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Old 02-21-2011, 09:33 PM   #1
Saint_Doyle
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Default Floating white clumps (mold?) in my carboy - with Pics

I've seen a couple posts on this topic, but none of them have pictures (despite every single reply saying "post a pic"). So here is my post with pictures to help me and anyone else in the future who has this problem.

This is an Oktoberfest in the secondary carboy. It spent 2 weeks in the primary fermenter and has now been in the secondary for a week or two (I forget exactly how long). It has been kept at room temperature (~70 F) the whole time . Everything was sanitized, however the airlock I used was brand new and didn't want to stay in the carboy neck. At one point it fell out completely (for a brief second). A contaminant could have gotten in at that point. You can see in one of the pics that I had to tape the airlock to the neck of the carboy.

Other posts (without pictures) suggest that this could be yeast clumps, however it really does look like mold that grows on food after its been in the fridge for too long. I haven't tasted it yet, so I can't tell you if it is affecting the taste. I have moved the carboy from the closet to a kegerator (38 F) in an attempt to slow the mold's growth, if that is what it turns out to be.

What do I do? Siphon from the bottom, leaving the floaters behind, and pray it hasn't affected the taste? Do I need to drink this while sitting on the toilet?





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Old 02-21-2011, 09:42 PM   #2
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Honestly never had a mold problem.. but that looks like mold. Sorry for the bad news, they look flat and they probably were smaller at first eh? the clumps of yeast are GENERALLY when the yeast is first pitched, at least in my case.

I've heard of guys' taking from the bottom, but how with out a racking adapter i don't know. you still risk transfering the mold. I'd say transfer and if it grow's back pitch it, if it doesn't let it stay and taste after a couple more weeks. Don't open it too much to let it get re-exposed to air and more nasties.

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Old 02-21-2011, 10:56 PM   #3
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Easier to skim it off from the top first, but that's pretty damned difficult with a carboy. It may still be salvageable. But it would need to be done ASAP... every day, heck, every hour left like that m

I don't think it looks quite like a "beer spoiler" bacteria (in quotes because they actually often make for an awesome beer), particularly because I've never seen so many little colonies apparently unconnected by ANYTHING, but it's hard to be 100% sure without seeing it for myself. However, I am as certain as I can be given the circumstances that it is mold.

If you want to try and save the beer, try to rack out of the carboy from below the mold, and try your best not to let the first few inches of your siphon/racking cane touch the mold as you enter the surface of the beer. Higher up isn't much of a problem. Then immediately clean and sanitize the hell out of the carboy and any equipment that might have come in contact with the mold, and any equipment that might have come into contact with that stuff... and you get the idea.

Get on it right away if you don't want to dump it though. The mold for the most part only affects the beer in contact with it, but the longer you wait, the more that spores are going to be an issue. Ditto for your equipment, which can also potentially spread to other nearby equipment. And while I'm not sure precisely how likely it is to actually happen, any amount of time you leave potentially contaminated equipment lying around increases the chances of it spreading to other equipment exponentially. But don't let that scare you into not trying to save your beer (or even throwing out some equipment!) Just make sure you don't procrastinate, and clean and sanitize anything that might have come in contact with the mold, and as a precaution, it's probably worth sanitizing anything with a high risk of having collected spores. If there's a draft in the room, you should probably be even more proactive about sanitizing stuff.

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Old 02-21-2011, 11:52 PM   #4
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About you comment on drinking it while on the toilet for safety, don't worry, nothing that grows in beer is going to do that. Assuming you are used to the , um, "probiotic" nature of bottle conditioned beer

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Old 02-22-2011, 03:20 PM   #5
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I appreciate all the feedback on this. I'm fairly new to brewing and am still trying to figure it all out.

I racked the beer into a soda keg and put it in my kegerator at 38F. I noticed that there were mold spots on the walls of the carboy above the water (beer) line, so I'm assuming that it originated on the walls. I left about an inch worth of beer in the carboy in hopes that only that much was contaminated. I'll put the beer on carbonation tomorrow and taste it within a week. I'll update you on how it tastes. At this point I'm betting its either amazing or trash. This may be the first batch I have to throw out.

Oh, and I have the contaminated carboy filled to the top with OneStep sanitizer, so hopefully I can salvage that piece of equipment.

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Old 02-22-2011, 03:33 PM   #6
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What's this ? A new poster asking if it's mold AND IT IS ! This must be a HBT first !

Doyle, don't worry, there's not much you can do right now apart from waiting to see how the final beer turns out. Not all mold will leave a nasty taste and it mainly just chills on the surface. Bleach the crap out of all your equipment and the mold probably will not come back. If it does, you might want to ferment your beer in a different part of the house for a while.

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Old 02-22-2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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The beer will be FINE!

My problem is an oktoberfest (marzen) at 70F "the whole time"????

Maybe this is what happens to lager yeast when you lager at 70F.






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Old 02-22-2011, 04:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezydemon3 View Post
My problem is an oktoberfest (marzen) at 70F "the whole time"????

Maybe this is what happens to lager yeast when you lager at 70F.
Yeah yeah yeah. My kegerator was full at the time it was fermenting, so I could either put it in the garage or in the closet. Its been getting way below freezing here lately, so I didn't want to chance it in the garage. I'm as OCD as the next brewer, but the reality of time and space constraints dictate my home brewing technique more than my desire to make perfect beer. I've been known to let my beer sit in the primary fermenter for months because I couldn't find the time to transfer it.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint_Doyle View Post
and I have the contaminated carboy filled to the top with OneStep sanitizer, so hopefully I can salvage that piece of equipment.
You should have no trouble salvaging it. Pour out the One-Step and throw some bleach water in there.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeatyPortion View Post
You should have no trouble salvaging it. Pour out the One-Step and throw some bleach water in there.
Except it will need one HELL of a D rest!!!!!lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint_Doyle View Post
Yeah yeah yeah. My kegerator was full at the time it was fermenting, so I could either put it in the garage or in the closet. Its been getting way below freezing here lately, so I didn't want to chance it in the garage. I'm as OCD as the next brewer, but the reality of time and space constraints dictate my home brewing technique more than my desire to make perfect beer. I've been known to let my beer sit in the primary fermenter for months because I couldn't find the time to transfer it.

I would have gone in the garage no question. If it freezes, no problem, but it would take -10F overnight to freeze even a tiny bit of 5 gallons in full fermentation.

It will be fine, but Lagering takes planning ahead. That is why I don't do lagers anymore!
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