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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: phillamb168 on September 16, 2011, 10:46:33 AM

Title: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 16, 2011, 10:46:33 AM
BetterBottle #1  has an airlock and is bubbling happily, high krausen, etc. BetterBottle #2 has a piece of aluminum foil which I forgot to sanitize (hey, it was late...) and has what seems to be high krausen plus something that looks like slimy cloudy spiderwebs. I am guessing that #2 is infected? Beer is a Mild.

Thank God for double batches...
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: jeffy on September 16, 2011, 11:01:06 AM
I never sanitize aluminum foil and always use it to "cap" primary carboys.
Are you saying there are actual spider webs in the head space or does it just look like that?
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: Jimmy K on September 16, 2011, 01:01:09 PM
Yeah. I'd guess that foil is pretty sanitary out of the box and provides a good enough seal when the pressure inside is high. Taste it before you decide it is infected.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 16, 2011, 01:08:39 PM
I gave it a whiff and it smelled a bit weird - like a tang or something. The other smells like normal ferment. I'll post pictures when I get home this evening - perhaps that will help? And no, not actual spider webs, but definitely weird in a slimy cobweb kinda way. It's on top of the normal krausen layer.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: bluesman on September 16, 2011, 01:42:04 PM
Acetobactor can set in fairly quickly, usually after a week or two and then eventually will turn to vinegar aroma/flavor. In time it will form a milky white layer over the beer. The bacterial cells are worm like and form web-like structures.

Can you post a pic?
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: Mark G on September 16, 2011, 01:48:03 PM
I'll bet Ron is right... acetobacter, especially if you detect a "tang." I'll admit, I use foil all the time without sanitizing, mostly because I'm in a hurry or forget. Maybe I'm just lucky that it hasn't caused a problem. Post a pic if you've got one, and maybe taste a sample too.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: tschmidlin on September 16, 2011, 05:25:16 PM
Acetobactor can set in fairly quickly, usually after a week or two and then eventually will turn to vinegar aroma/flavor. In time it will form a milky white layer over the beer. The bacterial cells are worm like and form web-like structures.

Can you post a pic?
Worm like? :)
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: bluesman on September 16, 2011, 06:45:07 PM
Acetobactor can set in fairly quickly, usually after a week or two and then eventually will turn to vinegar aroma/flavor. In time it will form a milky white layer over the beer. The bacterial cells are worm like and form web-like structures.

Can you post a pic?
Worm like? :)

Like this.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/EscherichiaColi_NIAID.jpg)
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: euge on September 16, 2011, 06:49:08 PM
I was told not to worry about weird smells coming off the fermenter. ;) But, visual cues ought to help aid in the diagnosis. Can you post some pics for us Phil?

And the good old taste-test should be the best indicator of whether or not this beer is infected.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: tschmidlin on September 16, 2011, 06:49:33 PM
Yes, they are rod bacteria.  They just don't seem worm like to me. ;)
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: tygo on September 16, 2011, 07:27:55 PM
Yes, they are rod bacteria.  They just don't seem worm like to me. ;)

More like little caterpillars.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: blorvak on September 17, 2011, 12:35:56 AM
I've heard that labs consider aluminum foil as sanitary off the roll.  It's a pretty hostile environment for something to try and grow on. 

However, I always use a rubber band to secure foil on my starters, as fruit flies are pretty industrious.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: tschmidlin on September 17, 2011, 06:52:36 AM
I've heard that labs consider aluminum foil as sanitary off the roll.
It never came up for us - the only thing we used foil for was covering flasks that were then autoclaved.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: bluesman on September 18, 2011, 10:30:23 PM
Yes...rod like is a better descriptive. In any event they are not preferred in beer. Keeping tabs on your sanitation will prevent these little guys from rearing their ugly heads.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: majorvices on September 18, 2011, 10:44:05 PM
FWIW aluminum foil, plastic bags, paper towels are sanitary from the roll/box.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: tschmidlin on September 18, 2011, 10:48:40 PM
Yes...rod like is a better descriptive. In any event they are not preferred in beer. Keeping tabs on your sanitation will prevent these little guys from rearing their ugly heads.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacteria#Etymology
Etymology
The word bacteria is the plural of the New Latin bacterium, which is the latinisation of the Greek βακτήριον (baktērion),[10] the diminutive of βακτηρία (baktēria), meaning "staff, cane",[11] because the first ones to be discovered were rod-shaped.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: maxieboy on September 19, 2011, 12:25:36 AM
FWIW aluminum foil, plastic bags, paper towels are sanitary from the roll/box.

I don't chance it. Sanitizing is EASY. It's BEER for gosh sakes!  ;D  Closing in on 400 batches in 12 yrs. with one contamination(batch #2).

ETA; I posted awhile back on how I thought I had a bad batch. It turned out fine, just didn't taste worth a s**t green...
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 19, 2011, 09:30:49 AM
Oh no, this is definitely infected. Both of them, I think.

(http://philliplamb.com/badbatch2.jpg)
Really bad

(http://philliplamb.com/badbatch3.jpg)
Closeup of the top of the betterbottle of the bad one...

(http://philliplamb.com/badbatch1.jpg)
The other fermenter, less milky but still there.

Dahmn. This is my first infected batch ever. I wonder if I got a bad yeast slant from White Labs? Ferment was pretty durn slow and when I tried some of the 'beer' on top of the slant (perhaps you're not supposed to do that?) it tasted FOUL. I assumed it was yeast nutrients and other things, but I think that should have been a warning sign.

What's the best way to make sure this doesn't happen again? Dump, soak in bleach then soak in pbw then star san? I think it might be time to autocalve my Erlenmeyer as well...
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: jeffy on September 19, 2011, 10:15:28 AM
I hope you are not declaring it infected just from what you can see.  What I see in the pictures indicates a vigorous fermentation, that's all.  Have you tasted it yet?
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 19, 2011, 10:36:03 AM
I hope you are not declaring it infected just from what you can see.  What I see in the pictures indicates a vigorous fermentation, that's all.  Have you tasted it yet?

Not yet... But I'm concerned at 'vigorous fermentation' because the OG on this one was 1035.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: jeffy on September 19, 2011, 11:07:12 AM
I hope you are not declaring it infected just from what you can see.  What I see in the pictures indicates a vigorous fermentation, that's all.  Have you tasted it yet?

Not yet... But I'm concerned at 'vigorous fermentation' because the OG on this one was 1035.
That's what I would normally expect with low gravity and a lot of yeast - a very strong and fast ferment.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: majorvices on September 19, 2011, 11:53:11 AM
FWIW aluminum foil, plastic bags, paper towels are sanitary from the roll/box.

I don't chance it. Sanitizing is EASY. It's BEER for gosh sakes!  ;D  Closing in on 400 batches in 12 yrs. with one contamination(batch #2).

ETA; I posted awhile back on how I thought I had a bad batch. It turned out fine, just didn't taste worth a s**t green...

I usually dump my paper towels in sanitizer, foil I do occasionally but don't sweat it if the foil is not dipped in sanitizer. For instance, if I am sanitizing a container to harvest yeast froma  fermenter I dunk the container and foil in sanitizer. But if I am just covering a bottom dump valve to keep it sanitary I just grab foil off the roll and cover it up. Paper towels I usually dunk but in a hurry I have been known to pull one off and use it as a sanitary surface. Convenience sometimes outweighs paranoia.  ;)
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: bo on September 19, 2011, 01:44:36 PM
If you have ever seen a plant where they blow film for bags or roll out aluminum, you'd realize that it's anything but sanitary. I always sanitize anything that comes in contact with my beer, even is it's right off the roll.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: denny on September 19, 2011, 03:25:21 PM
I usually dump my paper towels in sanitizer, foil I do occasionally but don't sweat it if the foil is not dipped in sanitizer. For instance, if I am sanitizing a container to harvest yeast froma  fermenter I dunk the container and foil in sanitizer. But if I am just covering a bottom dump valve to keep it sanitary I just grab foil off the roll and cover it up. Paper towels I usually dunk but in a hurry I have been known to pull one off and use it as a sanitary surface. Convenience sometimes outweighs paranoia.  ;)

Agreed.  I use paper towels, plastic wrap and foil right off the roll without sanitizing.  Never had a problem related to it.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: Kit B on September 21, 2011, 07:00:34 PM
Oh no, this is definitely infected. Both of them, I think.

(http://philliplamb.com/badbatch2.jpg)
Really bad

(http://philliplamb.com/badbatch3.jpg)
Closeup of the top of the betterbottle of the bad one...

(http://philliplamb.com/badbatch1.jpg)
The other fermenter, less milky but still there.

Dahmn. This is my first infected batch ever. I wonder if I got a bad yeast slant from White Labs? Ferment was pretty durn slow and when I tried some of the 'beer' on top of the slant (perhaps you're not supposed to do that?) it tasted FOUL. I assumed it was yeast nutrients and other things, but I think that should have been a warning sign.

What's the best way to make sure this doesn't happen again? Dump, soak in bleach then soak in pbw then star san? I think it might be time to autocalve my Erlenmeyer as well...

I really don't see anything abnornal, there.
Maybe it's the resolution, but it's just looking like a very active fermentation, to me.
If you smell strong vinegar, then I'd suggest being worried.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: dak0415 on September 21, 2011, 09:07:48 PM
What yeast were you using and what were the temps of each fermenter?
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 22, 2011, 02:36:43 PM
What yeast were you using and what were the temps of each fermenter?

White Labs WLP023 (Burton), 21 C/70 F
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 22, 2011, 02:37:21 PM
The thing about the 'bad' one is that I've never seen krausen or whatever it is that thick and sticky before. That and the fact that the two beers are filled from the same batch with the same yeast.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: jeffy on September 22, 2011, 03:02:59 PM
The thing about the 'bad' one is that I've never seen krausen or whatever it is that thick and sticky before. That and the fact that the two beers are filled from the same batch with the same yeast.
Mine look like that all the time.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: Mark G on September 22, 2011, 03:09:26 PM
I don't know about infected. It's hard to tell based on pictures, but it looks like it could be normal krausen, just lots of it. Keep in mind that the liquid stored in the yeast vial, just like the "beer" made in a starter, is generally not going to smell or taste very good. Have you pulled any samples for tasting yet?
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 22, 2011, 03:17:03 PM
Not yet but I'll do that tonight. Now you guys are getting my hopes up! :-)
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: dak0415 on September 22, 2011, 03:28:22 PM
Phil, check out the White Labs site and look at the WLP023 FAQs.  It is described as "stinky" in one FAQ.  Explosive in another.  Top cropping strains are going to have a much fuller, stickier head than others (think wheat beer yeast).  I think the secret is to start them off at lower temps and then raise to 68-70 after a few days to let them finish after the growth phase.  As far as the differences between the two carboys, are you sure you pitched the same amount of yeast into both?

Just freakin' relax and see how it turns out.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on September 22, 2011, 03:51:14 PM
Ah, nice. Thanks for the link. I would definitely describe what I was smelling as 'stinky.'

I was a bit upset because I really, really love this beer and wanted it to work out really well.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: Kit B on September 23, 2011, 02:08:36 PM
My fermentations look like this, more often than not.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: andylovesburritos on October 10, 2011, 07:27:43 PM
what is the foil for?
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: rbclay on October 11, 2011, 12:41:39 AM
6 weeks from now you may be saying these are the best beers you've ever made...
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: phillamb168 on November 10, 2011, 10:59:35 AM
6 weeks from now you may be saying these are the best beers you've ever made...

(http://p.twimg.com/Ad4k9QWCIAEdJSL.jpg)

Hey, whadayaknow, you were right :-) Poured from my brand new beer engine. I love that thing. I feel like there's no reason to ever dispense from a tap again. Except for lagers.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: morticaixavier on November 10, 2011, 03:54:39 PM
6 weeks from now you may be saying these are the best beers you've ever made...

(http://p.twimg.com/Ad4k9QWCIAEdJSL.jpg)

Hey, whadayaknow, you were right :-) Poured from my brand new beer engine. I love that thing. I feel like there's no reason to ever dispense from a tap again. Except for lagers.

nice. I want a beer engine. Course I have no place to put one but I still want.
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: jeffy on November 10, 2011, 06:04:28 PM
I once made a device that does something similar to a beer engine.  I bought a short length of small, threaded copper pipe, a copper cap to screw on one end and a hose barb to screw onto the other end.  I drilled six or so tiny little holes into the end of the cap, attached the other end to a hose from a picnic tap of kegged beer.  The beer is forced through the small holes and breaks the gas out of solution.  I found it in a Zymurgy gadget issue many years ago.  It makes the beer really creamy.  When I get home I'll see if I can add a photo.

By the way, Phil, we told you so!
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: rbclay on November 11, 2011, 03:11:57 AM
sweet! glad i was right...
Title: Re: Probably infected
Post by: ynotbrusum on November 15, 2011, 03:35:42 AM
That's one fine looking mild.  By the way, what terminal gravity did it reach?  It sure got there quickly based on the photos and the fact that it started at 1035.