moldy spigot

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KrausenBoy

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Hi to all,
I hope this is the correct forum section.

Yesterday I was ready to bottle my first AG brew (a SMaSh Kölsch), when, while taking a sample for the hydrometer, I noticed that two green mold balls went in the hydrometer glass. After some cuss words I opened the lid of my bucket fermenter and there was not mold floating on the beer (mold float, right?) and the smell was quite good, not moldy at all. So I decided to rack the beer in the bottling bucket and when finished the yeast cake at the bottom of the fermenter was as usual, without any sign of mold. I took another sample from the bottling bucket, the beer was good and, again, not moldy at all so I decided to bottle the beer and hope for the best.

The mold was not visible from the exterior of my fermenter spigot so I think it was growing somewhere inside the spigot itself, probably due to some residual sweet wort left in the spigot from past hydrometer measurements. This was my 6th brew and the first time I have ever encountered this problem. Btw the spigot went straight to the trash can.

After 3 weeks of fermentation at 65.5F the FG was 1.010, the lowest I ever had, but not so low to suggest that something different from the pitched wlp029 "overdigested" the wort (am I right on this?). Btw the OG was low too, only 1.041. This was my first AG and I end up with a barely decent 65% efficiency.

So my question is: do you guys think that, despite not noticeable, I could end up with mold growing in the bottles of my beloved first AG brew?

thanks
 

flars

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Did you rack your beer to the bottling bucket through the moldy spigot or with a siphon. You are probably okay if you used a siphon.
Spigots can be taken apart for cleaning. Removal of the spigot, from the bucket, should be done after each brew to clean the spigot and around the gaskets.
 

unionrdr

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You're right on that one. Mold spores from the dirty spigot could get into the beer bottled through it. I like to use this set of 3 aquarium lift tube brushed to clean inside the spigot & the spout, etc. I also scrub the seals & lock lug threads after soaking in PBW. Rinse, then clean the mounting hole as well. Reassemble wet with Starsan. This Should be done after every use.
 

idiotsinc

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Could it have been some residual hops rather than mold? I've been fooled when I was in my beginning years of brewing.
 
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KrausenBoy

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Hi and thanks to all for the replies.

@flars and @unionrdr
Yes, I used an autosiphon to rack the beer in the bottling bucket. I use the spigot only to take the hydrometer samples and, as both of you suggested, I carefully remove spigot, seals & lock lug thread before and after each brew for washing and sanitizing. As I said this was probably due to some residual sweet wort left in the spigot from past hydrometer measurements rather than from poor sanitation procedures. At this point I think I've been very lucky from the beginning of my homebrewing. I've always used the spigot to take samples, from my very first brew, and this is the first time I have ever encountered this problem! :confused:

Just curious, how do you guys take your sample for hydrometer readings during fermentation from a spigot? I mean, how do you make sure of that there is not any wort left in the spigot? I've always used the spigot because you don't need to open the lid of the fermenter, I thought this was the safest procedure!

@idiotsinc
Could it have been some residual hops rather than mold?
This was my first thought too but, sadly, no. I used a hop bag and the beer was not dry hopped. It was mold :mad:

So, it seems that it is reasonable to think that my kölsch is safe, right?

thanks
 
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KrausenBoy

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Hi MaxStout, thanks for your reply.

I'm thinking hops residue, also. More likely culprit. But just in case, you might want to thoroughly sanitize that spigot before its next use (which you should do anyway).
This was my first thought too but they were two green "hairy" balls floating on the hydrometer glass. Moreover, I used a hop bag during the boil and the beer was not dry hopped. Sadly, it was just mold.

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flars

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I use a beer/wine thief, Fermtech wine thief, to take the sample from the top. In my case through the mouth of a carboy. Easy to use and easy to clean.
 
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KrausenBoy

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I use a beer/wine thief, Fermtech wine thief, to take the sample from the top. In my case through the mouth of a carboy. Easy to use and easy to clean.
It's like an autosiphon, isn't it? The mouth of a carboy and the corresponding beer surface are smaller compared to those of a bucket. I am/was worried to expose the large surface of the beer in the fermenter to the air with that large opening. But at this point it could be the lesser evil.

Sadly, it is really hard to find a carboy here in Italy and the local version are both inconvenient and ugly. Here an example from a wine maker supply shop on internet



Thanks for your reply, I'll take reading samples using an autosiphon from the top in the future
 

flars

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It's like an autosiphon, isn't it? The mouth of a carboy and the corresponding beer surface are smaller compared to those of a bucket. I am/was worried to expose the large surface of the beer in the fermenter to the air with that large opening. But at this point it could be the lesser evil.

Sadly, it is really hard to find a carboy here in Italy and the local version are both inconvenient and ugly. Here an example from a wine maker supply shop on internet



Thanks for your reply, I'll take reading samples using an autosiphon from the top in the future
They look like something a late 60s UW student would think of as cool.

Any glass water cooler bottles available?
 

Braufessor

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#1 - always make sure you take spigots completely apart between brews to clean.
#2 - If I use bottling buckets as fermenters, I make sure to put a baggie over the spigot to keep stuff out of the spigot like dust and fruit flies.
#3 - I use spray bottle of star san to spray out spigots before and after taking any sample out of it, or transferring to a keg or bottling bucket.

spigot.jpg
 
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KrausenBoy

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I would always flush with sanitizer from a spray bottle after taking my samples.
#3 - I use spray bottle of star san to spray out spigots before and after taking any sample out of it, or transferring to a keg or bottling bucket.
That's a good idea, never thought about it. I should take a sample and then spray sanitizer solution right inside the spigot hole. Simple and effective, the fermenter remain sealed and the sanitizer should avoid mold growing.

Thank you guys :mug:

#1 - always make sure you take spigots completely apart between brews to clean.
#2 - If I use bottling buckets as fermenters, I make sure to put a baggie over the spigot to keep stuff out of the spigot like dust and fruit flies.
That's exactly what I do
 
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KrausenBoy

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They look like something a late 60s UW student would think of as cool.

Any glass water cooler bottles available?
funny :D

I thought about water cooler bottles in the first days, when I was collecting my hb gears, as a ghetto version of your pro looking carboys. There are several discussion here on hbt and on other forums about water cooler bottles as carboys. It seems that the main issues are:

1) Plastic safety. Plastic labelled as 1 and 2 are food grade but most water bottles are labelled as 7, which is now under fire for being dangerous even for holding water as @Yooper points out in a old post here on hbt (page 1, post #3) https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/secondary-fermenting-water-jug-79067/

In the same thread @AiredAle and @beerchemist, which presents themselves as scientists, did a very detailed description of plastic types and codes and the safety of their use in homebrewing (page 2, post #13 and #14).

In another post @Revvy did a good summary about plastic type, codes and safety https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/culligan-water-bottle-57828/ (page 1, post #2).

Finally, to make to make the topic less clear, there's a video by basicbrewing on the argument on youtube in which they taste a pale ale fermented in a three-gallon plastic spring water jug without noticing any particular problem. Btw, chemicals leaked in the beer could be odor and flavorless (imho).

As I said, there are a lot of threads here on hbt about water cooler bottles as carboys and the general consensus seems to be that if you can find one made of plastic #1 or #2 go for it, otherwise it seems it is better to use a plastic #1 bucket fermenter.

2) Gas permeability. To be honest, I don't think it's a real problem in the beer fermentation time frame. But maybe someone more educated than me would chime in.

3) Cleaning & Sanitizing. They usually have an irregular internal surface that can make cleaning and sanitizing difficult. Some of them have also a hollow handle, a cleaning nightmare. Finally there are some concern about how the plastic react to sanitizing agent.

Anyway, thanks for your reply @flars. As suggested by @1975brewer and @Braufessor I'll try to spray some sanitizer inside the spigot hole before and after taking any sample out of the spigot. If I'll be uncomfortable or if the mold should come back, I'll simply open the lid use a wine thief.

thanks
 
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KrausenBoy

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I neglected to mention spraying Starsan up into the spout on the spigot before & after taking samples or racking. I do that everytime. I also found an article on PET plastic o2 scavenging that should be interesting; http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/38354.pdf
Hi unionrdr,
yep, it seems the way to go for who, among us, ferment in buckets and want to use the spigot. Simple and effective.

Thank you for sharing the article. It seems quite technical, but I'll definitely take a look at it.

thanks
 
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KrausenBoy

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Any glass water cooler bottles available?
Sorry flars, I was just re-reading some post when I noticed that I simply skipped the word "glass" in your reply. It was late night :eek:

Never heard about glass water cooler bottles, only plastic. I'll definitely take a look at it.

thanks
 
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