From the HBD Archive
Subject: Potential contamination problem; comment invited
Date: 1989-07-11 16:54:00 GMT

Hello, all!

I should very much like to hear what anyone has to say regarding my
experiences with my latest batch of brew, as described below. It should be
understood that I tried to maintain my usual standards of sanitation at all
times, and that prior to this have never experienced any kind of contamination

I am attempting to produce a batch of "Cherries in the Snow," _per_ Papazian.
This is my first time including fruit in a wort. The recipe calls for one to
boil up one's wort, cooking for 45 min, and then to pour 10lbs of cherries
into the hot wort. This brings the temp down (hopefully) to 160-170 deg. F.,
which one maintains for 15min. This pasteurizes the cherries. One is
supposed to try not to let the temp get too high during this 15 min period, as
there is the potential for bringing out the cherries' natural pectin,
resulting in chill haze in the finished brew. My *only* deviation from the
recipe _per se_ was to slit each cherry to the pit, to enable better
fermentation of the fruit.

The first 5 days of fermentation are supposed to be open-vat, after which time
the cherries are fished out with a strainer which has been sterilized by
boiling and the brew is racked into a closed vessel for secondary fermentation.

This is where things started to get interesting. After racking into the
secondary fermenting vessel (a glass jug) and putting the air lock on, I went
out of town for the holiday weekend. When I returned, I discovered a white
scum on the surface of the brew. The brew itself clarified nicely; the
whatever-it-is is *only* on the surface. It seems to cling to the side of the
jug; when I tipped the jug slightly it did so.

I am now preparing to bottle, under the assumption that this surface material
is a wild yeast or other foreign element introduced by the cherries (as
opposed to bacterial contamination), and will just see what happens and how
the brew tastes in 3 weeks or so.

Comments? Thank you!

Yours in Carbonation,

Cher Feinstein
Univ. of Fla.
Gainesville, FL


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