Found bubbles on top of my pale this morning when I went to dry hop, infection?

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TkmLinus

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I found bubbles sitting on top of the wort this morning when I went to dry hop my pale ale. Picture attached. Is this the start of an infection? If so, can anything be done? I was planning on kegging it days from now and let it condition in the keg for about a month. Thankfully this is only a 1.5 gallon batch. Thanks in advance!
 

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IslandLizard

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It surely looks like an infection getting a hold.

I reckon it's done fermenting, krausen has dropped and it's clearing
I'd transfer it to a keg ASAP, and drop a bag with dry hops in there. Keep it cold (in your kegerator/keezer) to slow down the development of the infection. And finish it within a few weeks. It may get funky, or sour with time, and higher temps.

Before transferring, taste a sample, make sure it's palatable. Chances are, it is.

BTW, do you have a huge headspace in that carboy? That may be part of the cause.
And uh, wort becomes beer as soon as you pitch yeast. ;)
 
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TkmLinus

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It surely looks like an infection getting a hold.

I reckon it's done fermenting, krausen has dropped and it's clearing
I'd transfer it to a keg ASAP, and drop a bag with dry hops in there. Keep it cold (in your kegerator/keezer) to slow down the development of the infection. And finish it within a few weeks. It may get funky, or sour with time, and higher temps.

Before transferring, taste a sample, make sure it's palatable. Chances are, it is.

BTW, do you have a huge headspace in that carboy? That may be part of the cause.
And uh, wort becomes beer as soon as you pitch yeast. ;)
Yes, there is huge headspace. This is a 1.5 gallon batch and my 5 gallon fermenter was the smallest I had available. Looks like this "beer":) is jumping the line to be the next on tap!

Do I need to worry about doing any extra steps to cleaning the fermenter and keg when done with this beer? I normally do PBW with hot water then spray with star san after rinsing.

Thanks again!
 

IslandLizard

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Do I need to worry about doing any extra steps to cleaning the fermenter and keg when done with this beer? I normally do PBW with hot water then spray with star san after rinsing.
[Edited]
Oops sorry, some of those instructions I gave below were for buckets, you have a glass carboy, I've edited the post appropriately. ;)

Use a carboy brush to clean/scrub the inside well, making sure to touch all surfaces. Glass is smooth and not permeable unlike plastic.
The sunbath won't apply as glass may filter most UV out, so I'd bleach bomb it after thorough cleaning. Rinse well again to remove the last traces of bleach. Then Starsan before next use, as usually.

I would clean it very well, using warm, not hot, (homemade) PBW or Oxiclean (Free), scrubbing/rubbing the insides with a non-scratching nylon carboy brush or non-abrasive (scouring) pad or washcloth. You don't want to scratch it, just have some extra friction when rubbing to remove any biofilm that may cling to the walls, bottom, rim, etc.

Don't forget to clean the stopper, carboy cap, etc. Anything that's suspect to harboring the infection.

You could add a small amount (~1/4 tsp per gallon) of Lye (drain opener) to your PBW/Oxi for some extra oomph, but beware, wear proper face/eye protection and rubber gloves when using it, it's very caustic and even a small splash in the eye needs to be washed out immediately and thoroughly, and requires doctor's attention as it could cause blindness. I'm not overstating this.

Then you can do some "bleach bombing" afterward, followed by a good rinse out. Chlorine kills beer.

The following is for plastic fermenters, such as buckets: A sun batch!
Instead or in addition to bleach bombing, you could set those outside propped up under an angle, so bright sunlight can shine inside on all sides. UV light kills lots of nasties.
Right now I have 2 buckets outside, propped up under a ~45° angle facing the bright midday sun for over a week. Probably overkill, but I want to make sure. After transferring the beer, I hadn't cleaned them right away, and forgot about them, then discovered something gnarly started growing inside, the smell was awful... I just checked, they look and smell a lot better now. I would not hesitate to use them for today's brews, after another good cleaning and Starsan treatment. :D
 
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IslandLizard

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Please do not do anything hot with a glass carboy.
Bad juju. That's how bottoms suddenly fall out of them...
Yeah, excellent point! Thanks for spotting that.
I was thinking plastic bucket with an infection from another thread.

I've re-edited my post above to reflect that. And then some.
 

odie

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Are you sure that's infection? What specifically are you seeing that indicates that? The large bubbles? Could be just the last of the fermentation/krausen.
 

IslandLizard

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Are you sure that's infection? What specifically are you seeing that indicates that? The large bubbles? Could be just the last of the fermentation/krausen.
I'm pretty sure.
The large bubbles are likely due to increased surface tension, caused by the beginning of a pellicle formation. Pellicles are formed by many microorganisms as a barrier to keep invaders out. Krausen developed by yeast can also be seen as a form of pellicle (protective barrier) for the same reason.

A regular fermentation doesn't form large bubbles like that, and definitely not at the end of fermentation after krausen has dropped.
 

hotbeer

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Infection doesn't mean poisonous though.

It might be a decent sour. Though not knowing what infected it it's probably more likely to just taste bad or have no tastes that resemble a beer.
 
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TkmLinus

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Quick update, I kegged the beer last Saturday per @IslandLizard 's advice. Threw in a bag of hops and cooled it. After a few days on CO2 I tried it and it is quite tasty. The beer tastes great, a little on the green side, but very drinkable.
 

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Knightshade

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Quick update, I kegged the beer last Saturday per @IslandLizard 's advice. Threw in a bag of hops and cooled it. After a few days on CO2 I tried it and it is quite tasty. The beer tastes great, a little on the green side, but very drinkable.
Nice...I had a beer go sour on me while in the keg. I'm still not certain how exactly, but while I thought the taste was..getting interesting?, it was more in the way that the head dissipated that I took notice of. The head wouldn't settle in any type of uniform fashion, and little islands of foam would form on the surface. As time progressed, (along with perhaps not denying what was happening anymore mentally) and the sour took hold, the head would disappear quicker and form several separate islands. Still managed to drink almost all of it before it was a little too much for me to handle.
 

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Make sure that you're adding chemicals to the liquid...not liquid to the chemicals. This reduces splashing and potential drops of said caustics on unprotected areas...
"Acid to water like oughter," said every chem lab professor ever
 

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