Author Topic: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection  (Read 584 times)

Online Joel5000

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Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« on: October 14, 2021, 12:10:57 am »
Hello all. Planning my first brew in about a year and a half. Located my Bigmouth Bubbler plastic fermenter in the garage, full of the remnants of my last batch from 18 months ago. It was never cleaned. (I know that I suck for letting that happen.) Overpowering smell of vinegar when I pop the lid off.
Any chance of cleaning and reusing this thing, or is it a goner?I've got alkaline brewery wash,  star San, iodophor and bleach. I just don't want my first batch back to be vinegar.

Thanks!

Joel

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2021, 12:49:25 am »
I wouldn't risk it.  I've had multiple bad experiences with permanently contaminated plastic.  No one else will agree with me.  But my experience hasn't been good.  No amount of sanitizer is enough sometimes.  Maybe you'll get lucky.  Maybe not.
Dave

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Online Joel5000

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2021, 12:51:38 am »
That's what I was afraid of.  Looks like I'll be picking up a new fermenter along with my grain.

Offline RC

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2021, 01:11:16 am »
It's totally salvageable. Clean it with soap and sponge and elbow grease until the solid crud is gone and no longer visible. This is key--manually get all the crud off before proceeding, and give it a good visual inspection to ensure this. Then soak it extra long in double-strength brewery wash with the hottest water the plastic can stand. The use double-strength bleach for an overnight soak. Rinse well, it'll be good to go.

Offline Bob357

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2021, 02:52:59 am »
I agree with Dave. Why risk a batch for a fermenter that can be replaced for about the same price.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2021, 10:48:39 am »
It's totally salvageable. Clean it with soap and sponge and elbow grease until the solid crud is gone and no longer visible. This is key--manually get all the crud off before proceeding, and give it a good visual inspection to ensure this. Then soak it extra long in double-strength brewery wash with the hottest water the plastic can stand. The use double-strength bleach for an overnight soak. Rinse well, it'll be good to go.

+1 -- as long as there are no gashes or deep scratches it will be fine.

Offline denny

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2021, 02:24:59 pm »
Sure, with a deep cleaning and sanitizing it will be fine.  You've got the Craftneister alkaline so you're off to a good start.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2021, 03:02:19 pm »
Just be mindful not to exceed 140F for the water temperature with the cleanser - the manufacturer expressly states that in its product description:

https://www.northernbrewer.com/products/big-mouth-bubbler-6-5-gallon-plastic-fermentor

Good luck!
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Offline BrewBama

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Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2021, 03:48:42 pm »
I have always had great results with Iodophor for sanitizer after cleaning. Acetobacter is gram-negative so I believe Iodophor kills acetobacter.

Rinse your cleaner off well. The Iodine complex and the Iodophor concentrate are acidic solutions.  Mixing into any water that has residual alkaline detergent will neutralize the solution. 



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« Last Edit: October 14, 2021, 03:51:35 pm by BrewBama »
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2021, 04:04:40 pm »
I have always had great results with Iodophor for sanitizer after cleaning. Acetobacter is gram-negative so I believe Iodophor kills acetobacter.

Rinse your cleaner off well. The Iodine complex and the Iodophor concentrate are acidic solutions.  Mixing into any water that has residual alkaline detergent will neutralize the solution. 


i am a big fan of iodophor, i just found starsan more annoying to deal with. tell me im wrong, im just saying from personal experience. the only disadvantage of iodophor is that if i leave it out longer than an hour i feel like it should be remade fresh.




can time be a factor in removing an infection? intense cleaning and then leaving it alone for a good while (months), then cleaning again?



Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2021, 04:09:15 pm »
can time be a factor in removing an infection? intense cleaning and then leaving it alone for a good while (months), then cleaning again?

Great question.  I think time could play a role.  If wild beasts have nothing to feed on for months or years, they may die on their own.  Maybe.
Dave

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Offline RC

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2021, 04:45:39 pm »
i am a big fan of iodophor, i just found starsan more annoying to deal with. tell me im wrong, im just saying from personal experience. the only disadvantage of iodophor is that if i leave it out longer than an hour i feel like it should be remade fresh.

Iodophor doesn't volatilize that quickly unless you're using hot water, which you shouldn't be using with it. I keep a bucket of iodophor solution permanently on hand in my garage (saves water not to make a new solution every time), and I have to top it off with iodophor about once every 7-10 days.


can time be a factor in removing an infection? intense cleaning and then leaving it alone for a good while (months), then cleaning again?

Why clean, wait months, and then clean again? I don't immediately see what purpose this would serve.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2021, 07:00:05 pm »
The mfr of the Iodophor I use says “Typically the Iodine mixed into solution will gas back into the atmosphere in roughly 12-24 hours, turning back to clear water.  In a completely air tight container, this shelf life is likely far greater, but it's pretty difficult to put an exact number on it for time.  There are things you can look for in solution color (amber vs. clear) and using Iodine test strips as a guide.”

Personally, I mix a fresh solution in a small batch every time I have a brewery-related task, then discard and mix new when I'm doing something again.  It's cheap enough per use to do this.



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Offline fredthecat

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2021, 07:29:31 pm »
The mfr of the Iodophor I use says “Typically the Iodine mixed into solution will gas back into the atmosphere in roughly 12-24 hours, turning back to clear water.  In a completely air tight container, this shelf life is likely far greater, but it's pretty difficult to put an exact number on it for time.  There are things you can look for in solution color (amber vs. clear) and using Iodine test strips as a guide.”

Personally, I mix a fresh solution in a small batch every time I have a brewery-related task, then discard and mix new when I'm doing something again.  It's cheap enough per use to do this.


lol, ive been using iodophor for about 10 of the last 15 years of brewing with 5 years of starsan in the middle.

thank you guys, that helps a lot.

Online Joel5000

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Re: Cleaning Plastic Fermenter with Acetobacter infection
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2021, 09:01:19 pm »
Great info everyone. Thank you. I think I'm going to pick up a good old-fashioned 6 gallon bucket for this batch, but I will keep the bubbler around and perform a thorough cleaning and sanitizing. I'll put it back into use once I'm sure I'm making good beer after the long layoff.  I just know if I use it on this batch I won't enjoy it.