Author Topic: Hey all from central California!  (Read 3854 times)

Offline puddlethumper

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Don't ever insult the bartender!
Hey all from central California!
« on: February 18, 2013, 11:10:24 PM »
Hi there everyone!  I've been brewing for about 6 months and have managed to produce some really nice batches of beer.  Unfortunately, I've also come up short on several batches due to a "bug".  Really tightened my jaws over tossing that beer down the drain, but managed  to learn a lot in the process.  Now I'm at the point of getting really serious and a little pissed off about the failures.  I have a batch of Nut Brown Ale in the primary right now that is doing really good.  I'm hoping this forum will get me connected with experienced brewers who can help me move past this period of struggling to turn out the great beers I was producing a few months ago.

Offline MikeinRH

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 195
Re: Hey all from central California!
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 09:46:40 AM »
Are you kegging, or bottling? I can guarantee your problem has to do with sanitation issues. Keep in mind that you don't have to worry about that stuff until AFTER the boil. Then you need to make sure everything that touches your beer has been dipped in sanitizer ... including thermometers or any other kind of device you use to draw samples for gravity readings. I might be stating the obvious, so please forgive me. You also need to make sure your tubing and carboy have all been sanitized prior to the transfer process from your kettle. This would also include the stopper and airlock. I was doing all this, but I never bothered to sanitize the bottle tree before rinsing and sanitizing my bottles. Don't forget to also sanitize your bottle caps and bottle capping device. Starsan will become your best friend. Hope this helps.

Offline Curly55

  • BeerSmith Master Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 76
  • West Sound Brewers
Re: Hey all from central California!
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 10:03:48 AM »
Best of luck with your issue and i agree with MikeinRH that starsan (and/or Iodiphore) will become your new best friend. Enjoy your new addiction.
1 Timothy 5:23

Offline puddlethumper

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Don't ever insult the bartender!
Re: Hey all from central California!
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 06:42:48 PM »
Thanks for the input.  I did finally track the problem back to my primary fermenter (I hope).  I made the mistake of scrubbing it out with a scrubbie pad and I think those tiny scratches were the harborage for some nasty bugs.  On top of that I was using a regular dishwashing detergent to clean instead of PBW.  I did use StarSan to sanitize but I'm thinking that it wasn't capable of dealing with the scratches in the fermenter bucket and/or the imperfect cleaning done by the detergent.

I threw out my plastic primary bucket and plastic carboy and replaced them both with glass (6.5 gal primary), bought a tub of PBW and a good carboy brush.  Took my autosiphon apart and soaked it in warm PBW.  Threw away my old transfer tube and replaced it with new.  If I have learned anything from all this it is that StarSan cannot sanitize a surface that is not super clean.

The batch of Nut Brown Ale bubbling away in that glass carboy is looking really good.  I hope it turns out as good as it looks.

Offline Detmurds

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 46
  • Hoppy to meet you all!
Re: Hey all from central California!
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 09:32:19 PM »
In my opinion,..it is good to change out some things like tubing every once in a while.  Welcome, and everyone learns, but someone will surely learn from you by just being part of this forum!
My goal is to become a better brewer!

Offline puddlethumper

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Don't ever insult the bartender!
Re: Hey all from central California!
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 04:57:27 PM »
I appreciate that and I do hope that my experience will save someone the hassles I've been through.   A $10 tub of PBW and some careful reading would probably have saved me $180 worth of beer and two months lost production time.

It helps to read and then re-read the information available in brewing books and on the internet (especially those sources like this one and the major brewing sales companies).  It is easy to miss small points like "DON'T EVER USE A SCRUBBIE PAD ON A PLASTIC BUCKET" unless they put it in caps like I just did.  Also, it's too easy to assume the suppliers are just trying to sell you thier expensive cleansers ... nope!  These brewery cleansers are really necessary - at least until you know enough about what you are doing to carefully experiment with alternatives.

Anyhow, I do appreciate the input from you guys on this forum and the chance to vent and maybe get the word out to other newbies before they screw up.

Offline BuckfieldBeerGuy

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 6
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Hey all from central California!
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 06:13:34 PM »
If you happen to use any kettle, pots, conical fermentors etc. that have ball valves; it's a good idea to take apart all the fittings and soak them in pbw.  Then sanitize.  Bacteria can grow in the threads and not easily found.   

 

modification