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Old 08-13-2009, 04:59 AM   #1
cellardoor
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Default A fly in my starter, what to do

The title says it all. I have my starter covered in tin foil as I always do. i went to put it in the fridge today to crash cool it and noticed a single fruit fly floating on top of it. I know all about acetobacter and vinegar and am aware of the possible consequences. How risky is it to crash cool the starter, decant, and pitch and hope I will be free from infection?

I guess my next supply order will include some foam stoppers for my starter containers!

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:20 AM   #2
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Hahaha. I hate those little F#$%ers. I had the same thing for my last batch of apfelwine (finishing up a month in fermenter tomorrow). The kicker was I got an acetobacter infection from my last batch of of apfelwine and I used wyeast 1056 which was hard to find.

Anyways I decided to try to reisolate it as a proof of concept. I took the yeast cake and washed it with some sterile distilled water. I then streaked a sample of the yeast and bacteria onto sterile wort agar. After a couple days I saw some yeast colonies along with many bacteria colonies. I took a sterile needle and picked the smallest amount of a single healthy looking colony forming unit and restreaked onto another sterile wort agar. After a few days I saw only healthy looking yeast colonies and took another sample with a sterile needle and into 25ml of sterile starter. Stepped this up to a 100ml starter then 500ml then 1000ml. The day I went to pitch it there were 2 fruit flys under the foil. I tried to smash their brains in but they escaped. I was so mad!

My solution: I sprayed the crap out of the neck of the bottle with starsan hoping that this might kill some of the bacteria they left behind. A lot of the starsan went into the starter but who cares. I pitched it after that and this batch of apfelwine is doing great with absolutely no signs of infection. Long story short I would try the same approach for the same problem.

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cellardoor View Post
I guess my next supply order will include some foam stoppers for my starter containers!
I will never use foil again. Those things are great for starters. I also make fruit fly traps that I think Yooper mentioned. Take some vinegar in a shot glass and drop in a couple drops of dish soap. Works great by the fruit bowl and next to your starters.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:18 PM   #4
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If ya make a beer with it you could always call it Fly soak Ale!

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Old 08-13-2009, 03:21 PM   #5
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not worth risking the entire beer...just use some dry for this batch

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Old 08-14-2009, 01:52 AM   #6
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After some hard thinking I've decided to go ahead and brew with this yeast for a few reasons:

1. It's a Wyeast Private Collection strain from last year and is no longer available and it my last washed sample of it so I want to use it regardless
2. I've only got $15 max invested in ingredients so the loss wouldn't be that great.
3. I want to experiment and see what happens. I've never had an infection and would like to experience it

So if I do the acetobacter how long would it take for me to notice the vinagar flavor? Days, weeks, months? Just curious

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Old 08-14-2009, 02:31 AM   #7
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Er... might want to read through this thread: Yellow/white creepy crawly things in my beer!

I was very close to trying the foil thing, but never, now.

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Old 08-14-2009, 02:33 AM   #8
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Meh I read that thread it's not enough to keep me from using tinfoil on my batches. As to the fly, I would just decant it off.

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Old 08-14-2009, 02:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cellardoor View Post
So if I do the acetobacter how long would it take for me to notice the vinagar flavor? Days, weeks, months? Just curious
Acetobactor needs oxygen to convert ethanol into vinegar. Since you have made a starter and are pitching a decent amount of yeast, the yeast will tend to consume all the oxygen. Watch the post-fermentation oxygen and I have a feel if there are some bugs (pun intended) in there it will take a while to show up. If it starts to taste funny, drink it fast.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:09 AM   #10
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okay you just scared the crap out of me as i'm making a starter right now and will use foil

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