Am I infected?

Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:40 pm

So I just bottled a coffee infused black IPA on Sunday. Everything seemed to go normally. My sanitation is usually pretty good, not perfect by any means, but I usually only end up with a couple of gushers out of 5 gallons. Well I checked my bottles today and most of them have a line at the top of the bottle around the liquid fill line. Is this a sign of infection? I have noticed it happen on the other gushers I have had in the past. When I transfered to the bottling buckets I pulled some off to check FG and such and it tasted fine at that point. It was fermented with 1056. Could this line be from the yeast eating the priming sugars in the bottle? If its infected now, I know there's nothing I can really do. It just sucks to lose a whole batch. And I was going to enter it in my first comp., so much for that.

And then the earth cooled, comets brought water, and the ameoba crawled from the water and grew legs.... (sorry for the blog)

Any help would be greatly appreciated! :jnj
McDur-Ham
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Re: Am I infected?

Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:25 pm

McDur-Ham wrote:My sanitation is usually pretty good, not perfect by any means

It never is... if it were perfect, it would be sterile, not sanitary...

McDur-Ham wrote:Well I checked my bottles today and most of them have a line at the top of the bottle around the liquid fill line. Is this a sign of infection?

It's possible that it is... if your beer is getting something in there, it could be forming some sort of film or pellicle at the top that is causing this. What is your CLEANING practice? Poor cleaning will negate good sanitization. For your past gushers, how did they taste? Gushers can also be caused by unequal mixing of priming sugar... do you end up with widely varying levels of carbonation?

McDur-Ham wrote:And then the earth cooled, comets brought water, and the ameoba crawled from the water and grew legs....

Multicellularity had to occur long before legs could be grown, and all the things that go along with multicellularity, then bilateralism, formation of a head and nervous system, endoskeleton, etc... You left all that stuff out... :drink
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Re: Am I infected?

Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:56 am

So, you hold the bottle up to the light, do you see a ring of tiny dots where the beer liquid level meets the air interface in the bottle? If so, then you most likely have an infection. Do make sure that you scrub your bottles with a clean bottle brush well especially in this area for future uses. A good long hot soak in PBW will also help to remove this. Starsan is crucial for proper sanitization for your bottles and other equipment. Is your bottling bucket, or siphon hose, old and in need of replacement?

If you have the ability to keep your beers cold after they have carbonated in the bottle, then by all means do so as this will help to slow down the infection in the bottles to the point where you might be able to drink them fast enough before the infection really changes the flavor/aroma of the beer.
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Re: Am I infected?

Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:11 pm

McDur-Ham wrote:So I just bottled a coffee infused black IPA on Sunday. Everything seemed to go normally....Well I checked my bottles today and most of them have a line at the top of the bottle around the liquid fill line. Is this a sign of infection?... Could this line be from the yeast eating the priming sugars in the bottle?


Here are a few thoughts/questions:

-Could this line at the liquid fill line be residual coffee grounds/gunk?

-What gravity did you bottle at?

-During a normal bottle carbonation phase you shouldn't really ever see a significant amount of yeast
growth or a tiny krausen at the liquid fill line. There shouldn't be enough sugar or yeast to even notice at this point. Are you doing any cold crashing, lagering, gelatin, etc... prior to bottling?

-If you are having a few gushers each batch is it possible you are adding too much priming sugar?
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Re: Am I infected?

Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:04 am

When did you add your coffee in the brewing process? Whole bean or ground? Coffee beans are full of acids and oils. Is it possible that what you are seeing is just a by product of your coffee additions? Maybe the coffee additions and some minor infection?
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Re: Am I infected?

Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:16 am

McDur-Ham wrote: most of them have a line at the top of the bottle around the liquid fill line. Is this a sign of infection? I have noticed it happen on the other gushers I have had in the past.


The coffee addition may have some effect on there being something noticeable on most of his bottles, but that he's had it on gushers in the past makes me think that it might be a bigger issue...
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Re: Am I infected?

Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:29 am

spiderwrangler wrote:
McDur-Ham wrote: most of them have a line at the top of the bottle around the liquid fill line. Is this a sign of infection? I have noticed it happen on the other gushers I have had in the past.


The coffee addition may have some effect on there being something noticeable on most of his bottles, but that he's had it on gushers in the past makes me think that it might be a bigger issue...


In my multiple coffee experiments I did have one batch go sour on me. It was also aged on nibs so I wasn't really sure where it came from. It was an earlier batch in my experiments so it may have been either coffee grounds in the mash (none of those turned out very well anyways, but I had to try) or loose grounds in the fermenter. The oils definitely can leave a ring around the neck in a lot of cases, which isn't always an indication of an infection. Since it wasn't stated if the previous gushers tasted bad or just made a mess, I wouldn't begin to speculate on that without further information. It does sound like it's happening frequently enough to be poorly mixed primer, but that could also stem from poor sanitation/cleaning somewhere in the process.
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Re: Am I infected?

Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:56 pm

Thank you all for the responses. Sorry work and a 4 month old conspired to keep me away from the forums for so long.

First let me go through my cleaning process which I think will help clear up a lot.
- Each bottle I use first gets a bath in bleach water along with a thorough scrub with a bottle brush then rinse.
- That's followed by a bath in foamy starsan, no rinse.
- Bottles are then filled and capped on foam with caps that are sitting in starsan

I keep all my equipment (autosiphon, bottle filler, giant spoon, etc.) in a bucket of starsan until i actually use it. I also try to keep my hands wet with starsan throughout.

I like to think that's a good process, but maybe I'm missing something. As far as the line at the top, its a solid line, kind of creamy looking. not really spotty. Its kind of hard to tell being such a dark beer.

The coffee i used was a locally roasted ethiopian sidamo. For that I did the cold extraction process. I used 16 ounces of (previously boiled) room temp water and 4 ounces of rough ground coffee. I put those together in a mason jar and let it sit over night in the fridge. The next day I ran the liquid through a mesh screen and coffee filter. There wasn't any grounds in it that I could see. I added the coffee at the 2 week point when I added the second dry hop addition and let that sit for a week.

As far as past gushers. Really I only had it on a couple of batches. One was only 4 bottles of a saison. all in the same pack so I'm assuming a priming issue. The other was a bourbon stout that I only brewed a gallon of, but it fermented right beside a gallon of sour stout so I'm assuming I got a cross contamination there.

I know I could just open a bottle and see if its infected. Just kind of freaked when I saw it on all the bottles at the same time. Don't have the space to refrigerate it all so if it is bad, it's probably all going to be poured out.
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