Ruh-roh... growth on my blackberries =/ Best steps to move forward?

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thisissami

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Hi All - looks like I've made a serious mistake by not stirring the blackberries after I closed the lid on the primary fermentor (I had a towel for the first 5-6 days and was stirring the blackberries 1-2 times a day in that period). It's been 2 days since I last stirred, and I just opened the bucket following a recommendation in a different thread. I was sad to find a white growth on the exposed berries (see attached image).

My intuition tells me that I should immediately rack to secondary and dissolve a bunch of campden tablets into the must. Before I do that, I wanted to get a secondary opinion from some of y'all here. Anybody have any thoughts to share one way or another?

Cheers, and thanks for taking the time to read this!
Sami
 

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thisissami

thisissami

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Update: I opted to rack to secondary and put 5 campden tablets tomorrow. I'm thinking of going to the local home brewing store near my house tomorrow to pick up some Potassium Sorbate as well. I'll also be using a pair of (sanitized) tongs to grab the little bits of blackberry that got into the carboy. :) The SG is 1.007, which when compared to the OG of 1.095 - is just around 12%. Tastes delicious!!! :D

Next time I am 100% putting all my berries in a food-safe sanitized net of sorts and weighing it down with a sanitized weight. (would a pretty rock or crystal that I found that I left in star san solution overnight work, or would that have a chance of ruining things?)
 

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gratus fermentatio

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The "white growth" in the 1st pic looks like yeast to me, completely normal. I wouldn't hit it with sulfites just yet, I think you'd be better off just waiting & letting the yeast finish up the fermentation. Containing the fruit in a mesh sack is pretty standard, I do it all the time, but I don't bother to weigh it down, I just "punch the cap," meaning to push it down into the must regularly, usually 2 or 3 times a day. I do weigh down the hop sack I use to contain spices though, I use sanitized glass marbles. I suppose you could use a rock if you want, though I'd be concerned about all those tiny nooks & crannies in the stone's surface harboring bacteria. Maybe the Starsan would get into all of them, maybe not; surface tension might allow tiny areas to remain unsanitized.

I think your best bet is to "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew." Looks like you've already racked, so time & yeast are your friends at this point, let them work for you. When the must clears, or when you have roughly an inch of lees (sediment) rack again, you might want to hit it with sulfites then, mainly to protect it from oxidation. I certainly would use sorbate at this point (I never use it at all), wait till fermentation is complete & then if you want to backsweeten, use it then; otherwise I wouldn't use it at all.
Regards, GF.
 
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thisissami

thisissami

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The "white growth" in the 1st pic looks like yeast to me, completely normal. I wouldn't hit it with sulfites just yet, I think you'd be better off just waiting & letting the yeast finish up the fermentation. Containing the fruit in a mesh sack is pretty standard, I do it all the time, but I don't bother to weigh it down, I just "punch the cap," meaning to push it down into the must regularly, usually 2 or 3 times a day. I do weigh down the hop sack I use to contain spices though, I use sanitized glass marbles. I suppose you could use a rock if you want, though I'd be concerned about all those tiny nooks & crannies in the stone's surface harboring bacteria. Maybe the Starsan would get into all of them, maybe not; surface tension might allow tiny areas to remain unsanitized.

I think your best bet is to "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew." Looks like you've already racked, so time & yeast are your friends at this point, let them work for you. When the must clears, or when you have roughly an inch of lees (sediment) rack again, you might want to hit it with sulfites then, mainly to protect it from oxidation. I certainly would use sorbate at this point (I never use it at all), wait till fermentation is complete & then if you want to backsweeten, use it then; otherwise I wouldn't use it at all.
Regards, GF.
Yeast builds up outside of the must like that? i figured the yeast would mostly be within the must...

Yeah too late to ignore it at this point :) the racking has been done and 5 campden tablets have been added to the must in the carboy. i do have to say, i'm quite happy with the decision, as the little bit of sweetness that has been left in the mead is quite delicious!! i'm happy i didn't let it go fully dry. the alcohol content is perfect too. i think i want to grab some potassium sorbate tomorrow and add it into the mix as well to ensure that the yeast can't ferment anymore, as i really love where it's at right now flavor-wise.
 
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