Calcium Buildup Inside Fermonster

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d40dave

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What is this inside my Fermonster. It seems to be some sort of calcium buildup. It's rough and the only way I can get rid of it is to scratch it off with my fingernail but it comes back the next time I brew. I haven't tried PBW yet. Thanks.
 

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hotbeer

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StarSan or even Iodiphor are phosphoric acid based. They might eat it off. Maybe even vinegar if you let it sit long enough filled with it.

Assuming you washed and rinsed this with your your normal house water, if it tends to spot your car after washing, then you probably have a high mineral content and shouldn't leave anything you wash with it wet after rinsing. Or perhaps rinse with a spray of distilled water.
 
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d40dave

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I dry it in a carboy dryer but next time I'll dry it with a cloth after cleaning it. I'll also spray with RO water before drying. I'll also check if it's scaly before fermentation. Thanks.
 
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d40dave

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I don't use a cleaner, just a soft sponge. I do use Star San before filling.
 

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Agreed it's almost certainly hard water deposits, calcium and anything else you have in it. The dryer won't really do much other than get the water to evaporate more quickly and leave the minerals behind. You could do a surfactant like the stuff that goes in dishwashers (spot free rinse agents) but I'd just hit it with a clean towel. I'm guessing you sanitize before you ferment so if the towel's reasonably clean it'll be fine.

As an side it means if you brew with this water, it's probably full of minerals, and you might consider an analysis to see what you have. It may affect a decision to use salts and such for adjustment, or even a move to RO water, if you don't get it into that stuff already.
 
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d40dave

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I do have hard water and I do have an RO system for my brewing water. This doesn't seem like water deposits from hard water, at least not the kind I am used to in my shower, etc. Sometimes I think I put a big scratch in the fermenter only to realize after using some elbow grease that it's some sort of deposit.
 

wsmith1625

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Hard water will typically leave water spots, not scales. Also, using sponges and towels in plastic can lead to scratching which can be hiding spot for bacteria. Maybe a good soak in PBW or OxyClean next time and let it air dry. You may not have the buildup problem with this method.

Hot water is best for OxyClean, but PET is only rated for 140 degress. Stay under that to prevent damage to your fermenter.
 
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d40dave

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I wonder if there is a thread on how to clean a PET fermenter after fermentation, if not maybe I should start one. BTW, how do you spell fermenter, is it even a word?
 

Bobby_M

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It's probably a combination of organic soil and beerstone (calcium oxalate). If it's organic, PBW in 120F water will help break that down. If it's still there after that, it's more likely mineral based and in that case double strength starsan in 120F water will dissolve it in about 2 hours of soak time. Then rinse with equally hot tap water.
 
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d40dave

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I switched to PET carboys about 9 months ago. I had a similar problem with glass carboys but I could not feel it like I can now so I can't be sure. Ever once in a while I used to soak my glass carboys in PBW and it would help. If it is the same problem (most likely is) it seems to occur quicker with the PET carboy. What is organic soil and is calcium oxalate buildup expected? Thanks.
 

Bobby_M

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Organic soil is the same stuff that you wash off your dinner plates, grimy stuff that started out as a living thing. Proteins, starch, oils. All of that stuff is in wort/beer. Without using any kind of caustic cleaner (PBW), it will build up because some of that stuff is not easily soluble in plain, neutral pH water.

Inorganic soil is mineral based and needs to be dissolved with an acid to be rinsed away. Beerstone buildup happens to all brewing equipment both on the hot side and in kegs. If the inside of your kettle doesn't look shiny clean anymore, that's beerstone. When it's on stainless steel, you can remove it with elbow grease and bar keeper's friend or just nuke it out with hot water and citric acid.
 

TLaffey

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+1 on Bobby's response. I've only used LLC on hoses, but for a plastic fermenter it should work to clear beer stone. I always clean with PBW first. Attaching photos of cleaning plastic fermenter with keg washer (pump and small CIP ball).
 

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