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Old 09-29-2012, 07:24 AM   #11
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Do you guys think my chances of being free from infection are good or should I start over ?
I personally would RDWHAHB, but that's a decision a man has to make for himself.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:09 PM   #12
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I have the same problem now. I made a 1968 ESB starter yesterday morning. Later last night, I was transferring a beer that I brewed last Sunday that had spewed foam out of the airlock for two days and the bucket was covered in rotten beer and fruit flies. LSS, I went to give my starter a stir and I saw one of the bastards doing the back stroke. After one pints worth of deliberation, I have decided that I am going to go ahead and pitch the yeast this evening. I am brewing a 1.055 ESB using $16 worth of grain and a few ounces of EKG's that I bought a pound of at cost ($.75 and ounce). So, my reasoning is that a beer this small doesn't need to sit around for more than a couple weeks in the fermenter and once bottled I will drink it fairly quickly. I'm guessing it will be fine. If it goes bad, I'm only out a little over $20 and a few hours of time. Either way, it will be interesting to see just how sensitive starters are to "outside influences". I'll report back a couple months from now and let you know what happened.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #13
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This is why I dont understand why most people say to loosly put foil on a starter:fruitflys. wtf ? I think I would at least rubberband a coffee filter or cheescloth over it,in fact I think I did do that with my only 1 starter I ever did.

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Old 10-14-2012, 07:22 AM   #14
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This is why I dont understand why most people say to loosly put foil on a starter:fruitflys. wtf ? I think I would at least rubberband a coffee filter or cheescloth over it,in fact I think I did do that with my only 1 starter I ever did.
Good point. I think that most people who talk about yeast starters assume that you (like they) have their yeast starters in a fermentation chamber, which is free of flies. That assumption isn't good enough obviously!
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:45 AM   #15
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I would dump a starter that got fruit flies in it. Not worth risking the whole batch, IMO.

I use aluminum foil on my starters and never had a problem with fruit flies getting in there. Maybe I've just gotten lucky, but it seems like they would really have to work at it to get in there...



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I made a 1968 ESB starter yesterday morning. Later last night, I was transferring a beer that I brewed last Sunday that had spewed foam out of the airlock for two days and the bucket was covered in rotten beer and fruit flies.
OK a couple of questions:

1. Do you put an airlock on your starter? Maybe I am mireading this sentence.

2. Why aren't you cleaning up the mess? If I have foam or beer coming out of my fermenter in an uncontrolled fashion, the first thing I do is clean up the mess, because I don't want to attract unwanted pests to the place there are likely to do the most damage. Also, I don't want to piss off my SWMBO, but that's another story. For some beers, that means I might clean it up two or three times during fermentation, although I have found fermcap-s helps quite a bit in this regard for most beers.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:46 AM   #16
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1. Foil on the starter. The airlock was on the foamy fermenter that the fruit flies flocked to.

2. I was cleaning up the foam: in the morning, at lunch, after work, and throughout the evening for two and a half days. It just didn't stop. It was like a soft serve ice cream machine. I've never had it happen that much before. I should have had a blow off tube ready but alas, hind sight...

Anyway, when the foaming stopped on the third day, I transferred the beer to a secondary so I could thoroughly clean the bucket. To do this, I had the bucket in the kitchen on the table where the starter was sitting. The fruit flies that had gathered around the foam covered lid found their way into the starter.

I've since started using the coffee filter/rubber band idea. I think its a winner. Especially during times of the year like now, when the last of our tomato harvests are sitting around attracting flies.

I've had no problems with the ESB (Extra Special Bugbeer) so far. I'll bottle it next week & see what happens. I'm still thinking it will be fine but we'll see.

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Old 10-15-2012, 11:58 AM   #17
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While I would hate flies in my beer, do you ever wonder how they managed to make beer back in the middle ages? One thing for sure they did not have any sanitizer, probably didnt even wash their hands after taking a leak,or worse. But they still made beer.

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Old 10-15-2012, 09:02 PM   #18
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Wow. Foam in the flask or a coffee filter over it is a good idea.
This is why many recommend you keep some dry yeast on hand. It comes in handy for emergencies. Cheap, no starter needed, and available in a pinch. I keep at least 2 packs in the fridge at all times.

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Old 12-01-2012, 10:49 PM   #19
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My Extra Special Buggy has been bottled for a month. It tastes great. I can't perceive any ill effects from the fruit fly in the starter.

I may have gotten lucky, but my advice to someone with a similar problem would be to not panic, decant the fly, use the yeast, and try to drink the beer as fast as possible just in case.

I guess if I was brewing for a competition, I'd probably be more cautious.

Also, I've started using the coffee filter idea and I've stocked up on Fermcap-S to avoid the massive foam problems. I've been pretty impressed with it so far.

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Old 12-02-2012, 04:19 AM   #20
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It tastes great. I can't perceive any ill effects from the fruit fly in the starter.
Next time, just dip your finger tips in some sanitizer and pick the bugger(s) out.

If it's an infestation, then dump it, but just a couple fruit flies, pick them out. Your beer will be fine.
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