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How To Cure A Bacteria Infection

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unco_tomato

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Hey guys and gals,

I've been brewing four different beers for Christmas time this year, a Pale Ale, Red Ale, Tea-Infused IPA and a Christmas Brown.

Unfortunately my Pale Ale (the safe beer that even my non-beer drinking family was expected to enjoy) has picked up a bacteria infection during dry hopping. I know for a fact it's a bacterial infection, as it has a "crust" looking layer on top with small crusty bubbles underneath from trapped CO2. Comparing it to photos I've seen online from bacterial infections, and from a few brewing books I own, I have no doubt it's bacteria (it's also tasting a little tart already). I've picked this up pretty quickly, as the layer only formed a day or two ago, and from what I understand the bacteria will be working through the sugar far slower than brewers yeast, given the lower levels of sugar remaining in the beer and the fact there is alcohol and a healthy amount of hops in the beer.

Now comes the somewhat hopefull (and some may say stupid) question. Has anyone ever tried to "cure" a bacterial infection short of pasturising the beer? I kind of need this batch to come good as it's part of a 4-pack and there isn't enough time to brew up and bottle a good batch of Pale Ale in time for Christmas presents come the end of December. I was hoping that something as outlandish as a few penicillin tablets would kill off the bacteria in the beer, but am unsure if that's going to affect beer flavour, head retention or some other drastic side effect such as rule out bottle conditioning with yeast. has anyone ever tried this? Am I just going to have to bite the bullet and dump the batch, explaining to people why the fourth spot in the 4-pack is empty?
 

razz

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If your convinced it's infected then dump it, no question. I don't know why you think you don't have enough time to brew another APA? 7-10 days and then bottle and condition for a few weeks.
 

unco_tomato

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It's heartbreaking to dump 24L of beer!

I guess I'll be cancelling my plans this weekend to get another batch together then :) It wasn't that I couldn't get a batch together and ready in ~7 weeks, it was that I didn't have a free weekend for the next 4 weeks to brew with, but I guess I'll have to make time.

Thanks for the response, I expected that to be the answer.
 

evildrakey

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A side question: I've never dry hopped in the keg. What's the best way to sterilize the hops before adding them to the keg???
 

ashley_leask

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Anything you could do now won't cure the off flavour that's already in there.

Non Beer Drinking Family Member: "What's that taste?"
You: "It's just infected, don't worry"

Well, it's not Christmas unless there's an argument... B)
 

unco_tomato

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A side question: I've never dry hopped in the keg. What's the best way to sterilize the hops before adding them to the keg???
I'm fairly sure it was the hop sock I used that caused the infection. Despite boiling it in water for 15 minutes prior. The reason I used said hopsosck was because I used peletised hops and didn't want excess plant material in the beer.

From now on the sock is out.
 

mje1980

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If you boiled it for 15 mins, i don't reckon its that. In a rush, i have been known to rinse out the hop sock from a keg im emptying, and re used it 10 minutes later in the next one. Never had a problem. I do usually boil it though.
 

jyo

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As others have said, dump it.
Brew it again this weekend, 10 days in primary, CC for a few days, it will see at least 4 weeks in the bottle.
 

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Only way to cure the infection is to dump the beer and clean the crap out of everything ... with caustic and peroxitane ... or distill it ...

Lacto and other bacteria cannot survive on hops, the FV, part of the equipment or yeast culture (if recycled) you have used is dirty. Part of the attraction of hops is that they are anti-bacterial ... remember the origins of IPA?

So just dump em' in, my IPA has nearly 8kg in a 3800l batch ... rips sticks.

Scotty
 

Tex083

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It may be crazy but ginger in a natural fungicide. It will kill off wild yeast, not sure about killing bacteria. It might give the pale ale a ginger spice but hey it's Christmas. Grate some ginger into the fermenter and see how it goes.
If your going to bottle it you will need to add a bottling yeast.
 

dr K

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Do not dump your beer, to do so is just being like a megaswill brewery who dump their beer all the time (on consumers), anyway your description makes me think its not bacteria but mould, specifically penicillin which can only be good for your beer because its even better than hops, ginger or garlic at keeping vampires at bay.
OTH if you hope to make good beer you need to make value judgements .

K
 

manticle

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What's wrong with pasteurising (ie reboiling for 5- 10 minutes, then cubing, chilling?

Would need to add new yeast if bottling, will screw up late flavour hopping to some degree but it can work.

I've tried it. Not my best beer but the infections were held at bay.
 

krausenhaus

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anyway your description makes me think its not bacteria but mould, specifically penicillin which can only be good for your beer because its even better than hops, ginger or garlic at keeping vampires at bay.
wouldn't it end up tasting like camembert?
 

unco_tomato

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I don't think it's been sitting long enough to develop mold, I'm fairly sure it's bacteria.

I could do that Manticle, and it was going to be my last resort, though given it's already taken a slightly tart finish, I think I'll just re-brew this weekend, after all it's meant to be a gift :p
 

barls

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it doesnt matter if you can cure it the damage will be done to the flavour.
just dump and rebrew
 

SJW

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unco_tomato

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You've tried it in your beer SJW?

I guess I could use this batch as an experiment now instead of dumping it (was going to tip it tonight), and just put some antibiotics in there, let it clear bright and force carb it (to keg for myself). Might give it a go....
 

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