Plasticky Residue in Old Primary Fermenter

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Sam Sutherland

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So I got out my plastic primary fermenter (35 liter) and opened the lid. Terrible smell. Not sure how to describe it. Aromatic plastic maybe.

In the bottom of the fermenter, there's a clear, thick, syrupy substance. 3 millimeters. Tried spraying it out with water, but it does not appear to be water soluble. Tried soap and water, and maybe that worked better, but there's still a film of oily slime everywhere. Now my house smells like aromatic plastic.

Last used the primary fermenter 3 years ago. When I put it away, I put in a small amount of potassium metabisulfite with water and closed the lid. Since then, the fermenter may have been sitting in a hot garage part of the time.

Any idea what this residue is and how to get rid of it? Did the potassium metabisulfite react with the plastic of the fermenter?

Is the fermenter toast? Time to get a new one?
 

RPh_Guy

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My guess is that it's mildew.

Options:
1. Get a new fermenter. They aren't terribly expensive. Care for your gear if you want it to last. You should store it empty and cleaned.

2. Soak it with warm Oxiclean (fragrance free) or PBW for 24 hours and then gently scrub with a non-abrasive sponge. Rinse thoroughly. If there's still residue, use a warm soak with citric acid. If that doesn't help, then it's toast.

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myndflyte

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If it's just a brew bucket, toss it. They are cheap enough and it would be a more costly mistake if you used it and any of that plastic odor made it into your beer.
 
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