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Old 07-02-2006, 10:25 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Default Steam Beer in a moldy basement

This only my second batch of homebrew, so treat me like I don't know very much.

A couple weeks ago, as the weather was turning hot, I did some research and asked some questions at the LHBS and ended up coming home with a Steam Beer kit. I took it home, cooked it up, pitched the yeast (Wyeast #2112, a seemingly perfect fit for my cellar temperature) and stuck it in an out of the way corner of the cellar.

While cleaning up, I noticed for the first time that #2112 is California Lager yeast. Did the newbie freak out thing, read a lot of stuff about lagering that I had skipped previously, found out that it's a kinda different kinda lager yeast and calmed down. So here come the questions ...

It's now been in the primary for 10 days and the airlock is still bubbling about every 30 seconds. A bucket of water sitting on the cellar floor registers 62, the fermenting bucket has been holding at 66. Normal for this kind of yeast and temperature? Any idea how long fermentation will take to complete?

Question 2, and a potential problem. This a 150 year old house and the cellar is as dusty and musty as you can imagine, the past week of rain and flooding have kept it exceptionally damp, most likely at or near 100% humidity. There are now several little spots of ... uh ... mold or something growing on the outside of the bucket, I assume on spots of wort that splashed around while I was pouring it into the fermentor.

Anybody have any suggestions about how to go about opening the bucket when the time comes? If I carry it out of the cellar and wash it down with sanitizer outdoors, is that going to stir things up enough that it will need to sit a long time before bottling? Should I rack it to a secondary and put it back it the cellar or is that just asking for trouble?

The good news is, my first batch is very drinkable, so I'll relax and have a homebrew now.


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Old 07-02-2006, 11:00 PM   #2
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You have an airlock on there, so the beer inside is fine.

Racking off to a secondary is always a good idea, if you follow good sanatation practices andd remember to transfer "quietly"- minimize splashing during transfer.

Even if the beer starts to get mold on the surface, if you catch it early and get it out witht a sanatized spoon weithout disturbing it, you might be OK (taste before botteling)

Wiping the bucket down with a clean dampened cloth around the lid and where you will touch to clean off the mold, then possibly hitting it with some sanitizer might not be a bad idea.

My basement is pretty damp (I won't get into that) and I haven't had problems. It's by no means a 150 year old house (I have lived in a few rock foundation dirt floor basement house before), but if you are aware of your sanitation you should be OK.

Most books tend to recommend keeping the fermentors off the floor. Probably to minimize disturbances or getting kicked/bumped, maybe someone can chime in with the why on that part.

The temp in the fermentor will usually be a few degreese higher due to the yeast activity.
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Old 07-02-2006, 11:26 PM   #3
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When it is done fermenting (probably another week), take it out of the basement. Clean and sanitize the outside, then rack to a secondary. Put it back in the basement for a day or two, so it can settle. Then bottle.

For that matter, you could clean and sanitize the outside today. If nothing new is growing in a week, you're set.
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