every thread with Starsan to loose it up, I used napkin / toothpick to get every little piece of gunk out.

Starsan is a no rinse sanitizer. Its not Starsan that causes this since it takes 2.5 weeks for the funky stuff to appear. Before 2.5 weeks the beer is just fine and at 2.5 weeks mark new critters appear. I think that the yeast is done eating most of the sugars and slows down and some neighbors decide to crash the party.
Star San is not a cleaner, though. You need to use a cleaner and remove all debris, then rinse, then Star San. The Star San needs to be able to reach the entire surface of the equipment, will not penetrate debris, and will not adequately sanitize unless the surface is clean.

Old Star San that does not sanitize, or new Star San that cannot sanitize because of a dirty surface, could certainly fail to kill bacteria or yeast that take 2.5 weeks before reproducing sufficiently to be visible.
 
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Pivzavod

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I clean everything with either PBW or with hot water + napkin before applying any sanitizer.
 

Aunt_Ester

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would replace all my vinyl tubing first thing - that stuff is so cheap anyway.

I'd fill my buckets with bleach solution and let them sit for a while - I love starsan for its convenience, but if I really want to kill something, I'll still go with bleach. I'd give the bleach treatment to anything that isn't metal. Make sure to get your airlocks, too.
I had a recurring infection. It was extremely discouraging. Turns out it was the wine S-lock airlocks. They're a pain to clean and will backflush into your carboy!
 
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Pivzavod

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I boiled 6 gallons of water, put it into my Coopers and let it sit for a few hours. That killed all the bugs and I was able to use my Coopers without any issues since.

I am planning on switching them into wild ale brewing vessels.
 
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