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Old 10-01-2012, 10:51 PM   #1
Jan 2012
san mateo, ca
Posts: 265
Liked 18 Times on 17 Posts

Hey guys,

So I got done bottling an American Wheat about 20 minutes ago. As I was putting away my bottles I noticed several of them had little black specks of mold, and a couple with big black floating mold, either at the base, or floating to the top of the bottle. I discarded of the ones with the visible mold. And let me make this very, very clear: The mold did not grow in my beer. The mold grew in the dry bottles, sometime over the past couple of months. I understand that nothing bad can grow in beer, this did not grow in beer.

I'm sure the typical advice would be: open the bottle (once carbed) and pour the entire glass, if you see mold, don't drink it (although some would, which is fine.)

But here's the kicker: I specifically brewed these for a friend's wedding in 4 weeks. There will be quite a bit of people there, and now I'm concerned that people will be pouring beer with mold in it. I held each individual bottle up to a light and disposed of the beers with mold at the base, or floating around. I inspected the bottles before I filled them up(but here's where I ****ed up: I only inspected after I saw a bottle with mold float to the top), the ones that I could tell were bad I didn't use. I'm concerned about any potential liability due to illness etc., but more concerned with no one drinking any of the beer because people are finding mold in it when they open their bottles. This will be the first time for 95% of the people there to try homebrew; mold in your beer is not a good start.

I'm currently bottling two batches for him. A wheat and a mild. The wheat is the one batch that will, potentially, have mold in it. With the mild, I'm going to visually inspect each bottle, after each bottle is sanitized, so that there will be no mold in any of those bottles.

Now, before I'm criticized for bad sanitation let me write out my process:
1. Soak bottles in PBW in 5 gallons of water for a minimum of 20 minutes.This cleans 'em, and removes any labels or adhesive.
2. Using my kitchens spray faucet, I rinse them with hot water, inside and out.
3. Run the bottles through the sanitize option on my dishwasher.
4. Dunk in Starsan, pour Starsan back in the bucket and than bottle, immediately after.

The mold is there because some of the bottles have been sitting, unused, for around 4 months.

Should I just continue to inspect them, shake them up, and discard any bottle with mold? Or should I tell him I'll only be bringing the mild?

We worked it out, that if there is any problem with the batches, than he will go buy a 15g keg, so that is an option.

Really long post, but I just need some opinions. Cheers!
Primary:Farmhouse Triple, Simcoe Session IPA, 100% Brett Brux IPA
Conditioning: Willamette English Pale Ale

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:14 AM   #2
Oct 2011
St. Paul, MN
Posts: 166
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

I wouldn't give any homebrew away if I thought there was potentially something this wrong with it. Compound that with a wedding and u would probably dump the any and all bottles I'm not 100% sure aren't infected. If that means your friend is buying a new keg and no one at the wedding digs your brews, well, better luck next time.

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:44 AM   #3
Apr 2012
Schenectady, New York
Posts: 916
Liked 116 Times on 93 Posts

Originally Posted by harrymanback92 View Post
I inspected the bottles before I filled them up(but here's where I ****ed up: I only inspected after I saw a bottle with mold float to the top), the ones that I could tell were bad I didn't use.

Any bottles from another source get an overnight soak in Oxy then a careful look once they have been rinsed. (Amazing the gunk I find)..

I even give a look into my own bottles once they are empty and rinsed. They go on the bottle tree to dry and I have never had mold grow in them.


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Old 10-02-2012, 03:03 AM   #4
E-Mursed's Avatar
May 2011
Westland, MI
Posts: 881
Liked 114 Times on 65 Posts

This is why you clean out bottles immediately after drinking or pouring from them. No exceptions.

If you do that, and inspect them thoroughly before bottling next time, you will not likely have this problem again.
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Closed-System Pressurized Fermentation - the future of homebrewing today...!!!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:09 AM   #5
Oct 2011
Marysville, WA
Posts: 607
Liked 34 Times on 29 Posts

I would NOT serve them to anybody if you suspect mold. Especially at a wedding, it is not worth the anger you would generate.

Here's what I would do. Spend $13 for a jet washer that hooks up to your sink faucet. The spray rinser at a kitchen sink was never meant to blow off crud inside bottles. Here's what I do for bottles. I run them through the jet washer, hold them up to the bright overhead light and visually inspect. If still dirty I fill a little water and set aside and countinue on with the others. Then I take those questionable bottles and use a bottle brush and scrub the crap out of them. Jet wash again, hold up to light again and then put in the dishwasher for the cycle.

Seems like a lot of work, but it is better than pouring out a batch of beer or completely ruining your reputation as a craft brewer. Good luck man. sorry for your situation, but in the long run, you'll have cleaner bottling from this point on.

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Old 10-02-2012, 01:36 PM   #6
Feb 2008
Raleigh, NC
Posts: 408
Liked 11 Times on 11 Posts

If you are reusing clean well-rinsed bottles you don't need to worry about it that much but a quick 20 min soak is not enough for unclean bottles. You should soak overnight and you NEED to use a bottle scrubber as well. The jet bottle washer works very well for rinsing quickly but doesn't substitute a good soak and scrub. My jet washer broke in about two weeks so I can't exactly say I'd recommend it.

4 weeks is almost enough time to get another batch going. It's less than ideal but would probably be okay. With a good healthy starter, a low gravity wheat would be easily done in a week and 3 weeks to bottle. You could give it a shot anyway.

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Old 10-02-2012, 06:41 PM   #7
Oct 2011
Marysville, WA
Posts: 607
Liked 34 Times on 29 Posts

"My jet washer broke in about two weeks so I can't exactly say I'd recommend it."

Did you have the plastic one or the metal one?

I bought the metal jet washer and it can take a little abuse and work just fine.

But I agree with you. A soak never hurts nor a brush if needed.

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Old 10-02-2012, 06:48 PM   #8
Jun 2011
san diego, ca
Posts: 527
Liked 10 Times on 6 Posts

Im confused about your cleaning/sanitation process? You did this to your bottles 4 months ago? Then just bottled right into them without rinsing or sanitizing them again right before you filled them? If that is the case, that is bad practice, imo.
On Deck: Double IPA, GTBT V3
Primary: GTBT APA
Bottled: GTBT V2, GTBT V1, Black IPA, Centennial IPA, Pumpkin Ale, Badboy IPA, Simarillo APA

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Old 10-02-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
NewDecadeBrewery's Avatar
Dec 2011
San Clemente, Ca
Posts: 93
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts

Buy a couple kegs, some co2, another fermenter if you need it and brew up a couple new batches of beer. You have four weeks which is plenty of time. Then serve it out of the keg at the wedding. I doubt that it would be a good idea to try and serve the beer you currently have at a wedding.

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Old 10-02-2012, 07:57 PM   #10
dstranger99's Avatar
Jun 2012
Charlottesville, Va
Posts: 1,048
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I know OP doesn't wanna hear about the sanitation process, but after bottle brushing my current method is to leave ALL BOTTLES in a sink full of Star San, I empty 6 at a time and bottle, letting the Star San foam snake seep out with each fill.....It's a 100% fool-proof method....

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Kegged: Stout

Bottled: Cent Blonde, Jakes Brown, Stout

I love Yooper........

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