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Ridenour64

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I just made a new starter last night and went down this morning and saw 2 pieces of my dogs hair on it. I can’t win.
 

Ridenour64

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So this one is creating larger bubbles as well that stick around for a while but then burst. I’m wondering if it’s just because the stir bar is brining all the small bubbles to the center and causing them to combine into what’s seen.

I’m fairly confident that the only opportunity for hair to have gotten into it was during the one hour mash on the stove. I open and stir a few times over the course of an hour. Then I transfer to flask and boil. Once it’s into the flask, I assume risk for debris entry is minimal.

apparently I need to immediately shower, and put on a fresh pair of clothes prior to making a starter. Dang dogs.

Thoughts?
 

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IslandLizard

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So this one is creating larger bubbles as well that stick around for a while but then burst. I’m wondering if it’s just because the stir bar is brining all the small bubbles to the center and causing them to combine into what’s seen.

[...]

Thoughts?
Yes, that's a bubble from the stir bar. Starter looks good so far, and no signs of a pellicle!

I’m fairly confident that the only opportunity for hair to have gotten into it was during the one hour mash on the stove. I open and stir a few times over the course of an hour. Then I transfer to flask and boil. Once it’s into the flask, I assume risk for debris entry is minimal.
How do you separate the wort from the grain? Wouldn't any hair and fur stay with the grain, not in the strained liquid (wort)?

I totally understand the issue with dogs. We have 2 Shelties, their fur is everywhere... and some gets airborne. We're also wearing it.
I brew in the kitchen. When heating water for the mash, there are always a few fine strands of fur floating on top. I pick em out whenever I can, even knowing they won't make it into the boil after lautering.

But the fermenter is a different story. After sanitizing the lid is left on. It gets filled through the 1" access hole I drilled into the lid.
 

Ridenour64

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I’m using a wilser bag on a 8QT pot. Not sure if the hair can squeeze through the bag or maybe before / after the bag is placed or pulled. So frustrating.

I take brew days very seriously lol. Fresh shower, clothes, hair free 😂. I guess I need to start doing this for starter day too. I also have brew days in my basement where my dogs don’t spent as much time. Maybe all grain starters aren’t the way. If this starter is infected I may move to dry yeast and no starters until my luck changes.

I ferment in a 15 gallon torpedo keg. I’ve been thinking of ways to keep a closed system at flameout. Transferring through a ball lock post would probably not be ideal though. I also use an immersion chiller which keeps me kettle open. I have been thinking of upgrading to a counter flow chiller. I have a stainless jaded chiller currently.
 
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No dog hair here but we have two cats; however I brew in the attached garage where they are not allowed specifically to minimize fur contamination. Ditto on the hot shower and fresh clothes on brew days, also brush my teeth and use listerine after reading here about another brewer who identified breathing over kettle and fermenter as a potential vector for infection. Sleeves stay rolled up, dipping hands frequently in sanitizer then wiping hands/forearms with wet paper towels. Can't be too careful.

Also, my wife knows full well no scooping of litter, running the vacuum cleaner, or anything else that raises dust until after the yeast has been pitched and the fermenter is sealed up.

Could you install an immersion chiller through the lid? Drop that on just before flame out to sanitize before switching on the coolant flow.

I too like to keep the lid on the fermenter once it's been sanitized, and transfer from the kettle valve with a short length of silicone tubing through a hole in the lid, and drape a sanitizer-soaked paper towel over the lid hole to minimize the gaps.
 

Ridenour64

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It’s just sitting there, looking at me. 🤣
 

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Ridenour64

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I’m brewing on a electric /220V system. I also have a detached garage on a house that I don’t planning staying in forever so I don’t think it’s worth it to make a run to the garage. I would love to brew in my garage and away from pets. I have thought about buying a propane setup until I move to a home that has a better set up for this.

I have thought about plumbing my immersion chiller to the lid.
 

IslandLizard

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Also, my wife knows full well no scooping of litter, running the vacuum cleaner, or anything else that raises dust until after the yeast has been pitched and the fermenter is sealed up.
I also turn the AC/heat pump off on the thermostat when working with yeast and infection-critical things. I expect Brett to live in the duct work, but likely something way worse.
 

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I’m brewing on a electric /220V system. I also have a detached garage on a house that I don’t planning staying in forever so I don’t think it’s worth it to make a run to the garage. I would love to brew in my garage and away from pets. I have thought about buying a propane setup until I move to a home that has a better set up for this.
Once you brew electric you never want to go back to gas. At least not on a regular basis.

I'd filter that wort as it goes into your well cleaned and sanitized flask. A coffee filter would do or a funnel lined with a piece of voile. Try to reduce the even small chance of a featherlight strand of fur making it into your starter wort.
 

IslandLizard

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[...] and drape a sanitizer-soaked paper towel over the lid hole to minimize the gaps.
Similarly here.
I have a whole bunch of dedicated small, thinnish cotton washcloths (Dollar store) that live in my Starsan bucket for just that purpose. Also used for mopping the inside of buckets, funnels, lids, etc. It prefer the "scrubbing/mopping" over merely spraying onto surfaces, and it generates a thick foamy film that stays on, even vertical surfaces.

Those same washcloths cover the wide open mouths of pickle jars and flasks while waiting to be filled or while being oxygenated.
 

Ridenour64

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I thought I was serious about about cleaning / sanitizing sounds like you guys are levels above me.

So what would you guys recommend here. Is a starter with a confirmed piece of hair a dumper? Wait and see?
 
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I thought I was serious about about cleaning / sanitizing sounds like you guys are levels above me.

So what would you guys recommend here. Is a starter with a confirmed piece of hair a dumper? Wait and see?
The video above looks completely normal to me, but since you can see the dog hair, I'd dump the starter and pitch a dry yeast. No point in risking the entire batch over the cost of the starter. As far as brewing lessons learned, this was a relatively cheap one. ;)

On a side note, I use canned wort to make my starters to save time, or just measure out some DME and boil it briefly. Mashing some grain to do it might be a bit cheaper, but involves a lot more steps and time investment, and requires even more careful sanitation practices. Lots of places to go wrong, but YMMV. I also have read that some brewers add a bit of hops to the starter, not sure how much antibacterial protection that provides, but it's something you might look into.
 
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Ridenour64

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I feel like I’m taking over thing thread, but this is clearly infected right?
 

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Iggles

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No dog hair here but we have two cats; however I brew in the attached garage where they are not allowed specifically to minimize fur contamination. Ditto on the hot shower and fresh clothes on brew days, also brush my teeth and use listerine after reading here about another brewer who identified breathing over kettle and fermenter as a potential vector for infection. Sleeves stay rolled up, dipping hands frequently in sanitizer then wiping hands/forearms with wet paper towels. Can't be too careful.

Also, my wife knows full well no scooping of litter, running the vacuum cleaner, or anything else that raises dust until after the yeast has been pitched and the fermenter is sealed up.

Could you install an immersion chiller through the lid? Drop that on just before flame out to sanitize before switching on the coolant flow.

I too like to keep the lid on the fermenter once it's been sanitized, and transfer from the kettle valve with a short length of silicone tubing through a hole in the lid, and drape a sanitizer-soaked paper towel over the lid hole to minimize the gaps.

While doing research in a microbiology lab (on S cerevisiae), not talking while performing sterile work was something I took quite seriously. I genuinely think it's a major source of contamination. But I'm also learning to loosen up a bit: working in a sanitized environment is not the same as working in a sterile environment
 

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Similarly here.
I have a whole bunch of dedicated small, thinnish cotton washcloths (Dollar store) that live in my Starsan bucket for just that purpose. Also used for mopping the inside of buckets, funnels, lids, etc. It prefer the "scrubbing/mopping" over merely spraying onto surfaces, and it generates a thick foamy film that stays on, even vertical surfaces.

Those same washcloths cover the wide open mouths of pickle jars and flasks while waiting to be filled or while being oxygenated.
Using the same cloths for covering pickle jars. Do you worry about introducing Acetobacter which could convert you entire brew into vinegar.
I've made apple cider vinegar in the past but keep everything separate from my homebrew & even make it in another room.
 

IslandLizard

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Using the same cloths for covering pickle jars. Do you worry about introducing Acetobacter which could convert you entire brew into vinegar.
I've made apple cider vinegar in the past but keep everything separate from my homebrew & even make it in another room.
Ah, good catch!
You're right, best to keep acetobacter well away from beer, preventing cross contamination.

Those "pickle jars" are just re-purposed (glass) vessels I use for making yeast starters. ;)
I have 2 orbital lab shakers, so any fairly wide bottomed vessel works wonderful on those. 1/2 gallon is an excellent size for making yeast starters!

I haven't made pickles in ages. But now you've mentioned it, yum, yum, we need to do them again.
 

Ridenour64

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This one was imperial A38 Juice. Took off quick and strong. You say go for it even with the confirmed hair? I’m almost certain that hair was boiled though.

Smells good. Haven’t tasted
 

IslandLizard

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This one was imperial A38 Juice. Took off quick and strong. You say go for it even with the confirmed hair? I’m almost certain that hair was boiled though.

Smells good. Haven’t tasted
Wow! I've used her cousin WY1318 a lot, but never had her bubbling thick like that.

Is that right after turning the stir plate off?
1 pack of A38 in 4 liters?
She's fermenting like crazy, look at the 1000s of those little bubbles rising. Maybe she's just very active.
Do you think you get enough air (O2) in that flask while stirring, to promote growth over fermentation?

How about pitch some of that thick creamy top into 1 or 2 quarts of 1.050-60 unhopped wort and see what it does at room temps? Look for early pellicle formation and other signs of possible infection, such as aroma, flavor. You should know in 2-4 days.

But only a microscope (and knowing what to look for) can reveal what other microorganisms are in there, if any.
 

Ridenour64

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I think it was off, and had been off for a while at that time (stir plate). It was 1 pack of yeast to 4L of wort. But yeah it really took off. Pitched at maybe 11PM and the bubbles were rising like that in the morning. It was a 200 billion cell pack. I honestly didn’t shake at all to add oxygen prior too (I forgot), but it was on a stir plate with only foil covering the top.

I think I made up my mind though.29CC22D1-93DA-4E62-9C90-B34F23DCC6DC.jpeg
Oo and guess what this is for 🤣

D2FF00BB-DDB2-4900-9A56-1C336251554A.jpeg
 

IslandLizard

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I think I made up my mind though. 29CC22D1-93DA-4E62-9C90-B34F23DCC6DC.jpeg
:( 😭

Oo and guess what this is for 🤣

D2FF00BB-DDB2-4900-9A56-1C336251554A.jpeg
It's a funnel strainer...
But clueless what you're gonna use it for. ;)
You're brewing, perhaps?

If so, I'd give that A38 Juice starter a chance in some of the wort to prove herself healthy.

If that's indeed an infection, I doubt it being from the little dog hair that got boiled. Something else is going on.

[Revisit] Oh, wait, is that funnel strainer to strain your all-grain starter wort? At what point in the process?

For reference, apparently, mesh bags, and likely mesh sieves too, are about impossible to sanitize to any standard, without autoclaving them or reboiling the wort that went through it.
 

Ridenour64

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Was the cry face for my choice of yeast? I’ve read a bit of criticism about it but my local home
Brew store doesn’t have the greatest selection.

The funnel strainer is for a future effort at an all grain starter. After the mash, I will funnel strain the wort into the flask pre boil. Dog hair won’t stand a chance. I agree on the mesh though and would never let something like that hit my wort post boil.
 

IslandLizard

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Was the cry face for my choice of yeast?
No, the crying is for the verdict on your 2nd all-grain starter going down the tubes.
Not crying for using dry yeast, or that strain, it should be fine.

Allegedly the dry yeast is a dried Boddington strain, so let us know how it turned out.

Here's Brulosophy's take on a comparison with S-04:

The funnel strainer is for a future effort at an all grain starter. After the mash, I will funnel strain the wort into the flask pre boil. Dog hair won’t stand a chance. I agree on the mesh though and would never let something like that hit my wort post boil.
As I mentioned before, I'm thinking something else is going on that causes those infections. To me, the "boiling" in the flask sticks out as being not good enough.
I'd switch to boiling (hard) in a stainless pot on the stove for at least 10'. Then, with a lid on it, chill in the sink or in a tub with cold water.
 

Ridenour64

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I have a hard time with thinking that it’s the boiling in the flask. This is how I’ve always done it. This time I boiled for 30 minutes. I also switched from the bottle of star San (mixed with RO maybe a month back?) back to rubbing alcohol (I’ve used this for every starter I’ve ever made prior to the second to last one - for sanitizing the outside of the yeast pack, and scissors, and the foil that goes on top - then allow the pack of yeast and scissors to dry prior to cutting the pack).
These are the only 2 times I’ve ever made starters with all grain. All prior were made with DME. I don’t recall any of my prior starters looking like this, but the materials used to make them were different. I’ve also never seen what a batch of beer looks like while fermenting because I’ve always fermented in stainless steel. I’m wondering if neither of these were infected. Maybe I just don’t know what an all grain brew fermentation looks like..
 

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Maybe I just don’t know what an all grain brew fermentation looks like..
They really should not be any different from (DME or LME) extract based fermentations/yeast propagations.

Extracts originate as all-grain mashes at the maltsters. They just save you the time involved for mashing, lautering, sparging, and boiling/concentrating, while driving off DMS.

Thick, floating, bubbling yeast masses are normal in top fermenting fermentations. That's where top cropped yeast is harvested. But it's not normal in continuously agitated starters.
Maybe this look is just normal for your starter system. How does it look when using extracts?

4 liters is a large volume for a small plate to spin. Maybe that's where the thick yeast layer floating on top comes from. Hence the large bubbles, perhaps she's more busy fermenting rather than propagating/growing yeast due to lack of air/O2?

I just wonder about the large slimy bubbles in both of those all-grain starters, and what looks like (white) pellicle remnants in the first one.
 
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So this one is creating larger bubbles as well that stick around for a while but then burst. I’m wondering if it’s just because the stir bar is brining all the small bubbles to the center and causing them to combine into what’s seen.

I’m fairly confident that the only opportunity for hair to have gotten into it was during the one hour mash on the stove. I open and stir a few times over the course of an hour. Then I transfer to flask and boil. Once it’s into the flask, I assume risk for debris entry is minimal.

apparently I need to immediately shower, and put on a fresh pair of clothes prior to making a starter. Dang dogs.

Thoughts?

That's just air/CO2. crank up the speed a bit, it'll make a funnel.
 

Ridenour64

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Soo I already made my batch of beer and pitched the dry yeast, but I kept this around just to see what would happen. This is what it looks like today.

The floaters that are hanging out maybe .5 inch below the 4 Liter mark are kinda odd looking. They are very still. Almost as if something is holding it there.
 

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IslandLizard

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Soo I already made my batch of beer and pitched the dry yeast, but I kept this around just to see what would happen. This is what it looks like today.
I'm flabbergasted!
If it were infected chances are you'd see a pellicle covering the surface by now.
I have no clue what those floating/suspended thread-like particles are.

Can you carefully fish one out and inspect with a magnifier, or microscope, if you have one.

Have you tasted the starter beer for any off flavors. sourness, etc.?
 

Ridenour64

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I too thought the stringy/ strand like things at the top looked odd, along with the under surface floaters. However, while looking at it, I did see a small bubble here and there rising to the top and I assume that is carrying debris up to the top. I was actually going to taste it today, but when I looked at it, I figured I should check with you guys first 🤣. I have no device that I could zoom in with to look further. I wouldn’t know what I was looking at anyways lol.
 

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So I tasted today and took a gravity reading. It obviously didn’t taste good, it tasted slightly gross but I think that’s more because it’s been sitting with a foil lid for however long. I would say it tasted like that more likely because of oxidation. My fiancé said it smelled like puke but I think she was being harsh because I asked her to taste it with me 🤣. Gravity was 1.007 with a brew father prediction of 1.010.
 

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My fiancé said it smelled like puke but I think she was being harsh because I asked her to taste it with me 🤣.
Did it taste like that too?
Or more in the realm fecal matter smells, burnt rubber, or sheer death?

I've tasted starter beer thats been sitting with the foil for a month in the fridge, cold crashing, but didn't get to brew with it yet. Not always the most enticing, like fresh starter beer can be, actually. But nothing like an infected starter, some of those can surely make you heave and make you swear to never do that again. Until the next time...
 

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I swallowed it if that says anything lol. The best word I could use to describe it was musty. I actually took a few sips. It was far from rancid. I always sip my starters and I find them to be decent, but usually only a few days after making them and after cold crashing.
 

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I swallowed it if that says anything lol. The best word I could use to describe it was musty. I actually took a few sips. It was far from rancid. I always sip my starters and I find them to be decent, but usually only a few days after making them and after cold crashing.
So the starter may well be fine then, right?
Decant, save out the slurry, and put some into a small batch, such as on the side of a larger batch. See what happens.
 

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I’m not going to use it at this point I’m just interested in learning more about infections and how to identify them.
 

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You'd learn by inoculating a small test batch (say a 3/4 gallon in a gallon jug) with some of this cultured yeast.

Wouldn’t you expect it to be the same as the prior? Or because if it was infected, it would have had a chance to grow in the starter and would have more obvious signs in the next?
 

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Hi. I’m new to brewing and this was my 3rd brew. The first two came out perfect however this Irish blond ale is forming white dandruff in the secondary after almost 4 weeks. It was in the primary for 2 weeks. Was curious if this is a byproduct of the reactions or scary mold.

just an update: the beer conditioned in bottles and it came out great. Either caught it early enough or was a yeast I guess. Thanks.
 
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