From the HBD Archive
From: mark@zippy.cs.umass.edu (mark gryska)
Subject: Re: Sanitation and water
Date: 1989-11-15 17:57:11 GMT

Doug Allison writes:

> ... I sterilized everything with a very strong bleach solution,
> I boiled every drop of water 30 mins (but not in the pressure cooker),
> I repeatedly scrubbed my hands with hexachlorophene, I even heated the
> carboys--slowly--in the oven to 300 degrees.

Hexachlorophene? Whoa! Perish the thought. Ok, relax and have a homebrew.
There is a picture in Michael Jackson's World Guide to Beer of a brewer
taking a sample from a large open wooden fermentation tank, he is just
scooping it out and taking a peek to see how things are going. I'll bet
dollars to doughnuts that the beer being sampled is especially tasty.
How can these folks get away with open fermenters, sticking things down
into the beer??? Sheer numbers. If you have enough yeast fermenting
away a stray bacteria here and there can't do much damage.

Simple sanitation procedures should be sufficient, the next thing to
take care of is the yeast. You are quite right in assuming that the
dried yeast is the culprit in your contaminated brew. It just doesn't
make sense to spend money on Malt and Hops and then spend time making
the beer and then use dried yeast. Don't take my word for it, spend a
couple of extra bucks and get yourself a pure liquid culture. Take your
next brew split it into two carboys throw dried yeast into one and the
pure culture into the other. Wait and see...

So far so good, the next thing to take care of is reducing the lag phase.
This is where the beer is suceptible to contamination. We want a lot of
yeast fermenting strongly to pitch into the wort. According to Greg
Noonan's "Brewing Lager Beer": A good culture (strong fermenter) should
be pitched at 8.5 g/gal (4 fl ounces of wort starter should produce
2-4g pure yeast.) This means using a starter of up to 88 fl ounces for
a 5 gallon batch. In practice I have had good results using one pint.

We have a good culture, fermenting away, at the height of krausen, and
he goes to pitch... Wait, do we have a good environment for the yeast?
(remember Napoleon's march on Waterloo) Aerate the wort, the yeast needs
oxygen for the lag phase. What is the temperature? Drastic changes in
temperature shock the yeast, pitch at a temperature close to your
fermentation temperature.

Try using a pure culture, if you haven't then you haven't tried to brew
the best beer that you are capable of brewing. If all fails let me know
and I'll send you a doughnut. Happy Brewing.

- mg

Mark Gryska gryska@cs.umass.edu
mark@zippy.cs.umass.edu

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