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Wild yeast infections (probably)

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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby TheSumOfAllBeers » Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:40 pm

If your valves piping fittings are stainless or something else robust, boil them for 20 mins or so.
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby chrisr » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:46 pm

The tap is dismantleable, so I'll pull it apart and clean it all. I never have before.

Almost all my pipe fittings are stainless. I think the only non-stainless bit is the fitting into the boiler and the wort collection pipe.

But how does anything survive being flooded in boiling wort?
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby BenB » Sat Oct 01, 2016 4:00 pm

Anywhere the nasties could hide? On my kettle I've got a side entry thats relatively high then a right angle, a tube, another right angle and a bazooka screen. Essentially it's a crank to get down from the entry height to the bottom of the kettle. The outside of the right angles will obviously be in contact with hot wort but the insides only meet the cooled wort when it is drained off. I had a look through the valve before a brew and it was gruesome. Despite washing out the kettle after use clearly some residue had persisted (again I suspect because the PBW solution was only briefly in contact with it when it was being run off). I know circulate cleaner and starsan through the kettle drain with a small pump for each brew.

IE think about air-pockets...
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby Jocky » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:47 pm

chrisr wrote:The tap is dismantleable, so I'll pull it apart and clean it all. I never have before.

Almost all my pipe fittings are stainless. I think the only non-stainless bit is the fitting into the boiler and the wort collection pipe.

But how does anything survive being flooded in boiling wort?


Yeah, you're right, it's unlikely. I'd be looking at the plate chiller personally. Can you eliminate it for a quick brew? E.g. Boil up some DME and hops and then let it cool in a fermenter without running through the chiller.
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby chrisr » Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:14 pm

@benb, "only meet the cooled wort when it is drained off" - no, I have plate chiller. The wort is normally over 95C when it leave the boiler, sometimes even hotter. I don't see how anything can survive being washed in that for 5-10 minutes.

I've long worried about the plate chiller and so clean the damn thing to within an inch of its life (I think, I hope). It's big drawback with the non-pro chillers - you can't get them apart to check them and clean them. I soak it in caustic soda from time to time. After every use I recirculate hot (up to 80C) percarbonate or chlorine-based brewery cleaner through it for 20 minutes. It's stored filled with Starsan, or lately, Idaphor. It certainly looks very shiny inside. But I can't say it's perfectly clean, and not the source of the problem, because I can't see all the inside of it. I will think about not using it - but then there's the problems associated with 25l wort cooling slowly.


One thing that puzzles me is the 'incubation time' of this thing. It takes maybe 4 weeks, or longer, from brewing day to appear. If something was in the brew, from the start, wouldn't it compete more vigously with the yeast, and make itself known sooner? I have had occasional 'off' brews (other sorts of off!), and they are fairly obvious by the time the fermentation is over (or would have been if it hadn't been off). Anyone any ideas about this?
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby Jocky » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:11 pm

I think the answer to that is that you are initially inoculation your beer with a huge amount of proper beer yeast that gets most of the fermentation done and everything seems fine.

You are also unwittingly adding in something else - be it wild yeast or bacteria that is capable of eating the complex sugars your brewing yeast leaves behind. With a massively smaller inoculation rate it takes a while for these to grow to a number where they start making themselves known, particular in a more difficult working environment like beer. But they have food and so they gradually do grow and turn your beer bad.
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby chrisr » Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:15 pm

@jocky, I see what you mean about the boiler tap! Nothing growing in it that I could see but well crusted up with dried on wort, in the innards, for sure. Took quiet a while to get it all shiny again.
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby orlando » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:35 am

Jocky wrote:I think the answer to that is that you are initially inoculation your beer with a huge amount of proper beer yeast that gets most of the fermentation done and everything seems fine.

You are also unwittingly adding in something else - be it wild yeast or bacteria that is capable of eating the complex sugars your brewing yeast leaves behind. With a massively smaller inoculation rate it takes a while for these to grow to a number where they start making themselves known, particular in a more difficult working environment like beer. But they have food and so they gradually do grow and turn your beer bad.


The clue to this can be when you see unusually high attenuation for the yeast being used.
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby chrisr » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:30 pm

Do you mean at the end of what would be the normal fermentation, when the brewing yeast is quietening down? Or at the end of all 'fermentation', when all the sugar is gone?
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby orlando » Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:58 am

chrisr wrote:Do you mean at the end of what would be the normal fermentation, when the brewing yeast is quietening down? Or at the end of all 'fermentation', when all the sugar is gone?


FG, unless you are kegging/casking and using the last couple of points to carbonate and condition you should always be fermenting out completely and allowing the yeast up to 3 days after the hydrometer no longer registers a drop. If the predicted FG is say 1.010 and goes down to say 1.005 you should suspect a "problem".
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby chrisr » Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:40 pm

Some feedback for everyone who has helped me with suggestions:

I've now completed two successful brews, and a third is almost finished fermenting. It has almost finished in 5 days, so fingers crossed this is also a good one.

I've done so many things, I couldn't say which one/ones were the 'cure'.
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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby colin.m.hammond » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:32 am

Matt in Birdham wrote:I'm not sure that what you are describing is a wild yeast infection. I had one once, and the taste is very distinctive (although of course this could vary); burnt rubber, medicinal, very phenolic. It sounds to me more like a mash pH or even oxidation issue, or perhaps something bacterial. It also seems that you "interfere" with your fermentation quite a lot; skimming the krausen a couple of times and transferring to secondary. All increase the possibility of infection or oxygenation. I'd be tempted just to leave well alone until ferment is complete, cold crash (if you want) in primary and bottle/keg. Secondaries are absolutely not required - this myth is well and truly busted now and even John Palmer has updated his book to reflect the fact. There is no benefit (OK - maybe if you are lagering for months), and whilst you might get away with it, most of the risks are to the down side. As far as reusing yeast goes, I am also in the "starter overbuild" camp now. So much easier and cleaner, I overbuild, crash and decant and then store one or two x 50ml in centrifuge tubes, which usually compacts to about 10ml of yeast (~80Bn cells). This also gives you a good handle on exactly how much yeast you have for the next brew, when making another starter.

How do you store the yeast when you do this? In the fridge?

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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby colin.m.hammond » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:45 am

chrisr wrote:Some feedback for everyone who has helped me with suggestions:

I've now completed two successful brews, and a third is almost finished fermenting. It has almost finished in 5 days, so fingers crossed this is also a good one.

I've done so many things, I couldn't say which one/ones were the 'cure'.

What mash temperature do you use? If its on the low side that could be drying out your beer? I had problems similar to you a while ago and found that using a bottle brush and changing my sanitiser to VWP for the bottling process cured it. Also I was bottling too early, I always wait two weeks minimum these days and am priming with 2-3 g sugar per litre. Hope you have fixed it now!

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Re: Wild yeast infections (probably)

Postby BrannigansLove » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:17 am

colin.m.hammond wrote:
Matt in Birdham wrote:I'm not sure that what you are describing is a wild yeast infection. I had one once, and the taste is very distinctive (although of course this could vary); burnt rubber, medicinal, very phenolic. It sounds to me more like a mash pH or even oxidation issue, or perhaps something bacterial. It also seems that you "interfere" with your fermentation quite a lot; skimming the krausen a couple of times and transferring to secondary. All increase the possibility of infection or oxygenation. I'd be tempted just to leave well alone until ferment is complete, cold crash (if you want) in primary and bottle/keg. Secondaries are absolutely not required - this myth is well and truly busted now and even John Palmer has updated his book to reflect the fact. There is no benefit (OK - maybe if you are lagering for months), and whilst you might get away with it, most of the risks are to the down side. As far as reusing yeast goes, I am also in the "starter overbuild" camp now. So much easier and cleaner, I overbuild, crash and decant and then store one or two x 50ml in centrifuge tubes, which usually compacts to about 10ml of yeast (~80Bn cells). This also gives you a good handle on exactly how much yeast you have for the next brew, when making another starter.

How do you store the yeast when you do this? In the fridge?

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I follow a similar process, and I simply store the excess starter in a sanitised jamjar in the fridge. Not had any issues reviving any yeast so far.
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