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07/12/05 08:14 PM  
mold on my saison, tears on my pillow
We are making a saison and since the yeast package and Phil's book says the saison yeast likes warmer fermentation temps, up to 95 degrees, we left the carboy on the back porch for several days. It was about 85 degrees on those days, maybe up to 90 even (we live in southern Virginia). Now we are about to keg/bottle and there is white mold on the top layer. There is a thin layer of white and three mini-marshmallow mold puffs in the center. This is pretty gross looking. Is this normal for a saison or a disgusting mistake? Will the beer be safe to drink? We are siphoning and trying not to disturb this top layer. If I serve this at my club picnic do you predict mass casualties???
Al B
07/13/05 08:04 AM  
Re: mold on my saison, tears on my pillow
Well, being a microbiologist, I couldn't pass up on a response here......it sounds like after fermentation was completed (and after several days)that oxygen has somehow found its way into your vessel since mold can't grow in CO2. Not sure on the thin layer of white - but it sounds like a bacterial infection too. At high temperatures and assuming you pitched enough viable yeast, both the yeast and any possible bacterial contamination will outgrow molds. Over time and the presence of oxygen, will any mold contamination show itself.

Its hard to say whether your brew will be "safe" to drink without smelling/tasting - casualties could be taste-buds -I wonder if you could test the brew like a water sample from a well, for example, to see if there are any nasty bugs, like a Home Water test kit or something.

Best of luck,


07/13/05 08:20 AM  
Re: mold on my saison, tears on my pillow
A comment on the 95F thing, I have seen the fermenting tanks at DuPont and they were in fact that hot. But the brewery was not. Those suckers ferment with a vigor that we little folk could never emmulate, their version of our airlock blorping looked like the surface of a paranah pool around a floating side of beef. So yeah, they are 95F, but not in an ambient sense, that is a result of the heat put out by the furiosity of the yeast. Next time I would keep the stuff in the cellar, let it reach 95F if it wants to but don't force it.

Slightly OT, Al - that first pass (rodenblonde) has turned into the most convincing saison I think I have ever made. A bit horsey and lemony with a subtile chicory-like bitterness.

I pitched your yeast Sanday late afternoon, as of this morning the airlock activity would suggests its close to done! That yeast kicked ass.

07/14/05 03:18 PM  
Re: mold on my saison, tears on my pillow
Thanks Al and Steve for your informative replies. Next time I will know better. So much for my experiment.


08/03/05 12:29 PM  
Moldy saison update
The saison with the mold-stuff growing actually turned out to be pretty good. We avoided siphoning the mold stuff into the keg, and the resulting saison came in third in our club's farmhouse ale contest, out of about 9 entries. Our other saison, fermented at room temp and lacking mold came in second.

07/09/07 06:24 PM  
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