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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Possible Lacto infection, please help!
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:58 AM   #1
cpulley1
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Default Possible Lacto infection, please help!

New Brewer here again, need a little help.

I am 6 days from bottleing. My first batch of what I hope will taste like a brown ale is in secondary. I have been so paranoid about possible infection, that I forwent the hydrometer readings for fear of introducting bacteria durring the process. I transfered to secondary after 7 days in the fermenter, with activity in the airlock within 10 hours of fermentation. While transfering to secondary, I noticed 3 small pieces of trub syphon into the carboy. I didn't think too much of it, but I went down to check on it tonight, and see little white specs floating at the top.

I researched on the forum and most seem to suggest that it's a lacto infection. I've not seen anyone say if this will ruin the beer, or how to take care of the problem.

Also, during fermentation crud came up through the airlock and plugged the holes on the air lock lid and sent crap spewing a little. I cleaned it up and replaced everything within a few hours I think. How bad is this, and is this the likely point of contamination?

Thanks,
Chris

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Old 05-29-2009, 07:03 AM   #2
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RDWHAHB, most likely what your are seeing i groups of CO2 bubbles. The transfer caused the out gassing of the beer and results in what you have described. How do I know? I asked the same question...

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Old 05-29-2009, 07:38 AM   #3
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I stopped using a secondary on most of my beers a while ago. I did this mostly because I was worried about oxygen pick up but I was also concerned about the fact that the more you move your beer around the larger the chance of contamination.

You probably do not have a contamination transfering beer will cause a little fermentation activity from the oxygen pickup and as wolly said some co2 bubbles

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Old 05-29-2009, 08:01 AM   #4
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Post some photos. It's probably yeast chunks or co2.

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Old 05-29-2009, 11:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpulley1 View Post
New Brewer here again,
My first batch of what I hope will taste like a brown ale is in secondary. I have been so paranoid about possible infection, that I forwent the hydrometer readings for fear of introducting bacteria durring the process. I transfered to secondary after 7 days in the fermenter, with activity in the airlock within 10 hours of fermentation. While transfering to secondary, I noticed 3 small pieces of trub syphon into the carboy. I didn't think too much of it, but I went down to check on it tonight, and see little white specs floating at the top.


Thanks,
Chris

I want to say with out pictures that you don't have a lacto infection.
It sounds like you have restarted your fermentation by moving things around.
Don't be afraid of taking gravity samples, as long as you sanitize you equipment everything will turn out OK

I suggest that you take a gravity sample and see where you stand !!

-Jason
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:50 AM   #6
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The white specks are more than likely yeast colonies kicked up to the surface, primarily because by not using your hydrometer you more than likely racked too early.

Please don't be afraid of something that every book on brewing, and most of us recommend to do, if it were harmful to your beer, then why would it be so highly recommended?

With proper sanitiation there is no harm in taking readings.

You can't just eyeball...and you just shouldn't arbitrarily move it after 7 days either...fermentation can take up to 72 hours for the yeasties to start, it's called lag time. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ferm...e-signs-43635/. So if you just randomly decide to move it at 7 and there was lag time, then you really have only 4 days on the full yeast, and often that is not enough time for a good fermentation.

New brewers often rack way too early, and often interrupt the secondary phase because of this, and that is why you often see panic threads about Krausens forming in secondary, OR white stuff on the surface of your fermenter (know anyone in particular? ) because the yeast was really still in the primary phase of fermentation when it was moved, And often it even starts building a krauzen house again....



The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in.....

Many of us nowadays forgo a secondary (bright tank) and just leave our beers in primary for 3-4 weeks, then bottle...We only use a secondary if we are adding something to the beer, such as fruit, dryhopping or oaking the beer, otherwise we just leave the beer alone and let the yeasts clean up the beer at their own pace. Or if we added fruit, like pumpkin in the boil and want to get the beer off the goop.

If you do choose to use a "bright tank" it's best to wait til fermentation is complete, you know that by taking 2 gravity readings over a 3 day period.(usually the 7th and the 10th days) If the grav hasn't changed, then you can rack it without having a krausen develop...though sometimes it does anyway.

Or you can wait 2 weeks, like I do when I do secondary, that usually gives it enough time for the yeast to do their things.

Honestly you will find your beer will be the best if you ignore the kit instructions, and don't rush it.
Even Palmer seems to agree.

Quote:
Quote:
How To Brew;

Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.
Your beer will thank you for waiting.

I am 99% sure you have NO infection, and all you have is a result of premature racking to secondary, and is perfectly normal....
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:18 PM   #7
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I agree that it is doubtful you have an infection. When I do use a secondary I have seen what you seem to be describing. It is just ale yeast.

Got to use and trust your hydrometer. It is like a compass to a person in the woods. Proper sanatation should ease your mind.

Relax, have fun and enjoy your beer.

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Old 05-29-2009, 02:06 PM   #8
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If I can impart one bit of "wisdom" for you on your journey as a brewer it is this;

If you brew from fear, you won't make great beer!

You might make drinkable beer, or you might make crap...but until your realize that your beer is much hardier than you think it is, you won't do some basic things, (like using your hydrometer) to make your beer great.

I notice by your use of the words "I have been so paranoid about possible infection, that I forwent the hydrometer readings for fear of introducting bacteria durring the process." that you have a typical new brewer fear that your beer is somehow weak, like a new born baby..and will be ruined or die of you look at it wrong...I want to put it into perspective for you, and save you a lot of new bewer nerves...

Beer has been made for over 5,000 years in some horrific conditions, and still it managed to survive and be popular....It was even made before Louis Pasteur understood germ theory....

If beer turned out bad back then more than it turned out good..then beer would have gone the way of the dodo bird, New Coke, or Pepsi Clear...

It is very very very hard to ruin your beer....it surprises us and manages to survive despite what we do to it...

And doing things like taking a hydro reading, or racking a beer (if you choose to) will not cause more harm to your beer..if you are careful.

I want you to read these threads and see..

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/what...t-great-96780/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/has-...p-batch-96644/

And this thread to show you how often even a beer we think is ruined, ends up being the best beer you ever made, if you have patience....
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

There is a saying we have in the homebrewing community...RDWHAHB...make that your mantra and you will be a successful homebrewer...


Oh this thread is really good too...if you adopt the mindset in here you will do well...http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/your...0b-when-24540/

It's not brain surgery, it's a hobby...it's supposed to be something fun, not something we stress out on.

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Old 05-29-2009, 03:11 PM   #9
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Thanks y'all. I appreciate the advice!

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Old 08-17-2009, 11:57 PM   #10
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Man I love for threads like these, for the very reason that I followed the kit instructions and racked way too early on my Belgian Quad..only to come home today to see some white specks floating on top. Now of course being a noob my initial thought was infection...but I took a deep breath and thought of all my steps and am convinced that I followed all sanitary processes to a T. So I figure..lemme see what the gurus on HBT say. This is the first thread I found.

Newbie brewer is now relaxed.

Which leads me to another thought...do I really need to continually rack my beer to a secondary? I'm starting to think I my be better off just leaving it on the primary then straight to bottles.

I know there are contrary schools of thought on this as well as many threads, and it may be needed for certain styles.

Decisions, decisions

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