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Old 03-11-2013, 05:58 PM   #1
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Default What are these things? Bacteria?

Anybody know what these things are? I pulled this yeast sample out of the cake of a red that I just racked. They look like little blue rods, some of them are lined up in twos, end to end. Could they be flakes of dried methylene blue?

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:38 PM   #2
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Just cellular debris and other junk from fermentation- protein and whatnot. Bacteria are much smaller.

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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I first thought they were bacteria as well but at that concentration the beer should show signs of infection. I think they are crystals. Possibly calcium oxalate monohydrate.

This is what I see on occasions:

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Old 03-11-2013, 09:27 PM   #4
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Is that beer stone? I always expected beer stone to look like sugar crystals. One thing I didn't mention: while I was observing, some of those little blue rods seemed to be wiggling... They are very uniform in shape, some are a little smaller.

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Old 03-12-2013, 12:47 AM   #5
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Perhaps the wiggling is due to thermal currents caused by heat from the lamp under the stage?

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopdoc View Post
Is that beer stone? I always expected beer stone to look like sugar crystals. One thing I didn't mention: while I was observing, some of those little blue rods seemed to be wiggling... They are very uniform in shape, some are a little smaller.
I have noticed the wiggling too.

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Old 03-13-2013, 12:19 AM   #7
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I looked at a similar sample with a microbiologist friend. He said that those are bacteria and that they jiggle when they are alive. They don't exactly swim, but they do move a bit. The ones we saw were about 1/3 that size and roughly equal in population to the yeast. I thought the beer was disgusting at that point, but others disagreed and thought that it was drinkable.

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Old 03-13-2013, 12:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daksin View Post
Just cellular debris and other junk from fermentation- protein and whatnot. Bacteria are much smaller.
Bacteria are composed of proteins you know. Proteins (and cellular debris for that matter) are much smaller than whole bacteria. You might see protein aggregates, or crystals like Kai mentioned though.

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I have noticed the wiggling too.

Kai

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I looked at a similar sample with a microbiologist friend. He said that those are bacteria and that they jiggle when they are alive. They don't exactly swim, but they do move a bit. The ones we saw were about 1/3 that size and roughly equal in population to the yeast. I thought the beer was disgusting at that point, but others disagreed and thought that it was drinkable.
That wriggling is likely brownian motion, which is amplified in capillary settings like within a hemocytometer. However, the bacteria could be wriggling a bit I guess (they probably know you are angry at them). Is your beer cloudy? Some contaminations do not always contribute off flavors.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:46 PM   #9
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The beer did not taste contaminated at all. Looks fine, attenuated perfect. I don't think they are bacteria.I will update if something funky starts to grow. Thanks everyone for the replies.

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Old 03-14-2013, 02:54 AM   #10
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Sometimes I enjoy being humbled by seeing fellow homebrewers' microscopic pictures of their brews.

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