Author Topic: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?  (Read 3116 times)

Offline breweite

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Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« on: December 09, 2012, 12:26:54 PM »
I had a couple guys taste my beer, and they all had a common denominator: Infection.  There is a slight sourness at the finish of all three. 1. Rye Ipa 2. Amber 3. Vienna/Saaz SMaSH.

Anyway, after a good while I've been trying to figure out what it could be.. I figured out all three beers had two things in common after the boil.  Same siphon hose AND fermentation chamber. The siphon house was exposed to brett awhile ago, however, I've made beers and haven't noticed it.  Also, my sanitation I feel is very sound. 

Secondly, and what I think may be the culprit is; mold in my chamber... and I had suck back on all three, I always do (doh!) Can mold spores exist in a starsan solution in my airlock?  And can that small suckback create an infection in my beer?  Suckback is happening when I lift airlocks off and before fermentation begins.  Also, there is a small amount of water around the carboy stopper that may drop inside if I don't lift exactly straight up!

*I can't keep up with the mold killing.  I've used baking soda to slow it down, but eventually it always arrives.  What does everyone do that may have mold spores floating around?? I feel like I cant be the only one with this issue..  Is cheap vodka the answer?  Advice please!  Thank You
-mw
Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline a10t2

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 12:43:45 PM »
Sourness wouldn't come from Brett or mold. Assuming it is from contamination, it would have to be an acid-producing bacterium. Most likely Acetobacter or Lactobacillus.

If that's the case, it's carried through your normal cleaning and sanitizing procedures twice, so rather than try something more extreme I'd just get rid of any plastic equipment the three beers had in common, and sterilize any metal equipment in the oven. If you're using only an acid-based sanitizer, I'd switch it up every once in a while and use something with a different mechanism of action, like an iodophor or chlorine dioxide.

Preventing backflow in the airlock is easy: just don't over-fill it. There should be a line printed or molded into the airlock that shows the optimal fill level.

To get rid of the mold, thoroughly clean and dry the chamber, then wet down the entire thing with a bleach solution in a spray bottle and let it air-dry.
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Offline breweite

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 12:52:08 PM »
Thank you for reply. Acetobacter, is what the gentlemen said!  What about a plastic auto-siphon?  Little pricey and I rather not toss that.. but I guess if I need to I will. And is bleach OK? (is that chlorine dioxide  :-\?)

Also, I feel like I don't over fill that airlock and I still get issues. In fact, I feel I'm a little anal about hitting that line. Thanks again
Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2012, 02:59:48 PM »
Thank you for reply. Acetobacter, is what the gentlemen said!  What about a plastic auto-siphon?  Little pricey and I rather not toss that.. but I guess if I need to I will. And is bleach OK? (is that chlorine dioxide  :-\?)

Also, I feel like I don't over fill that airlock and I still get issues. In fact, I feel I'm a little anal about hitting that line. Thanks again

Are you using the S type airlock or the three piece type? I don't know of a way to prevent some suckback on the 3 piece type.

+1 on NOT the mold. I have mold in my chamber all the time and I never get infections from it. I even skip the airlock and just put a piece of sanitized foil over the hole in the bucket sometimes with no ill effects.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline breweite

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2012, 03:36:00 PM »
I'm using three piece.  It won't fit with S type unless I'm using a 3 gallon carboy.. What do you mean about the foil, u skip the airlock all together, throughout the entire fermentation??
Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline erockrph

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 07:52:25 PM »
I'm using three piece.  It won't fit with S type unless I'm using a 3 gallon carboy.. What do you mean about the foil, u skip the airlock all together, throughout the entire fermentation??

In the short term, fermentation is putting out enough CO2 to keep oxygen out of the beer, even without an airlock. This is why open fermentation works. I wouldn't do any long-term aging without a proper airlock, but a couple of weeks in the initial primary vessel shouldn't pose any significant issues. I have more fermenters than airlocks, so I have just loosely placed an undrilled lid on a bucket fermenter when I've run out of airlocks with no ill effects.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 08:22:24 PM »
I'm using three piece.  It won't fit with S type unless I'm using a 3 gallon carboy.. What do you mean about the foil, u skip the airlock all together, throughout the entire fermentation??

In the short term, fermentation is putting out enough CO2 to keep oxygen out of the beer, even without an airlock. This is why open fermentation works. I wouldn't do any long-term aging without a proper airlock, but a couple of weeks in the initial primary vessel shouldn't pose any significant issues. I have more fermenters than airlocks, so I have just loosely placed an undrilled lid on a bucket fermenter when I've run out of airlocks with no ill effects.

yup that's what I meant
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline gmac

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 08:52:08 PM »
+1. I only use foil on carboys now unless long term storage is in the plan. I have even used an airlock without the inside piece or top an covered that with foil with no problem. Once fermentation is done, into a keg but during active fermentation, no problem.
You have a sanitation issue, sorry.

Offline breweite

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 08:56:10 PM »
OK, I think that will be my next step, not worrying too much about the airlock.  After reading some online today, I think I've got to be honest with myself.. I don't clean my equipment as well as I should AFTER a brew day.  I'm going to give all my equipment a good bath.  Maybe really warm Oxiclean? Then Soak/Sanitize? I know it was suggested to rid my plastics.. but I just don't know if I can do that.. seems a little pricey and wasteful.  Although I do understand it may come down to that?  Does anyone have a favorite soaking or bath they like to give their plastic equipment if they think they may have an issue?  Thanks for replies
Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline gmac

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 09:02:07 PM »
Sorry man, recycle your plastic and get new. There's no cleaner that will get deep enough into the plastic if you truly have an infection. My scratched buckets become grain storage. Auto siphons are cheap compared to multiple bad batches.

Offline breweite

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 09:08:15 PM »
Eh, so very true. Great point... Maybe I squeak out a 1 gallon AG batch because I'm such a cheapO.  For a strange reason, I think it may be my auto siphon and/or it's hose.  Any particular reason why you mentioned that? Is it common? Thanks
Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2012, 09:12:44 PM »
Eh, so very true. Great point... Maybe I squeak out a 1 gallon AG batch because I'm such a cheapO.  For a strange reason, I think it may be my auto siphon and/or it's hose.  Any particular reason why you mentioned that? Is it common? Thanks

it's hard to get the tubing really clean. I like to replace my tubing every 10 or so batches just because you can never get IN there to really clean stuff up.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline breweite

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2012, 09:22:12 PM »
Eh, so very true. Great point... Maybe I squeak out a 1 gallon AG batch because I'm such a cheapO.  For a strange reason, I think it may be my auto siphon and/or it's hose.  Any particular reason why you mentioned that? Is it common? Thanks

it's hard to get the tubing really clean. I like to replace my tubing every 10 or so batches just because you can never get IN there to really clean stuff up.

I'm probably 15+beers on my "newest" auto siphon tubing... I'm most likely well over due.  As for the siphon itself, the plastic (i'm no expert) is much harder and seems less vulnerable to penetrate it, but at the same time more susceptible to cracks/scratches.  Go ahead and replace it too?  Sorry for the ignorance..
Cheers from Austin, Tejas!

Offline ajk

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Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2012, 01:55:36 AM »
The siphon house was exposed to brett awhile ago, however, I've made beers and haven't noticed it.

I agree with others—replace all your tubing.  It's cheap.  Boil things that are small enough and have nooks and crannies (ball valves).  Also, consider switching sanitizers for one batch in case bacteria have become resistant to what you're currently using.

Quote
What does everyone do that may have mold spores floating around??

I try to keep the brewery below 55% relative humidity.  I use a fume hood to pump out water vapor while brewing and a dehumidifier to keep the moisture low at all other times.

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Infection Because of Chamber Mold?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2012, 05:40:25 AM »
I would fill up your fermenters with hot water and 2 cups of bleach and let them soak for a day with as much of your equipment that can fit.  Submerge the hoses so they fill up as well as your siphon.  You'll be good to go.

Just make sure you rinse everything very well with hot water.  Spray the fermenter walls down as well as the equipment.  I have a short hose hooked up to my faucet to accomplish this.  You can pick one up at any hardware store.  Wear old clothes as you invariably get a drop or two on yourself.....

Dave

Edit:  Still using my original siphon tubing and blow off hoses using this method.  Zero infections....
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 05:42:05 AM by davidgzach »
Dave Zach