Mold or Infection?

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OtisT
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Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:11 am

This picture is looking down the bung hole of a carboy. It is honey bear bourbon backset that was infected 5 months ago and thrown in the basement. The original infection was a thin layer, tan wrinkly skin type, that developed small white pods in places. There is now a thick (1/2" high) greenish and white carpet is covering the top. I am guessing this is Mold, but wondering is someone with knowledge in such matters can ID this thing?
Close Up of Mold?
Close Up of Mold?
Smells sweet and fruity and like good backset

The little craters look cool when you zoom in on them ;-)

Thanks. Otis
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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by pfshine » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:29 am

Hmmm. Do you have a hazmat suit?
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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by firewater69 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:21 pm

I've never tried it with whiskey but if I were making rum I'd say if it smells good, go for it. Are you planning on using this in a bourbon mash? As to your ? I have no idea what kinds of critters you have in there.
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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:52 pm

firewater69 wrote:...Are you planning on using this in a bourbon mash?
Yes, I'm making another batch of Honey Bear Bourbon.

I was planning on adding some of this to my ferment a day+ into the ferment. In the past I have boiled backset and added it up front in fermenting and this time wanted to try something new. I don't think I want to risk infecting my ferment equipment with mold though. Luckely I do have two gallons of backset that were stored separately and don't have the green crud, so that will have to do.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:53 pm

This is what the infection looks like in the other container I have. Nice and wrinkly, like a brain or maybe ramen noodles.
"Normal" infection
"Normal" infection
I don't even know what kind this is. I need to find out.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by firewater69 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:03 pm

I'm subbed Otis, I gotta see where this goes, I've used infected dunder in a rum ferment but I'm curious to see how this will come out.
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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by pfshine » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:03 pm

Jesus! You need some starsan and bleach and fire.
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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:31 pm

firewater69 wrote:I'm subbed Otis, I gotta see where this goes, I've used infected dunder in a rum ferment but I'm curious to see how this will come out.
To see what I am making with this infection and how it turns out check out my thread "High Ester Rum". I plan on starting a new thread in the next day or two on my high ester bourbon as well. Both projects have the same infection going.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by SaltyStaves » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:03 pm

Otis, my rum dunder has the same infection. I determined it to be a brett or lacto. Very much a sour infection and difficult to kill.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by kiwi Bruce » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:11 pm

OtisT wrote: I plan on starting a new thread in the next day or two on my high ester bourbon as well. Both projects have the same infection going.Otis
Don't care what anyone says...high ester bourbon or single malt, FANTASTIC ! please keep good notes and posts...What pH do you use on your rum...and do you adjust with H2SO4 ? Love to know the details thank you Otis !
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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:44 pm

kiwi Bruce wrote:
OtisT wrote: I plan on starting a new thread in the next day or two on my high ester bourbon as well. Both projects have the same infection going.Otis
Don't care what anyone says...high ester bourbon or single malt, FANTASTIC ! please keep good notes and posts...What pH do you use on your rum...and do you adjust with H2SO4 ? Love to know the details thank you Otis !
I think my notes in the High Ester Rum thread are fairly detailed and should tell you most of what you may want to know. If I'm missing something you want more info on, post a reply and ask. Look for my high ester bourbon thread coming soon, and my high ester rum thread already out there covers my first generation. I plan to maintain the threads through a few generations as well as some aging/tasting notes over time.

I have been using Potassium Carbonate (K2CO3)to adjust PH up. I did not recorded the amount used in my latest rum, only the resulting PH. If I had to guess, maybe 5 OZ for a 30 gallon rum wash with ~10% dunder. For RUM, I have been adding dunder and adjusting PH prior to pitching yeast. I typically shoot for a PH of high 5's up to 6, so that I have room to crash. I accidentally overshot my current bourbon ferment and am starting with it near 7. (I started off dosing my bourbon ferment like it was rum before realizing my mistake.) It's bubbling away like crazy right now, so starting at 7 must be OK. ;-)

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:50 pm

SaltyStaves wrote:Otis, my rum dunder has the same infection. I determined it to be a brett or lacto. Very much a sour infection and difficult to kill.
Hard to kill implies you don't want it so I have to ask, is that a beneficial infection or just pretty? I believe I have read that a lacto is not beneficial, so maybe I am wasting my time with this one? Several folks have told me the "good" infections don't smell nice and mine does not smell offensive.

If I can confirm this infection is a waste of time, I will have to find someone who can send me a proper infection that I can grow and care for.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by Single Malt Yinzer » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:01 pm

I started google image searching for different mold/fungus etc. I think that might be Penicillin mold. But like Dr. Heist said in the interview it's probably not a single mold/yeast/bacterial infection, it's a combo party. It looks like whatever this one is starting to dominate though.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by SaltyStaves » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:29 pm

OtisT wrote:
SaltyStaves wrote:Otis, my rum dunder has the same infection. I determined it to be a brett or lacto. Very much a sour infection and difficult to kill.
Hard to kill implies you don't want it so I have to ask, is that a beneficial infection or just pretty? I believe I have read that a lacto is not beneficial, so maybe I am wasting my time with this one? Several folks have told me the "good" infections don't smell nice and mine does not smell offensive.

If I can confirm this infection is a waste of time, I will have to find someone who can send me a proper infection that I can grow and care for.

Otis
The putrefactive bacteria that we want for rum, need an oxygen free environment to survive and flourish. I believe bretts/lactos need oxygen, so that will help determine what is and isn't thriving in your muck. I believe that if you develop starters for the bacteria you want, it is possible to have symbiotic development, even if one is dominant over the others. Without the starter, it may not ever get a foothold, or has to wait for the dominant strain to finish or die.

I don't want it in isolation, but (at this stage), I don't want to dismiss its contribution entirely.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by cede » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:38 pm

Too much noodles for brett I think.
I had fluffy balls on top of the beer with bretts.

Whatever it smells, siphon it and run it !

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by SaltyStaves » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:38 pm

Looks familiar..
http://hivemindmead.com/no-boil-sour-brown-ale-beer/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by butterpants » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:06 pm

White-Tan and very light brown are usually ok. Green, black and anything dark is not good. It's mold and some molds make mycotoxins. Some mycotoxins can kill you. I'm being dramatic here but totally factual.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by butterpants » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:17 pm

SaltyStaves wrote:
OtisT wrote:
SaltyStaves wrote:Otis, my rum dunder has the same infection. I determined it to be a brett or lacto. Very much a sour infection and difficult to kill.
Hard to kill implies you don't want it so I have to ask, is that a beneficial infection or just pretty? I believe I have read that a lacto is not beneficial, so maybe I am wasting my time with this one? Several folks have told me the "good" infections don't smell nice and mine does not smell offensive.

If I can confirm this infection is a waste of time, I will have to find someone who can send me a proper infection that I can grow and care for.

Otis
The putrefactive bacteria that we want for rum, need an oxygen free environment to survive and flourish. I believe bretts/lactos need oxygen, so that will help determine what is and isn't thriving in your muck. I believe that if you develop starters for the bacteria you want, it is possible to have symbiotic development, even if one is dominant over the others. Without the starter, it may not ever get a foothold, or has to wait for the dominant strain to finish or die.

I don't want it in isolation, but (at this stage), I don't want to dismiss its contribution entirely.
Brett and Lacto do not "need" oxygen.

Brettanomyces is an strange ranger but it's a eukaryotic yeast that will ferment long chain sugars. O2 good for growth (Krebs cycle makes more energy that way) but has no issues fermenting in an anaerobic one. Brett makes acetic acid (vinegar) during prolonged O2 exposure. It's quite noticeable. Also known for classic "funk" in beers.... funk to me usually smells like a barnyard.

Lactobacillus is a facultative anaerobic gram positive bacteria. It'll grow with O2 or without it. It gives zero F's but. likes warm to hot.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by SaltyStaves » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:55 pm

butterpants wrote:Lactobacillus is a facultative anaerobic gram positive bacteria. It'll grow with O2 or without it. It gives zero F's but. likes warm to hot.
Ahh. That makes sense. Would explain why I got a recurrence even when I tried my best to starve it out.
butterpants wrote:White-Tan and very light brown are usually ok. Green, black and anything dark is not good. It's mold and some molds make mycotoxins. Some mycotoxins can kill you. I'm being dramatic here but totally factual.
Are you wearing your beer maker or distiller hat? Its undoubtedly true of beer, but beer isn't subjected to the same hostility as distillation.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by butterpants » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:21 am

SaltyStaves wrote:
butterpants wrote:Lactobacillus is a facultative anaerobic gram positive bacteria. It'll grow with O2 or without it. It gives zero F's but. likes warm to hot.
Ahh. That makes sense. Would explain why I got a recurrence even when I tried my best to starve it out.
butterpants wrote:White-Tan and very light brown are usually ok. Green, black and anything dark is not good. It's mold and some molds make mycotoxins. Some mycotoxins can kill you. I'm being dramatic here but totally factual.
Are you wearing your beer maker or distiller hat? Its undoubtedly true of beer, but beer isn't subjected to the same hostility as distillation.
Certainly a valid criticism of my take on the mold.... but the answer is: I don't know.

I am a brewing microbiologist not a distilling microbiologist (if such a thing exists).

Don't recall ever reading a paper regarding small protein transfer via distillation... but what I'll tell you is this: Mycotoxins can be fairly small, heat stable proteins and have deleterious effects at minute levels. If we're going to stomp around like cranky babies when someone mentions a silicone gasket in the vapor path, it seems like distilling obviously befouled and contaminated wash could be a bad thing. I just don't know and would say use caution.

A wash filled with Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus is a different animal than one populated by Clostridium botulinum or Clostridium butyricum. Now botulinum toxin is destroyed by prolonged heat so might not be the best example but it happens to be the most potent toxin on the planet and with a non-pH adjusted and unsanitary wash can grow easily. What if you decided to sample the wash.... you know to get a feel if it was finished or if there were off flavors present? Well you definitely could have a bad day. I think anyone who samples an undistilled wash is batshit crazy.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by SaltyStaves » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:36 am

butterpants wrote: I just don't know and would say use caution.
I think that is wise. I have sugar cane that was destined for my muck pit, but it developed mold. Too much of an unknown to use it.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by Single Malt Yinzer » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:35 am

butterpants wrote:A wash filled with Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus is a different animal than one populated by Clostridium botulinum or Clostridium butyricum. Now botulinum toxin is destroyed by prolonged heat so might not be the best example but it happens to be the most potent toxin on the planet and with a non-pH adjusted and unsanitary wash can grow easily. What if you decided to sample the wash.... you know to get a feel if it was finished or if there were off flavors present? Well you definitely could have a bad day. I think anyone who samples an undistilled wash is batshit crazy.
I'm going to create a "Dunder Pit Safety" thread. The last couple days I've been searching for threads or anything that discussed safety of dunder/muck pits. So far I have not seen anyone reporting negative health effects from the distillate. I totally agree with the general safety rule "Don't drink wash made with infected dunder." I saw at least one thread that one person literally put dirt in their dunder to force an infection. Clostridium botulinum is common in soil.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:36 am

OK. I'm sold on tossing the green stuff. And no more tasting my ferment that uses infected dunder/backset. Thanks Otis
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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by SaltyStaves » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:31 am

Mold can grow on the top of the pellicle. If you carefully rack it off, then I don't see a problem. Sniffing is probably not advised though.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by butterpants » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:25 pm

SaltyStaves wrote:Mold can grow on the top of the pellicle. If you carefully rack it off, then I don't see a problem. Sniffing is probably not advised though.
Pellicle sniffing looks pretty dumb too but people like all kinds of stuff these days. :)

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by Shine0n » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:22 am

Single Malt Yinzer wrote:
butterpants wrote:A wash filled with Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus is a different animal than one populated by Clostridium botulinum or Clostridium butyricum. Now botulinum toxin is destroyed by prolonged heat so might not be the best example but it happens to be the most potent toxin on the planet and with a non-pH adjusted and unsanitary wash can grow easily. What if you decided to sample the wash.... you know to get a feel if it was finished or if there were off flavors present? Well you definitely could have a bad day. I think anyone who samples an undistilled wash is batshit crazy.
I'm going to create a "Dunder Pit Safety" thread. The last couple days I've been searching for threads or anything that discussed safety of dunder/muck pits. So far I have not seen anyone reporting negative health effects from the distillate. I totally agree with the general safety rule "Don't drink wash made with infected dunder." I saw at least one thread that one person literally put dirt in their dunder to force an infection. Clostridium botulinum is common in soil.
That would be me, I also put in raw fresh potatoes out of the garden :crazy:

Maybe not the best decision I've ever made but the rum was wonderful and I'm still here to speak of the tales.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by SaltyStaves » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:57 pm

My muck pit is clay lined and I used a potato to start a clostridium infection. I'm not drinking out of the pit.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by OtisT » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:01 pm

So going back to the original inspiration for this thread...
Lacto and something else on top of backset
Lacto and something else on top of backset
I decided to siphon out backset from that carboy with the lacto + something else on top. I'll find some future project for 5 liters of aged infected backset. I've been reluctant to take a big ol whiff of this with what I think is mold on top so I waited until siphoning off more than 5 liters to give it a try.......

Damn! What a wonderful Pineapple smell. I have never produced pineapple smell before and am pretty excited about the prospects for use of this. I'm sure that smell won't last through distillation, but what will it become?????? :-)

I recently used the same backset stored in a different jar (left) for a bourbon ferment. It did not have any detectable pineapple smell to it, and I believe the only difference is that green crust that grew in my carboy. I wonder if I can reverse engineer that smell and pic into knowing what that is growing on top? Hmmm.

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Re: Mold or Infection?

Post by Shine0n » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:03 pm

I've had pineapple in my rum but after a few months it was gone. GREAT FN RUM though :thumbup:

all of my pits look like what you have, big thick green nasty looking stuff... Can't wait to use it up!

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