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And we worry about infection

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foxy

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Agree with Sadfield the biggest risk of infection is after the boil and until fermentation takes off once fermentation is underway there is little risk, production of co2, ethanol and a low pH.
As long as the bottles, kegs and casks are sanitary for the finished beer there shouldn't be a problem.
Home brewers who do push the boundaries are those using home made cool ships.
 

Richie_asg1

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Possible they don't sanitise between batches anyway and will constantly be using the same yeast, so any infection organism is outnumbered from the start.
Plus they don't care that much if it will be in a barrel and out the door in a week, and there is no such thing as a duff pint in a pub.(ahem). Likely it is born form experience of "well I always do it this way and nobody has complained yet". The same can be said of bad surgeons too.
 

terrym

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Why so binary? Does a beer have to be lost to be infected? What about the massive grey area in between, the poor head retention, haze, sluggish, stalled fermentations, slight or unexpected off flavours? What difference does a million bacteria make compared to a billion?
All I am saying in simple terms is provided we take sensible hygiene precautions in our brewing process we have done all we reasonably can and will be extremely unlucky to get a potentially damaging 'infection', and should therefore not get too fixated on it. Homebrewed beer is a natural product and will be subject to variations, however hard we strive to eliminate them.
That said are you implying that any slight imperfection in a beer is down to an 'infection', rather than anything else? If so how do you differentiate between the infection and other causes, whatever they may be?
 

Rodcx500z

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I have never heard or read about anyone dying form infected home brewed beer, its mainly the vodka and spirits rip off stuff that does that
 

Richie_asg1

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I wonder if fermentation destroys river borne hazards by itself if a high ABV is reached, or was it the action of a full boil that had this effect. Considering we add tap water/ice to cool down hot wort sometimes, and they may have done in the past, but they also brewed stronger beer to start.
 

foxy

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I wonder if fermentation destroys river borne hazards by itself if a high ABV is reached, or was it the action of a full boil that had this effect. Considering we add tap water/ice to cool down hot wort sometimes, and they may have done in the past, but they also brewed stronger beer to start.
Full boil would do the trick, the beer was drunk morning noon and night not necessary to have a high ABV.
No sparging in those days, it was all parti gyle so they would have had a few beers of different strength.
 

Sadfield

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That said are you implying that any slight imperfection in a beer is down to an 'infection', rather than anything else? If so how do you differentiate between the infection and other causes, whatever they may be?
Yes, exactly that. Slight imperfections can be down to an infection, making them impossible to differentiate from other causes. So, I totally agree on taking a sensible approach to cleaning and sanitising as it eliminates most of that uncertainty. I find the assertion that infections are rare, and only result in a completely spoilt batch, to be potentially misleading to those starting out in this hobby. As does the OP's post of commercial brewers actions. A novice wouldn't know that the commercial brewer would have cleaned and sanitised to a degree we can only dream of, and then pitched the correct amount of healthy viable yeast to ensure fermentation started fast enough to prevent any spoilage.
 

johncrobinson

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But as I understand it dont most big brewers pasturise the end product after brewing ???

Also when I was R&D Manager of a company who made ultra violet sterilizers we supplied them to a brewery to treat the water they used.
 

Dave 666

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I seen that part of the Hairy Bikers last night, well more the program got my attention with the brewery article. And to see it all open was a WTF moment!. More so taking the sample, trying it and then chucking it back in!.

But yeah, the volume and generated co2 from such a volume would surely mitigate any risks of infection.
 

terrym

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I find the assertion that infections are rare, and only result in a completely spoilt batch, to be potentially misleading to those starting out in this hobby.
The sort of infections that most homebrewers, well certainly this one, get concerned about are the ones that will noticeably spoilt their beer, and many won't notice minor imperfections should they actually be infection driven. Provided new brewers are advised on the basic sensible hygiene procedures, that's quite sufficient in my view, with a qualification that serious infections are rare provided the basics are carried out. which is true, certainly from my experience. Trouble is new brewers read all this overblown stuff about 'infections' when there should no real major cause for concern (given the correct hygiene procedures) and then perpetuate the dialogue as evidenced by some of the comments you read on this forum. 'I've taken the lid off my FV' will I get an infection? being typical of the type of thing you see.
Homebrewing should be a fun enjoyable hobby not something which carries stuff to get concerned about unnecessarily.
Anyway I think I've said enough.
 
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MyQul

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The sort of infections that most homebrewers, well certainly this one, get concerned about are the ones that will noticeably spoilt their beer, and many won't notice minor imperfections should they actually be infection driven. Provided new brewers are advised on the basic sensible hygiene procedures, that's quite sufficient in my view, with a qualification that serious infections are rare provided the basics are carried out. which is true, certainly from my experience. Trouble is new brewers read all this overblown stuff about 'infections' when there should no real major cause for concern (given the correct hygiene procedures) and then perpetuate the dialogue as evidenced by some of the comments you read on this forum. 'I've taken the lid off my FV' will I get an infection? being typical of the type of thing you see.
Homebrewing should be a fun enjoyable hobby not something which carries stuff to get concerned about unnecessarily.
Anyway I think I've said enough.
Think I'll sticky this thread and direct any new brewer to it whenever I see the inevitable, 'is my beer going to get infected....' thread
 

johncrobinson

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Lookin into very old breweries and methods,Open vats and beer sloshing up and down everyware over open ramps did seem to be the way it was done.
 

Dutto

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........... More so taking the sample, trying it and then chucking it back in! ........
That reminds me of the old joke about a lad who went to the toilet but, to discourage anyone from drinking his beer whilst he was away, left a note that said "I've spit in this beer!"

When he got back someone else had written on the note "So have I."
 

Justin Dean

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Depends on your brewing environment. mine is garage, where it is damp. I have put a dehumidifer in there which helps but it isl so not so easy , If i was in a clean cellar set up or kitchen i would be less worried
 

jjsh

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I also brew in a damp garage, but it is also cold. Cold is good, IMHO as outside of my fermentation fridge, it is a hostile environment for bugs.
 

woody1959

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What I ask myself is "How did brewers from 5,000 yrs ago manage infection control?"
 
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