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Old 02-28-2012, 01:31 PM   #1
luismatalon
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Default hefeweizen / mold trouble

I brewed a hefe a couple weeks back. I typically use a foil cover instead of an airlock. I've brewed plenty of hefeweizens this way and never needed a blow off tube. Well, this time it was missed. I opened my fermentation freezer and the sucker had blown up everywhere (62 degrees a la Jamil/day 3... the carboy was subsequently left without any sort of cover/airlock for about a day). I lost about a half-gallon. I cleaned out the freezer and put the carboy back in.... I replaced the foil cover. I sprayed sanitizer everywhere.
Fast forward 2 weeks. I was out of town, came back yesterday and opened the freezer. It seems like I could've done a better job cleaning it up after the blow off. There was mold growing in the fridge and it smelled terrible. I cleaned out the freezer again...put the carboy in..and now I'm cold crashing for transfer to a keg.
Anyone had a similar experience? I am afraid that I might've gotten my first infection. I have yet to lift the foil cover off the carboy and give things a whiff to see if the smell inside the carboy has the same putrid odor the freezer had developed with the old spilled beer/mold. I've done 80+ batches...would hate to have gotten my first infection.

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Old 02-28-2012, 02:35 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by luismatalon View Post
...would hate to have gotten my first infection.
This is why an air lock or blow off tube must be used everytime. It is also why I always recommend to everyone not to reclaim yeast from bottles if they have access to new pitches. There is no doubt in my mind it can be done. But just like a motorcycle splitting lanes, or drinking and driving, you can make it home safe, but you are only increasing your chances of disaster. The risk is just not worth it. There is still a chance your beer is ok, because the purpose of the krausen is to create a natural barrier keeping wild yeast and bacteria out while the fermentation process is going. Good luck, and learn from your mistakes.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:58 PM   #3
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1 infection out of 80 batches. Why change anything? I use foil too for fermentation and when krausen drops I'll pop on a airlock. Never an infected batch either.

May your next 80 batches be infection free!

Edit: just curious, what yeast do you typically use for your hefe's?

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Old 02-29-2012, 08:39 PM   #4
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I've always used Wyeast 3068... as for the wort, I stick with 60% malted wheat/40% german pilsner, 1 oz. hallertau, nutrient, and 2 minutes of pure oxygen. I ferment low (62 - 64). I guess this batch of yeast were just particularly over-zealous

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Old 03-13-2012, 12:55 PM   #5
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Just to follow up:

Pulled a sample before tansfering to a keg. Other than turning my beer from a hefeweizen to a krystalweizen (I left this bad boy in cold-crash mode for waaay too long), everything tasted and smelled fine. Thanks to those who responded.

Next time I brew with this yeast, a blow off tube will undoubtedly be utilized...

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Old 03-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
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The only time I had an issue with green growie things was when I was cleaning up from a blowoff. I did all the mopping up, dried everything off and then thought as an "extra" precaution I'd spray some starsan on the surfaces. The starsan provided the moisture necessary to support growth. Fortunately It was in the chamber but not in the batch, som no harm. Now I am very anal about keeping my ferm chamber dry. Place a clean towel in it and pop it in the dryer whenever it feels a bit damp.

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Old 03-13-2012, 01:28 PM   #7
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I recently bought a dehumidifier (EVA DRY 500, I believe). It cost me about $25. I leave it in the chamber and it is bone dry in there. Love it. Highly recommend it!

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Old 03-13-2012, 03:38 PM   #8
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the purpose of the krausen is to create a natural barrier keeping wild yeast and bacteria out while the fermentation process is going.
sorry, i had to laugh at this^. but really, i agree with the blow off vs. foil thing. i know a lot of people use foil at the beginning of fermentation instead of a blow off tube. and i know that the co2 barrier, in theory, will protect the beer. but the way i see it, if that fermentation begins to drop back even a little bit before you switch to an airlock, outside air (and all that lives in it) will undoubtedly be drawn back in. obviously, open fermentations have been used successfully for centuries, but in this day and age of the $2 airlock, and the $3 blowoff tubing, why take the risk? not to mention, if you have a blowoff with only foil on the carboy, isn't it almost as messy as a blow off through an airlock? just seems like the foil idea is taking a risk that ~$5 at the ol' LHBS could easily eliminate. ~$5 that'll surely pay itself back in time, since airlocks and blowoffs can be reused time and time again.
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