Getting rid of Bretts

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Senior Member
Oct 7, 2015
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Did a search on this and didn't find much.

So I'm pretty sure the mead I made in my 1 gallon equipment managed to contract Bretts. Strange film on top (oily?), sour smell, just ruined.

Boiled everything I could, scrubbed with oxy clean, then hit it all with Starsan. Fermentation vessels are glass.

Now I'm in the final stages of another wine, it's been stabilized and cleared, and that damn Bretts is back. Oily sheen across top, odd sour smell again. Hit it with another round of kmeta, hoping it's not a goner.

Buying $100 worth of all new equipment is not an option. Anyone have good suggestions?
Sour smell... I have had funky smells from kit wines but it had been just normal aging and fermenting.
Brett should be more funky and if allowed to have a little airspace will form a pellicle. Not so much oily...but I suppose it could be early. Plus I am not 100% sure if brett will even form a pellicle in wine.

Is it just 1 gallon equipment? You can get a 4 pack of gallon jugs for cheap. Re-use the equipment for a sour beer set up! You can make some awesome sour wine-like beverages!

Also, if you are sure it is brett, don't bother trying to clean it. It is not worth re-infecting wine ingredients. You should probably ditch them...although other people have had success in using sour fermenting equipment for both regular and sour fermentations. Not me however.
Whats bretts? I searched and cant even find a thread on it.
Whatever it is im assuming a bacteria of some kind replacing the rubber hoses is cheap, i cant imagine youd need to replace any glass carboys. I made a set of carboy scrubbers that i fit on my drill to hit every section inside a carboy. Fill the carboy half full of a hard cleaner like pbw put these on your drill and go to town. Then rinse and do the same with a kmeta solution. Leave the kmeta solution in the carboy for a few days. Cant imagine anything could live through that

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Brettanomyces. A kind of yeast you generally don't want (unless you're brewing a sour beer).

Oh ok thanks, ill read into it.

I Just read the article, scary stuff, this is the first ive heard of bretts, ill be double sanitizing all my equipment now.
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Star San is not a cleaner. I can only imagine the amount of foam caused by running those scrubbers attached to a drill inside a carboy half filled with Star San though.
Star San is not a cleaner. I can only imagine the amount of foam caused by running those scrubbers attached to a drill inside a carboy half filled with Star San though.

Ya i dont know, i use b-brite, it doesnt foam at all, i just said to use starsan because i thought it was a stronger cleaner than b-brite.

Maybe i was thinking of PBW.
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Please be careful with terms. I would hate to see someone lose a batch because they were trying to clean with a sanitizer, or vice versa.
Ordered a good brush back on Mother's Day, still hasn't gotten here. Would really like to have it, going to have to email the company (home brew ohio).

My 1 gallon equipment is all separate from my 6 gallon, with the exception of the test tube and hydrometer, wine thief, and stir spoon. All of which get washed and sanitized immediately after use.

I did some google-fu and found this little gem on Bretts: sanitation agents to fight biofilms.pdf

Biggest problem isn't the yeast itself, but the biofilm that is allowed to form over a prolonged period (say, during stubborn refusal to acknowledge wild yeast in a mead...). My problem, then, becomes penetrating the biofilm. Impossible to determine in plastic tubing and the like, so I may end up tossing my "magic siphon" and its tubing.

A few listed cleaners on that PDF are noted to get rid of Bretts biofilm at a microscopic level, only one of which (Oakite 62) is available on amazon. Another solution to kill it (per an aussie PDF I found) was 6+ hours of 158ºF+. Probably not so good for my plastic materials. Either case, it's going to cost me.

Hope my findings help out another.

In the meantime, since I'm going to have to toss them anyway, I let the plastics soak in a bleach solution for 24 hours then spent a good amount of time rinsing. I know bleach makes people here cringe. Probably more than Bretts. Last ditch effort. I'll do a 1 gallon of dragon blood with it and if that's problematic as well then it's time to toss it all.

Or maybe burn down the house. (The "burn down the winery" response made me laugh)

Thanks for the insight guys.
I like to live dangerously. I have carboys of sour beer a mere 2 feet from my wine.

Seriously though with proper sanitation and segregation of plastic equipment you shouldn't have issues. If you got an infection in two batches I would replace everything plastic. Any glass or stainless steel should be easy to clean up and sanitize.