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UGH! Forgot to sanitize bottles before bottling!

I bottled a Pumpkin Bourbon Imperial Stout two weeks ago. About a week after bottling, I realized that I didn’t sanitize the bottles before I bottled (UGH!) The bottles were new from my LHBS, so they were ‘clean’ just not sanitized.

My plan was to give these bottles away as gifts for the holidays, but now I’m not so sure…

I’m now worried that the whole batch is contaminated. Though maybe the high bourbon content will help fend off bacterial growth?

Anyone ever done anything similar, or have thoughts on whether the batch is ruined?


Just wait and see. Sample one i would say

Look for the formation of a ring in the neck of the bottle where the beer meets the headspace. Also, shine light through the bottles every once in a while to look for “swirls” of material in the beer. These are the signs of visual bacterial growth that I’ve read about or experienced myself. It’s not a guarantee you’ll have infection though. Alcohol and hops are antibacterial. New bottles are pretty clean. I wouldn’t throw it out yet.

If the box was sealed I’ll bet your good but monitor them anyway.

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Coming from a LHBS, the most likely contaminant will be lactobacillus from grain dust. But as previously mentioned, the IBUs and alcohol content of an imperial stout should prevent lacto from doing anything. Most likely okay, but open one up after a few weeks and check for signs of overcarbonation. The biggest risk is bottle bombs if you get something in there that can drop gravity. Lacto won’t drop your final gravity, but best to be careful, especially if you’re giving them away.

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