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Thread: Anaerobic/Aerobic Bacteria - Acceptable Levels in Brewing Water

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA
    Posts
    20

    Anaerobic/Aerobic Bacteria - Acceptable Levels in Brewing Water

    We've recently had some issues with sulfur in our beer. We use an R/O filter with particle filters and also charcoal filters. We had the water tested and there were high levels of anaerobic & aerobic bacteria in our R/O tank. We recently upgraded the size of the charcoal filter and added a UV light right before the membrane. I want to implement a regular water testing program and would like to know what the acceptable levels of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria is in brewing process water. Trying to catch the problem before it's in the beer! If you also have any recommendations on how to conduct these tests that would be helpful too.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Carmel, IN
    Posts
    59
    Bacteria in hot-side water is not necessarily detrimental to brewing. But the fact that your RO water is presenting and supporting bacteria, is troubling. That suggests that your water source contains dissolved organic carbon and possibly nitrogenous compounds. Considering that your water is generally out of the Everglades, the possibility of those compounds in the water supply is possible.

    Having worked on the Ft Lauderdale water supply, I know that its lime-softened groundwater and it should be fairly well suited for brewing. Why have you implemented RO treatment for your brewing water? The one thing that concerns me with Ft Lauderdale water is the potential for geosmin and methylisoborneal in the water (mucky taste). Those compounds can be largely corrected with properly sized activated carbon treatment.

    To help resolve the bacteria problems, I suggest that flushing the membranes and other contacting piping be flushed with a metabisulfite solution to help kill existing bacteria. However, if the dissolved carbon and nitrogen content of the raw water is significant, the problem will be back eventually.
    WaterEng
    Engineering Consultant

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    Posts
    76
    Agreed. How are you removing the disinfectant from your RO feedwater?

    Russ
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

    Buckeye Hydro
    Water Treatment Systems & Supplies
    www.BuckeyeHydro.com
    Info@buckeyehydro.com
    513-312-2343

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Minocqua WI
    Posts
    849
    ZERO.
    Put a UV light in a re-circulation loop off your RO water storage tank. And keep that tank blow 40f or above 160f, if you can.
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    Posts
    76
    Quote Originally Posted by LauderAle View Post
    We've recently had some issues with sulfur in our beer. We use an R/O filter with particle filters and also charcoal filters. We had the water tested and there were high levels of anaerobic & aerobic bacteria in our R/O tank. We recently upgraded the size of the charcoal filter and added a UV light right before the membrane. I want to implement a regular water testing program and would like to know what the acceptable levels of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria is in brewing process water. Trying to catch the problem before it's in the beer! If you also have any recommendations on how to conduct these tests that would be helpful too.
    Is this an atmospheric (un-pressurized) tank? If so, a UV recirc loop would be customary.

    Russ
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

    Buckeye Hydro
    Water Treatment Systems & Supplies
    www.BuckeyeHydro.com
    Info@buckeyehydro.com
    513-312-2343

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