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Mold in secondary - chocolate cherry stout

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joyceman

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I racked a stout (OG 1079) onto 5 lbs of cherries (half frozen & half canned) & 4 oz of nibs about 3 weeks ago. The original plan was to let it sit until the end of the month and bottle. I checked yesterday and there are spots of mold growing on the cherries floating on the top of my fermenter. Everything I read made me think I was OK with fresh frozen, next time I vodka bath the bastards.

This is my first infection, if mold counts as one, and im looking for advice on handling it. My first thought was to rack the bottom 4 gals out from underneath and bottle ASAP. I might even rack the remaining top gallon into seperate fermenter to see what develops.

Will I get the chocolate flavor I wanted from just 3 weeks on ths nibs? Should I consider adding some cocoa powder or choc extract at bottling? Whats a good benchmark for how much to use of either?

Assuming I bottle like described above, whats my likelihood of bombs? Should I refridgerate as soon as carbed?

Any other advice?
 

aiptasia

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You can rack the beer from underneath the mold, usually without issues. As to the other questions:

Yes, you will get plenty of flavor from the cacao nibs. I use a cup of crushed nibs for two weeks in my Mexican RIS and get plenty of chocolate flavor out of it without the mess and fat absorption of cocoa powder. Don't use the cocoa powder. It doesn't settle out of the beer EVER and would have to be filtered to get it out. This is from experience as i've made chocolate stouts with hershey's cocoa powder that sat in the primary FOR FOUR MONTHS and then cold crashed and still has suspended powder in it.

The benchmark for adding any flavor adjunct to your beer should be "to taste." It's always best to add too little than too much to your beer, so if it tastes too weak, you can always add a little more. Once it's in your beer, there's no getting it out (especially if it's too strong).

As to bottle bombs, it depends on the FG of the finished beer and if it's really finished fermenting. You might do better if you rack the beer off the moldy cherries to a clean secondary and let it sit a few more days. Keep checking the gravity of the beer every day and don't consider it done fermenting until the gravity readings are exactly the same for three days in a row. Since this is a fairly big stout, let the beer carbonate for a full month and then chill it completely for 24 hours before pouring it.
 

Johnnyhitch1

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Might not have been the cherrys that caused the infection but "dry caps"
When the cherry rose to the top they dried out, dark and dry are perfect conditions for mold.

Next time, once a week, push down the "cap" with a sanitized spoon
 
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joyceman

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Might not have been the cherrys that caused the infection but "dry caps"
When the cherry rose to the top they dried out, dark and dry are perfect conditions for mold.

Next time, once a week, push down the "cap" with a sanitized spoon
Never heard that before, thanks.

Ill rack and let it sit for another couple of weeks, maybe bottle around Tday.
 

SteveHeff

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To add to what alptasia said about cocoa nibs/powder: I've used both with good and bad results. I added the powder to my first oatmeal stout and waited for 2-4 months. The powder NEVER settles out. So I tried adding it to my mash instead. It worked much better but you still will have a residual haziness.

The nibs are by far my favorite. I soak mine in vanilla extract for 1-2 weeks before throwing them into the secondary. IMHO it makes all the difference soaking them in an alcohol before transitioning them to the secondary. You will get more flavor from fewer nibs. I've reduced the amount of nibs by about half from where I started (6 oz to 3 oz) and I am still getting the same amount of flavor.
 
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joyceman

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I racked it over the weekend, checked this morning and found this. Looks like the beginning of a pellicle.

photo.JPG
 

Hello

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Looks very hard to tell but it is possible.
 
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