Author Topic: Infections!  (Read 1303 times)

Offline tommymorris

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Infections!
« on: August 25, 2018, 03:06:22 AM »
I have now had 3 batches with a wild yeast (I think) infection in the last 3 months. This is driving me crazy. Between that and a batch of Helles Ale ruined by peach esters from US-05, I feel I no longer know how to brew. It’s very frustrating. 

Regarding the infections: the first two had one thing in common: pitching slurries (there was a forth sometime last year which was infected after pitching a slurry). I thought maybe I had some bad sanitation practices in my slurry storage. I recently decided to stop saving yeast for a while and just pitch fresh each batch. On my latest batch I pitched a new pack of MJ M44. Now that batch is infected. That blows up the slurry theory.

Symptoms: bandaid/phenolic, cloudy, krausen slow to drop. The symptoms are the same every time. I have let these beers age and it’s not some mystery flavor that ages out. The bandaid flavor sticks around. I think it is wild yeast.

I had three clean batches in a row (one sucked due to US-05, but, that wasn’t wild yeast). I thought I was back on track.

After the 2nd infection, I cleaned the whole brewery with high test bleach water. I soaked my fermenter with high grade bleach water and then sanitized With iodophor. I had three  good batches in a row.

For this last infected batch: I used Starsan to sanitize the fermenter. I used a brand new bucket. The lag time sucked (60 hours until a krausen).

Beers from 3 fermenters have been infected.

I taste the infection when checking gravity while the beer is still in the fermenter. So this is not a hose problem picked up during transfer to keg.

I have three theories:
 
1. My brewery is in a closet. I brew outside.  But, I ferment, serve, and store my equipment in an 8x8 closet in the garage. Could spillage and time have led to a large wild yeast concentration in this room? Could there be yeast on my tools or in the air?

2. My fermentation chamber may harbor wild yeast. My last non-infected batch had nasty growth on the fermenter spigot. That batch wasn’t infected but I was alarmed. I cleaned the inside of the fermentation chamber with high test bleach water before that batch. I cleaned again after.

Dark spots on spigot are some growth. It was white going into the fermenter. This batch was not infected and I have not reused that spigot.

3. I move beer from Grainfather (GF) to the fermenter via pump. Maybe that pump or hoses are harboring the infection. Could it be that I am not recirculating long enough at boiling temperatures before moving the beer to the fermenter? I don’t think this is the case. I run the pump recirculating through the chiller during the boil for at least 30 seconds to one minute.  The chilling seems slow, so the beer in the kettle stays above 140F  for at least 5 minutes after starting to recirculate. Am I doing this wrong? The temp in the GF drops pretty slowly. Maybe the temp in the recirculation loop drops faster than I think and I have something growing in there? My GF is relatively new, so, I am still learning. But I have had at least 4 non-infected batches with it. But, all 3 infected batches were brewed on the GF. Also, there is no pellicle. I would expect bacteria and a pellicle if the hoses or pump were dirty.

Plans: I plan to empty the brewery for a deep clean. I also plan to use iodophor for fermenter sanitation. I plan to recirculate through the chiller for 3-4 minutes during boil. Not sure what else to do.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 03:19:28 AM by tommymorris »

Offline JT

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2018, 10:15:37 AM »


I have now had 3 batches with a wild yeast (I think) infection in the last 3 months. This is driving me crazy. Between that and a batch of Helles Ale ruined by peach esters from US-05, I feel I no longer know how to brew. It’s very frustrating. 

Regarding the infections: the first two had one thing in common: pitching slurries (there was a forth sometime last year which was infected after pitching a slurry). I thought maybe I had some bad sanitation practices in my slurry storage. I recently decided to stop saving yeast for a while and just pitch fresh each batch. On my latest batch I pitched a new pack of MJ M44. Now that batch is infected. That blows up the slurry theory.

Symptoms: bandaid/phenolic, cloudy, krausen slow to drop. The symptoms are the same every time. I have let these beers age and it’s not some mystery flavor that ages out. The bandaid flavor sticks around. I think it is wild yeast.

I had three clean batches in a row (one sucked due to US-05, but, that wasn’t wild yeast). I thought I was back on track.

After the 2nd infection, I cleaned the whole brewery with high test bleach water. I soaked my fermenter with high grade bleach water and then sanitized With iodophor. I had three  good batches in a row.

For this last infected batch: I used Starsan to sanitize the fermenter. I used a brand new bucket. The lag time sucked (60 hours until a krausen).

Beers from 3 fermenters have been infected.

I taste the infection when checking gravity while the beer is still in the fermenter. So this is not a hose problem picked up during transfer to keg.

I have three theories:
 
1. My brewery is in a closet. I brew outside.  But, I ferment, serve, and store my equipment in an 8x8 closet in the garage. Could spillage and time have led to a large wild yeast concentration in this room? Could there be yeast on my tools or in the air?

2. My fermentation chamber may harbor wild yeast. My last non-infected batch had nasty growth on the fermenter spigot. That batch wasn’t infected but I was alarmed. I cleaned the inside of the fermentation chamber with high test bleach water before that batch. I cleaned again after.

Dark spots on spigot are some growth. It was white going into the fermenter. This batch was not infected and I have not reused that spigot.

3. I move beer from Grainfather (GF) to the fermenter via pump. Maybe that pump or hoses are harboring the infection. Could it be that I am not recirculating long enough at boiling temperatures before moving the beer to the fermenter? I don’t think this is the case. I run the pump recirculating through the chiller during the boil for at least 30 seconds to one minute.  The chilling seems slow, so the beer in the kettle stays above 140F  for at least 5 minutes after starting to recirculate. Am I doing this wrong? The temp in the GF drops pretty slowly. Maybe the temp in the recirculation loop drops faster than I think and I have something growing in there? My GF is relatively new, so, I am still learning. But I have had at least 4 non-infected batches with it. But, all 3 infected batches were brewed on the GF. Also, there is no pellicle. I would expect bacteria and a pellicle if the hoses or pump were dirty.

Plans: I plan to empty the brewery for a deep clean. I also plan to use iodophor for fermenter sanitation. I plan to recirculate through the chiller for 3-4 minutes during boil. Not sure what else to do.

Thoughts?

Hey Tommy.  This is a bummer and I hope you get through it soon. 

1) You already plan on cleaning the closet.  Wild yeast rides on dust so there could be a lot floating around there.  When you mention tools are you talking about yard/gardening tools?  They would almost certainly be wild yeast jungle gyms. 

2) The spigot looks to have mold growth on it.  Are you controlling moisture in the chamber and closet?  Does the chamber have anything in it that would harbor mold like wood?  I haven't used moisture control in my own fermentation chamber yet, but if I need it I would pick up the large buckets of Damp Rid.  They work well in my keezer. 

3)Take your pump head apart and inspect it as well - I have heard of mold growth in pumps, but every time I check mine I'm good.  I recirc hot wort as well, but try to give it 10 minutes of contact time prior to chilling. I clean my pump and lines after every brew day with HOT (like 160°) water and PBW.  Then flush with water. 

Other considerations.
Keep in mind too that a pellicle may not form right away. 
I've had krausen that would not drop before too on clean batches, IIRC it has been with wlp001/us05 most often. 

Offline majorvices

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2018, 06:38:08 PM »
Run caustic through your pump for at least 30 minutes. 10 bucks says that is where you problem is. Bring it down to brewery we will clean it for you.

And you can get a lager slurry from me any time you want. No need to use US05 for helles.

Offline tommymorris

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Infections!
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2018, 06:54:50 PM »
I took the pump apart. The pump looks clean inside but the tubing connecting the pump to the Grainfather was not clean. It was sticky inside and out and just dirty looking. I guess I need to work on my clean up routine.


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« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 07:07:54 PM by tommymorris »

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2018, 06:59:16 PM »


I have now had 3 batches with a wild yeast (I think) infection in the last 3 months. This is driving me crazy. Between that and a batch of Helles Ale ruined by peach esters from US-05, I feel I no longer know how to brew. It’s very frustrating. 

Regarding the infections: the first two had one thing in common: pitching slurries (there was a forth sometime last year which was infected after pitching a slurry). I thought maybe I had some bad sanitation practices in my slurry storage. I recently decided to stop saving yeast for a while and just pitch fresh each batch. On my latest batch I pitched a new pack of MJ M44. Now that batch is infected. That blows up the slurry theory.

Symptoms: bandaid/phenolic, cloudy, krausen slow to drop. The symptoms are the same every time. I have let these beers age and it’s not some mystery flavor that ages out. The bandaid flavor sticks around. I think it is wild yeast.

I had three clean batches in a row (one sucked due to US-05, but, that wasn’t wild yeast). I thought I was back on track.

After the 2nd infection, I cleaned the whole brewery with high test bleach water. I soaked my fermenter with high grade bleach water and then sanitized With iodophor. I had three  good batches in a row.

For this last infected batch: I used Starsan to sanitize the fermenter. I used a brand new bucket. The lag time sucked (60 hours until a krausen).

Beers from 3 fermenters have been infected.

I taste the infection when checking gravity while the beer is still in the fermenter. So this is not a hose problem picked up during transfer to keg.

I have three theories:
 
1. My brewery is in a closet. I brew outside.  But, I ferment, serve, and store my equipment in an 8x8 closet in the garage. Could spillage and time have led to a large wild yeast concentration in this room? Could there be yeast on my tools or in the air?

2. My fermentation chamber may harbor wild yeast. My last non-infected batch had nasty growth on the fermenter spigot. That batch wasn’t infected but I was alarmed. I cleaned the inside of the fermentation chamber with high test bleach water before that batch. I cleaned again after.

Dark spots on spigot are some growth. It was white going into the fermenter. This batch was not infected and I have not reused that spigot.

3. I move beer from Grainfather (GF) to the fermenter via pump. Maybe that pump or hoses are harboring the infection. Could it be that I am not recirculating long enough at boiling temperatures before moving the beer to the fermenter? I don’t think this is the case. I run the pump recirculating through the chiller during the boil for at least 30 seconds to one minute.  The chilling seems slow, so the beer in the kettle stays above 140F  for at least 5 minutes after starting to recirculate. Am I doing this wrong? The temp in the GF drops pretty slowly. Maybe the temp in the recirculation loop drops faster than I think and I have something growing in there? My GF is relatively new, so, I am still learning. But I have had at least 4 non-infected batches with it. But, all 3 infected batches were brewed on the GF. Also, there is no pellicle. I would expect bacteria and a pellicle if the hoses or pump were dirty.

Plans: I plan to empty the brewery for a deep clean. I also plan to use iodophor for fermenter sanitation. I plan to recirculate through the chiller for 3-4 minutes during boil. Not sure what else to do.

Thoughts?

Hey Tommy.  This is a bummer and I hope you get through it soon. 

1) You already plan on cleaning the closet.  Wild yeast rides on dust so there could be a lot floating around there.  When you mention tools are you talking about yard/gardening tools?  They would almost certainly be wild yeast jungle gyms. 

2) The spigot looks to have mold growth on it.  Are you controlling moisture in the chamber and closet?  Does the chamber have anything in it that would harbor mold like wood?  I haven't used moisture control in my own fermentation chamber yet, but if I need it I would pick up the large buckets of Damp Rid.  They work well in my keezer. 

3)Take your pump head apart and inspect it as well - I have heard of mold growth in pumps, but every time I check mine I'm good.  I recirc hot wort as well, but try to give it 10 minutes of contact time prior to chilling. I clean my pump and lines after every brew day with HOT (like 160°) water and PBW.  Then flush with water. 

Other considerations.
Keep in mind too that a pellicle may not form right away. 
I've had krausen that would not drop before too on clean batches, IIRC it has been with wlp001/us05 most often.
Thanks, JT. By tools I just meant brewery stuff.  There is dust in some places. I cleaned once but not every nook and cranny. I plan to repeat more thoroughly today.

This summer my ferm chamber has been pooling water. I have never had that in past years. I probably need some damp rid.


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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2018, 07:07:20 PM »
Run caustic through your pump for at least 30 minutes. 10 bucks says that is where you problem is. Bring it down to brewery we will clean it for you.

And you can get a lager slurry from me any time you want. No need to use US05 for helles.
I am soaking the pump head and connectors in warm soapy water now. After a good soak I will scrub. Then soak in Iodophor. Then I will run hot 170-ish water through it for 5-10 minutes.

I don’t have caustic. But, I am hoping the above method is a decent substitute.

Re:yeast. I need to take you up on that. I just find it hard to get away from work in the day.

PS. I just bought some Windmill Helles.


- formerly alestateyall.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2018, 07:42:46 PM »
I wouldn’t overlook the MJ yeast among the other issues mentioned. I had two dumpers and once I switched back to Danstar and Fermentis I was back in business.


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Offline RC

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2018, 09:06:40 PM »
How do you clean your FVs? If they're not getting cleaned well between batches, then there's probably a substantial biofilm coating the inside. Biofilms are difficult to kill even with very strong sanitizers. You'll need hot alkaline solution and elbow grease to get it off. I too once had a "mystery infection" (fortunately only one batch). Upon close inspection, it was clear I had a major biofilm in my FV.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2018, 10:20:19 PM »
How do you clean your FVs? If they're not getting cleaned well between batches, then there's probably a substantial biofilm coating the inside. Biofilms are difficult to kill even with very strong sanitizers. You'll need hot alkaline solution and elbow grease to get it off. I too once had a "mystery infection" (fortunately only one batch). Upon close inspection, it was clear I had a major biofilm in my FV.
I use a scrubbing sponge and scrub with oxyclean/water mix.

This last infection was with a brand new bucket. I cleaned it the same way.

I could need a new sponge. It’s quite old.


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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2018, 10:21:34 PM »
I wouldn’t overlook the MJ yeast among the other issues mentioned. I had two dumpers and once I switched back to Danstar and Fermentis I was back in business.


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Only one infection was with MJ yeast. The other two were with WLP001 slurries.

Did you get an infection with MJ yeast? I have used quite a few of their yeasts and never had a problem.


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Offline BrewBama

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Infections!
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2018, 11:10:05 PM »
I wouldn’t overlook the MJ yeast among the other issues mentioned. I had two dumpers and once I switched back to Danstar and Fermentis I was back in business.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Only one infection was with MJ yeast. The other two were with WLP001 slurries.

Did you get an infection with MJ yeast? I have used quite a few of their yeasts and never had a problem.


- formerly alestateyall.

I don’t know if it was really due to the MJ yeast because I made several changes all at once. ...but... Using the same process with different yeast and I had good beer again.

I really want to like their yeast.


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« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 11:12:18 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2018, 03:41:11 PM »
What you describe definitely looks/tastes like a wild yeast or bacterial infection. From your timeline it sounds like whatever infection has taken hold in your equipment is acid tolerant, given that bleaching equipment gave you several good batches and starsan did not. Starsan is not particularly effective against yeast to begin with and many wild yeast are far more acid tolerant than brewing yeast. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that you have cultivated a particularly acid tolerant bacterial infection, either, although unwelcome yeast is far more likely. Seems like changing your sanitation protocol to a basic sanitizer would help.
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Offline WhiteHausBrews

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 01:53:06 PM »

[/quote]

I could need a new sponge. It’s quite old.


- formerly alestateyall.
[/quote]

I would definitely change the sponge.

Offline yso191

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2018, 02:39:08 AM »
Chlorine (bleach) will also give a bandaid phenolic to beer.  Are you on city water that chlorinates?  If so, you will need a charcoal / carbon filter.  Sometimes a public well will have issues that they resolve by chlorinating the crap out of the water.  Also, since you mentioned using bleach to sanitize, be sure there is no residue.
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Infections!
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2018, 02:01:53 PM »
Chlorine (bleach) will also give a bandaid phenolic to beer.  Are you on city water that chlorinates?  If so, you will need a charcoal / carbon filter.  Sometimes a public well will have issues that they resolve by chlorinating the crap out of the water.  Also, since you mentioned using bleach to sanitize, be sure there is no residue.
Thanks. I only used bleach for fermenter sanitation on one batch that tasted good (no bandaid phenolic flavors).  Reports are somewhat inclusive for my area, but, I believe my tap water contains chloramine.  Carbon/charcoal filters won’t remove chloramine. I treat my mash and sparge water with Campden tablets to remove any chlorine and/or chloramine.