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Author Replies
korndog
08/18/08 08:31 AM  
Keg Flambe
I conditon beers in corny kegs, and a friend recently mentioned fire as a means for sanitizing if you use bugs. Pour some heated 151 into the keg and torch it like a Banana's Foster. Anyone ever try this? I'm planning on keeping seperate kegs for bugs, but just in case.....
Al B
08/18/08 08:41 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
That's pretty damn funny. 151 will kill bugs by itself, but I can't argue with the pyromaniac.

The only thing I'll mention are the poppet-valves, gaskets and locks. They should be taken apart and sanitized.

Al bunson-burner

korndog
08/18/08 08:50 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Yeah Al, it sounded funny to me too. The friend is a microbioligist and very highly regarded brewer.
tankdeer
08/18/08 11:05 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Certainly sounds like fun.
N8
08/18/08 11:35 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
That does sounds like a fun idea. Better then sloshing around StarSan. I've sterilized mine in the autoclaves at the lab. That works pretty well.I did get a few raised eyebrows when I pulled out the 4 cories after the cycle, though.
Ross
08/18/08 04:03 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Better watch out for the rubber material mounted on the bottoms of the kegs including plastic handles. I'd make sure a residue isn't left behind also.

Let us know when you do it and if you can, film it for all to enjoy.

Baums
08/19/08 10:31 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
If the keg is not really clean, then you're going to burn on whatever residue there is, and make it harder to clean in the future. And if the keg IS really clean, then you'd be fine just using Star San or Iodophor. So, I'm not sure what the point is unless it's just for fun or for some reason you want to replace using a sanitizer with using the flambe.

But if you use the flambe as the only sanitizing method, you have to make sure you get flames on all surfaces (including up through the IN and OUT tubes and around the lid...) which sounds hard. Dry heat sterilization "requires" 1 hr at 350F (which as Ross said might not be compatible with non-metal parts) so simple heating of the keg surfaces isn't going to be enough--there would have to be actual flames on all surfaces.

I say "requires" because those are the guidelines I've seen from official sources (and which are re-reported in Palmer). Maybe lower heat for shorter time would work... maybe. For myself, I've learned that I personally don't enjoy using my batches to test unproven sanitation procedures.

korndog
08/19/08 11:34 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Hi Baums

I have a lot of respect for the person who mentioned this to me. She is a nationally recognized expert on yeast and bacteria used in brewing. I doubt that it's unproven if it's coming from her. I don't think she was saying this was for routine sanitizing. Her main point was that this is the best way to make sure you are killing everything in the tank if you need to. Yes, poppets, o-rings and the like do not apply here. She still does not advocate mixing bug kegs with s. cerv. only beers. Since you can't bake them like you can with carboys, I would think this might be a good solution.

Al B
08/19/08 11:58 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
KD

Alot of info can be overload here concerning sterilization vs sanitization. Separates are always a good rule. As a Micobiologist myself (but not necessarily a highly regarded brewer), sterilization is not required - and we can go further w/ dry heat vs. moist heat - but heat is nice and convenient if one cannot take things apart and clean properly.

With any and all sanitizers (liquid form), contact time (clean surfaces) and concentration are the variables we must know. Clean surfaces are important for contact with the sanitizers (where as heat will kill hard to clean areas). Most importantly, any "crevice" will hold bugs and protect them from contact w/ a sanitizer.

So what heat is typically used? Large equipment like tanks are usually done with steam (CIP). So on the homebrewing scale, why not use boiling water and shake? The shaking will cause an increased pressure for steam to penetrate crevices (don't forget to release the pressure). Even the ball locks get hot (although I clean those before hand).

This procedure is a hot water sanitization, will help clean off some residue if any, AND you keep the 151 for other pyromania. This form of sanitization will kill vegetative cells of all kinds, but not sporeforming organism (which are not beer contaminants anyway).

Al Bake

korndog
08/19/08 12:11 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Thanks Al

Good information. I appreciate the help from all you generous folks. Oh, and I'm sure you are very highly regarded from what I have read on this board.

Cheers

KD

Baums
08/19/08 03:52 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
"I doubt that it's unproven if it's coming from her."

I think it depends what you mean by "proven." To me "proven" means it's backed up by serious science, testing, and analysis, that can stand up on its own even when you're willing to give essentially no benefit of the doubt.

For instance, Star San and Iodophor have been shown via rigourous testing to sanitize clean surfances in accordance with (FDA I think?) regulations. Microbiologists have arrived, through rigorous testing and research, at protocols for steam temp and contact time that guarantee sterilization against all known bugs. The dental/medical industry has developed proven protocols for dry heat sterilization as well.

"Proven" might mean different things to other people, for instance that a respected brewer has successfully used a technique for years. Or that it's suggested by a good book.

But I'm strict about it myself, cause there was a time a while back when I had to dump a series of batches down the drain due to infections. Ever put cough syrup on your sweet corn? Not as good as it sounds. I used some sanitation techniques that sounded very reasonable, scientific even, and that were sometimes even "recommended" by someone respected, but they simply didn't work. Mostly they had to do with heat-sanitation of certain items. I'm not sure if those experiences made me paranoid... but I am sure that I have not had a significant infection since I went through my techniques and made sure every step was "proven" in the strictest sense.

korndog
08/19/08 04:10 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
"Ever put cough syrup on your sweet corn?"

No, but i have had nail polish remover on green apple pie.

Hehe

Fair enough. I doubt I'll ever flambe` anything other than

a crepe` or maybe a roast duck.

tankdeer
08/19/08 05:12 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
<<Fair enough. I doubt I'll ever flambe` anything other than

a crepe` or maybe a roast duck.>>

Bananas Foster :-D

ErikH
08/20/08 02:02 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
<<Bananas Foster :-D>>

Funny, my last attempt at a Quad made me think of this dish. . .flavors from the dark grains and sugar plus the banana esters from WY1762 were very evocative of such a dessert. It was a little much though.

Ryan
08/20/08 05:04 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Baums you quote an hour at 350 for sterilization. I have been autoclaving my bottles at work fora bout 25-35 minutes, sometimes as little as 20 min.

Is this not doing what I think its doing?

-r

Baums
08/20/08 05:51 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
The 350/1hr is for dry heat like a household oven (not autoclave steam). You're fine.

Ryan
08/20/08 06:46 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
cool thanks

Out of curiosity, could someone suggest a minimum autoclave time that one could use for bottles and still be certain to be clean?

korndog
08/20/08 07:11 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
"Out of curiosity, could someone suggest a minimum autoclave time that one could use for bottles and still be certain to be clean?"

Why don't you just pour a little 151 in them and.....Never mind.

Al B
08/20/08 09:07 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Ryan,

What kind of bottles are you autoclavin'?

Pyrex glass, I hope.

20' @ 121C is usually a descent sterilization time for equipment.......if you need 'em sterilized, that is. Whadda they for....starters?

<<Why don't you just pour a little 151 in them and>> :D

Ryan
08/21/08 08:05 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Yeah 151.

Al, I've been autoclaving my regular ol' bottles for bottling (not starters). I did a test run the first time, thinking they would probably break, but now I've done this half a dozen times at least. I normally give a real quick rinse with water, cap them with aluminum foil and then pop em in the autoclave. I haven't had a problem yet, no cracked glass, no bottle bombs, etc....

It takes me ten minutes to prep the bottles and then its done (I do like 50 at a time). Huge time savings over washing each bottle separately and because they're pretty dry out of the autoclave, its less messy when bottling too.

Al B
08/21/08 08:47 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
I wonder how long they'll hold up w/ repeat autoclaving but OK, can't argue with it.
Al B
08/21/08 08:52 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Since they're for bottling, no need for sterilizing. I would say 10 min. is more than enough w/ a dry cycle to be "clean".

Baums
08/21/08 10:02 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
I do mine in the oven, 3 hrs at 285F (plus 1 hr warm-up time). The low temp is to keep from melting the priming sugar (sucrose) I put in the bottles first.

Many batches, no problems. Regular 12 ouncers, thick belgian 375s, and champagne 750s. I put foil on the oven rack to avoid too much direct radiant heat off the coils.

Al B
08/21/08 10:18 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Generally, moist heat works better than dry heat on the most resistent organisms such as spores from sporeforming bacilli. The fact that bacilli can't grow anaerobically in beer is a good thing.

Dry heat, as is moist heat, is very effective on all vegetative cells (non-spores), so 3 hours is certainly overkill for bottling beer. Starter equipment on the other hand is best sterilized for obvious reasons.

The basis for sterilization is using the most resistent organism (bacillus spores) i.e Bacillus stearothermophilus for moist heat or Bacillus subtilis for dry heat, and temperature vs. time to kill a sterility assurance level of 10^6 spores. Just trying to ya time and energy as well, Baums. Great attention to detail though.

Al B
08/21/08 11:02 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Then again, maybe it was the sugar added to the bottles prior to filling that had something to with those earlier infections......curious....I wonder what the contaminant was?
Baums
08/22/08 10:22 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
I always baked the sugar, so that wasn't the source of the infection. (In fact I have actually added unsanitized sugar AFTER baking the bottles, intentionally, to a couple of bottles just to see what happens, and there was no apparent infection.)

FWIW I'm convinced the two sources were an ineffective clean/sanitize regime on my CF chiller, and maybe also incorrect use of a pressure cooker to "sterilize" starter materials. (Pressure cookers don't pull vacuums first... hence they can't be looked at *exactly* like an autoclave... i.e. containers may need to be wide open if hot steam is really to get into them and contact walls etc, especially for shorter sterilization times... etc.)

I went to extremely severe clean/sanitize regimes on every piece of equipment in the days when I was troubleshooting that infection issue, and I have not backed off on some things--maybe never will. The bottle sterilization is one of those--I realize it's overkill to follow a "sterilization process" for beer bottles... but on the other hand, how do I know how much I can back off on the baking? I have no proven "sanitation process" for dry heat. That means I'd have to figure one out by trial and error, and I'm unwilling to risk dealing with the "error" part. (Also 284F isn't that hot, and I just turn on the oven and forget about it).

So, that's where I am... unless you have some proven sanitation guidelines at your disposal? Certainly I agree a less strict regime is probably possible based on time/temp to kill *spoilage* rather than *all* organisms...

Al B
08/22/08 10:58 AM  
Re: Keg Flambe
No, the only sanitization guideline would be for pasteurization in general.

That's why I was wondering what type of organism it was..........sour-like or something more hiddeous (phenolic)?

(forgive me, I do alot of bug detective stuff @ work, I can't help it). I think I remember you disussing this awhile ago.

Ross
08/22/08 01:34 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Brothers-

I'm just amazed.......

I've brewed with a few good brewers (Cisco, Jamil), and a couple of local guys and am always amazed at how some of us can get by with basic cleaning and sanitization regimes; and produce super clean brew, while others of us (me included) follow over the top sanitation routines and still fight the random infection. I know all of our brewing locations and circumstances are different and I wouldn't be at all surprised if alot of this (infection, off flavors) can be attributed to environmental factors. I really am amazed.

Al B
08/22/08 02:37 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
You may not be far off on that. After all a sneeze will create millions of aerosol droplets containing lots of bugs (lactobacilli, Gram negative rods, Streptococci for instance).....maybe one covers their mouth with their hand, then cross-contamination happens after handling a hose or something. Don't flush a toilet while aerating the wort either (farticles)!!

tankdeer
08/22/08 02:51 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
Toilet flush or not, my house is full of farticles. :-D
korndog
08/22/08 04:10 PM  
Re: Keg Flambe
"Toilet flush or not, my house is full of farticles. :-D"

You can always Flambe` your farticles at the source.

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