Author Topic: White Mould Issue  (Read 1860 times)

Offline gmac

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White Mould Issue
« on: August 09, 2013, 09:05:59 AM »
A while ago I asked a question pertaining to star-san and if I should switch up my sanitizer.  The consensus was no. But, for a long while I've been having this strange, thin white mould start to show up on my beers, particularly if they are left for a while without being kegged.

Today I went to keg an EIPA that I have which has been sitting in the bucket for some time now.  I just didn't have fridge or keg space available to deal with it. When I opened it I saw the white film so I thought I'd ask some questions and take some pictures.


Now I've had this before and I've gone ahead and drank the beer and I'm going to do the same with this one.  There seems to be no off-flavour, no detectable odour or any other real issue that I've seen.  I do siphon out from below and leave the last inch or so in the keg though to minimize bringing this film into the keg.  I have not seen it in a keg that has been in the cold.

I did try something else.  Several months ago I had a vial of WLP Mexican Lager that was past it's due date and I tried stepping it up to make a starter.  Along the way I noticed the white mould starting so I didn't go any further with it but I did leave it to see what happened.  This photo is about 4 months worth of growth.


Sorry for the lousy quality but cell phone through glass doesn't work well.  The starter has no real smell even after all this time and the mould just sits there in a fluffy head of mycelium.  This jug was washed thoroughly, star-san rinsed and the vial added, that's all. 

I'm going to probably dump all my plastic buckets but I get this in glass too.  I think that it's just in the air everywhere and with enough time it starts to show up.  I do know that I need more kegs so I can get it into kegs and into the cold faster but I'd like to get rid of it entirely if I can.  It doesn't matter if I use a fermentation lock or just tin foil over the carboy mouth but I always use a fermentation lock on buckets with either vodka or rye in them.
Any one else ever see this and any thoughts on what to do?

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 09:18:42 AM »
That isn't mold. It's a pellicle.

You may want to toss all the plastic and soft bits in your equipment. Glass should be fine if you sanitize it well.

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 09:32:02 AM »
+1 to pellicle and getting fresh plastic. Acetobacter?
Reserve a few ounces of wort from the next batch and do a wort stability test to make sure the contamination is not happening on the wort production side of the process.

Do you open the fermenter often to take samples, etc?
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 09:34:20 AM by Big Al »

Offline gmac

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 09:42:57 AM »
+1 to pellicle and getting fresh plastic. Acetobacter?
Reserve a few ounces of wort from the next batch and do a wort stability test to make sure the contamination is not happening on the wort production side of the process.

Do you open the fermenter often to take samples, etc?

I don't open them at all.  I don't think Acetobacter simply because there is no smell or taste of vinegar at all but maybe a different species than acetii.  No sourness etc. 
Would it really be as thick as you see on the starter if it's a pellicle?

My common practice is to boil at least 60 mins and then straight into a clean, sanitized fermenter.  Depending on the batch size, I usually pour from the kettle directly into the bucket, no siphon or anything.  I am not sure how bacteria would make it through the boiling process.  But, I do know that if i leave the 1/2 gallon of wort that I haven't used yet, It will likely end up with this in a couple weeks.  I can leave it but I have opened it a couple times already to get wort for a starter so I can't say it couldn't have gotten in at that time. 

I'll get new plastics (can't afford stainless, hate glass), siphon etc and see what happens.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 10:11:36 AM »
+1 to pellicle and getting fresh plastic. Acetobacter?
Reserve a few ounces of wort from the next batch and do a wort stability test to make sure the contamination is not happening on the wort production side of the process.

Do you open the fermenter often to take samples, etc?

I don't open them at all.  I don't think Acetobacter simply because there is no smell or taste of vinegar at all but maybe a different species than acetii.  No sourness etc. 
Would it really be as thick as you see on the starter if it's a pellicle?

My common practice is to boil at least 60 mins and then straight into a clean, sanitized fermenter.  Depending on the batch size, I usually pour from the kettle directly into the bucket, no siphon or anything.  I am not sure how bacteria would make it through the boiling process.  But, I do know that if i leave the 1/2 gallon of wort that I haven't used yet, It will likely end up with this in a couple weeks.  I can leave it but I have opened it a couple times already to get wort for a starter so I can't say it couldn't have gotten in at that time. 

I'll get new plastics (can't afford stainless, hate glass), siphon etc and see what happens.

some odd neutral brett species or something. given enough time you might notice some unusual yeast flavours, I have a saison right now that I went to keg last weekend but when I pulled the lid of... boom pellicle. I wasn't totally surprised as the yeast blend I pitched had a little brett in it. But the character is almost not noticeable in that beer at this point. just a very soft and light flavor. I'm going to keg it up soon but I wanted to see if it would drop any lower.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 10:45:48 AM »
That's a brett pellicle.

I've had several brett'd beers form a pellicle before brett flavor was detectable.

Time to get rid of all your soft parts (buckets, hoses, airlocks, carboy bungs, aeration tubing, etc.)

If you aerate, boil the livin' crap out of your stone.

Since you got it in your starter, toss any bungs/airlock combos too, and don't use that vessel for making starters anymore.

What is your starter set up/process? A growler or an Ehrlenmeyer?
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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 11:14:40 AM »
That's a brett pellicle.

I've had several brett'd beers form a pellicle before brett flavor was detectable.

Time to get rid of all your soft parts (buckets, hoses, airlocks, carboy bungs, aeration tubing, etc.)

If you aerate, boil the livin' crap out of your stone.

Since you got it in your starter, toss any bungs/airlock combos too, and don't use that vessel for making starters anymore.

What is your starter set up/process? A growler or an Ehrlenmeyer?


Maybe a dumb question but if it's brett, which is yeast, wouldn't a normal sanitation regimen take care of it? Couldn't bungs, buckets, etc. just be boiled or scalded?

Also if you use an aquarium pump to aerate, is it filtered?

Offline gmac

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 11:19:52 AM »
For starters I was boiling in a pot and transfering to a sanitized growler but I just bought a flask and am now starting to boil in the flask.

I don't aerate beyond splashing the beer into the bucket/fermenter.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 11:30:12 AM »
My bet's on the growler as the source, but you've probably infected all the other soft parts along the way.

I've lost a brett culture because of a growler. Now he's retired as a starter vessel and is strictly for finished beer.
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2013, 12:26:21 PM »
Don't throw out the buckets. Reuse them to store grain or grow veggies.

Self-watering buckets are awesome. http://www.globalbuckets.org

Offline gmac

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2013, 12:54:02 PM »
It's probably cross contamination from prior beers with WLP670 which I use a lot.
I will label my current buckets "Farmhouse" and get some new ones and a new siphon.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2013, 12:58:32 PM »
OR use them for sours!
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2013, 12:59:21 PM »
Ah - beat me to it!

You can never have enough sour beer in the queue.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2013, 01:06:00 PM »
It's probably cross contamination from prior beers with WLP670 which I use a lot.
I will label my current buckets "Farmhouse" and get some new ones and a new siphon.

I just did this myself. Except i've been bitten by the sour bug hard enough at this point that I just labeled the two new buckets 'Clean'
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: White Mould Issue
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2013, 04:53:53 PM »
That's a brett pellicle.

I've had several brett'd beers form a pellicle before brett flavor was detectable.

Time to get rid of all your soft parts (buckets, hoses, airlocks, carboy bungs, aeration tubing, etc.)

If you aerate, boil the livin' crap out of your stone.

Since you got it in your starter, toss any bungs/airlock combos too, and don't use that vessel for making starters anymore.

What is your starter set up/process? A growler or an Ehrlenmeyer?


Maybe a dumb question but if it's brett, which is yeast, wouldn't a normal sanitation regimen take care of it? Couldn't bungs, buckets, etc. just be boiled or scalded?

Also if you use an aquarium pump to aerate, is it filtered?

I recently brewed my first all brett beer and I thought as you did, normal sanitization process should take
care....and then commenced the reading, I discovered that some strains of Brett are known to sporulate.
That being the case, perhaps spores (which normal sanitization may not kill) are the culprets. that said,
it would only take ONE MICRO sized spore to propogate the strain all over again.
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