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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bourbonnais, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Mold in airlock any worries?

    I found a dark/black mold in one of my airlocks a few days ago. Other than the 'personal shame' that I may not have sanitized well enough, any cause for worries?
    Thankfully it was on a 1 gallon and not the 2 five gallons I have going. It doesn't appear that there was any carry-over or any way for the water to actually make it to the mead, but the fact that it was there at all has me a little worried. It's also only about the 3rd month for the mead.
    I sanitized and changed the airlock and water of course. Any thoughts...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Mold in airlock any worries?

    Quote Originally Posted by scoots40 View Post
    I found a dark/black mold in one of my airlocks a few days ago. Other than the 'personal shame' that I may not have sanitized well enough, any cause for worries?
    Thankfully it was on a 1 gallon and not the 2 five gallons I have going. It doesn't appear that there was any carry-over or any way for the water to actually make it to the mead, but the fact that it was there at all has me a little worried. It's also only about the 3rd month for the mead.
    I sanitized and changed the airlock and water of course. Any thoughts...
    I've brewed a few meads, alot more all-grain beer. Never had mold in the airlock, but I understand mold is somewhat common when using plan water. Sounds like some of the "fizz" got into the airlock for the mold to feed on. I usually use vodka, star-san or moonshine so for me the airlocks go dry before anything else. The alcohol content of the meade should kill nasties, should be no problem, so nothing to worry about, don't be ashamed. ;-)

    Have you tried the meade? Have you racked it off the trub from primary fermentation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Pittsfield, MA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Mold in airlock any worries?

    +1 to using cheap vodka or star san in the airlock. Why risk losing a batch because you used water in the airlock?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bourbonnais, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Mold in airlock any worries?

    I have never heard of using cheap vodka before, but that sounds like a great solution which I will try for sure.
    As far as trying it I have racked it once, but it didn't taste very good yet. But I'm not sure what very young mead is supposed to taste like.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    611

    Default Re: Mold in airlock any worries?

    clean it fill it with starsan. If your batch is infected it will start to show up on the surface. If it was beer I would just chill it and force carbonate but with wine you can drink it, dump it or make vinegar out of it

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Federal Way / Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Mold in airlock any worries?

    Even if the water were sucked into the wine for whatever reason - pulling off the airlock too fast, changes in barometric pressure, etc - as long as the mead is properly sulfited, it should be able to handle it. No human pathogens can live in wine/mead, provided the alcohol level is high enough (10-11% + ABV )

    Vodka is used sometimes, but it dries out faster and you risk oxidizing your wine - which is more unfixable than a little mold - so if you're not on-top-of watching your airlocks, you might want to continue to use water.

    I've had some questionable things appear in my airlocks, I just throw the whole (unused at the time) pile into some oxyclean, rinse very very well, and then swap those out for the ones currently on the carboys - topped off with fresh water.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    611

    Default Re: Mold in airlock any worries?

    "No human pathogens can live in wine/mead"
    This is true. The stuff wont kill you but doesn't mean your going to want to drink it. There is a bunch of bacteria's that thrive in ethanol. Lactbacillus is one and will cause your mead to sour. Acetic acid bacteria is another and will turn in into vinegar. The plus side in acetic is it needs oxygen. Lactic acid doesn't. I'm making a german sour beer right now that I purposely infected with lactbacillus. I also make 15 gallons of sour kraut every year and its Lactic acid that sours the cabbage. Both these bacteria's are naturally everywhere in the environment
    Last edited by danno; 01-08-2014 at 01:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Federal Way / Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Mold in airlock any worries?

    Those would both be what we call 'spoilage organisms/bacteria', yes, but they wont hurt you.
    You might not *want* to drink it, but it wont hurt.

    Some strains of Malo-lactic Bacteria, that convert malic acid to lactic acid - especially in higher pH wines - can sometimes be a Lactobaccillus strain.

    I didn't mean to say that your mead/wine/beer/fermentation can't get sick; it's just not going to kill you if it does and you drink it anyway.

    Edit: Should be said that proper dosages of SO2 will keep these bacterias at bay as well; they might make it in the wine but as long as the SO2 is high enough, they wont be able to thrive, in any shape/form
    Last edited by Deezil; 01-08-2014 at 09:16 PM.

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