Why the obsession with sterilizing?

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Harry Bloomfield, Nov 9, 2019.

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  1. Nov 11, 2019 #21

    An Ankoù

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    That's very interesting, as while I have a good sanitary regime when making beer, there's not much you can do with apples apart from wash the mud off with a garden hose and send them to the scratter and ultimately the press. I, too, have never had a batch of cider go off.
    I wonder what the big cider-makers do. Not much more, I think. I once tried pasteurising a batch of juice- the cider tasted like stewed apples.
     
  2. Nov 11, 2019 #22

    kelper

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    95% of our sanitising is probably unnecessary, but it's impossible to find where the 5% lies. Better safe than sorry, I say. I've just had some fermenting bell peppers go mouldy and the pH was low - below 4.
     
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  3. Nov 11, 2019 #23

    darrellm

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    +1

    Now and again I don't sanitise enough bottles and use a just-washed one, I don't think I've had any problems. I've had a few gushers but haven't been able to pin it down to unsanitised bottled.
     
  4. Nov 11, 2019 #24

    Mungri

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    I’ve done the same many times. I mark the bottles I haven’t sanitised with a small rubber band on the neck. Never been any difference between the bottles, but there’s no way I would take the chance on just washing the whole batch.
    The pain of 23l of spoiled beer is too great.
     
  5. Nov 11, 2019 #25

    Cwrw666

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    Do we really have to be constantly told that sanitising and sterilising are two different things? I'd never heard of term sanitising until I came on this forum and to most people the terms would be interchangeable.
    Anyway, no such thing as sterilising - you can boil something for hours until all bugs are dead but take it out into the air and it's no longer sterile!
     
  6. Nov 11, 2019 #26

    chthon

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    But if all I have done is pulped a load of apples for a quick cider, all I tend to do is rinse with boiling water and crack on. Hardly had a spoiled batch in 37 years of brewing at home.

    Ah, but here you were talking about apples, so I presumed it was only about making cider :-).
     
  7. Nov 11, 2019 #27

    Tony C

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    Good shout, sorry I didn't make myself totally clear, I do all sorts of brews. In apple season, I have a few people who have trees in their back gardens, but don't do anything with the fruit. So I drag the grandkids over with a couple of barrels and return some cider as payment.

    TC
     
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  8. Nov 11, 2019 #28

    klaus

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    I'm an occasional brewer, over the past 30 years, always believed in a good standard of "cleanliness" as far as fermenting is concerned (beer, wine, etc). I had a few odd tasting batches, never counted them, but generally still drinkable (wet & alcoholic!). For me what's most important is consistency in your process - stay with what works - never changed from VWP for everything.
     
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  9. Nov 11, 2019 #29

    F00b4r

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    They are not interchange terms and it doesn’t help people to tell them they are. There is such thing as sterilisation (boiling won’t achieve it though unless using the Tyndallization method) and you should be using sterilisation methods for slants or for culturing from bottles. In terms of exposure to air, there are ways to help avoid contamination like a spirit lamp and/or creating a box to work in.
     
  10. Nov 11, 2019 #30

    F00b4r

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    Sometimes it is the surface bacteria you are worried about. This is the reason why you can eat rare steak but should usually avoid eating rare/raw mince, the later having the contaminants mixed throughout. You can actually eat raw chicken breast if you are careful:

    https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/chicken-tartare
     
  11. Nov 11, 2019 #31

    davidfromUS

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    I would call taking known actions toward sanitizing when making beer common sense, not obsessive. Why count on luck when you don't have to?
    "Obsessive" conjures images of someone washing their hands so much they bleed. Washing them briefly following a visit to the restroom is common sense (or should be).

    You could probably get away with not washing your dishes most of the time before reusing them and not get sick. But do you want to do that? Shove that two day old piece of meat aside and dig into the fried chicken.
    "Sterile" and "sanitize" are two different words with separate meanings; however, when someone says "sterilize" on here, I know they're talking about the other.
     
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  12. Nov 11, 2019 #32

    foxy

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    I did want to visit this brewery near the Bavarian border, as one can see not as sanitary as a more modern brewery. Unfortunately it had closed down but it may help answer the OP's original post about why he could work over the top of an open fermentor and being told not to worry.
    http://allaboutbeer.com/secrets-czech-brewing/
     
  13. Nov 12, 2019 #33

    Cwrw666

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    Been on the forum for quite a few years now and have never seen a post that TELLS people they're interchangeable terms. Have seen an endless supply of posts where people say sterilise where they mean sanitise which suggests to me at least that an awful lot of people do see them as interchangeable terms. And they are unless you work in a hospital or laboratory, which most people don't. It's what you do that matters, not the words you use to describe the action.
     
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  14. Nov 12, 2019 #34

    Chippy_Tea

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    Spot on and it doesn't help when manufacturers use the wrong word. (Sterilising Tablets)


    [​IMG]
     
  15. Nov 12, 2019 #35

    DJDave

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    just to add, Cider is more acid than beer in region of 3.5 , not much can live in that. Cockroaches maybe......Many moons ago I went for a job at a cidery and was appalled at the levels of hygiene, the workers didn't even guarantee to clean the fermenters in between brews. A real culture shock coming from a nice modern stainless steel CIP brewery ( I didn't get the job, and I forget the brand)

    The old brewery open fermenters used top fermenting yeasts which form a thick crust on the top which stopped airborne debris getting into the brew. You also had a positive pressure in the vessel so things tended not to fall in but be gently wafted away. Blokes falling off a plank (slightly dizzy from all that CO2 ?) though wouldn't waft away and would go straight through the crust......splosh

    But agree with Foxbat, not acceptable even way back when in the good old days.
     
  16. Nov 12, 2019 #36

    Harry Bloomfield

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    It was at the old Kirstall Whitbread brewery, long since gone - other than being warned to be careful not to fall in, I was working alone and there was no safety equipment, other than a plank to balance on.
     
  17. Nov 12, 2019 #37

    Mavroz

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    I have done one or two brews now, am intensive with the Percarbonate cleaning then the sanitizing of every item used throughout the full process.
    Never had a problem brew yet through contamination issues.
    This intensive routine works for me and i don't see me changing these practices in the future.
     
  18. Nov 12, 2019 #38

    Harry Bloomfield

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    It has developed into quite an interesting thread, based on my innocent question - thanks for all of the explanations.

    I wasn't suggesting I would be doing any brewing or wine making, with first sanitising (or sterilizing). I have gallon container made up with Chemsan, plus a spray, into which all of my equipment is dunked including my hands, after washing before touching anything.
     
  19. Nov 12, 2019 #39

    Grealish

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    It’s like I used to say when I was advising on major risk... the chance of a serious car accident per journey is very low, but you would be daft not to strap the kids in all the same.
     
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  20. Nov 12, 2019 #40

    Nicks90

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    You've got to be sensible though about all this sanitation.
    Yes I think my latest bitter is tainted, but it might come good. But the big thing is you can never be 100%, so at what point do you draw the line? Did my beer get infected whilst carrying the fv in to the house, or what is a dirty fv, or was it some other contaminants?

    I saw a wonderful video on this forum of some yank spouting on about cleaning with starsan. Had a big fv full of the stuff and everything was getting dumped in, including his little 10l fv that his brew was going in to. Funny thing was, he put the sanitised fv on the floor after swishing starsan around the inside and then dumped all his equipment in to the big bucket. Then he picked the fv back up, one hand on the handle and the other hand under the fv that had been on the floor! Put it in the bench then proceeded to touch all his newly sterilised implements! BOOM, all dirty again pal. 2 seconds and all that work gone to waste.
     
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