Author Topic: Lacto Fears  (Read 758 times)

Offline spowlison

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Lacto Fears
« on: June 01, 2011, 07:51:50 AM »
I'm thinking of brewing a Berliner Weisse, but I am a little nervous about using Lactobaccillus, having never brewed with bugs before. I am worried about contaminating my fermentation vessel and equipment for future non-bug beer brewing. I use plastic fermenters,  and I do clean things thoroughly with the standard cleaners available at the homebrew shop. Nevertheless, I've heard tell of people using Brett and then never being able to fully clean their equipment from then on. Should I worry about this?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 08:14:28 AM »
If you are using glass or stainless it's not too much of a problem. That being said with lacto you can do a sour mash and get all your sourness before the boil thus avoiding the concern altogether. There are some threads on here concerning sour mash that you should check out.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 08:16:15 AM »
Lactobacillus is relatively easy to kill - it's probably floating around in your house right now, and your normal cleaning/sanitizing regimen is taking care of it. Make sure that the fermenter doesn't have any scratches or cracks that might make it hard to clean. Once it's clean, a few minutes of contact time using an acid sanitizer (pH <3) should be sufficient. Use it as an excuse to replace any vinyl tubing you use for transfers, just to be safe.

Brettanomyces is a different animal, so to speak. It tolerates very low pH levels, which is why it's so hard to eliminate. Multiple caustic-acid-steam cycles are the safest bet, but that's going to be pretty much impossible for a home brewer.
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Offline danny

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 08:40:22 AM »
If you fear it, use the equipment, fermenters, tubing, etc. just for the sours and replace it with new equipment for other, normal brews.

Offline spowlison

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 09:31:07 AM »
Cool, thanks. I would like to avoid having to buy another set of fermenters, but hopefully a thorough post-brew clean will be adequate.

Do you know if the standard Straight-A Sanitizer is acidic enough to kill the Lacto?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 09:34:29 AM by spowlison »

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 11:12:30 AM »
Cool, thanks. I would like to avoid having to buy another set of fermenters, but hopefully a thorough post-brew clean will be adequate.[/quote[

If you're paranoid though, it wouldn't hurt to get new hoses and reserve your old hoses just for sour beers. Hoses are hard to clean, easy to scratch and cheap to replace.

Do you know if the standard Straight-A Sanitizer is acidic enough to kill the Lacto?

I haven't used this brand myself, but it appears to be an alkaline cleanser, rather than an acid-based sanitizer. Despite this, I'd imagine that with sufficient contact time on a clean surface that it could have sanitizing properties, regardless of what it says on the label. Check the pH of the solution. If it's as alkaline as a properly made bleach solution, then you're probably fine.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 11:14:25 AM »
I haven't used this brand myself, but it appears to be an alkaline cleanser, rather than an acid-based sanitizer. Despite this, I'd imagine that with sufficient contact time on a clean surface that it could have sanitizing properties, regardless of what it says on the label. Check the pH of the solution. If it's as alkaline as a properly made bleach solution, then you're probably fine.
For maximum effectiveness, bleach solutions should be acidic. ;)
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Online dmtaylor

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 04:30:21 PM »
Several years ago, I purposely made a sour beer, fermented in plastic buckets.  For the next 3 batches after that using the same buckets, these batches became Lacto contaminated unintentially.  This was true even after soaking the buckets in bleach solution for over a week.

Moral of the story -- Don't be as cheap as I am.  Do yourself a huge favor and spend the $15 or whatever to buy new buckets and hoses.  That's what I ended up doing.
Dave

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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2011, 11:27:44 PM »
For maximum effectiveness, bleach solutions should be acidic. ;)

How so? Logically, if pure bleach has ~pH 12 and water has ~ pH 7, it would seem that even if you seriously dilute the bleach you'll never get it to be acidic. What am I missing?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011, 11:55:30 PM »
Sorry for not being clear -  bleach solutions are basic because they are more shelf stable that way, so that's the way the companies make them.  For maximum killing power they should be acidified.  Typically you add vinegar to a dilute solution of bleach, or bleach to a dilute solution of vinegar.  Buy the cheapest bleach you can find in small quantities - they have fewer buffers to overcome, but they are less shelf stable so they lose effectiveness faster.

One ounce of vinegar in 5 gallons of water, mix well, then one ounce of bleach into the mix.  Don't use the same measuring device for bleach and vinegar without rinsing, don't mix bleach and vinegar directly!
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2011, 02:46:04 AM »
One ounce of vinegar in 5 gallons of water, mix well, then one ounce of bleach into the mix.  Don't use the same measuring device for bleach and vinegar without rinsing, don't mix bleach and vinegar directly!

Good information. I will have to try this.

How stable is the acidified solution? Will it lose effectiveness over time? If so, what's the shelf-life like? I like to have a squirt bottle full of bleach water in the kitchen for general spot sanitizing/cleaning.

Do you know exactly what's going on chemically that makes the acidified bleach solution more effective than regular bleach?

Offline SpanishCastleAle

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 04:44:38 AM »
How effective is a no-rinse Iodofor solution on Brett and Lacto (and pedio while we're at it)?  I switch back and forth between Starsan and Iodofor just because it seems that one might be more effective against certain bugs than the other but I have no real basis for that.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 08:54:12 AM »
How stable is the acidified solution? Will it lose effectiveness over time? If so, what's the shelf-life like? I like to have a squirt bottle full of bleach water in the kitchen for general spot sanitizing/cleaning.
It does lose effectiveness over time, but I don't know how rapidly.  I use starsan.

Do you know exactly what's going on chemically that makes the acidified bleach solution more effective than regular bleach?
It's just the form that the chlorine is in.  At higher pH it is almost all OCl-, which is ~100 times less effective microbially than HOCl, which you mostly have at lower pH.  HOCl is strong enough to kill spores.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Lacto Fears
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2011, 09:03:20 AM »
How effective is a no-rinse Iodofor solution on Brett and Lacto (and pedio while we're at it)?  I switch back and forth between Starsan and Iodofor just because it seems that one might be more effective against certain bugs than the other but I have no real basis for that.
It's very effective at 12.5 ppm, which is a no-rinse concentration.
Tom Schmidlin