Infection Paranoia

I don't think I'm ever going to get over my infection paranoia. I guess that's what two ruined batches in a row (my first two!) will do to you.

The two I'm working on right now have been weighing especially heavy on my mind. The double IPA marks the point where I finally decided to get rid of my lag problems and invest in an oxygen infusion system. Those of you who own one know what a dramatic difference it makes in yeast propagation. I wasn't prepared for it.

The first batch I thought I could get away with a regular airlock. By morning all the liquid had bubbled out, to be replaced by a foamy yeast tower. Not exactly sanitary. That came off and I put in a blowoff tube, all the while fussing over whether I was being clean enough, was anything getting into the beer, etc.

The second batch I thought I'd learned my lesson. The blowoff tube was attached at the beginning. Only... I didn't check to see whether the tube was crimping in the stopper. Which it was. Everything seemed ok initially, but as soon as gunk started flowing through the tube, you can imagine what happened. Stoppage! It probably blew around noon, to be discovered around 5. Not only did I have a huge mess to clean up, but my fermenter had been breathing basement air for five hours. All I could do was cap it and hope for the best.

Thankfully, my paranoia on brew day seems to have saved me from my fermentation mishaps. I tasted both last night and they're both great. The IPA is carbonating in the kegerator now and the strong ale is doing its thing in secondary, both infection free. Tonight I think I'll say a little prayer to Five Star and thank them for all they've done.

Beau Burke
September 17, 2007, 9:13 pm
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