Author Topic: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?  (Read 9087 times)

Offline casalingo_brewers

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is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« on: February 05, 2015, 02:35:12 AM »
This is what I found today in the fermentor of my Belgian Blond after 3 weeks fermentation.
Made this recipy a few times before and never had anything similar. It does not smell bad but also not very strongly of beer.
There seems to be a white-ish film on the surface. Refractometer reads the same as 2 weeks ago when I changed fermentor for secondary stage.



I tread all equipment with (1) caustic solution and (2) oxy-clean.
But that fermentor I used for secondary has a lot of air: it's for 30liters but my batch is only 20l. Could that be the case that there is too much air?

Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 06:06:07 AM »
Possible too much head space.  Happened to me once when I had a partial batch.  Now I have malt vinegar.

What does it smell like?  Taste like?  If it smells & tastes OK, carry on.
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Offline prj28

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2015, 09:39:55 AM »
It looks like your getting a pellicle. Did you use a Belgium Blended yeast like Wyeast Roeselare, WLP 655 or add Brettanomyces or  Lactobacillus? If you are making a Sour Beer, it's working. If you are not you are making Salad Dressing. If is tastes like vinegar you most likely have wild yeast that got to much oxygen and are producing acetic acid.
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2015, 04:16:01 PM »
Looks like an infection to me. I had a string of infections and almost gave up the hobby. It stopped when I replaced all of my plastic tubing and stopped fermenting in plastic (I use only glass carboys). You may not have to go that far, but that's what worked for me.
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Offline TAHammerton

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2015, 12:50:49 AM »
That is defiantly bacteria. The question is if it was deliberately  blended with the yeast or accidental.  What yeast strain did you use?
But don't dump it yet. Nothing harmful can survive in beer. It may produce some interesting flavours, or not.
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Offline casalingo_brewers

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 07:28:57 AM »
Hi Guys and Thanks for the feedback!
I tasted it now and it did not taste sour; I guess I might have caught the evil bacteria early on.
Someone recommended to me to actually bottle it, as the bacteria gets less air in the bottle; idea is that it does no longer grow. Lets hope  :-\

I brew this with Safbrew S-33 yeast. It has worked fine so far. In fact, I have a second batch going right now. It does not show any signs of infection. That might indicate that the headspace of this 30l fermentor is too much. And yes, I was wondering about the plastic. Even after caustic and oxy-clean it does slightly smell of yeast.
Should I use acid cleaner or bleach now and then?

Offline jtoots

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2015, 09:36:52 AM »
i've started doing primary in a larger carboy because i'm a bit turned off by the discoloration and odor of buckets after a bunch of batches, even though i'm confident in the cleanliness/sanitization of them.  plus it's kinda fun to watch the fermentation process, especially now that i'm controlling ferm temp and doing diacetyl rests once fermentation slows down.

FWIW i'd second the suggestion to bottle it quickly.

Offline TAHammerton

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2015, 12:30:39 PM »
Oxyclean is a cleaner NOT a sanitiser. I used to use bleach, but that requires rinsing which kind of defeats the purpose. Plastic does have a limited lifetime and it sounds like yours has reached the end. After a while there are enough scratches in it that there ends up being unacceptable levels of bacteria hidden in them. I use StarSan (a no-rinse sanitiser) now and it works great but takes a bit of getting used to all the bubbles. I 3/4 fill a 5 gal bucket with it and it lasts for 2 complete brews. As soon as it starts to show a little haze you know it is done and time to make more.
In bottles: none
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In process: Farmhouse Saison, Supermarine Kentish Ale

Offline jtoots

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2015, 05:40:05 AM »
Oxyclean is a cleaner NOT a sanitiser. I used to use bleach, but that requires rinsing which kind of defeats the purpose. Plastic does have a limited lifetime and it sounds like yours has reached the end. After a while there are enough scratches in it that there ends up being unacceptable levels of bacteria hidden in them. I use StarSan (a no-rinse sanitiser) now and it works great but takes a bit of getting used to all the bubbles. I 3/4 fill a 5 gal bucket with it and it lasts for 2 complete brews. As soon as it starts to show a little haze you know it is done and time to make more.
+1 to starsan. 

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2015, 09:29:07 AM »
There are a lot of people saying starsan is done when it starts to cloud.  There are lot of people who say its done at a certain pH and cloudy doesn't matter.  The latter is what 5star says.  If you use distilled/RO it will virtually never cloud.    Starsan is cheap once you lose a batch.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2015, 05:20:44 PM »
About StarSan. It's not a cleanser. It keeps clean things sanitary. I keep it in a spray bottle and use it to mist items (or squirt into tubing) once they are clean and air-dried. After the StarSan is air-dried I put things away. It leaves a film behind with a PH that is toxic to organisms that may cause an infection, though so benign to the brew that you don't need to rinse treated items before you use them. Even if the StarSan left white spots. Nothing to worry about. Great stuff.  Using a spray bottle I can make a bucket's worth last a season.
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Offline TAHammerton

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2015, 03:10:24 AM »
KernelCrush would you care to share the information regarding the pH at which the Starsan is no longer effective?
In bottles: none
In keg: Asaph IPA
In process: Farmhouse Saison, Supermarine Kentish Ale

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Offline BILLY BREW

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2015, 09:21:01 AM »
I had this same stuff in the past. It ruined 4 batches of brew, because I continued to use the same plastic funnel. Same ropey looking strands in the wort.
Hate to say it, but for me, I ended up dumping the whole mess. The smell will confirm. If it smells like rotten veggies, save yourself the heart ache, and feed the fishies with it...Be careful of using the same plastics afterwards....I sanitized with double the chlorine to save my stuff. BTW I bottled all four batches and they all foamed over and tasted like crap. I had some of the bottles actually explode in the cases...If you did bottle, isolate the bottles from the rest of your stuff...That infection will spread if the bottles explode!
Good news, that was 5 years ago and I have not had any issues since. I replace all my tubing though, as well as my funnel.
With regard to cleaner, I have always used bleach (1/2 c per 5 gal) and I am using the same bottling bucket I got 20 years ago...However I always ferment in glass, never in plastic.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 09:27:23 AM by BILLY BREW »
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Offline casalingo_brewers

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Re: is this Infection or Mold anything else bad?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2015, 03:16:05 PM »
Thanks for the input!
I use different kinds of plastic fermenters. This one is the only with a rough surface - not from usage but it came in that form. I know this type from cider making. All the others have a shiny surface and there is hardly a scratch. So, I guess I should indeed: 1- clean all equipment and 2- keep these bottles at a safe distance.
I will have a 2 week break and will update this post on the outcome of cleaning and the next batch...