Author Topic: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?  (Read 1386 times)

Offline ldiamond22

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« on: November 21, 2014, 02:44:14 AM »
Okay so I brewed my first milk stout...after racking to the secondary I added 4 oz of cocoa nibs and 2 pounds of tart cherries. I sanitized a nylon mesh bag added contents and immersed it in my large mouth bubbler. Sealed it up and added the bung and airlock. After I did this, I realized that I did not put the cocoa nibs in vodka like I usually do. After one week in the secondary at 70 degrees a white cap formed on the top of the beer (this is not a re-fermentation, this is after re-fermentation from the cherries)...I am guessing that this is a bacterial infection and the whole batch needs to be tossed?

« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 03:02:08 AM by ldiamond22 »

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2014, 02:45:26 AM »
Photo?

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8604
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2014, 05:06:36 AM »
Looks like brett. Of course no way of knowing just by a photo

Offline jeffy

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3474
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2014, 12:21:53 PM »
I certainly would not toss any beer without giving it a taste first.  If that's a brett pelicle it may turn into something wonderful.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline redbeerman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1849
  • On the banks of the mighty Susquehanna in MD
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2014, 01:33:49 PM »
I certainly would not toss any beer without giving it a taste first.  If that's a brett pelicle it may turn into something wonderful.

I agree.  It may turn out a bit drier than anticipated, but the flavors may be awesome!
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

[441, 112.1deg] AR

Jim

Offline ldiamond22

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2014, 01:56:02 PM »
Thank you for the quick replies!  I was curious as it was more of a chalky film as opposed to fuzzy. If it is Brett...any recommendations as to how long I need to keep this in the secondary before it is ready to drink?  Doesn't Brett take quite a while to ferment out?  My gravity was at 1.014 when I transferred to the secondary two weeks ago. Cheers!

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8604
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2014, 02:07:52 PM »
Probably it's going to be hard to tell without a scope and a trained eye for a little while. Maybe give it a whiff and report what you smell. If it's pleasant (not gag reflex repulsive) then you're in for an experience. For me, if it was repulsive,  like moldy dust, poo, rat urine, vinegar etc, it's probably not ever going to be good. But if you get cherry pie, or pineapple, or a nice leather aroma, something like that...  maybe it will finish tastey. Time wise, it could be done in a couple months or many months.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1363
  • Saint Louis, MO
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2014, 02:54:43 PM »
I certainly would not toss any beer without giving it a taste first.  If that's a brett pelicle it may turn into something wonderful.

This is my brewing motto.

Let it sit for awhile, taste every month or so. If it develops a nice character (or not), report back on this post!

One thing to consider - in the photo, I see that you're using a plastic fermentor. You can try to wash/sanitize,  but I wouldn't count on completely removing the brett. This fermentor (and all soft parts used: airlock, lid, tubing, etc) may infect future batches.

If this beer turns out well, KEEP the equipment and use it for sour/funky beers, or beers that you'll turn over quickly. If the beer develops weird/unpleasant flavors, pitch them.
Twitter/Instagram: @southhousebrew

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments: http://SouthHouseBeer.com/

Offline kramerog

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1854
    • View Profile
    • My LinkedIn page
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2014, 02:56:24 PM »
It's the cream rising the top.  Yes, it is pellicle, probably Brett, possibly lacto.  I usually give Brett several months without giving it much thought or attention.  If you are kegging and you like what you are tasting now you could keg it right away and keep it in your keezer or whatever.  If you are bottling you have to the Brett time to ferment otherwise you will probably end up with bottle bombs,

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3200
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2014, 04:14:45 PM »
It certainly looks like a wild yeast or bacteria infection. You can't look at a pellicle and really know what's in there. There is a lot more than just brett, pedio and lacto that can infect a beer and no species or strain of a given species necessarily makes the same pellicle all the time. An infection may also be more than one microorganism so your pellicle may be a group effort.

There's no harm in letting the beer ride out and see if you get something interesting. Depending upon your patience, you may sit on that beer for a couple years to watch it turn into something majestic although it may go through some truly awful stages before that. And sometimes it just never becomes something great.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8604
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2014, 05:43:24 PM »
I would still see what it smelled like fairly soon. Personally, if the odor made me hurl, or worse... then I would eject it from the premises fermentor and all. But thats just me.

Offline ldiamond22

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2014, 06:03:56 PM »
@Jim totally agree, first thing I will do when I get home from work is give it a good smell.  Either way it looks like I am brewing a new batch this weekend...down side is it was going to be my holiday beer.  Thank you everyone for the feedback, it is greatly appreciated.  I will check back with you all and let you know what it smells like and if I decide to ride it out.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4383
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2014, 06:58:42 PM »
For me, if it was repulsive,  like moldy dust, poo, rat urine, vinegar etc, it's probably not ever going to be good.

Is rat urine distinctive from urine in general?
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline jtoots

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 311
    • View Profile
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2014, 08:57:40 PM »
For me, if it was repulsive,  like moldy dust, poo, rat urine, vinegar etc, it's probably not ever going to be good.

Is rat urine distinctive from urine in general?
I have every intention of never knowing firsthand.  :o

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: White Cap on Milk Stout in Secondary - Possible Infection?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2014, 10:33:30 PM »
For me, if it was repulsive,  like moldy dust, poo, rat urine, vinegar etc, it's probably not ever going to be good.

Is rat urine distinctive from urine in general?

it's a bit piquant with a touch of gooseberry. very refreshing with fresh chevre.  ;D
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce