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Old 03-09-2008, 04:04 AM   #1
PeteOz77
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Default There's a Fungus Among Us

This looks like bad news

I had a friend ask me to make 2 X 16 gallon kegs of beer for an upcoming Bush Dance. I decided what I was going to brew and it finished up in the primary last week. I did a bit of shuffling because I only have one big fermenter (hold up to 75 litres!) and racked everything from the big primary into 2X secondaries, then cleaned the big primary and racked the 2 X 23 Litre primaries back into the big fermenter as a seconday. Good thing I had 2 X spare fermenters.

Because it's Summertime in AUS, and it's been warm, I have been keeping these fermenters in a bathtub with about a foot of water in it, then wrap towels around the fermenters and keep a fan blowing on them. I add ice as required to keep the ferment temps around 70°F. About once a week, I dump about 1/2 cup bleach into the water to keep the nasties at bay.

It was cool last week, so after racking everything into secondaries, I waited a few days before adding more water and bleach to the tub.

BTW, I am using plastic buckets with spigots on them and sediment reducers. I always spray sanitiser on the spigot before I start racking. I spray it all around and up inside etc, then slip the racking hose on and decant gently into my kegs. When keg is full I gas it, purge it, and gas it again, the let it condition in the kegs for a few weeks before force carbing them.

Here's the problem:

All 94 litres are kegged and gassed and conditioning quietly. I go to clean the fermenters.. a long and tedious task. I am finishing up by cleaning the spigots, and I turn the spigot off the large fermenter over.... and I see MOULD in it! AARRGGHHH!!!

There are 3-4 small mould spots inside the spout on the spigot, one is right on the edge of the opening up inside the spout.

In an effort to make sure that both kegs were tasting the same, I racked half of all 3 fermenters into each keg. So there is definitely beer in both kegs that has been run straight past this mould.

I have no idea how this could have happened when the entire spigot was under the level of the water that had bleach in it, but it was definitely not there when I installed the spigots, and it was there when I took it out to clean it.

So, what's the concensus? do you think both of these 16 gallon kegs of beer are likely to turn out BAD?

A racked 3 X 750ml bottles off each keg, so I will be able to check the bottles for off tastes etc, but my main concern is if I need to start another 2 X double batches. I only have 5 weeks left now, and I just don't think that's enough time to brew, ferment and condition another batch.

I know everyone is going to say "Wait and taste it" and I will of course do that, but does anyone think the beer will be OK?

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Old 03-09-2008, 06:24 AM   #2
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I'd certainly say keep it. Don't waste a batch because it MIGHT be contaminated. If there's mold, you'll know before you take that first swig.

I would also remind you, based on your procedure, that you can NOT (by definition of the word) sanitize a surface that isnt' also clean. Even running bleach water over a mold farm won't sanitize it since it's feeding on something under it.. Perhaps some OxyClean or equivalent might help get the crap off?

Good luck on your batch! I hope it all turns out drinkable!

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Old 03-09-2008, 06:32 AM   #3
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OH, I got it all off with a cotton swab, the boiled it and sanitised it. For what tehy cost, I could have just thrown it away and bought a new one.

As for the bleach killing the mould, I didn't expect it to kill the mould, I expected it to stop the mould from starting, since it was under the level of the bleach filled water. Oh well, from now on, I'll look up inside there and make sure it's clean before I sanitise it

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Old 03-09-2008, 01:28 PM   #4
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Get a spray bottle filled with Star-San and give a couple squirts up into the spout.

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Old 03-09-2008, 01:33 PM   #5
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the alc in the beer should keep the mold from screwing anything up.

Test the beer- MANY MANY places that serve beer never clean thier lines and more than enough have mold in them.

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Old 03-09-2008, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie
Get a spray bottle filled with Star-San and give a couple squirts up into the spout.
He's in Australia, they may not have 5-star products there.

I think the beer has a fighting chance of coming out just fine.

But the problem you're having is exactly why I never got on the bandwagon using spigots to drain when it was racking day. I always clean, then sanitize my spigot, then I install it on the bottling bucket. I only use the spigot to fill bottles on bottling day.

It just seemed less risky than hoping the inside of the spigot stayed sanitary for 1-3 weeks.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
He's in Australia, they may not have 5-star products there.
Good point. I hadn't considered that. If Star-San isn't available then using bleach water followed with a rinse should suffice.
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:56 PM   #8
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This is the stuff I use for sanitising. I haven't seen the 5 star products here, but I'll do a bit more checking.

Brewshield

I am a fanatic about sanitising everything my beer will touch, so I was forrified when I saw mould in that spigot after racking. I always clean and sanitise the spigots thouroughtly before using the fermenter, as well as a few minuted before racking. I assumed that since the spigot was under whater and the water has bleach in it, that it would stay clean at least and then using the sanitiser when racking would be sufficient.

Thanks for the positive comments guys, I am hoping the 4.8%ABV will keep any nasties at bay. I keep reading that "Nothing that can harm you is able to live in beer" but stuff that tastes terrible certainly can... I am hoping for neither LOL!

Cheers!

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Old 03-09-2008, 10:40 PM   #9
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Consider some campden (potassium or sodium metabisulfite) tablets. You'll have to force carbonate, but that's better than losing the batch.

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Old 03-10-2008, 03:35 PM   #10
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Default First things first

Yes, Kevin is absolutely correct: you cannot sanitize until you've cleaned effectively (Alkali first, acid second). Alkali cleaners break down organic soils and acids clear out the inorganics (minerals). Generally, acids are a bit too much for home brewers ("Honey, have you seen the cat?") and a good acid-based sanitizer like Star-San, after a thorough cleaning, does the trick. When left behind, soils harbor nasties which get released as the fermenting process breaks them open, yuck!

I am now working with Craftbrewer and Brew Craft AU to have formal distribution channels 'down under and hope to be able to get you Star-San, PBW and other goodies by June.

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