New answers tagged sanitation
Assuming everything is stored properly cool, it isn't necessary to worry about cleaning the tap line in between pours, even if it takes you several months to finish the keg. If beer has sat unmoving in the beverage tubing for an extended period (a couple weeks), that small portion of beer may be stale; in this case I'd just run off the first bit into a ...
Destruction of most microorganisms (whether or not pathogenic) on wounds, clothing, or hard surfaces, through the use of chemicals or heat. See also disinfection and sterilization.
Unless you were planning on heating the juice itself to a high enough temperature to kill anything in it, it's not really going to matter. Any bacteria or wild yeasts present on the inside of the carboy will also be in the juice itself already. If the juice is labeled as having been pasteurized, then it and its container are probably reasonably sanitary ...
I have seen a lot of times that there is a layer of protection, when the ferment is going strong, the pressure of the bubbles actually push any contaminants out of the stopper hole. The layer of foam created by the ferment is also a protection from contaminants. My airlock had the ferment bubbling into the airlock, so I had to take it off and clean it, and ...
You shouldn't be concerned. When you removed the stopper, you didn't allow it to come into contact with a non-sterile (potentially bacteria-ridden) surface, so there was no potential for transfer of bacteria onto it (other than contact with the air, which does not pose a significant risk).
As jsled says you have no worries. You are doing the right things, not touching it or putting it down. If just for a few seconds to check on the brew you'll be fine, also you will gain experience regarding how your brew evolves over time.
No, you don't need to worry about contamination based on what you describe.
It could be that some fermentation is still going on, and the sediment is yeast that, over time, has grown and multiplicated. If that's the case, you should open your bottles before they become timed bombs, which will explode in your cellar. Check if your wine is sparkling (even just a little bit), that gives an indication that fermentation is still occuring ...
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