equipment infected.....again!?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by sbaclimber, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    What a bummer! My gear is infected again. :cry:

    I had the same infection 3 years ago (http://www.brewersfriend.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=904&p=5775&hilit=iodine#p5775). That time around the aroma smelled exactly like iodine. This time I wouldn't nessarily say, "iodine", but definitely very medicinal. The difference is probably only due to the different yeast I am now using (US-05 vs. WLP007). The taste though is exactly the same. It reminds me distinctly of chewing on hemlock bark (yes, I have done it, so yes I know exactly what it tastes like ;) ), very bitter and "tanniny".
    The thing that is bugging me (besides having to buy new buckets again), is that I have no idea what type of infection I am dealing with. I am guessing wild yeast, but don't really know. The aroma and flavor definitely mellow after a few weeks in the bottle, but never really completely go away.
    Anyone else have any idea what might cause my beer to taste like hemlock bark?
     
  2. Smash café

    Smash café New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Tannins are extracted from the grain at temps over 76°C. Have you calibrated your thermometer recently? maybe you mashed too hot.

    Even if I had an infection I wouldn't throw out my brewing equipment. Clean and sanitize with a few different products diluted to the high end of recommended dosage (don't mix chemicals but clean 2 or 3 times) and you should be good to go.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,483
    Likes Received:
    3,671
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    Ive found just boil water and add it to the fermenter and let it set for an hour or 2 then pour out and wipe then sanitize and put the lid on
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,686
    Likes Received:
    7,181
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Here's an idea: If the buckets have spigots, take them out and clean everything by soaking in bleach solution. Then reassemble, fill your bucket with bleach solution and let it stand for a day or two. Drain the bleach solution through the spigot, opening and closing it a few times. Then rinse everything thoroughly with warm water two or three times to make sure you have no bleach residue. Anything that survives that deserves to live....

    Exception: If you have scratches or other flaws in the surface of the buckets, do throw them away and get new ones.
     
  5. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    Unfortunately chlorine is not as easy to come by as going to your local grocery store here in Germany. :(
    As I needed at least one of my buckets for brewing today, I just doused everything (spigot, bucket, lid) in rubbing alcohol. Not sure if that will help, but I guess it is worth a shot...
    I don't have any scratches in my buckets, I am really careful about only cleaning using plastic utensils and cleaning with a soft sponge, but I think I will just buy new ones anyway. They aren't that expensive and the problem went away immediately the last time after I bought new ones.
    Still curious about what the infection could be though. My attenuation is perfectly normal, the beer looks and carbonizes perfectly normal....just smells and tastes weird.

    As to mash/sparge temp (re: Smash café), I checked my thermometer, it is calibrated as always. I mash at 67°C (single infustion) and sparge at 73°C.
    FWIW, my mash pH is a bit high (5.9), but then again, that is what it always is. (I should probably start using some acid malt anyway though...)
     
  6. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,039
    Likes Received:
    698
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Mentor, Ohio
    SBA, I'm wondering if there are changes in your water throughout the year? You may be picking up an odd flavor from that.
    I'm surprised you cant get standard bleach there?
    Boiling water works well as a sanitizer and is just another way to go about it.
    Are you using non-ported buckets?
    Brian
     
  7. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    There are definitely changes throughout the year, but I can't account for anything that drastic... (most changes are <5mg/l)
    Yeah, kinda blew my mind at first as well. "standard" bleach here is the oxygen type. If you want bleach, you have to special order it in small quantities or go to a professional cleaning supplier (one of whom I have private contact to, now that I think about it...). Even the home brew supplier I use only offers acid, caustic or oxygen bleach products.
    No, they are all ported.
     
  8. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,039
    Likes Received:
    698
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Mentor, Ohio
    I'd be willing to bet that's a problem. Do you know how to completely disassemble your spigots? What is your process for keeping them sanitary during the fermentation process?
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,483
    Likes Received:
    3,671
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
  10. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    I do know how to disassemble them (boiling water to soften them up). I completely disassembled, cleaned every nook and cranny (w/ a brush), boiled and reassembled them before my last brew.....to no avail. Still had the unwanted flavor/aroma. :(
    I will have to admit to no being very good about keeping the outside of the spigot sanitary during the fermentation process though. :oops:
    Maybe I am wrong about this, but I always kind of assumed that if nothing is leaking out of the spigot, nothing should be able to get in...
     
  11. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,039
    Likes Received:
    698
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Mentor, Ohio
    Seems like a nice place for a spider or fruit fly to hang out, not to mention some mold spores!
    Sounds like you have the breakdown of the spigots in check, if nothing else, spray them down with sanitizer and cover them with a plastic bag.
    Are you using a swamp cooler?
    Brian
     
  12. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    I have only had visible mold once...
    Fruit flies and spiders aren't a problem, 'cause I ferment in a fridge (no swamp cooler).
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,686
    Likes Received:
    7,181
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    I'd forgotten chlorine bleach wasn't available in Germany.... Can you get Iodophor? Use the oxygen bleach to clean, then sanitize with the iodine, rinse, then sanitize as normal on brew day.

    Anyone making schnapps in your area? I'd think that could put some pretty nasty wild yeast into the air. Did that once. The schnapps was great - plum schnapps - but the stink as that stuff fermented!
     
  14. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    I just had a look for Iodophor...didn't find it here, but did find out that I inadvertently lied a bit about getting chlorine bleach. Apparently my supplier does in fact supply a "chlorine based" cleaner: http://www.hobbybrauerversand.de/VWP-Cleaner-400-g_1
    Guess I should give it a try.
    As for wild yeast and distillers... I am not aware of any distillers in the area, but my downstairs neighbor (4 floors down) does do the occasional "wild yeast" fermented cider, elderberry champagne, and such things.
    I think the problem is probably just the fact that I brew in the kitchen with the windows wide open in the summer and it just invites infection. :?
     
  15. robwild

    robwild New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have had this trouble with 05 before. Depending on the time of year, starter or not, I would get those off flavors and much longer fermentation times. This is with an IPA I brew mostly. With the same diligent cleaning techniques and process cleaning I used with the 05, I changed yeast brands and that solved my problem. Stranger things happen but I'm convinced, 05 and my domicile don't see eye to eye sometimes. :) More than likely though it's an estery fluctuation caused by the way I mash. What do I know. :D
     
  16. TWS

    TWS New Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Rome, GA
    Have you changed your tubing? I've been getting the same taste in my last few batches and realized that I've been using the same tubing for a year. In spite of thorough washes in B-brite and soaks in Star-san, the tubing has taken on a yellowish hue. How often should we be changing out the tubing, anyway?
     
  17. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    I don't really use any tubing. At least not prior to bottling, and by then the taste is already there.
    The discoloration may very well be an indicator though. My primary fermenting bucket and spigot (plastic) is also quite discolored, which is why a new one is on the way. :D
     
  18. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    1,039
    Likes Received:
    698
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Mentor, Ohio
    If it were me, I'd go to glass or stainless steel. Stainless being the highest preference.
    It sounds like something is lingering in your equipment/brew house, and stainless is the easiest to sanitize and will last forever if properly cared for. I'm not saying it has to be an expensive conical, but maybe just a modified pot wit a seal added to the lid.
    Brian
     
  19. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    I would love to move to stainless. It is definitely one of a number of areas where I could do more to avoid infection (e.g. cooling wort quicker, boiling full wort volume, etc).
    Until I get a "proper" setup, I do at least have one little bit of good news. I just bottled yesterday, and there was no sign of infection!
    That means either only one of my buckets was infected, or the dousing of the one I used to ferment in with rubbing alcohol was effective. :cool:
    Either way, I now have 2 new buckets, and will start looking around for some stainless.
     
  20. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A lot of cleaners/sanitizers will discolor tubing. Especially Iodophor, but chlorine bleach and other stuff will definitely turn it over time.

    I think I'm going to start keeping a spray bottle onhand to do "spot cleans" like hose ends and spigots, etc, while I'm in the middle of brewing. Anytime the local brewery changes out hoses or opens a valve, the junction(s) get sprayed quite liberally with a sanitizing solution. I think I'll adopt the same practice, just for peace of mind. Haven't really had a problem with contamination, and I brew in some pretty potentially problematic situations from time to time. Mainly, outdoors, where all sorts of stuff is flying around (living and airborne dead stuff), and it's a constant struggle to find something "clean" to sit things like connectors and even stirring spoons and tubing down on for even just a few seconds.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white