Infection/Yeast Raft?

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Eric Wann

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Help! Brand new to homebrewing and to this site.

I moved my first homebrew into secondary fermentation almost 2 weeks ago. Last couple of days i've started noticing these small floaty white things in my beer. I am wondering if this is an infection or if its normal.

Pellicles? Yeast Raft? Should I throw this out?

I realize these are poor pictures, I didnt intend to post them when I took them this morning.

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RPh_Guy

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From what little I can discern, it does look like a pellicle.

First things first. Kit instructions are outdated. You should not transfer your beer to a secondary vessel. There is absolutely no benefit to secondary, and it increases oxidation as well as contamination risk.

So, pellicle...
It indicates the presence of wild yeast and/or bacteria. We can't know what organism(s) may be present just by looking.
A pellicle also indicates too much oxygen exposure, because they only form when oxygen is present.

The beer is completely safe to drink.

Go ahead and give it a smell. If it smells good, taste it.
If it tastes good, I recommend packaging it now.
If you bottle, monitor carbonation level frequently. Better yet, put the bottles in the fridge after they carbonate.

Welcome to HBT!
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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From what little I can discern, it does look like a pellicle.

First things first. Kit instructions are outdated. You should not transfer your beer to a secondary vessel. There is absolutely no benefit to secondary, and it increases oxidation as well as contamination risk.

So, pellicle...
It indicates the presence of wild yeast and/or bacteria. We can't know what organism(s) may be present just by looking.
A pellicle also indicates too much oxygen exposure, because they only form when oxygen is present.

The beer is completely safe to drink.

Go ahead and give it a smell. If it smells good, taste it.
If it tastes good, I recommend packaging it now.
If you bottle, monitor carbonation level frequently. Better yet, put the bottles in the fridge after they carbonate.

Welcome to HBT!

Thanks for the insight! I will bottle as soon as I can. The more threads I read in these forums it seems like most people agree that secondary fermentation is not only unnecessary, but a big contamination risk.

If I don't do a secondary fermentation, which primary vessel is preferred, plastic bucket, glass carboy, different?

Thanks for the welcome!
 

RPh_Guy

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If I don't do a secondary fermentation, which primary vessel is preferred, plastic bucket, glass carboy, different?
Every kind of fermentation vessel has advantages and disadvantages.

What features are important to you?
Price? Plastic buckets are least expensive although PET, HDPE, and glass carboys also pretty inexpensive.
Clarity? Glass and PET let you see the fermentation which is more interesting and you can easily tell when it's active.
Spigot? Makes sampling and racking extremely easy while minimizing oxygen exposure. Anything besides glass generally has a bottom port option.
Wide mouth? Makes for easier cleaning, easy spigot installation, and easy adjunct additions.
Weight/portability? Plastic buckets and carboys are lightweight. Glass is heavy and potentially dangerous. Stainless vessels and plastic conicals aren't very portable.
Pressure-capable? High end fermenters and kegs can allow you to carbonate in the fermenter.
Extreme durability? Stainless you probably only ever have to buy once.
Conical? for yeast dumping. Silly in my opinion.

I use Fermonsters and highly recommend them.

Cheers
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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Every kind of fermentation vessel has advantages and disadvantages.

What features are important to you?
Price? Plastic buckets are least expensive although PET, HDPE, and glass carboys also pretty inexpensive.
Clarity? Glass and PET let you see the fermentation which is more interesting and you can easily tell when it's active.
Spigot? Makes sampling and racking extremely easy while minimizing oxygen exposure. Anything besides glass generally has a bottom port option.
Wide mouth? Makes for easier cleaning, easy spigot installation, and easy adjunct additions.
Weight/portability? Plastic buckets and carboys are lightweight. Glass is heavy and potentially dangerous. Stainless vessels and plastic conicals aren't very portable.
Pressure-capable? High end fermenters and kegs can allow you to carbonate in the fermenter.
Extreme durability? Stainless you probably only ever have to buy once.
Conical? for yeast dumping. Silly in my opinion.

I use Fermonsters and highly recommend them.

Cheers

I didn't realize there were so many different options. I think glass is important so I can see whats happening during fermentation. Easy to clean is important so I can maintain a healthy environment.

I've never considered a spigot. That seems like something that might be difficult to clean and another point of contamination for the beer.

Once again, thanks for the incredible insight
 

RPh_Guy

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Spigots detach and come apart.

Every type of fermenter is easy to clean. Immediately after use, rinse and then soak with PBW or other peroxide cleaner with warm water. Leave overnight. Rinse. If there's still residue you should be able to gently wipe it off with a rag, and/or use a warm citric acid solution to briefly rinse. At that point you disassemble the spigot and rinse and soak it if needed, but it should be clean already.

Cheers
 

jveruin

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Help! Brand new to homebrewing and to this site.

I moved my first homebrew into secondary fermentation almost 2 weeks ago. Last couple of days i've started noticing these small floaty white things in my beer. I am wondering if this is an infection or if its normal.

Pellicles? Yeast Raft? Should I throw this out?

I realize these are poor pictures, I didnt intend to post them when I took them this morning.

View attachment 638463 View attachment 638464
To me, those look like the remnants of yeast and not a pellicle. I have seen small white floaters left after the kreusen falls. I’m sending a photo from BYO that reminded me of yours. This photo is in an article about pitch rates and is indicating a normal fermentation with London Ale yeast.

Either way, I’d do the same thing and package it up. Keg would be safe. If it does have contamination off flavors, then you have some cold side equipment to treat.
IMG_0002.jpg
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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Update.

I bottled the batch yesterday, and attached pics of what the brew looked like when I bottled. Overall it smelled fine. Out of 3 people who smelled it I was the only one who questioned whether or not I smelled a little skunkiness. Everyone else said it smelled good. We all gave it a taste and it tasted good! So I bottled it all up.

I will say that for my next batch, I am going to skip secondary fermentation all together and see how that works.

Last question here for the group in the thread. besides saisons, what other beer/yeast does well with fermentation temps in the low 80s?

Thanks for all the help guys!

Cheers
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RPh_Guy

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Still too blurry for a definitive decision on this side of the information superhighway.

It's all good though. Just monitor carbonation level.

Cheers
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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Still too blurry for a definitive decision on this side of the information superhighway.

It's all good though. Just monitor carbonation level.

Cheers
Yeah the 2nd and 3rd pic arent the best. I have confidence it will taste okay.

How does one go about monitoring the carbonation level? Something I can look for in the bottle?

I will also update photos of the finished product in a few weeks.
 

RPh_Guy

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There's nothing you can see (unless your capper makes an indentation in the caps). Just open bottles periodically, like every few days for the first few weeks -- don't put them in a closet and forget about them.

Some wild yeast strains can slowly ferment the dextrins (long-chain sugars) that normal brewers yeast leaves behind in the beer. Extra fermentation would cause extra carbonation, potentially resulting in gushing or explosions.
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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There's nothing you can see (unless your capper makes an indentation in the caps). Just open bottles periodically, like every few days for the first few weeks -- don't put them in a closet and forget about them.

Some wild yeast strains can slowly ferment the dextrins (long-chain sugars) that normal brewers yeast leaves behind in the beer. Extra fermentation would cause extra carbonation, potentially resulting in gushing or explosions.
Copy that! I'll keep and eye on the bottles closely then. If carbonation levels are normal, is 3 weeks the appropriate amount of time for bottle conditioning, or are those kit instructions antiquated as well?
 

RPh_Guy

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Copy that! I'll keep and eye on the bottles closely then. If carbonation levels are normal, is 3 weeks the appropriate amount of time for bottle conditioning, or are those kit instructions antiquated as well?
I pitch healthy yeast and typically provide nutrient, so my fermentations usually finish in around 4-5 days, at which point I bottle.

I rouse the yeast a couple times a day, i.e. turn the bottle upside down and swirl it a little. I do a whole case at a time, so it takes less than a minute. With this process my bottles carbonate in about 3 days @ 70-75°F.

I'm am drinking my beer within 1-2 weeks of brewing.
YMMV. If you aren't conducting a healthy fermentation your beer may need additional time to condition, or if you add a lot of hop material via dry hopping.
Cheers
 

ncbrewer

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I used to think fermentation would stop when the beer was in the fridge. But then my wife back sweetened some wine and put it in the fridge - it started fermenting again (probably slowly). So I'd suggest drinking these quickly even if in the fridge, just in case. If they start getting over carbonated, you can deal with it.
 

RPh_Guy

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I used to think fermentation would stop when the beer was in the fridge. But then my wife back sweetened some wine and put it in the fridge - it started fermenting again (probably slowly). So I'd suggest drinking these quickly even if in the fridge, just in case. If they start getting over carbonated, you can deal with it.
Some yeast strains can continue fermenting (slowly) all the way down to freezing point.

However the odds of a random wild yeast actually fermenting dextrins is low. Most wild strains don't even attenuate as much as normal brewers yeast.
Monitoring the carbonation level is a good precaution, but it's very likely the beer will be normal.
 

balrog

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I'd suggest waiting at least 7-14 days prior to opening even one, if you can stand it.
If you have no other batches going, you're likely to go through the others within a couple more weeks (days), and you'll know as you go whether they are getting overcarbed. But the fact that your floaties did not seem to take over the surface in the time between first sight and bottling (Aug 2 to Aug 8) is a good indicator you don't have something nefarious going on.
 
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Eric Wann

Eric Wann

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I'd suggest waiting at least 7-14 days prior to opening even one, if you can stand it.
If you have no other batches going, you're likely to go through the others within a couple more weeks (days), and you'll know as you go whether they are getting overcarbed. But the fact that your floaties did not seem to take over the surface in the time between first sight and bottling (Aug 2 to Aug 8) is a good indicator you don't have something nefarious going on.
I planned to wait 14 days initially to see where the beer was at, and if its in good shape let is set an additional 7 days per my kit instructions (total of 21 days conditioning). But I will pop a couple in between there just to check on anything bizarre happening with carbonation.
 
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