White film on top and it doesn't look like yeast...

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Well-Known Member
Sep 3, 2007
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Davis (outside Sacramento)
Ok, this is what I brewed yesterday. It's Cheese's CCA. Last night I found my blowoff tube curled out of the sanitized water and was exposed to the air. Seriously, vinyl tubing has become a nightmare for me. It could have been exposed for a max of about 5 hours. Needless to say, this is what I have on my hands. I've never had a contaminated batch. Is it safe to say that this beer is done for? Or could this simply be yeast, vanilla reaction, etc? This is my first time using glass carboys and I was sure to clean it thoroughly, but perhaps there was something still left in it or it snuck in while my blowoff tube was exposed. This is a sad day. Let me know what you think and if there is anything I can do.


Edit: the flash on the camera obscures some of the image, but this is pretty much what it looks like
look like mold? IDK... i'd rack it into another container and see what happens. If its mold the beer is still good! HAHA!
I can't quite tell from the picture, but it looks fine to me. If fermentation was going, pressure will blow everything out of the tube, not suck anything in. Bacteria don't just fly up the tube by themselves.
That's probably fine. I bet it turns into a nice healthy krausen in a few days.

Does it look like clumped masses of fine bubbles? I usually get clumps of CO2 bubbles that form into these big 'bubble masses' that just get stuck together. Chances are this is the same.
Ok, I've added more pictures. Take them for what they are. It looks like a soft blanket of fine bubbles molded (pardon that) together. No sign of yeast bubbling... I pitched at 530 PM PST January 6 so it's been less than 24 hours...so nothing much is getting "pushed" out yet. I hope nothing "climbed" up that tube. Whatever it is, it grew FAST. I guess I'll see what happens. I was furious and about to dump the concoction down the drain and be done with it. I'm leaving town for several months (no contact with the HB) so it's important to me that I get something successfully going- otherwise I could brew something else in its place.:drunk:

EDIT: Check above link for updated photos.
I recently brewed a porter using 2-row and the leftover specialty grains I had lying around. At some point while it was in the secondary, my roomie knocked the airlock off. When I found it, there was a milky white film and some bubbles on the surface. I bottled it two days ago, and the sample i tasted had the cleanest flavor of any ale I've made in the past year. Beer is crazy... go figure.
It still looks fine. I wouldn't leave it in primary for a few months, but would be ok racking it to secondary and letting it sit.

I doubt it's infected just by your tube being out in the open. I honestly think it takes effort to get infected.
You can see all sorts of things in a fermenter. Some infections can look sort of like that with tentacle like things hanging from it...but so can't many other things. Whatever you do...DO NOT TOSS IT until you know it's infected. You will know this by tasting it and it will be obvious if it is. It's so sad when people toss good beer because they're worried.
That looks like the beginning of a healthy fermentation to me. I've had mine sprout a small mass of bubbles like that. Leave it alone. Racking to another fermenter is more likely to get your beer infected than having blowoff hose dangling for a few hours.
It looks like it's a massive yeast infection to me. You'll have to let it run it's course, bottle it, then filter it through your liver and kidneys.
Bacteria and wild yeasties don't crawl up! Unless you have a fruit fly problem, it's unlikely that having the blowoff tube out of the sanitizer would do anything. Remember Pasteur's seminal experiment? He didn't have any liquid barrier in his gooseneck flask. You're probably fine, and fermenting beer can look all kinds of strange.
My microbio. education says your just fine dude. If your worried taste, and smell it. Keep in mind some strains of yeast smell funky all on their own. Check the temp. if it is high or low this will slow things down, and so will poor oxygenation. After tasting it, I guess I wouldn't worry about it. Good luck.
Update: Everything is fantastic. It was just beginning yeast formation. I feel like such a noob after this. A very healthy-looking krausen has developed and I'm stoked. Looking forward to tasting it several months from now when I get back.
As long as several is less than about 3 he will be fine. Hell it could go even longer than that depending on the beer style.