Dunder pit infections

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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby kiwi Bruce » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:47 am

[/quote]Kiwi, with that "whiskey" those were the left over grains in my fermenter, not the dunder/backset![/quote]

Don't forget then...you need to add, rotting fruit...a hand full of dirt...and a goat's head,if you happen to have a dead goat laying around... :lol:
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:25 pm

I just slaughtered 2 last weekend for some curry goat, if the coyotes haven't gotten the heads I'll ship them free of charge. lol
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby ElCubanazo » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:25 am

Yes! Goat head needed! Also, I'll make sure to pay homage to the orishas while I'm at it and sacrifice a chicken while burning sage and spinning counterclockwise three times!
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:34 am

Don't forget to twist a fatty and sing some Tash. lol
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby kiwi Bruce » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:52 am

and a car battery...or at least the acid from one!
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:29 pm

Even in this cold snap were having I've seemed to get the infection going again and man this shit stinks like puke from the devil, I went and put in 1/2 gal of fresh dug soil, the old potatoes from another pit, and some blue marel clay dug up in a salt water auger cast drilling operation so I put 5 lbs in as well.

In 24 hours there was a pellicle on top along with some big bubbles showing signs of life, at 48 hours there was a raw meaty smell with a hint of soy, then at 60 hours it was full blown puke like a bad bad hangover puke after eating sushi and drinking hurricane malt likker.

I about added to it but held it in. lol

The ph is 4.9 so tomorrow I'll add the slurry of pickling lime to get back to 5.5 and keep for a month while I'm getting geared up for the rum ferments and stripping runs.

I may have to get this shit outside in a heated box because my barn reaks to high hell right now and I might toss one up if I hang in there too long.

All for the love of good rum eh,
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby zapata » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:30 pm

Hell yeah!
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:34 am

I'll post up a pic later but I think I'm going to start a new muck pit. I'm even scared to smell this crap as it has mold and stuff I've never seen or k ow what the hell it is.

It's scary as hell fire!!!

I do have one around 10 gallons I'll continue to use just because of the pellicle, I think I know what it is but I'm sure it's more useful than the others I have from last june.

Even the maggots have disappeared and I know they didn't crawl out, the mold cap is about 4" thick, it just looks like death waiting to happen so it's getting dumped in the field somewhere wayyy out the there.

Pics later after church and someone tell me what I already know.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby kiwi Bruce » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:31 am

I've moved away from the muck bucket/dunder pot idea. I would like something a little more manageable, predictable and controllable...(and not so scary - something that doesn't look like it could eat your pets or small children) I've started a paper (not finished yet) on making and using autolysed yeast...see how this goes.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:52 am

That's what the 4 buckets looking like. lol

The 10 gallons has a nice tan color to the pellicle and I'm quite sure I know what it is, it has a little mold on it so I'm going to scoop all of it off and use it, I may boil it to ensure nothing else decides to grow all wild looking :thumbup:

I like the flavors that come with the infected dunder but those others are way scary and I for one am scared of them.

Fresh dunder is nice in my final rum at the spirit run and the infected stuff is awesome. I'll continue this but not with that shit.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby SaltyStaves » Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:15 pm

Shine0n wrote:Even the maggots have disappeared and I know they didn't crawl out, the mold cap is about 4" thick, it just looks like death waiting to happen so it's getting dumped in the field somewhere wayyy out the there.


I had a fairly significant maggot population in mine, but they were left alone because they were producing an extraordinary amount of heat for the pit.
I checked it yesterday and there was a massive amount of foam, no heat and my pH heading dangerously close to neutral. :shock:

I had to rack them out and acidify the pit. I'm very annoyed as much of the putrid aroma has gone.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby kiwi Bruce » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:20 pm

My maggots were all gagging...you could smell it in the kitchen, over the smell of the hen house. It ended as the weather got colder...
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:25 pm

The maggots kinda made mine smell better after the initial infection, They only got into the 3 5 gal buckets which had barley malt, Swiss cheese culture, yogurt culture all which had the same sour smell so I believe it was lacto but could've been bret.

The pit with potatoes and soil either smell really bad or really good depending on if I regulate the ph to 5, if I let the pH drop the pellicle falls and the smells become sweet with a hint of fruit.

I played with the ph most of last year, dropping, raising and keeping the pellicle atop of the pit, after the last run I let her go and the pellicle fell. That pit will be used for some rum this year as long as it keeps mold out, there is a couple spots and I'll get rid of them asap to keep this aged dunder useful.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby ElCubanazo » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:19 am

Just started drinking kombucha recently and the thought occurred to me: maybe the kombucha scoby would be a great infection culture starter?

Looking at the yeasts and bacteria that make up a scoby it seems they all produce the acids that are key to the esters we're looking for.

Just a thought for us hippie dippie city folk that might want to start one of these culture fast and not have the space or time to play with the many options like potatoes, dirt, yogurt, etc.


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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby SaltyStaves » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:59 pm

Kombucha scobies (scobi?) look practically sterile to me. The one from my pit was more like a horror movie prop..
Scoby.jpg
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:31 am

Salty...you could rent that out to Peter Jackson for his next movie :lol:
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:59 am

Yeah, that looks great compared to the 3 five gallon buckets I tossed.

I have on hand now 20 gallons of prime aged dunder to follow up with this year, there are no more experiments to follow as I've found what works good for me and have plenty of dunder to use and add to.

For the record, my procedures are
Strip 3 full boiler and thumper charges 15.5 gal ea.
dilute low wines if needed to 35%
Add 25% infected dunder of total volume
10 gal low wines would get 2.5 gal dunder etc etc
Spirit run at a med pace.

I'll continue to make rum and replenish the dunder with fresh as I go this year, I'll monitor the ph every other month and raise with lime if needed to keep a 5.5 ph, the summer is coming and I shouldn't have any problems with it coming back to life. Time will tell and so will the rum for next year.

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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby OtisT » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:43 am

ShineOn, sounds like you are all set for a summer of rum. :-) For a long time I did not mess with my pit's PH, but since following your Ph level advice (5.0-5.5) my infections are much more active. Thanks.

So I have been wondering for a while now what happens to the long chain fatty acids when you adjust PH up in the dunder pit? Does lime, or the other acid reducing amendments, do something to destroy the Acid chains, or is the amendment additive, simply adding something new to balance out the acid that exists w/o destroying it?

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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby der wo » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:31 am

No. They don't destroy it. They only balance out H+ and H³O+ ions.
By using a high amount of an acid and a base you can hold the pH very stable for a long time (buffering), because new formed acids (like butyric acid from butyric bacterias) affect only little the total acids amount. Although they are here, they don't lower the pH.

Edit: I failed with it once, because I used partially calcium carbonate instead of calcium hydroxide. It was lying at the bottom of the pit, slowly solved within two months and rised the pH over 6. The pit turned moldy (rotten meat smell). This is why I don't recommend carbonate for pits, but still use it for mashes. Mashes produce faster acids and live shorter.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby OtisT » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:34 am

der wo wrote:No. They don't destroy it. They only balance out H+ and H³O+ ions.
By using a high amount of an acid and a base you can hold the pH very stable for a long time (buffering), because new formed acids (like butyric acid from butyric bacterias) affect only little the total acids amount. Although they are here, they don't lower the pH.


Thanks Der Wo. This clears up a lot for me in this one reply. :-) Otis
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby zapata » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:42 am

Well I would think while not destroyed that at least some of the acids are turned into salts. Its simple acid/base chemistry. E.g. calcium hydroxide + acetic acid -> calcium acetate + water. I dont think there is a way to neutralize an acid without forming a salt.
But the salts aren't destroying anything, and are mostly very soluble though they may precipitate out at some point. And as long as the pit is acidic there will still be excess free acids.
But this raises 2 thoughts in my mind.
1. Are there acid / base pairs that react preferentially? E.g. could choice of base target bonding with acetic acid and thus skew the eventual balance of esters away from ethyl acetate in favor of say butyric esters?
And 2. Would acidifying dunder down to say 2 before adding to low wines be an effective tool for making ester bombs? Certainly if H2SO4 were used, through catalytic action if nothing else. I guess I just don't know enough chemistry to know exactly how much of the acids are salted out at ph of 5ish.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby der wo » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:11 pm

I'll try to explain, I hope I am not making mistakes:

For example mixing sulfuric acid with caustic soda:

on the one hand:
sulph acid + caustic soda -> water + sodium sulphate.
H2SO4 + 2 NaOH -> 2 H2O + Na2SO4
Sodium sulphate is a salt. So it looks like the acid and the base both are destroyed.

But on the other hand, because everything is in solution, the molecules are split up in ions, "in reality" it looks like:
2 H3O+ + SO4²- + 2 Na+ + 2 OH– -> 4 H2O + 2 Na+ + SO4²-
So nothing with the SO4²- and the Na+ has changed. Only the H³O+ and OH- ions have found together. If there are H³O+ ions left, the pH is under 7. If OH- ions are left, the pH is over 7.

So in a way nothing is destroyed. Or you had to say, it is always everything destroyed when it's soluted. But this doesn't make sense.


zapata,
1. I don't think OH- ions from different bases and H3O+ ions from different acids are different. And the other pieces of the molecules don't need to react (form a salt).

2. I once tried if something changes, when I add citric acid to a mixture of dunder and low wines. I didn't smell a difference. I lowered the pH only by 1 (from 5 to 4 or something). But direct comparision, one bottle with citric, one without. It's one of the reasons, why I don't belive in a strong rise of esters with a low pH caused by organic acids.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby zapata » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:24 pm

Oh yeah, I think you explained it right. As long as the salts don't precipitate out, they are in fact not really salts, just floating around as ions. Yup, I knownjuat enough chemistry to make me think sometimes I know chemistry :)
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:28 pm

I thank you guys for your wisdom and knowledge, yall are far beyond me with that stuff.

Maybe I should take a class on chemistry and learn a few more things, you all explain things better than I could and I think that's how people like me can learn although I followed der wo through his threads and just started winging it and hit a home run with what I now have with my pit. Luck? Who cares it's freaking awesome!
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby der wo » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:18 am

Thanks, this encourages me to write a little more. I am not a chemist, it's a bit risky:

The catalyst for esterification is the H³O+ (or the excess H+ from the H³O+? I don't know). So catalytic esterification needs an acidic environment. But more and more acidic doesn't help, also a mild acidic environment has way enough catalytic H³O+ ions. And of course it's the same if the H³O+ is from sulphuric acid or for example from citric acid. So any acid can be a catalyst. On the one hand...

...On the other hand this reaction works in both directions unfortunately. So adding citric acid to already acidic dunder only causes, that more reactions in both directions happen. And this is, what sulphuric acid makes special: it's very hydrophilic, it hinders the water to split up and to form from the ester again the acid and the alcohol (acid + alcohol <-> ester + water). It hinders the reverse reaction.

A chemist will for sure find some mistakes. But in general I hope it's correct. If not I hope I have one time writing bullshit free... :lol:
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby Shine0n » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:44 am

Thanks as always der wo, you're a true inspiration for all distillers. Maybe a tad advanced for the novice but anyone intermediate to Advanced willing to try should listen and listen well. Don't let me forget Otis and zapata, you guys are top notch too!

Now to my pit, as the weather has climbed up in temp, the pellicle has returned without any assistance from me. I'm sure the ph is on the lower end of prime but the pit seems to be churning along well. I'll take a reading this evening once home and make any adjustments needed with lime to get to 5.5

The pit has now 6 different gen of dunder and is at 20 gallons, I really need to put it in another drum. lol

The pellicle is around 2 inches thick and tan in color, I removed the 3 little spots of mold before the pellicle came back and it shows no sign of returning from what I can see.

The smell from a removed sample is rich chocolate, sweet, buttery with an almost floral note on the exhale. I think this will be an interesting year for my rums.

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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby OtisT » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:44 am

ShineOn, it sounds like you will be making some fine rum this summer. :-)

I have a general question regarding the care and feeding of a dunder pit.

What kind of air environment should I use to manage my infected dunder pit. I choose to keep my infected dunder pit in a carboy. I currently keep it capped with a single hole rubber bung. With my PH near 5, I can maintain a nice thin mat of lacto infection. Would the infection benefit from circulating more fresh air to it? Or maybe I should use a bung with no hole? Just curious if you are anyone knows this aspect of caring for an active infection.

Along the same line, could a gas be used to kill or otherwise make dormant an infection and/or perhaps mold? With an enclosed environment, it would be easy to fill with CO2, oxygen, some other gas if helpful.

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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby OtisT » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:53 am

Shine0n wrote:For the record, my procedures are
Strip 3 full boiler and thumper charges 15.5 gal ea.
dilute low wines if needed to 35%
Add 25% infected dunder of total volume
10 gal low wines would get 2.5 gal dunder etc etc
Spirit run at a med pace.


I have a few specific questions for you on your procedures.

- Do you dilute low wines with dunder for a final wash ABV of 35%, or are low wines diluted to 35% first before adding dunder?

- What do you charge the thumper with on both strip and spirit runs?

Thanks. Otis.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby SaltyStaves » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:12 pm

OtisT wrote:Would the infection benefit from circulating more fresh air to it?


Having a look at distilleries like Hampden, they have big vats with wooden slat tops. Its certainly not airtight.

I don't have a completely sealed pit, but I don't encourage air to blow in and out either.
Putrefactive bacteria (that we desire), need an environment free of oxygen and light to get started, but that is easily done by making separate starters for each of them and pitching them into the pit. Once they are in there, they'll thrive if the pit has already cultured an aerobic infection.
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Re: Dunder pit infections

Postby der wo » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:36 pm

OtisT wrote:Would the infection benefit from circulating more fresh air to it?

I am pretty sure that the pellicle benefits from fresh air. But I don't know if the infection benefits... A pellicle is a barrier for other organisms (but which barrier is better, a pellicle or a lid?) and it's a barrier for air (so an acetic infection, which needs oxygen to produce acetic acid, one the one hand hinders itself with the pellicle, but also protects itself).
If you want heavy pics for posting here, you should let the carboy open. :lol:
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