Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Discuss fermentation, different types of wash, etc
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StillDave
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Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by StillDave » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:40 pm

I'm having awful trouble with my mashes this year! I posted earlier about stuck fermentations, which I managed to get nearly finished with advice from you guys,but every brew since has just gone from bad to worse.They all seem to start ok, but very soon give up the ghost and never seem to get below 1020, and the last one stuck at 1028. I decided to try a different yeast instead of Allinsons bread yeast, and bought some Fermentis SO4 from a newly discovered Brew shop, but that didn't behave any different.
I then bought some Tronozymol to try and restart it, but it didn't live up to it's reputation as a cure all for stuck fermentations.
I gave up on the latest brew and ran it at 1028 today. What a waste of time and electricity that was! After chucking the first 200ml, it was coming off the still at 18% abv.....and there was a strong vinegary smell to it too, so I shut everything down and came indoors in disgust!
I'm pulling my hair out as to what may be causing all these failures,the temps are ok, about 27c with the bread yeast, and around 20c with the SO4, which is recommended.....PH is always about 5ish, and I go for a SG of around 1075. I'm as stuck as my fermentations!! Any suggestions, guys/ :cry: :cry:

PS. I've enclosed a pic of the skin that had formed on the brew I ran today......it's nasty!!






Image
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Mash
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by Mash » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:17 pm

That imo is an Acetobacter infection and a good one at that.

It can be difficult to get rid of once you have it.

Do you have a steamer of any description or a local hbs to replace stuff?
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by EchoSevenNine » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:45 pm

What a pain in the arse... that's absolutely manky looking.

Buy new fermenter and kill the old one with fire!
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Jennysgin
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by Jennysgin » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:52 pm

That's rubbish SD :(
Hope you manage to get rid of it!

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Mash
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by Mash » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:07 pm

It's not just the fermenter. You should replace syphon hose and air locks too.

To be sure try standing the fermenter in a different room.
Avoid wheat on your washes too.
Become a bleach queen.

Heads is a very good soaker to get rid of it.
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by Mash » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:08 pm

Store your new fermenter sealed with a cup of 40%+ in it too.
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myles
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by myles » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:20 am

Clean with PBW cleaner then sterilize with star san.

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Curmudgeon
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by Curmudgeon » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:39 am

Sorry for your pain.

If you can't get star san, there's new gear called chemsan which is effectively the same.

Edit to say, I too would replace all your plastic fermenting stuff if that is practical. I suspect you've scratched it somewhere and the gremlins are ingrained. If not practical, I concur with everyone else. Double or triple clean. I'm no bleach fan in our hobby, but "thin" bleach is very cheap in supermarkets.

Also, clean or sterilise your taps as best you can. It's possible the problem is being re-introduced in your water.

Edit (again) : That's not my worst idea ever. You could try a small mash with supermarket water. About £1 a gallon from lidl and others.
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Mash
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by Mash » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:55 am

Sorry for any confusion... Good spot. I am not a bleach fan, I was using it as a turn of phrase to indicate the level of hygiene required.

Taps was a good point too.

I do prefer stuff not getting dirty so I dont have to keep cleaning it.. I store most vessels with spirit in. They are also ready to go then when you need.
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StillDave
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Re: Mashes failing one after the other, HELP!

Post by StillDave » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:06 pm

Thanks for all the tips and advice, and for you, Mash for identifying the nasty SOB! Tbh I'd never heard of it before! I googled it until my eyes bled and I'm 99% sure that you're correct. I'm going down the "clean it until it cries for mercy" route before I throw stuff away.
I've also revisited my mash heating method. I've always used a submersible aquarium heater to keep my mashes at the required temp, but as you can visualise, where the cable enters the FV, it prevents me from closing the lid properly and hence allows other suff to get in too, such as fruit flies, of which I have loads, and they apparently carry the bacteria that turns a mash to vinegar and causes that nasty mess in my pic. I'm going to try the bain marie method, using a tea urn to house my FV, and controllled by a PID...I've set it up with just water ATM and it seems to be working ok. I can now seal the FV lid and use an airlock. Hopefully, I can report back and let y'all know how it went....or didn't go. Nothing ventured, etc.... :roll: :roll:
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