HOMEBREW Digest #5148 Tue 20 February 2007

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  Re: Infection and wort chillers (Fred L Johnson)
  Chilling Infection ("Alexandre Enkerli")
  re: infection and wort chillers ("David Lewinnek")
  9th Annual UKG Drunk Monk Challenge (jkleczewski)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 07:33:45 -0500 From: Fred L Johnson <FLJohnson52 at nc.rr.com> Subject: Re: Infection and wort chillers Matt has done a great job identifying a source of infection in his brewery, the counterflow wort chiller. Matt described sterilizing the chiller in the oven as his usual practice, and I am pretty confident that this should do the job, but only if it is clean. Matt has not told us how he usually cleans the chiller after its use. I suspect his problem lies in an inadequte cleanup of the chiller after its use. I have used a counter flow wort chiller for a couple of years now and have not had any infections, but I've never been very confident of my cleaning and sterilizing methods--you'll see why if you read on. Nevertheless, I thought I would offer what I've done and I welcome others comments and recommendations on this topic. The first problem I encountered with using a counterflow wort chiller was preventing hops from getting into it. It is imperative that one do everything he can to prevent hop petals from getting into the chiller because they will find a lodging place and be very difficult to get out. When this happened on one brew session, I was getting black, rotten hops out for one or two brews after that. (Because the subsequent brews weren't infected by this crud is pretty amazing, but it may mean that I did a pretty good job of sanitizing/sterilizing it in spite of the dirt.) To prevent hops from getting in, I have a couple of barriers between the wort and the tube opening through which the kettle outflow goes. The outflow tube passes a perforated stainless steel plate at the bottom of the kettle and I put a stainless steel scouring pad on the end of the tube at the very bottom of the kettle. It isn't pretty and the more sophisticated Hop Stopper and real kettle plates would probably actually work better, but I've just not broken down to purchase these. What I'm using works...usually. I let the hops and trub settle for a few minutes after flame out to form a bed above the outlet tube before starting to remove any wort from the kettle. When I'm ready to drain off the wort by pumping, I start the pump out slowly (like we do with our mash tun runoff) to help form a bed of hops and trub on the steel plate at the bottom of the kettle and around the scouring pad at the opening of the outflow tube. I watch carefully through the plastic tubing on the pump to make sure I'm not seeing hops coming through. Important: I recirculate the wort without putting the wort chiller in line until I'm convinced that no hops are coming through. Then I connect the wort chiller and begin recirculating through the wort chiller with the hot wort and without cooling to sanitize it for only a few minutes (I'm pretty impatient at this time of day). It only gets to about 190 degrees F, but this empirically has been enough to keep it from causing infections. My wort chiller is one of those convoluted tubing, all copper chillers with the exception of some short plastic tubing and plastic quick disconnects on the wort in/out ports and the brass/plastic quick disconnects on the water in/out ports. The plastic prevents me from being able to sterilize this in the oven. (I think the oven should work fine otherwise.) At the end of brew day, I backflush and foreflush--is that a word?-- with a gallon of water just to get the bulk of sugar out. Hot water would be better, but I've often done this with just water from the tap. I then recirculate (backflush) a 1% NaOH solution through the unit with a pump while I'm cleaning up. I then rinse with another gallon of water and then briefly with a very dilute HCl solution just to neutralize the residual NaOH, and finally with a couple gallons of water. I then drain the chiller by rotating the coil to dump any trapped water I can and then put it on the shelf until the next brew day. On brew day I usually just rinse it with a couple gallons of water, but recently I've started rinsing it with the extra water in my hot liquor tank. I suppose I could even crank this up to boiling. (Good idea, Fred! Write that down, Fred.) I am not this casual about my other sanitization processes--some of you know that, but I really hate all the time it takes to do more with this heavy unit. Hope this helps, and I welcome ideas from others out there. Fred L Johnson Apex, North Carolina, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 08:32:18 -0500 From: "Alexandre Enkerli" <enkerli at gmail.com> Subject: Chilling Infection Matt (somewhere in Colorado) thoroughly investigated an infection problem he was having. The evidence he has helps him designate his counterflow chiller as the infecting culprit. Perhaps too simple an idea but... Could you try using an immersion chiller for a batch or two? Not that they're necessarily easier to clean, of course. But you could get further support for the infecting chiller hypothesis. And you might get a clean batch to drink, to further convince you to brew regularly (as before the infection). You could also tell us more about the effects of infection on your beer. If some bottles were less infected than others, isn't it possible that there is a further problem, here? If your brewery is infected somewhere, the bacteria might have made their home in other parts of the brewery (especially in tubing you might use). - -- Alexandre http://enkerli.wordpress.com/ Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 10:28:12 -0500 From: "David Lewinnek" <davelew at gmail.com> Subject: re: infection and wort chillers Matt in Colorado has a problem with an infected CFC that was heat-sterilized. Matt, I worry that your solution of making a smoother CFC won't solve your problem. I think your problem might be that sterilizing something by baking it a 350 F for an hour doesn't get it warm enough, because air-to-copper heat exchange is simply not that efficient. Although this is a silly example (and not exectly applicable to your CFC), baking a small chicken at 350 for an hour will result in an internal temperature of 150 to 160 in the white meat. At 150 or 160, most beer-infecting nasties will be deactivated, but they won't all die. You could test my theory that the CFC isn;t getting very hot by putting a small amount of water into your CFC, baking it at 350 for an hour, then seeing how much water boiled off. My guess is not very much, but this so easy to test that guessing is not really worthwhile. I'm curious about the times you sterilized the CFC in boiling water. That heat transfer should have been much more efficient, and at least the ends of the CFC (where the inner tube is soldered tot he outer shell) should have reached the boiling point of water at your altitude. That's why I worry that smoothing the ends of your CFC won't help your your infection problem: it sounds like the infection MIGHT be in the middle of your CFC, where the boiling water didn't reach, at least not until after it was cooled by contact with a lot of copper. - --Dave Lewinnek Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 12:34:35 -0500 (EST) From: jkleczewski at mindspring.com Subject: 9th Annual UKG Drunk Monk Challenge 9th Annual UKG Drunk Monk Challenge The Urban Knaves of Grain announce that the Drunk Monk Challenge 2007 will soon be upon us! The competition is sanctioned by the American Homebrewers Association, and is a qualifying event for MCAB and the Midwest Homebrewer of the Year circuit. The competition is scheduled for March 09 and 10, 2007, to be held at Walter Payton's Roundhouse in Aurora, IL. As in previous years, the DMC features the Menace of the Monastery, a special category consisting of styles which are monastic in origin: Belgian Blonde, Dubbel, Tripel, Pale, Strong Golden and Strong Dark Ales, as well as German Doppelbock. Of special note is that the winners of the Beer BOS and MOM will have the opportunity to assist in the scaling up and brewing of their award-winning recipe at Walter Payton's Roundhouse, of Aurora, IL, and Govnor's Public House, of Lake In The Hills, IL. Please see rules for details. Drunk Monk Challenge online entries are $7 for the first entry, and $5 each additional entry; paper entries are $7 each. Menace of the Monastery entries are $5 each, ONLINE ONLY! Entries will be accepted between February 19 and March 3. There are several drop off locations in the Chicagoland area. Full details, rules, entry forms, etc. can be found at the UKG website: http://www.knaves.org/DMC/index.htm Good luck and thanks! Na Zdrowie, John Kleczewski 2007 DMC organizer Return to table of contents
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