Thursday, January 30, 2003

Lessons Learned

Well, my Vindictive Vampire India Pale Ale is showing signs of bacterial infection, too. Not surprising, considering its container stood open to the elements for the three hours I spent getting stitched up after the hose-cutting incident during its siphoning. I thought I'd got lucky with it, but no.


Well, this can serve as a lesson. Yes, sanitation is important at all stages of the beermaking process. Not that I was especially cavalier in the prior two instances, but now I know to be especially paranoid at certain points of the process where I know beer is vulnerable.

To recap: Rich's Big Dawg Brown Ale was infected when I accidentally popped the gasket that would have sealed around its airlock through its hole and into the fermenting bucket. I never did get another good seal, and in trying may have worsened the problem. It was also my first time reusing bottles from 2Red, so I may not have cleaned some of them properly.

Rich's V-VIPA had all sorts of opportunity to infect as I left it open to the air of the apartment for several hours when bottling was interrupted, as chronicled above. There's also the possibility that I fouled up some portion of the siphon through inadequate sanitizing, introducing microbugs there.

Luckily I haven't committed any infectious screwups with Rich's Nearly-Finnish Sahti as yet... The bubbler was going at about one pop every 55 seconds last night, so I could bottle tonight if I felt like it, but I may make up a batch of sanitizing solution before I do, and soak all the bottles for a while before embarking on the process.

Happily Rich's 2Red Richmond Ale, my first brew, seems to have escaped infection -- I opened one of my precious last bottles last night, just to be sure I wasn't going to be shipping my friends anything nasty, and it was still the same good stuff. So I know I can do it right.