Troubles with beer going sour near oven

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El_Atu

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Hi, I’ve never posted before although I’ve done a fair bit of reading. I’ve brew many many times before, and even started selling my kegged homebrew to a catering company (with which I never had trouble) and more recently, a cultural center, that sells my beer and some other person homebrew also.
The thing is that the beer I sell them, and only them, is going sour. Now, recently I changed from cornys to sanke kegs, so it might be a problem with sanitizing them wrongly. On the other hand, I’ve had a pressurized keg in my kitchen with leftover from a wedding for over a month, and after that time I tasted it and was still great. I took that same keg to the cultural center, being confident that this one wasn’t going to be sour, along with a different keg which we tasted before I leave the place. But lo and behold, it was really sour after 1 week.
This has happened in the same night also. I’ve delivered them beer which was great at the start of the evening but 4 hours later it was sour. To the point that clients started complaining.

What’s going on here? The beer always taste great before leaving my house.

At first I though the culprit was them. They store the kegs (and use them) unrefrigerated, near a oven in a kitchen that gets really hot. And they don’t clean their lines. The thing is the other dude’s beer is fine. Is always fine.
I don’t filter my beer nor use anything except grains and hops. Might be that the other dude filter the beer? Or might he use preservatives Or maybe I have some contamination in the keg that flourishes at those high temps? Might be that the yeast that I’m using causes this sournes at high temps? (Mostly us-05)

Any help is really apreciated, I’m going nuts here. I guess the answer might be better sanitation but I want to know if there is any other option.

Thanks a lot!
 

Smellyglove

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My first bet is that you have an infection.

I was having infection some months ago which didn't manifest itself properly before after a while, but faster at elevated temperatures. I kegged lots of them, which thus were kept cold, and didn't notice anything off. But those which were bottle-carbed developed a sour twang, but after a while. Also those which were counter pressure filled developed a sour twang just by being shipped through the mail. I did a test where I left two fermentors warmer than normal, for a longer time, and they got sour faster than the bottles which were kept in a carbonation chamber and after that cold.

Swapped all my silicone hoses and did some thorough cleaning of the valves and threads in the brewery cold side and it went away.

If only your beer is getting sour, and especially after it heats up, I'm pointing at an infection.
 

IslandLizard

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The other guy's beer not getting sour while yours does, on the same tap system, is what points the problem to your system/process.

Professional level filtering could remove yeast, sometimes bacteria, but homebrewers don't have that kind of access, and we see relatively very few infections.
I kept a keg of homebrew pumpkin ale in my utility room at around 65-70F for a year to age. No infection, and it only got better with time.

Now CO2 lines could be infected from a previous flow back, or some old or infected beer in the dispensing system may infect what comes out the tap if it sits in there long enough, but after running a few pints, that beer run fine for a while, until it sits for a day or longer. Beers from both of you would suffer the same fate.

4 hours from good to sour? That sounds like tampering (sabotage). There's no bug out there that strong.

Sankes do need to get cleaned and sanitized properly, it could be that simple.

Now who serves from unchilled kegs next to an oven? :tank:
 

Smellyglove

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The other guy's beer not getting sour while yours does, on the same tap system, is what points the problem to your system/process.

Professional level filtering could remove yeast, sometimes bacteria, but homebrewers don't have that kind of access, and we see relatively very few infections.
I kept a keg of homebrew pumpkin ale in my utility room at around 65-70F for a year to age. No infection, and it only got better with time.

Now CO2 lines could be infected from a previous flow back, or some old or infected beer in the dispensing system may infect what comes out the tap if it sits in there long enough, but after running a few pints, that beer run fine for a while, until it sits for a day or longer. Beers from both of you would suffer the same fate.

4 hours from good to sour? That sounds like tampering (sabotage). There's no bug out there that strong.

Sankes do need to get cleaned and sanitized properly, it could be that simple.

Now who serves from unchilled kegs next to an oven? :tank:

I had some hefes go sour overnight.. Like day x I couldn't taste the sourness, and day x+1 I could taste it, but four hours does seem fast, but maybe it's also about how hot the beer gets. For mye hefes it was more like "boom!" overnight.
 

IslandLizard

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I had some hefes go sour overnight.. Like day x I couldn't taste the sourness, and day x+1 I could taste it, but four hours does seem fast, but maybe it's also about how hot the beer gets. For mye hefes it was more like "boom!" overnight.

Temperature surely plays a big role. Lacto has a field day around 90-120F, but hops and alcohol retard their process. Pedio works fast too at those temps, I'm unsure if they're hampered by hops, but will leave a tip in the form of a diacetyl signature.

Cold stored Hefes turned sour overnight? Something could have been "brewing" already below our perception level, then suddenly it becomes apparent?
 

Smellyglove

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Temperature surely plays a big role. Lacto has a field day around 90-120F, but hops and alcohol retard their process. Pedio works fast too at those temps, I'm unsure if they're hampered by hops, but will leave a tip in the form of a diacetyl signature.

Cold stored Hefes turned sour overnight? Something could have been "brewing" already below our perception level, then suddenly it becomes apparent?

No the hefes which turned sour over night weren't cold stored. They were still at 12C, which is pretty cold for bugs though. But it wasn't like going from no sourness to a lemon, it was no perceivable sourness to perceivable ++
 
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El_Atu

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Thank you all for your help. I already feared/knew it was a problem with my brew, but I was baffled at why it only appeared when I left the beer with them. Only had one beer gone sour when I started brewing and it was a cream ale with almost no hops. And it went bad at the fermenter, not the keg.
The one that went sour in a few hours was in a very hot summer (40C/100F ambient temperatures), plus it being next to a oven, so it might have reached 50C/120F. I tried to convince them and even help them build a kegerator or something like that, but it’s a very “bohemian”, very young and unprofessional place, with very little money.
I was mostly surprised by the beer that I stored at my kitchen for a month with no sourness perceivable, and after a week there it was already sour. Now, I haven’t tasted this last batch after the sourness appeared yet, but I’m relying on their word. I’m guessing that if customers started complaining it must be really sour.
Before this last beer I also considered that the other beer at the place were protected by the hops, being mostly IPAs, but this one also had a lot of hops.

Haven’t found a lot of information on properly sanitizing and cleaning sankes either, almost all info is directed at cornys. I’m probable sanitizing them badly, they are the only thing I changed after all.
 

IslandLizard

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When you get that keg back inspect that beer, try to get a whiff, even a small taste from a sample. The way it smells or tastes may point to what caused the infection. If this happened at the same time you switched to using Sankes, that's a good indication of your problem, not necessarily your brewing process or beer.

Do you take your kettle valves apart every few brews and clean them on the inside? The chamber the ball turns in can hold on to wort, and become a breeding ground for bacteria. If you see any black residue inside, you've found one possible source. When rinsing valves after brewing, there are methods to rinse those cavities out, but you still need to take them apart once awhile.

When I type into Google Chrome:
cleaning sanitizing sanke keg
I get 100s of returns, including many Pro forums. Try again?

There are various methods for cleaning Sankes, with and without removing the spear, but the best involve pumping hot detergent (think strong hot lye solution) into the vessel, followed by a good rinse, a strong acid (mixture of nitric and phosphoric acids, or Peracetic acid), more rinsing and a sanitizer. Here is one HBT thread addressing a method and some equipment. There are many more. Check around on the net, there are many ways to do it.

Although a bit of a pain at first, Sankes are far less troublesome in maintenance, unlike cornies, almost never leak. But they do need to get properly cleaned inside.
 
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IslandLizard

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but I was baffled at why it only appeared when I left the beer with them

As I said before, there may be a combination of problems. If your Sankes don't sour when stored at home at room temps or hotter, but they do there, an infected dirty dispensing system could be part of the problem, but then the other guy's beer would suffer the same fate, unless he gets clean hookups. Since kegs are pre-pressurized not much can get in, even with a filthy hookup.

I still wonder, do they serve warm/hot beer?
If they don't seem to care, even when you volunteered to help them building a kegerator (or keezer), something is very weird there.
Since you're selling homebrew, my guess is you're not in the U.S. If you don't mind me asking, where do you live?
 

kh54s10

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I once gave some beer to a friend to share with other friends. They all said the beer was bad. I still had a lot and I thought the bottles I had were quite good. I later learned that he left them in his car for a couple of days mid summer. I don't know if it was heat or light skunked or if they just didn't like the style. I didn't taste those bottles.

It might just be the heat from the oven. Are the other brewers beers kept next to the oven also?
 
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El_Atu

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Do you take your kettle valves apart every few brews and clean them on the inside?

No, I don't. Due at how the kettle is build I can't remove it. I do circulate the boiling wort through it and the counterflow chiller for 15 minutes before starting to chill. I though this was enough, is it?

If you don't mind me asking, where do you live?

I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina. We have normal pubs/bars that do have all the correct facilities, but also people take advantage of some similar kind of place, we call them "cultural centers", that practically function as a pub and sell beer, but legally they are not and they do not need the same habilitations. Kind of a grey area actually. Popular among people in their 20s, and specially among the artsy type.
Homebrew became really really popular 2 years ago here, so its not regulated yet, although some laws are in process.

I still wonder, do they serve warm/hot beer?

The beer goes through an aluminum coil submerged in water with ice. They get a reasonable good temperature with this, but not perfect. This places function with very little money, and with a lot of people with no clear owner/boss, so it's very hard to convince them to invest in something. I'm wondering if I should just sell to normal pubs and maybe that way the beer won't spoil. I should solve the infection anyway.
So far I've been using ethanol at 70% for sanitation, which works ok for rising and is cheap and available here, but not if there is something stuck. I haven't removed the spear from the sankes so maybe something is stuck in there. I'm gonna get the peracetic acid and some base for properly cleaning them, that might solve the problem.

Are the other brewers beers kept next to the oven also?

They are. But they are a lot more hoppier so that might hide the sourness or even protect the beer.
 

IslandLizard

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Nice to meet you @El_Atu! A beautiful country from what I've seen in pix and videos, and heard from people who traveled there.

Thanks for the inside information! Knowing a little more of your challenging scenario there, I think it really enables us to help you better.

Alcohol is not a very reliable sanitizer, so that may be part of your problem, especially under your conditions with kegs shoved to the side of a commercial stove, any problem will show. How about the other brewer(s), what do they use for sanitizers?

Can you get Starsan there? That's what many (most?) of us use here in the U.S., possibly elsewhere. It's an acidic contact sanitizer that's rinse free, it's advantageous to leave it on because it works as long as it's wet. Even the foam sanitizes. Iodine based sanitizers (e.g., Iodophor, IO Star, etc.) are very popular too, and possibly an even better sanitizer. As long as you use the recommended dilution, it's rinse free too. Just don't transfer 5 gallons of beer into a keg that contains a pint of Iodophor... :tank:

Here's a write-up of some cleaning procedures and chemicals used in a small local startup brewery, their beer is great!

Actually, Peracetic Acid is used as a sanitizer, NOT as an acid treatment after alkali, as I wrote earlier. Sorry about that, I should have checked first.
When used as a sanitizer in breweries, it's typically in CIP applications, meaning "Clean In Place," sprayed or pumped under pressure. I don't think it's used in buckets to dunk things in.

Not sure if Peracetic is useful to you as such. But if it is, you'd be all set on that front.
Concentrated Peracetic is just nasty stuff, so beware!
 
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El_Atu

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Thanks! Nice to meet you too. Like everywhere you go it has it’s nice places and it’s ugly places. Economy here is always ugly though, lol

No Starsan here that I’m aware, that’s why I’ve used ethanol so far. But there is a brewer supply store in the center of the city which sells some specialized cleaning products, including a mixture of peracetic acid and peroxide which I think is what Starsan is. I might be wrong.
Now I’m checking their website and they got a new product for cleaning crust, so that might be just what I need. Might go tomorrow and buy the products.

Sorry about taking so long to answer, I don’t check this site too often, I should enable email notifications.

I’m not sure what the other brewer use, most of the people who brew here learn from presencial courses, in the other hand I have learn all I know from this sit and YouTube :ban:, so I do things my own way.

I might be able to buy other products in chemistry stores, but there are certain things that I can’t buy there by law, and I would need to know exactly what I need.

Thanks for all your help
 
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