From the HBD Archive
From: (Geoffrey Sherwood)
Subject: Evil water jugs (reply
Date: 1992-06-11 15:26:01 GMT

Date: 10 June 1992 09:25:00 CDT
From: "Roger Deschner " <U52983@UICVM.UIC.EDU>
Subject: Evil water jugs; supplies in Boston area

Roger Deschner says:

>The plastic water jugs are made of PETE, a modern polymer. The problem is
>not that the beer can do ANYTHING to it - in fact, PETE plastic was
>designed to resist almost anything you could put into it. The problem is
>that, in the cleaning process, there will always be microscopic
>scratches, which will harbor miniscule residues of wort and bacteria, and
>which can easily infect your SECOND batch made in the jug. The same
>problem can affect any plastic equipment, especially the plastic tubs
>(made of softer HDPE plastic) which are common in homebrew starter kits.

Ho, hum. Yeah. I have heard this more times than I can count. I still don't
buy it. I have been brewing for over 10 years and have always used plastic
fermenters. I clean them with greenies (green scrubbing pads) as often as not
and I am sure they have scratches in them. While I have no doubt some bacteria
could hide in them, I am under no impression that I have a sterile
environment. Period. Not only does sanitizing not kill everything, but when
you put your beer in the fermenter (and especially when you aerate it) you
will *undoubtably* get some bacteria in it. Now, if I had an infected batch
I might think twice about reusing the bucket if it were scratched, because we
are now dealing with a known problem source. But until then I see no reason
to believe that nasty bacteria will spontaneously grow in scratches in the
plastic. If they come in, they will come in from the air (from which we have
no protection in any event).

Geoff Sherwood

(and {knock on plastic} I have *never* had an infection in my beer)

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