Author Topic: New gear just for sours?  (Read 894 times)

Offline ccfoo242

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New gear just for sours?
« on: September 17, 2014, 01:10:49 PM »
Do people really have two sets of gear? One for sour beers, one for regular?

If the worry is that your regular beer will get infected then doesn't that mean your sanitation is bad anyway? By this I mean: if I don't clean and sanitize my gear well enough I will risk infection from any of my previous brews, sour or not.

What am I not understanding?


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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 01:28:19 PM »
IMHO - It depends on your gear. 

If you use plastic buckets as fermenters then segregating your sour gear from your standard gear may be an inexpensive precaution.  Small scratches or cuts could harbor bacteria from the sour brews, no matter how well you think you have cleaned them.  I believe this is a very slight risk but, for some, it may be enough to worry about.

If you use stainless and glass exclusively then I completely agree that there should be no issues crossing the streams (assuming good practices).

It's a personal choice I guess.

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Offline Stevie

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 01:32:20 PM »
I think the logic is this. With good sanitation, it can be assumed an infection won't and hasn't occurred. When purposely adding bugs, you now know for a fact that the equipment has had non-sacc yeast or bacteria in large quantities in or on it.

Most simply keep to sets of soft goods such as tubing, bottling buckets, plastic fermenters, racking canes. Glass is a little less worry some.

I think the best course is to retire some older gear to sours only and get fresh gear for your standard beers.

Offline ccfoo242

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 01:47:37 PM »
But infections can come from old yeast, too. I had cracks in my better bottles that must have harbored old or wild yeast that ended up infecting multiple batches until I swapped fermenters.

Also, regarding old tubing and stuff don't I want to ensure that my sours get the bugs I want rather than the random bugs that may be harbored by old gear?

(Let me say now that I don't mean to sound argumentative. I hope I don't come off that way.)


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Offline kramerog

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2014, 02:01:56 PM »
But infections can come from old yeast, too. I had cracks in my better bottles that must have harbored old or wild yeast that ended up infecting multiple batches until I swapped fermenters.

Also, regarding old tubing and stuff don't I want to ensure that my sours get the bugs I want rather than the random bugs that may be harbored by old gear?

(Let me say now that I don't mean to sound argumentative. I hope I don't come off that way.)


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Bugs in your old gear that gets into your sours has a long and noble tradition in sour brewing.  Think lambics and flanders red.  That all goes out the window if you don't like your particular indigenous bugs.

Yes people do have two sets.  However, with good sanitation practices, good starters, high hopping levels,  refrigeration for my kegged beers and high alcohol for my bottled beers, I was able to get away without having dedicated equipment for sours until I could get good deals on dedicated equipment or until it was time to retire equipment from "clean" brewing.

Offline jjflash

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2014, 03:40:26 PM »
Yep, always have two separate sets of plastic.  For sours all plastic has bright yellow tape markings. I never worry about the glass and stainless steel as that is comfortably interchangeable.  I always store the sour plastics away from everything else.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2014, 02:37:12 PM »
I have some older equipment that I sometimes use for sour beers. Increasingly I am just using my regular equipment and relying on cleaning and sanitizing to deal with the problems. I have not had a contamination issue yet. I do have some fermentors that are sour beer only but that's just because they are my best fermentors for limiting oxygen exposure so I want to keep them available for sour beers.

Proper cleaning and sanitation should deal with any contamination issues as long as your equipment is in good condition. The concern, expressed by some very experienced individuals, is that wild yeast and bacteria can form biofilms that shelter the microbes from sanitizer. I'm not entirely sure I buy that (and if it is true, why would they avoid sanitizer but not beer?) but part of my cleaning procedures includes an oxyclean soak which will break down organic films.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2014, 05:21:24 PM »
I have some older equipment that I sometimes use for sour beers. Increasingly I am just using my regular equipment and relying on cleaning and sanitizing to deal with the problems. I have not had a contamination issue yet. I do have some fermentors that are sour beer only but that's just because they are my best fermentors for limiting oxygen exposure so I want to keep them available for sour beers.

Proper cleaning and sanitation should deal with any contamination issues as long as your equipment is in good condition. The concern, expressed by some very experienced individuals, is that wild yeast and bacteria can form biofilms that shelter the microbes from sanitizer. I'm not entirely sure I buy that (and if it is true, why would they avoid sanitizer but not beer?) but part of my cleaning procedures includes an oxyclean soak which will break down organic films.

I've really have just started with sour beers, but ive already upped my clean/sanitize game. I do a hot oxyclean soak overnight. Then scrub with a soft towel. Then a wash with Planet dish soap. Then an iodophor soak. Then rinse and starsan soak until time to fill.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2014, 07:33:13 PM »
You're not putting a flame to your plastic buckets anymore?  That would complete the sanitizing cycle of course... ;D

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2014, 07:55:28 PM »
You're not putting a flame to your plastic buckets anymore?  That would complete the sanitizing cycle of course... ;D

Um no, I don't. Did I used to do that? Must have been a drunk post

Online BrewBama

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Re: New gear just for sours?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2014, 08:07:29 PM »
I've done a sour in my Ale gear with no ill effects in other brews after cleaning and sanitizing. Of course, from the one sour I brewed I figured out I don't like sours.
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