Film on surface of bottled beer

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Film on surface of bottled beer

Postby budstevens » Thu Jan 20, 2005 7:50 pm

I'm relatively new to brewing beer. I started with malt extract and kits last summer. I'm working on all grain beers now. The last 3 batches I've made has had a film on the surface of the beer noticable within a week of bottling. I've thrown out the previous batches because it tasted burnt. So far I'm brewing generic Ales. The latest batch is an IPA that is very light in color. I always us one Corona bottle for each batch so I can admire the color. The film on this batch varies in amounts from bottle to bottle. I opened a bottle after one week and poured it in to a clear glass. The carbonation was non-existent. The beer was clear and copper colored. I didn't notice a foul smell or taste. To be honest it tasted a bit week.

I clean everything in Cbrite. The bottles were cleaned in Cbrite in the sink and then they went to the dish washer for a sani-clean.

Is the film common/normal. I'm going to be brewing a stout this weekend (all-grain).
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Postby jayhawk » Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:58 pm

Well budstevens, would like to congratulate you on joining the world of all grain home brewing. It is too bad you have had to chuck out some of your beer, but hang in there...you will be rewarded!

I have had batches with a slight film in the bottle. The were not the best batches, but were not highly affected by the infection. As far as I know, the appearance of this film is a sign of contamination of the beer, but it doesn't necessarily mean the batch is ruined. You probably just need to be more vigilant in sanitizing everything that the beer touches. Review your entire process and look for any potential contamination points. Perhaps you should dip your bottles in a no rinse santizer like StarSan prior to bottling to minimize infection risk.

Do you want help on the carbonation issue and the burnt taste in previous batches? If so, let me know.
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burnt taste

Postby budstevens » Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:41 pm

I figured the burnt taste was from burning the bag holding the specialty grains. I was concerned with the film on the beer because I suspected an infection. Each bottle was dipped in C-brite and then washed in the dish washer. The beer was in the secondary for 3 weeks and didn't appear to have any signs of infection at that time. I couldn't smell any signs of infection in this batch, that is why I asked what the cause could be.

I'll be brewing an Oatmeal Stout tomorrow. I'll try to pay more attention to the sanitation process.
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Postby Dogger Dan » Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:00 pm

Bud,

Its not all to blame on your process, and yes clenliness is next to godliness however,

Assuming you are transfering from a primary to a secondary, do so with a fermentation in process rather than a stagnent breww, allow a bed of CO2 to build up. If you have a bacteria competing for unfermentables, make the environment hostile for it to live in, then no infection. I say at the transfer because you will build up a CO2 bed in the bottle during the carbonation phase

Dogger.
anything less than full is empty
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Dishwashers for Sanitation = Bad

Postby BillyBock » Sat Jan 22, 2005 8:22 am

Budstevens:

You're infection sounds like it came from the bottle, especially if it seemed fine in the secondary and you didn't notice anything immediately in the bottle.

I would remove the dishwasher from your cleaning/sanitiation regimen. Alot of times there's leftover food particles in the trap at the back of the dishwasher. Additionally, it's difficult for the spray jets to get up inside the bottles. The best you can hope for is a heat sterilizing from it, but if food got up inside the bottle and didn't get washed out, the heat will just cake it in the bottle--then you've got an infection. I used to do this, but it wasn't consistent enough for me to trust it. So I dropped it.

I stay away from products that are listed as a cleaner AND sanitizer. They can't do both equally well at the same time. In order to sanitize effectively, the bottle must be devoid of organic crud--a good cleaning. Otherwise the sanitizer can't get in and do it's job. I've been using nothing but Star San for all my sanitiation needs for the last 4 years. It is unequivocally the best. It's no rinse and a little goes a long way. Try it out like Jayhawk mentioned. After you clean your bottles out, just dunk them in Star San for 2 minutes, drain it, then fill it, and you're golden.

Good luck...hope this helps.
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Stopped d/wash too

Postby jayhawk » Sat Jan 22, 2005 9:33 pm

Billy's right. In fact, I used to use the dishwasher for my bottles too. Come to think of it, that was back when I would run in to a little film in the bottle. Now I just do the starsan dip on organic-crud-free bottles and have not had any issues.
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