Author Topic: What is Pellicle?  (Read 3895 times)

Offline Beer Lover

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What is Pellicle?
« on: May 15, 2017, 07:14:43 AM »
I noticed a few of my beers in secondaries have a white film on the surface.  The beers where in glass carboys.  From what I read Pellicle is a biofilm that appears on the surface of beer. 
I have questions about Pellicle.
1. The cause of Pellicles is when the beer surface is exposed to oxygen?
2. Do Pellicles cause an off flavors and or a sour taste?
3. How do you clean your equipment(glass carboys and kegs) after it is exposed to Pellicle?  I read to replace any plastic equipment exposed
     to Pellicle.  I read Pellicle may be resistant to many cleaning and sanitizing agents.

Any help or thoughts would be appreciated.

Cheers!!!!
John
Brews on Deck; Brown Ale and Pliny the Elder
Fermenting; Blonde Ale, Cream Ale and Smithwick Irish Red
In Bottles; Gave up bottling. Too much work.
Kegged; Bourbon County and Bourbon County Vanilla Rye

Offline Oddball

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Re: What is Pellicle?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 01:34:01 PM »
Hey Beer lover!

1. Pellicle is caused by different bacterias

2. You can get "off-flavours" from the bacteria that cause a pellicle. These are very normal in carboys of people who purposely make "sour beers". I've had one happen accidently one time with a wet hopped IPA and it actually turned out great! If you want as little effect as possible from the bacteria cool that beer down sooner rather than later. i.e Bottle or keg it and get it into the fridge.

3. I've successfully cleaned carboys with PBW and Io star after having a pellicle and haven't had it come back again.

KellerBrauer

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Re: What is Pellicle?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 02:37:28 PM »
Greetings Beer Lover - You have described a pellicle very well, so I'm sure that's what you have.

Adding to what Oddball said, I have had experience with pellicles on more than one occasion and they were all caused by my white "food grade" bottling bucket.  I have since replaced it with a Big Mouth Bubbler with a bottling faucet.  Also, I have made it a practice to sanitize my Bubbler for several hours using Star San prior to filling it.  I have never had a problem since.

It is my understanding that the white bottling buckets can scratch easily and its in these tiny scratch marks that bacteria reside.  The Bubbler, on the other hand, is made out of clear PET plastic which resists scratches.

Yes, pellicles can and will cause an off flavor (mine was a sour taste), the amount of which depends on the extent of the infection.

No, oxygen does not cause a pellicle.

Hope this information helps.

Good luck!!

« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 02:43:29 PM by KellerBrauer »

Offline Beer Lover

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Re: What is Pellicle?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 02:47:53 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  The good news is the carboys can be cleaned and reused. 
Looking back at this problem I think the cause was the stir bar.  I noticed the problem has been occurring when I use liquid yeast.  I was looking at the yeast starter process.  I noticed the stir bar was getting a little (lets say worn around the edges).  I noticed some of the plastic at the edge was roughed up and had a brown color from the starter.  Great place for bacteria to hang out.  I have since replaced the stir bar.  Time will tell if that was the problem.  I guess I could have boiled the old stir bar but it looked worn.  $3.00 to replace.

Cheers!!!
Brews on Deck; Brown Ale and Pliny the Elder
Fermenting; Blonde Ale, Cream Ale and Smithwick Irish Red
In Bottles; Gave up bottling. Too much work.
Kegged; Bourbon County and Bourbon County Vanilla Rye

Offline BILLY BREW

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Re: What is Pellicle?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2017, 05:15:56 AM »
Did a 4 batch marathon once and got the contaminant in the first batch...All four batches basically were ruined (wish I had know to refer it right away...) I cleaned all the equipment with a double strength of bleach solution (1/2 c to 5 gal) and am still using the same equipment today. So, maybe it was just blind luck, but there you go!
BTW haven't done any marathons since.
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