My brew day ran long and by the end of the process I was tired and ready to be done. Due to this lapse in concentration I had a major failure in my sanitation process - I forgot to sanitize my better bottle (it only got a light rinse). I didn't realise until after I had aerated and pitched the yeast. Now 12 hours later I have a healthy looking krausen and active fermentation, but I'm worried about contamination.

How soon would contamination(infection) be observable, and how would I go about determining if the beer is infected? I don't want to waste time (and fermentor space) on a beer I'll have to dump if it's bad.

  • and yes, I know - RDWHAHB – paulw1128 Apr 21 '15 at 18:28

Seems like this question might be your best answer.

I have had a spoiled batch that was still pretty useful for cooking, and wasn't the worst thing I've ever drank. I did end up dumping over half of it, but it wasn't a total waste. Admittedly, of the three spoiled batches I've made the other two were terrible.

Unless you're really hard up for space I'd let it finish and just see how it turns out.

  • Thanks - I'll give it a week and pull a sample for tasting. I guess for cooking I wouldn't need to carbonate it or worry about fining, so that'd be a win. – paulw1128 Apr 21 '15 at 21:19

Unless you notice off smells during the (presumably vigorous) primary fermentation, you'll probably have to wait until the kraeusen dies down. Once it has, look for a flaky white deposit on the surface of the beer. If you see that, you might as well toss it. Otherwise, just proceed as usual...and keep your fingers X-ed.


I don't think you should just dump it. No infection in beer is going to harm you so go ahead and taste it. You may be able to add some Brett and get an awesome sour from it. Kitchen Science At Its Best!

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