Spoiled beers - gear infection?

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Knobel

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Posting here because it feels like a beginner question. I have brewed off and on for quite a while starting with beer and messing around with meads, kombucha and even sake. I’ve had good and much-less-good brews along the way. My last few brews have been infected by the end of conditioning. Strong sour - acetone smell and this garbage at the top (see picture) which typically partially falls to the bottom when disturbed (taps or light shakes). Even before these I was fighting a “home-brew” taste that I suspected was the beginning of an infection. I tried saving a small batch mead with sanitizers and time to no avail. I’m tempted to try boiling this batch to see what happens but know it will probably make things worse and won’t really be beer after. I clean my gear after and before use, I use Star San prior to use and intermediate times in the process. I’m about to throw away all my gear, I assume the infection is somewhere in my gear. I guess I’m just posting this in case there are other ideas before throw it all out. Recently my beers have all been extract due to time.
 

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RM-MN

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Before you do anything with this batch take a hydrometer sample and if at final gravity, bottle it. What I see in the picture is what we call yeast rafts, not an infection.
 
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Knobel

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Before you do anything with this batch take a hydrometer sample and if at final gravity, bottle it. What I see in the picture is what we call yeast rafts, not an infection.
I don’t have enough bottles for the full batch, l was planning on kegging. I could do a few and see before I keg? I wouldn’t be worried about the floaties if it didn’t smell bad.
 

IslandLizard

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Sorry hearing about your recent brewing struggles.

Although there may be some yeast rafts as @RM-MN said, it also looks like remnants of a pellicle, hinting to an infection. I see 2 big bubbles in the "3:30" area, that may point to an infection that has taken hold of your beer.

If is tastes bad or is even undrinkable, that's also a sign the batch may well be infected.

Is that beer is a "secondary" fermenter? I'm asking, as that bucket looks waaay too full to conduct a primary fermentation in.
 
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Knobel

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Sorry hearing about your recent brewing struggles.

Although there may be some yeast rafts as @RM-MN said, it also looks like remnants of a pellicle, hinting to an infection. I see 2 big bubbles in the "3:30" area, that may point to an infection that has taken hold of your beer.

If is tastes bad or is even undrinkable, that's also a sign the batch may well be infected.

Is that beer is a "secondary" fermenter? I'm asking, as that bucket looks waaay too full to conduct a primary fermentation in.
Yea, secondary.
 

IslandLizard

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Yea, secondary.
They're a common source of infections. And oxidation.
I would avoid using secondaries. For 99.99% of all (regular) beers, they're unneeded, and can be even detrimental, while offering no advantages.
Leave your beer in the primary, and only fermentation vessel, needed.

But since you got infections, you'll need to thoroughly clean and inspect all your brewing equipment, especially everything used on the cold side.
All valves, spigots, etc. need to be taken apart and cleaned (using hot Oxiclean or homemade PBW), then sanitized. Bleach is a good allround sanitizer, but needs to be rinsed off thoroughly, every trace removed, or your next beer will be horrible.
Even things such as the bottom/exit valve on a brew kettle can still harbor bugs on the inside. Take em apart and clean.

Any hoses/tubing used on the cold side needs to be thoroughly cleaned (using long draw brushes) or perhaps better replaced, since it's cheap. Don't forget your siphons/racking cane, lids, etc.
 
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Knobel

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They're a common source of infections. And oxidation.
I would avoid using secondaries. For 99.99% of all (regular) beers, they're unneeded, and can be even detrimental, while offering no advantages.
Leave your beer in the primary, and only fermentation vessel, needed.

But since you got infections, you'll need to thoroughly clean and inspect all your brewing equipment, especially everything used on the cold side.
All valves, spigots, etc. need to be taken apart and cleaned (using hot Oxiclean or homemade PBW), then sanitized. Bleach is a good allround sanitizer, but needs to be rinsed off thoroughly, every trace removed, or your next beer will be horrible.
Even things such as the bottom/exit valve on a brew kettle can still harbor bugs on the inside. Take em apart and clean.

Any hoses/tubing used on the cold side needs to be thoroughly cleaned (using long draw brushes) or perhaps better replaced, since it's cheap. Don't forget your siphons/racking cane, lids, etc.
Yeah, makes sense. I think just need to replace all the plastic. But cleaning the kettle valve assembly is a good idea. Thanks.
 

IslandLizard

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I think just need to replace all the plastic.
As long as there are no deep scratches or pits, plastics, such as brew buckets, are very cleanable and sanitizable.

I've put cleaned, older, plastic brew buckets out in direct sunlight for a few days, making sure all inside surfaces were thoroughly sun-bathed. UV kills pretty much anything, given some time.
 

hotbeer

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I wouldn't claim it as infected just because you have some stuff floating on top. They do just look like yeast rafts or such.

Take a SG reading and see how low it is. I'm pretty sure that both a bacterial infection and a wild yeast infection will result in most of the sugars getting used up and you'll have a very low SG near the end. Almost 1.002 or even less by the time they are finished fermenting.
 
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