What am I doing wrong!

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

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What am I doing wrong!

Postby grigri614 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:41 pm

I have been brewing for a little over a year. I have had much success with my brewing, mostly from kits, though I have dabbled in my own recipies.

I recently moved to springfield MA, I attempted to brewing a few batches. My first batch was a Hefe, which looked fine after the primary, but in the secondary it became inoculated. I chalked that up to my mistake.

The next beer did the saem thing, though I made an even more rigorous attempt to sanitize the fermentor!

I decided that instead of using filtered tap water that I should use bottled watter, and double my cleaning and sanitizing efforts.

I did this, with an IPA I came up with. Everything went well on brew day, Fresh yeasts, good temps, perfect OG.... After pitching the yeast... nothing! It is still sitting there in the container (one week post) and no evidence of fermentation....

At this point I feel as if i'm throwing away my money and wasting my time.... WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

My habbits have proven to work in the past, but now I dont know...
I have decided to stop brewing untill I find out what I am doing wrong... I hope that it doesnt take to long....
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problems

Postby slothrob » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:33 pm

The yeast death and contamination are probably two unrelated problems. In order to deal with the problem of no fermentation, you could use Wyeast; when the package inflates you'll know that the yeast is alive, at least. You also should really consider making starters. This will ensure that you have enough healthy yeast going into the beer, before you ever get to brew day, instead of finding out a few days later that the yeast was dead.

Having healthy yeast might help your contamination problem, though, by fermenting the beer more quickly and reducing the time that contaminating organisms have to take hold.

There are some other things that can help. If you are doing all-grain, then keep your grain dust away from your post-boil beer, since the dust is ripe with bacteria. I mill and pour my grain in a different room that I use for filling my fermenter and doing any transfers.

If you are making extract beer, boil all the water that you add to top-off.

Skip the secondary, unless you have a specific reason to use one. They are usually unnecessary and often do little more than give another opportunity for contamination. I can't think of any reason that a Hefeweizen would ever need a secondary.

How did you determine that you had an infection? Could it have been something else?

What are you using to sanitize with?
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Re: Reply

Postby grigri614 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:44 pm

First thank you for taking the time to answer my post.

I should have mentioned that I was using Wyeast smack packs. They inflated properly, so I know the yeast was good. I try not to make starters after experimenting in my earlier stages (I'm just not good at it).

The water I used, I did not boild before topping off... I didn't even think of that.

As for the infection, I saw clear colonies on the top of the liquid, in addiction to aldered flavors and aromas.
Do you recommend keeping the beer in the primary for a longer period than a week. I usually use a secondary to help clear the beer, and also it gives me an extra reason not to dip into it early.

Originally I used C-brite, then switched to sodium metabisulphate as an experiment (neithe rone I ever had problems with. currently I am using Star san, and when I started using that is when teh problems began. Though I dont understand because everyone I speak with and everythign I read states that Star San is one of the better sanitizers.
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contamination problems

Postby slothrob » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:27 am

I was wondering about the water because your problems seem to have started when you moved. You can often get away with adding un-sanitized water, but sometimes it catches up with you.

Also, are you treating your water to remove chlorine and chloramine? That can be another source of flavor change after moving They will add weird flavors that you might think are due to contamination. Usually a plastic-like flavor.

Try to think of other things that might have changed and try to fix them, too. Is the room you use now as clean as the previous one? Are you right under an air vent? Do you have fruit flies? That kind of stuff that might introduce bacteria. Make extra sure your tubing and racking cane are clean, since these are a common way to introduce contamination at transfers.

A starter is just a small beer, but quicker. I boil a quart or two of wort in a pot on the stove for 15 minutes to sanitize, chill it in some cold water in the sink, pour it into a sanitized gallon juice jug, shake to aerate, add the yeast and cover it with a piece of sanitized foil.

I put the starter someplace warm for a 2-3 days, swirling it every time I walk by, then stick it in the fridge for a day or two to drop the yeast. On brewday, I pour off as much of the liquid as I can without losing yeast, then swirl it up and pour it into the fermenter.

As far as secondary, it can make leaving the yeast behind easier, so I know what you mean and I use them myself for some beers. However, if you move the carboy a few hours before and transfer carefully, you can leave the yeast behind. You may need to leave more beer behind than you would prefer.

The secondary itself doesn't cause any more yeast to drop out, it is just time. If you skip the secondary you don't move the beer any faster, you still wait 2-3 weeks for the beer to finish and drop clear, you just do it all in one container. If you prefer using a secondary, you can always go back to one after you get your contamination under control.

StarSan is a great sanitizer, assuming that the thing you are trying to sanitize is clean. Make double sure you are mixing it to the right dilution, give it a couple minutes of contact time right before you use it, and don't rinse it, and it should work well. Make sure it gets up into the tubing and racking cane, and throw them away if they are getting old..
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