Author Topic: Infection IN the serving keg??  (Read 1120 times)

Offline BrodyR

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Infection IN the serving keg??
« on: October 14, 2015, 06:49:31 PM »
I'd like to think my cleaning/sanitation procedures are solid but I occasionally get some signs of infections. Yesterday I had a weird one -

I brewed a really light, hoppy saison. It came in just over 2% abv. Belle Saison finished it up pretty quick, I kegged, carbed, and fined and all was well. After about a week or so on tap I decided to open up the serving keg and add some cranberry juice to it and found a filmy web had grown in the keg a couple inches above the beer (I guess it formed and stayed in place as I served) from the beer out tube to the other side of the keg... pretty unsettling. Anyone experience this before?

My process is to soak kegs overnight with oxyclean, rinse a few times, fill with starsan, shake, and push the starsan through the taps. I then pressurize it and leave it until I need it. Bad luck or should I be revamping my cleaning process?

Offline kramerog

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2015, 07:14:12 PM »
Here are my observations:

It sounds like you have a Brett or Lacto infection and what you are seeing is pellicle. 

Making a 2% alcohol saison is going to challenge anybody's sanitation practices. 

The infection could have come from your racking cane and transfer hoses.  The only piece of equipment that I have dedicated to sours is a racking cane and a transfer hose. The infection could have happened even earlier but not become apparent until fermentation had ceased.

I completely break down my kegs between batches; I disassemble, clean and sanitize the disconnects, poppets and tubing.

It seems like you did not purge the head space of the keg after transferring the saison otherwise I'm not sure why a pellicle formed.

Refrigeration has probably already arrested the infection.

Offline BrodyR

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2015, 08:28:52 PM »
Here are my observations:

It sounds like you have a Brett or Lacto infection and what you are seeing is pellicle. 

Making a 2% alcohol saison is going to challenge anybody's sanitation practices. 

The infection could have come from your racking cane and transfer hoses.  The only piece of equipment that I have dedicated to sours is a racking cane and a transfer hose. The infection could have happened even earlier but not become apparent until fermentation had ceased.

I completely break down my kegs between batches; I disassemble, clean and sanitize the disconnects, poppets and tubing.

It seems like you did not purge the head space of the keg after transferring the saison otherwise I'm not sure why a pellicle formed.

Refrigeration has probably already arrested the infection.

Yea, I was thinking the low abv would make it easier to infect - racking cane could be it or maybe when I gelatined it. I did not break down all the keg parts this time (I do that periodically but not every batch, maybe I should). The pellicle indicating a presence of O2 surpirsed me, not sure what I messed up there.

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2015, 02:00:47 AM »
Please keep in mind that Star San does not kill Brett (Star San does not kill yeast or mold).   Star San only kills bacteria.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2015, 02:18:42 AM »
Please keep in mind that Star San does not kill Brett (Star San does not kill yeast or mold).   Star San only kills bacteria.

Yes, I have experienced both a Brett infection (though the "infected" beer was quite good as a clean sour) and a mold on lighter beers that were held at room temp for an extended period after reaching terminal gravity.  One time it was a residual effect from a Star San (Brett) and the other was from a dry airlock (aargh).  That's the problem you face with reliance on Star San, if you have sours going in your brewery, and running short of kegs and forgetting to watch the airlocks.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015, 02:42:00 AM »
Please keep in mind that Star San does not kill Brett (Star San does not kill yeast or mold).   Star San only kills bacteria.
Does oxyclean kill Brett?

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2015, 02:57:12 AM »
Fill your keg with boiling water. Seal it, turn upside down and let it sit a while. Oh, wear some gloves.
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Offline BrodyR

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2015, 02:09:08 PM »
Please keep in mind that Star San does not kill Brett (Star San does not kill yeast or mold).   Star San only kills bacteria.

That's unfortunate - what do you recommend?

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2015, 03:12:20 PM »
Death rays are effective options.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2015, 03:55:00 PM »
You could try switching up to using Iodophor in your kegs as a sanitizer.  This IS a wide spectrum sanitizer (molds, bacteria, yeast) at least as far as I understand it. 

For example, I will use starsan on my plastic gear, but fill my kegs with iodophor (properly mixed) prior to pushing it out and kegging. 

Offline chumley

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Re: Infection IN the serving keg??
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2015, 04:07:17 PM »
.......

My process is to soak kegs overnight with oxyclean, rinse a few times, fill with starsan, shake, and push the starsan through the taps. I then pressurize it and leave it until I need it. Bad luck or should I be revamping my cleaning process?

Once a year you should take the gas-in and beer out poppets out with a deep socket, take them, apart, and sanitize them (I like to boil them at a simmer for 15 minutes).  Check the o-rings and replace them if they are cracked.

Another sanitizer I always recommend (but no one else ever seems to use) is quaternary ammonium.  15 years ago I went a couple of years fighting infected batches that I never got rid of until I tried soaking everything in quaternary ammonium.   That seemed to do the trick.