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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: BrodyR on February 10, 2015, 09:30:58 PM

Title: Horrific Infection
Post by: BrodyR on February 10, 2015, 09:30:58 PM
http://s5.postimg.org/bnoyxql53/unnamed.jpg

(http://s5.postimg.org/bnoyxql53/unnamed.jpg)

What horror is this? I tried my normal pale ale with a variance of Vermont Ale Yeast ordered from the yeast bay. Fermentation seemed pretty mellow by airlock activity/krausen but gravity was dropping so I let it be. I went to dry hop and discovered this. Think it's safe to drink? Think I should ditch the bucket after?
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: chumley on February 10, 2015, 09:37:30 PM
Looks like a lactic infection.  Might be drinkable. It's better than mold.

Give the bucket a good cleaning followed by a soak with a bleach solution.  Triple rinse.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 10, 2015, 09:43:35 PM
The infection could be brett or even mold.  It's difficult to tell from the photograph.  Is the infection fuzzy? 
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 10, 2015, 09:46:31 PM
By the way, have you been playing with non-Saccharomyces cultures such a Brett, Pedio, or Lacto?
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: BrodyR on February 10, 2015, 10:25:07 PM
Not really fuzzy and no, I haven't been messing with any Brett/Lacto/Pedio. I wonder how much effect a but of Lacto will have on a hoppy pale ale.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: dannyjed on February 10, 2015, 10:35:08 PM
Since it is hoppy, I think it probably is not Lacto. It could be brett, but you'll really need to taste it and report back. By the way, I think it looks awesome because I just got into making sours over a year ago, however, I intended for them to look that way.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: BrodyR on February 10, 2015, 10:37:09 PM
Since it is hoppy, I think it probably is not Lacto. It could be brett, but you'll really need to taste it and report back. By the way, I think it looks awesome because I just got into making sours over a year ago, however, I intended for them to look that way.

Hmm, lacto doesn't like hops? I haven't tried any sours so unfamiliar.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 10, 2015, 10:39:24 PM
that picture looks like a new planet   :o
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: BrodyR on February 10, 2015, 10:43:50 PM
that picture looks like a new planet   :o

Yea.. sigh... hahah.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: brewinhard on February 10, 2015, 10:46:45 PM
I would guess brett or possibly acetobacter.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 10, 2015, 11:10:09 PM

that picture looks like a new planet   :o

Yea.. sigh... hahah.

NASA introduces planet Brett......

(http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/10/89b5a1990e84bd63effc32f434a218f4.jpg)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: WDE97 on February 10, 2015, 11:32:15 PM
Which Yeast Bay yeast did you use? I have used several of their sour blends and that is exactly what it looked like. I wonder if they sent you the wrong yeast, or maybe it was mislabeled. Let it ride and maybe it will turn out pretty good!
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: BrodyR on February 11, 2015, 01:04:11 AM
Which Yeast Bay yeast did you use? I have used several of their sour blends and that is exactly what it looked like. I wonder if they sent you the wrong yeast, or maybe it was mislabeled. Let it ride and maybe it will turn out pretty good!

Vermont, the Conan one. Yea we'll see how it rolls - I bought 2 vials. Was planning on reusing this one but will scrap it with the infection and brew the same beer with the second one for comparison.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: Stevie on February 11, 2015, 01:29:20 AM
That's odd. Considering manufacturing is handled by whitelabs, I imagine the quality control is high. Very strange.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: klickitat jim on February 11, 2015, 01:44:58 AM
What does it smell like?
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: unclebrazzie on February 11, 2015, 11:11:09 AM
Looks like a wild yeast pellicle. Likely Brett, but that'd depend on your IBU. Lacto doesn't like IBUs upward of 20. Pedio I'm not sure about, but wil yeast & Bretts form pellicles just like yours. Leave it alone for a couple of months or until it subsides. Smell and taste, and you'll probably not notice anything wrong with it.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: reverseapachemaster on February 11, 2015, 03:36:02 PM
There's a lot of different bacteria or wild yeast that could be. You can't look at a pellicle and make any kind of reasoned guess at what has infected your beer. Weird flavors can come from bacteria or yeast. Same with sourness but sourness is more likely to come from bacteria than yeast.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: beersk on February 11, 2015, 05:58:04 PM
What does Brett smell and/or taste like?
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on February 11, 2015, 08:15:41 PM
If you had active fermentation that yielded an ABV higher than 2% or so, its safe to drink.

I wouldn't toss the other yeast pack. The infection source is MUCH more likely to happen on the homebrewer side than the yeast lab side, no matter how sophisticated your setup.

You can't determine the type of yeast/bacteria from the pellicle. As stated by others, lacto/pedio and most other bacteria are less likely because of the APA hop load and short time frame. Wild yeast (brett, etc.) is the most probable source.

Acetobacter is another possibility if you have too much oxygen pickup after fermentation starts. Excessive headspace in the fermentor or frequent sampling can introduce acetobacter and oxygen. I'd consider it a distant second, though.

Given the above, taste it. If the beer is sour, its most likely bacteria. If its not sour, it is most likely Brett/wild yeast.

In either case, its a risk to future batches to keep the old plastic parts around. However if you're on a budget, you can still keep them and minimize risk.

Give your bucket, lid, airlock, and any other cold side soft parts a good soak in PBW, then rinse well and soak with Star San. No need for high concentrations of either. DO NOT USE BLEACH. Its unnecessary and permeates plastic. Bad news. IMO bleach has no place in any brewery.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: BrodyR on February 11, 2015, 10:26:36 PM
If you had active fermentation that yielded an ABV higher than 2% or so, its safe to drink.

I wouldn't toss the other yeast pack. The infection source is MUCH more likely to happen on the homebrewer side than the yeast lab side, no matter how sophisticated your setup.

You can't determine the type of yeast/bacteria from the pellicle. As stated by others, lacto/pedio and most other bacteria are less likely because of the APA hop load and short time frame. Wild yeast (brett, etc.) is the most probable source.

Acetobacter is another possibility if you have too much oxygen pickup after fermentation starts. Excessive headspace in the fermentor or frequent sampling can introduce acetobacter and oxygen. I'd consider it a distant second, though.

Given the above, taste it. If the beer is sour, its most likely bacteria. If its not sour, it is most likely Brett/wild yeast.

In either case, its a risk to future batches to keep the old plastic parts around. However if you're on a budget, you can still keep them and minimize risk.

Give your bucket, lid, airlock, and any other cold side soft parts a good soak in PBW, then rinse well and soak with Star San. No need for high concentrations of either. DO NOT USE BLEACH. Its unnecessary and permeates plastic. Bad news. IMO bleach has no place in any brewery.

Appreciate all the input:

Yea, I got down to 1.010 with ~5% abv.
Agreed - I'd assume White Labs QC is a lot better than mine.
I estimated 30IBU's + massive steeped hops at 170f
I'll rack into the keg in a few days (after dry hopping), crash it, and let everyone know how it tastes.
I do have some extra carboys around so maybe I'll delegate this one to other, non fermentation, tasks.
The bleach idea scares me a bit too but definitely PBW/Star San

Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: pete b on February 12, 2015, 12:50:32 AM

DO NOT USE BLEACH. Its unnecessary and permeates plastic. Bad news. IMO bleach has no place in any brewery.
I occasionally use a bleach solution when I feel a need to go nuclear after an infection. Assuming the solution really is permeating the plastic, what is the ill effect? I have never tasted or smelled chlorine the next time I have used my equipment, it certainly isn't left in a large enough amount to inhibit fermentation, and I've never tasted it in my beer. Is something going on that I can't readily observe the effects of?
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on February 12, 2015, 10:56:08 PM

DO NOT USE BLEACH. Its unnecessary and permeates plastic. Bad news. IMO bleach has no place in any brewery.
I occasionally use a bleach solution when I feel a need to go nuclear after an infection. Assuming the solution really is permeating the plastic, what is the ill effect? I have never tasted or smelled chlorine the next time I have used my equipment, it certainly isn't left in a large enough amount to inhibit fermentation, and I've never tasted it in my beer. Is something going on that I can't readily observe the effects of?

I stopped using bleach about a year into brewing when my tubing and buckets reeked of it, even after several hot rinses. I'm sure wasn't enough to cause an issue, but the chlorine odor (or lack thereof) is the best way to tell you've rinsed effectively.

Small gripe in the grand scheme of things, but bleach is bad news for several other reasons:

Bleach solution has no additional 'penetrating power' than that of a Star-San or iodophor solution, nor does it offer a higher level of disinfection. At recommended concentrations, bleach requires significantly longer contact time than Star San (20 min vs 30 sec). Higher concentrations don't necessarily mean shorter contact times or increased effectiveness, but it does mean more rinsing. More is not always better.

Because of the long contact time, soaking is the only effective use for bleach, whereas Star San can be sprayed onto surfaces almost immediately before use.

For these reasons, its so much easier to 'miss a spot' with bleach.

I have more gripes about bleach, but I think its enough to say that it is in no way superior to Star San. Lots of homebrewers use bleach and make great beer. I'm just saying that great beer would be easier to make (and make consistently) without it.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: pete b on February 13, 2015, 02:45:30 PM
It certainly seems reasonable that I have soaked my equipment in bleach solution 4 or 5 times in 5 years. I've only used it to soak for awhile so at least I'm using it effectively.
Title: Re: Horrific Infection
Post by: BrodyR on February 18, 2015, 05:50:02 AM
Well the beer is now kegged up and I pulled a sample today - surprisingly no off flavours, certainly not sour. My guess is that it was a wild yeast that didn't have enough time to develop into any strong flavor. Hopefully now that it's racked and cold it will stay that way.

I brewed the same batch right after with the other vial which is fermenting away atm. Will be interesting to compare it.