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Thinking about doing a 100% Brett C beer. If I was to do this, would the Brett flavor seep in to my equipment, forever dedicating it to Brett and sour beers? I ferment in glass carboys then use a plastic bottling bucket.

  • Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew... How much brett would still be in your equipment after cleaning? A teaspoon full? A tablespoon? Imagine that much sour beer blended into a non-sour one. Would you taste it? As for fermentation, the new yeast culture will probably be the strongest culture in the fermenter. Again, what is a handful of old brett cells compared to a whole pack of new yeast? – Robert Jul 20 '16 at 1:51
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The standard wisdom I've seen is, as mentioned, that glass and metal "should" be fine but plastic is much more prone to scratching, making it a concern.

Brett has a reputation of being very resilient and being able to survive in small nooks and crannies of your equipment, waiting to infect future batches regardless of how well you may try to sanitize it.

I think it's important to note though that Brett isn't this invincible super fungus. With equipment that is free of scratches, good sanitation practices should take care of it. However, it's hard to guarantee that your equipment is, and stays, scratch free. So most brewers seem to take a don't-risk-it-use-separate-equipment approach.

For what it's worth, I have personally used a plastic bucket to make a sour (using Brett, lactobacillus, and pediococcus) and then turned right around and made a Hefeweizen in the same bucket that came out fine. That said, it is a newer bucket (I've only used it for a handful of batches) and I was careful to clean and sanitize it extremely well.

So you won't necessarily have a problem in the short term if your equipment is in good condition but over time as your risk of scratches increases you may become more vulnerable to "infecting your equipment."

  • So if I got separate bottling equipment, do I need to go all out and get a new bottle filler, tubing, and a siphon? – Slayter Jun 16 '16 at 12:10
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    I think it really just depends on how cautious you want to be. Many people would recommend duplicating anything made out of plastic, so yes, all of those. If you clean and sanitize well before and after use that's probably overkill but it's really just a matter of the risk you're okay with. If you'd be really upset by a future infection, it may be better to be safe than sorry. If it would just be a little disappointing, maybe hold off on duplicating some equipment until such a day comes. Regardless, monitor the state of any non-duplicated equipment and replace/duplicate as necessary. – thesquaregroot Jun 16 '16 at 12:30
  • Amen to that. I use Brett by itself or as a cofermenting yeast maybe once in every 4 months, and I don't have Brett-dedicated fermenting vessels (relatively old, likely with scratches inside). Sometimes I get Brett infections in following batches, but more often not. Even if beer is infected, it takes very long time (2-3 months) for Brett-related funk to develop. But hey, even if it's developed, it doesn't mean the beer is bad! – Roman Mar 20 '18 at 22:06
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I have used lactobacilius (for ginger beer, yoghurt and KimChi) and acetobacter (for wine vinegar) and surprisingly I have never (touch wood) had a cross infection. In between brews I use VWP steriliser and can submerge a 25 lite brew bucket in a 50 litre sterilising bin. So all surfaces are cleaned and sterilised. I use my plastic tubes for siphoning ginger beer and then for malt beer and only sterilise/pasteurise in boiling water for less than a minute. The hot water also helps keep the tubes supple and easy to route. Of course one can soak the tubes in steriliser over night but it seems it adds nothing much to the process.

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Glass or Stainless should be fine, and you can sanitize Brett like anything else. But anything permeable plastic/rubber/wood, will get contaminated with Brett, and you should have separate equipment for your Brett brews vs your 'clean' brews.

==== EDIT ====

If you can get hold of some Peracetic acid off a friendly local brewer or your local chemical supplier, then this can be used to wash down your equipment and to soak your tubes/hoses in overnight, this will allow you to brew Brett and non-brett on the same equipment.

Just as always with stong chemicals, read the saftey sheet and wear goggles and gloves.

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