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The bacteria police
(Editor's note: The following article provides useful advise for breweries).

Have you tested your beer lately?

If you answered no, your beer might be developing bacteria like Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. These bacteria will spoil your beer, potentially causing you to have to dump the beer and lose the time and money you put into it.

There is something you can do about it. White Labs offers an SDA test kit (SDA stands for Schwarz Differential Agar) that detects the presence of aerobic bacteria (in the presence of oxygen) and/or anaerobic bacteria (without the presence of oxygen) in beer or yeast slurries. 

The test specifically helps identify bacteria that are often resistant to the effects of hops, acid and alcohol. This resistance makes them an unwelcome guest in some slurries. Even a small contamination can give the beer off-falvors, turbidity and ropiness.

The test also identifies heat-resistant bacteria. Once these gain a foothold in a brewery, they are difficult to eliminate.

To prevent the buildup of these organisims, tests must be done of the pitching yeast, wort, beer and equipment. The test kit offered by White Labs is unique in that there is no need for using a microwave for heating purposes.

White Labs recommends that these tests be done weekly or monthly. At the very least they should be done four times a year.

The kits are $42 and White Labs personnel are available for technical advise during the testing process. Call them at 1-888-5-Yeast-5 for more information.