Infected Brew – Homebrewing

As a homebrewer who has escaped without a contaminated or infected brew, until now, I consider myself to be doing OK.  I know other homebrewers who have been getting along fine and then being hit by a couple of infected brews in succession.  My AG#14 American Brown Ale has gone ‘wrong’ somewhere and while I can’t diagnose the exact source, I can try to learn from the disappointment of losing a batch of beer. For anyone interested, it ended up with sticking plaster / medicinal off flavours and aroma. If you adhere to best sanitation practices then you can say that you have done your best, but there are many other factors to consider when trying to stay one step ahead of a potential contamination or infection.  There are many sources of information on this, but I think that we are most likely to look for this information as a reactive rather than preventative measure.  While there are factors that you cannot control completely, there is much you can do to reduce the chance of a contamination or infection in your homebrew.  Something I need to renew my focus on to avoid a repeat of my AG#14 fail. Below is a cause and effect diagram (analyse phase to find potential root causes and improve phase to find solutions) that I’ve put together, most definately not the complete article, but hopefully a resource I can glance at and add to with any suggestions you might have?  (I’ve had fun and games converting a word document to jpeg, so the image may be unreadable, but will hopefully launch to view the large image). As usual this is for me and I don’t expect everyone to agree, but for anyone who would like to use it, or contribute to it, then be my guest.