Author Topic: contaminated thief  (Read 6087 times)

Jason Elmes

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contaminated thief
« on: March 01, 2010, 07:53:12 AM »
Hello everyone,

I brewed my first batch yesterday!  Everything was going very well up until I took my hydrometer reading. I didn't believe it was accurate.  I set my thief down in the sink, and then I decided to take it again. 

I picked up the thief and shoved it back into my wort.  My sink looks clean, but I didn't sanitize it after putting it down.  Should I be worried that I contaminated my whole  batch?

Thanks

Jason

Offline Wildrover

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 08:44:49 AM »
The short answer:  Maybe

I remember when I first started brewing the guys at the LHBS used to beat the clean and sanitary into my head just like everyone else but I remember one day one of the guys say "You might get away with it for awhile but eventually, if your not sanitary it will catch up to you".  He was referring to the guys that would come in and downlplay the need to be sanitary because they didn't sweat and have never had a problem. 

So, there is no guarantee that just because you didn't sanitize your sink you've ruined your batch.  I might argue that the odds are against actually BUT it is certainly a possibility now because you just don't know what was living in there that may now have found residence in your wort. 

One thing that may be on your side is how quickly you pitched your yeast.  If you pitched fairly quickly after taking your readings and the yeast look like they got off to a good start this will lower the odds of any critter ruining your beer because the CO2 builds up and the nasties don't do well in a CO2 rich environment. 

The best thing you can do now is just wait and see what happens. 

Jason Elmes

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2010, 08:56:21 AM »
thanks for the info.  I did pitch the yeast within about 2 minutes of doing the reading.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 12:58:20 PM »
For those long items like a thief or racking cane, a wallpaper tray makes a handy sanitizer trough.  WP trays are those long but shallow trays they run the paper thru to wet the adhesive.

Jason Elmes

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 06:53:43 AM »
Thanks for the great ideas.  I appreciate it.  :)

Offline CR

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2010, 11:12:15 AM »
Odds are you are still golden.

Beer is a very, very, very  hostile environment for any bugs other than the yeasts  themselves.  There's only about 200 bugs that can live in beer long enough to make it taste bad.  As a general proposition even they can't live long.
The reasons are legion.  Hop acids, yeast poisoning the wort with their own defenses like alcohol,  pH,  yadda yadda yadda.
I am a clean freak. I clean and sanitize everything including the counters before I brew. I even sanitize my brew pot.

But - - - and it's a huge but - - -you can make your beer a delightful environment for all sorts of horrible nasties.  If you have lots of starch in the wort you can breed nasty bugs.

Prevent this by doing a starch test on your wort BEFORE you end you mash.
 Take some Betadine, or Iodine, or any  -any- of the iodine solutions they sell at the pharmacy dept at your  grocery and put a few drops on a white (or clear)  ceramic or glass plate. Then take a few drops of the wort and mix with the iodine product. If it turns dark blue you have too much starch and need to mash some more. 

If you think this sounds complex do it with a little wheat flour to see how dramatic the color change is.  A three year old can do it. My  grand daughter does it for me.

If you screwed your mash by over heating it and killing your enzymes, you are not dead yet.
Correct the temperature and Add more malt.


I belong in the camp  that insists that it is very rare to find a bug that can successfully invade, thrive, and contaminate beer.   But even while I am quite convinced that there are fewer than 200 bugs that can live long enough  in beer to cause off flavors  I still prefer to err on the side of sanitation.

If you even  dumped some Star San, bleach, idophore,   or even Vinegar in that sink (or just gave it a good cleaning) before the "drop"  you should have no nasties transferred to your thief.

Here is a collection on the topic of nasties in your beer

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/01/qa-beer-safety-at-georgetown-brewing/
http://www.beer-brewing.com/beer-brewing/beer_chapters/ch19_beer_spoilage_organisms.htm

Mold and mycotoxin problems encountered during malting and brewing.  http://lib.bioinfo.pl/pmid:17727998

http://www.scribd.com/doc/24820895/Beer-A-Quality-Perspective

http://dissertations.ub.rug.nl/faculties/science/2002/k.sakamoto/



This is very interesting:
http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Cutboard.pdf

http://www.mycotox-society.org/files/news/23_Atti_Microsafetywine_20092.pdf

http://www.scientificsocieties.org/JIB/papers/2004/G-2004-0812-237.pdf


This is very interesting:
http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Cutboard.pdf


Here is what I do:

I have a big poly bucket.  Like a mop bucket some crap from wall mart that holds a few gallons.
But, I keep it clean no mopping of floors with my bucket. On brew day I fill it with Star San (you can just use 1 oz bleach, 1 oz vinegar & 5 gallons of water - it's a no rinse sanitizer).  Into that bucket go all the various tools I'll be using.  
If I pick up a spoon, a measuring beaker, a thief, thermometer, the racking cane, hoses,   -  - everything  - - comes and goes, back and forth to that poly bucket full of sanitizer. That way nothing  gets bugs.







« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 11:25:35 AM by CR »

Offline Wildrover

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2010, 12:44:39 PM »
I will say, ruining a batch of beer due to the nasties has only happened to me on one or two occasions.  However, it has happened.  I had a brown ale that would not stop fermenting, even after a month the primary.  It tasted weird, really weird so it was given a proper burial in the sink

Jason Elmes

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2010, 06:53:36 AM »
You guys are great!  Thanks for all of the tips and information.  I think I was just being anal.  The beer smells fine and is progressing as I believe it should be.  It is great to have such a network of people to help though.

Offline CR

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Re: contaminated thief
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2010, 12:27:54 PM »
I will say, ruining a batch of beer due to the nasties has only happened to me on one or two occasions.  However, it has happened.  I had a brown ale that would not stop fermenting, even after a month the primary.  It tasted weird, really weird so it was given a proper burial in the sink

I would have liked to have had  a crack at that beer.
Slanting and washing the yeast to see what you had.
Month long ferment is pretty long.
Was it foamy?


 

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