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On bacterial contamination...


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Had a problem reported to me this morning (please don't laugh). Got a call that operator neglected to dose rum "mash" with nutrients and yeast last Saturday. They came in this morning and batch was bubbling away. Clearly a sanitation or wild yeast issue. I suggested they dose with 20 mg/liter of K metabisulfite, let sit 24 hours then add nutrients and pitch yeast at normal rate. Clearly yield will suffer. I was tempted to have them let it ferment out, distill, and see what they came up with.

I'm just curious what others might have recommended in this situation.

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No recommendation here on how to treat it. Hows the specific gravity comparing to the starting? Does it smell bad?

If it's not completely destroyed I'd run it and see how it goes. Maybe it's going to be terrible, maybe you won't notice a difference? Only one way to tell!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pitch a normal yeast and nutrient dose and let'er run dry.  Who knows, it may be your best ferment yet.  I find our rye whiskey does significantly better flavor wise if we allow for some bacterial action a day or two after completion. Rum in particular has a rich history of utilizing bacterial esters (dunder pits) to produce fun flavors.  Check your pH and make sure it's in a healthy range for your yeast before pitching (the MBS would do that).  

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