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Old 05-08-2011, 01:00 AM   #1
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Default contamination - how bad is this?

H All,

I've had an American pale ale in secondary for just about two weeks, so it's time to bottle. When I went to check on it this morning I found - horrors! that the plug had come out of the carboy. This couldn't have happened more than a day or two ago, yet already there are little patches of white stuff floating on the surface.

My response was threefold:

1) bottle immediately

2) Siphon into the bottling bucket from the bottom, leaving behind the last couple inches at the top, which was where the obvious contamination was.

3) Start referring to the beer as a "Belgian-American" ale.

So my question for the experts, obviously, is what are the odds this will still be drinkable? I'm pleased to say I learned from these forums that optimism is usually the right approach when I screw up.

Thanks

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:05 AM   #2
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I don't know. Was it drinkable when you bottled it? If it was then, I would say you are fine. If it tastes like ass, I am going to bet the time aged ass will still taste like ass. I am not sure though.

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:07 AM   #3
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What did it taste like? We're not beer psychics, we cannot tell you what's going on. All we can tell you is that it takes a lot to ruin your beer, and that many of us have plunged body parts in our fermenters and everything has turned out fine.

Read this, and the links in there, and go ahead and bottle, unless you've tasted it and it taste infected, which more than likely it isn't.

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:11 AM   #4
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My inclination is to RDWHAHB and let it go.

But, let's wait to see what the pros have to say.

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:15 AM   #5
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well I'm wondering about your white spots. I've seen similar in ok bottles - something about yeast clusters (that sounds like a breakfast cereal)...

Or it could be an infection - it will take time to develope so drink quick....

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:18 AM   #6
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The white stuff floating on your surface are just yeast rafts, you would have noticed them regardless of wht happened to the airlock, they are quite common on the surface of the beer in secondary. It's just yeast kicked up from the bottom and buoyed up by co2 rising to the surface.

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:21 AM   #7
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I am fairly new to the game but recently noticed the same in my secondary. I gave it a little swirl and it dissipated. An infection would surely be back already.

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:25 AM   #8
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I have blown a lid clear off my Heffe! Drink it! Let me give you the entire list of homebrewing myths:

hot side aeration
contamination (clean and sanitize and you will never lose a batch)
90% efficiency ( the same guys that drive big trucks.....)
hops going bad in anything other than nasa certified vacuum bags
and so on and so on......

Things that do affect your beer:
Good procedures and recipes
Good sanitation
Proper water treatment
aging your beer properly
Enjoy with friends

Brew on brother

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Old 05-08-2011, 01:50 AM   #9
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revvy is right,(told me the same thing), i had a concern a couple weeks ago about a brew in a carboy. if you swirl your carboy gently and they elongate and change shape, they are indeed co2 and yeast rafts. i don't believe mold will change shape if agitated. mine turned out fine.
Revvy knows his s**t. take his advice and you will be fine. even if it's mold, rack from under it (ha ha i said from under) any how, good luck.

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Old 05-08-2011, 02:00 AM   #10
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I've never had a contamination (and I ain't worried about one either) but from what I've seen on this forum and others it's pretty obvious when you have one. Contaminations don't appear to be subtle and they grow to full "grossness" quickly. When in doubt, you're probably okay.

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I had no problems whatsoever getting my pee to ferment.
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