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Contaminants in small numbers can become a bigger problem during the production process, and cleaning and disinfecting thoroughly will help deliver a high-quality beer, delivering customer satisfaction and avoiding the potential for loss of revenue.
There are a relatively small number of micro-organisms which can spoil the quality of the beer, but the relatively small numbers have the potential to have a devastating effect on the product, severely altering flavour and taste or causing the beer to go cloudy.
Different stages of the brewing process have their own risks. In the brewhouse area, deposits of protein/tannin can, when left result in the contamination of the product, with caustic based detergents the best method to combat this type of soiling.
An additional problem in mash and lauter tuns is caused by the husk of the grain, and again, this responds to prolonged caustic treatment.
Similarly fermenting vessels protein/tannin deposits can cause issues, sometimes combined with beerstone. This can be dissolved by using sequestrants.
In the majority of maturation tanks, the main soiling issue is again, beerstone, whilst some may have heavy yeast deposits. Beerstone remains the main potential issue in kegs and the keg filling plant, however casks and cask racking lines can also carry unwanted deposits of yeast and proteins.