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And we worry about infection

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BradleyW

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Sadfield

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I can't remember if I have posted this before or not.
The brewers didn't obsessively sanitise in those times because there wasn't really a sanitiser they could use.

Yet look what their unsanitized equipment beer did

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/09/26/1854-cholera-outbreak-broad-street-everyone-got-sick-except-drank-beer-instead-water/
They also were unlikely to pitch yeast as we know it in 1854, considering Pasteur didn't publish his studies of the fermentation process until 3 years later.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Cock Ale was what he called it and by all accounts was actually drinkable and was ok.
Beer Nouveau in Manchester have made a Cock Ale commercially, also their version of Mercer's Meat Stout, which has recently also been revived from the original recipe :

As for sanitation - the way to look at it is insurance. If you don't do it you may still be OK, but by doing it you reduce the chances of having a problem.
 

Racinsnake

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I think there are a lot of homebrewers who talk absolute b******s about infections. They have never had one but perpetuate one of homebrew's myths having read about them somewhere.
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Can’t agree more, one of my favourite pieces of b******s is lifting the lid of an fv will “let nasties in” wtf! Do I need to get my Feeling Hoppy a face mask?
Or being balanced, have I just been lucky?
 

Chippy_Tea

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Are you saying lifting the lid often to have a look at what's going on cannot cause a problem?
 

MickDundee

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Beer Nouveau in Manchester have made a Cock Ale commercially, also their version of Mercer's Meat Stout, which has recently also been revived from the original recipe :

As for sanitation - the way to look at it is insurance. If you don't do it you may still be OK, but by doing it you reduce the chances of having a problem.
There’s a couple of breweries in America that make a “Rocky Mountain Oyster” stout. I guess you could call that a cross between a “cock” ale and a meat stout.
 

PhilBrew

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Hi Steve
They also were unlikely to pitch yeast as we know it in 1854, considering Pasteur didn't publish his studies of the fermentation process until 3 years later.
... just because they didn't know what was in the barm or dregs they were collecting from previous brews to mix into their next brews, and how that made fermentation happen, didn't mean they hadn't been performing such practices for centuries before (e.g. see there (link)) ... and by the 18th-19th centuries the sheer quantities of brewing going on would have meant that brewers probably would have enough experience to know just how much barm or dregs to collect to mix into that next brew to ensure success (i.e. without knowing anything about the cells in the stuff, let alone counting them, they would probably have been re-pitching what we would now consider quite healthy pitching rates) :?:

Cheers, PhilB
 

Sadfield

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Hi Steve
... just because they didn't know what was in the barm or dregs they were collecting from previous brews to mix into their next brews, and how that made fermentation happen, didn't mean they hadn't been performing such practices for centuries before (e.g. see there (link)) ... and by the 18th-19th centuries the sheer quantities of brewing going on would have meant that brewers probably would have enough experience to know just how much barm or dregs to collect to mix into that next brew to ensure success (i.e. without knowing anything about the cells in the stuff, let alone counting them, they would probably have been re-pitching what we would now consider quite healthy pitching rates) :?:

Cheers, PhilB
True. The post was a response to the observation of lack of sanitising, and was referring to purity of single, isolated saccharomyces strains rather than cell count and pitch rates. Purity, which we now sanitise to protect. Or, not if you like to experiment with the funky side of things.
 
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Ashley

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I've been brewing for 50 odd years (with a few years break) and my original brewing hygiene standards were nowhere near what I do now. But even so I don't believe I have ever lost any beer due to an 'infection'. Perhaps I've been lucky.
So, hands up all those who take sensible, but not over-the-top, precautions about avoiding 'infections' but have had more than one 'infection' in their entire brewing career.
i've never lost a brew to infection either. When i first started AG brewing i even used to sanitize the mash tun before a brew. After 4 or so brews i thought, "Hang on a minute! WTF am i doing?! it gets boiled afterward ffs."
 

PhilBrew

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The post was a response to the observation of lack of sanitising, and was referring to purity of single, isolated saccharomyces strains rather than cell count and pitch rates. Purity, which we now sanitise to protect.
... I see where you're coming from ... but when we consider the efforts some of the commercial breweries who prefer to pitch multiple strains go to nowadays, to main the "balance" between those strains (e.g. Adnam's) with the benefit of all that scientific knowledge, then we realize what "NIMBY" types of creatures yeasties tend to be. How the "natural" tendency for yeast strains is to colonise environments, to the exclusion of others ... and we have to appreciate how the practices of our great-great-great-grandfather/mother brewers, were designed to selectively encourage their yeast, the ones they'd selected by collecting fresh barm (top-cropping) or dregs (bottom-cropping), to do just that, to colonise their wort to the exclusion of all others :?: ... further, it would be remiss of us to not recognise that it was their success with those practices that has provided us with the specialised brewers yeasts, those very single-strain isolates, that we value so much today ... those brewers may not (yet) have known anything about the single-celled fungi we now know as yeast, but through their brewing practices, developed via experience of what worked well and what didn't, were "selectively breeding" those yeast strains :?:

Cheers, PhilB
 

Beer History Bloke

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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.
Hi Foxy ,
Sorry mate , But Sparging`s been around since the 1840`s .
Parti Gyles are more than One beer derived from a single mash , either boiled seperately or Let Down after boiling with Wort & Liquor ,
The Older Method is , to all intents and purposes a ` Re Mash ` to extract wort sugars , sometimes One Beer , sometimes more .
Best Regards ,
Edd
 

NicB

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MY penny worth.....
Beer and wine has been produced throughout the world since before the Romans.
I wonder what sanitiser they used?
Enough said?
N¡ck
 

Sadfield

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NicB

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And what was that roman wine like? So unpalatable they had to water it down with seawater.

https://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/m_features/what-does-a-two-thousand-year-old-wine-taste-like

Oh...and ancient beer tasted a bit like wine...

This Is What 5,000-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian Beer Tastes Like
But it must have been reasonably palatable otherwise it wouldn't have been drunk.
Of cause things develop but 200 yrs ago we still didn't know about bacteria. All we knew was fermented grains and fruits were healthier than water to drink.
So for thousands of years brewers did their best with what they had.
N¡ck
 

Sadfield

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But it must have been reasonably palatable otherwise it wouldn't have been drunk.
True, but there was no alternative. Lambic and other raw ales are more than palatable, but 99.9% of the world's population won't drink them today. We're conditioned to expect clean beer, beer that relies on sanitation. Infected homebrew is just naturally fermented beer, yet people ditch it.
 
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NicB

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Hey... I'm not suggesting going back to the dark ages.
Only that there are huge factor of safeties built into present day food and drink production storage and the notorious "Best before dates"
I'm not going to stop nor recommend to stop sanitising only to keep things in perspective obviously.
 
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