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Thread: Lacto Bacillus in Bottling Line! HELP!!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Swampscott MA
    Posts
    21

    Lacto Bacillus in Bottling Line! HELP!!!

    Hey all,

    I'm in my second week as head brewer and have walked into a place with a lacto b. issue in their bottling line. Everything has been tested and confirmed by a brewlab as lacto b. and we have just cleaned the whole thing, soaked the head and fillers and tubes and damn near everything in bleach to kill anything. Now we're going to run caustic and peracetic acid through and try it again.

    Anyone had the problem? Any suggestions? Would appreciate any help or advice anyone can give!
    Cheers!

    Mel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    618
    I second the Peroxy---I might even do 2 cycles of it. Also clean and sani floors walls, ect. everything in the area!
    Also remember to do a go re-lube after all that washing-
    Good Luck!!
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    185
    are you saying that after thorough cleaning/sanitation you still have the bug?

    if that's the case, you better check for the source of contamination!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Swampscott MA
    Posts
    21
    When I got in there I tore the system apart and found mold growing in and on just about every inch of the thing. A lot of broken glass as well. Caps were being left wet and in the hopper and the few that I could see seemed to have mold growing on them. The wall behind the machine was covered with mold (no where else in the brewery and considering it's a stone floor in England, surprising) as was every piece of the undersides, doors and hinges. We scrubbed every inch of the thing with bleach and super rinsed and then sprayed a mold and mildew treatment onto for an overnight soak.

    Today was the first time we've put the thing back together!
    Well, we ran caustic, hot rinsed it, and then ran peracetic. We ran beer and it is heading off to the lab tomorrow morning for analysis and will let you know what happens.

    Thanks so much for the responses!
    Cheers!
    Mel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    185
    wow! you sure you weren't supposed to be brewing lambic?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    37
    Whats the make of your bottling line?
    David Scarborough
    Brewer at large
    East coast USA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    I would be concerned that all rubber parts like o rings and gaskets may be potentially infected. Those pesky things do get into some rubber and soft plastic. Perhaps you could heat sterilize the whole machine, but I think chemical sterilants are not going to solve your problem.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Swampscott MA
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    21
    Jarviw- I told them that if we can't solve the problem we're going to become a Belgian brewer!!! :-)

    We pulled every piece of metal and rubber off the thing we could find...I'm wondering if I should have all the rubber just replaced instead. We've got a tech coming out asap and that might be an idea...thanks!

    We have a Cimec 6 head with bottle rinser and capper if that helps anyone...

    Samples are off to the lab! Wish me luck!

    cheers!
    Mel

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Swampscott MA
    Posts
    21
    Results are back and it's STILL THERE!!!!

    Still have incredible amounts of Lacto B. in every single bottle from every single head even after bleach, hot caustic, hot rinse and a peracetic run.

    Has ANYONE ever heard of something like this? At this point we're going to spend the huge amount of money to get a manufacturer rep out here to look at it and see what's going on.

    Thanks to everyone who's responded so far.

    Cheers!
    Mel

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    618

    Upstream

    Take samples from every point up-stream u can. If the bottling line is infected I bet other areas are. Probably the results you are seeing are a total of multiple sources, the bottle may be clean now but other contamination could still exist.
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    185
    troubleshoot backward all the way to Heat Exchange!

    use aseptic sampling technique, sample step by step backward, just a quick plating should be fine for your case. (use 1/8 a plate for each point if you are cheap like me)

    Also look for potential contamination point -- the bugs must come from somewhere! (leaky pipes in the ceiling?) Check everything that touches the line (rinsing water? bad sanitizer?)

    also, look for employee hygienic practice -- sometimes that's really the source.

    good luck!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Copenhagen
    Posts
    269
    Have you looked at your aeration setup? Depending on the system, you can get wort backed up into the lines causing a prime breeding ground...I'd also examine your yeast management.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Swampscott MA
    Posts
    21
    Unfortunately I'm stuck with hoping that things are fixed as my owners are demanding beer output. I've put in my protest that we haven't checked everything back to the heat exchange but it has fallen on deaf ears and we are proceeding. I've put new filters in both the prefilter and the sterile filter, double cleaned the brite tanks and hoses and now all there is to do is hope.

    Got beer going out this thursday so I will let you know!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Pittston, PA.
    Posts
    155
    You need to tell your boss bluntly that putting out infected beer is worse than no beer at all. Telling your customers "Sorry, we have a production problem and can't ship until (x) weeks" is difficult, but you can recover from it. Shipping out bad beer is easier in the short run but is a sure-fire way to kill the business.

    It's also cynical and fraudulent to charge your customers money for product you know is bad.

    Sounds like you inherited a nightmare but fortunately you haven't invested much time there. So don't let your predecessor's bad practices and your bosses' poor decisions taint your reputation.

    Just my 2 cents.

    ---Guy

    And P.S., it also sounds to me like the problem begins well before the bottling line.
    Last edited by pennbrew2; 09-16-2008 at 05:57 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    25

    Heat.

    Heat Sanitize everything from the heat x to the filler if you can. It is tough on the tanks (be gentle,thermal expansion) and the gaskets in the filler (which would be best to be changed). I would heat sanitize the filler with as many gaskets out of it as possible due for immediate replacement. Depending on the filler this may not be possible. Scrub and clean the new ones, chemically sanitize them and after the machine has been heated to 190 for a good while, let it cool and put the new gaskets in. It is not a bad practice to do once in a while anyway. Changing sanitizers and using heat, in the form of hot liquor, can be an effective cleaning program. The heat gets into places that chemicals may not.

    Do you rinse your bottles with a sanitizer prior to filling? Are your bottles and crowns kept sealed and free of grain dust? Is your crowner clean and sanitary? I find that the crowner is usually the hardest item on the filler to keep clean and sanitary.

    Also, the suggestion on aseptic testing to the heat x is important. The sooner you can isolate the issue to a specific cause the sooner to a solution, and usually much less expensive. If you can pinpoint the problem fast, then there is only one treatment to solve the issue. You may not have to heat sanitize everything, for example. If you continue to treat items that in reality are not the source, it usually leads to a lot of frustration, money, time, and it sounds like, bad beer, before the problem is properly solved. Then you are left with not knowing where the potential problem may reappear. Good luck with it. I feel your pain.

    Wheelhouse

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