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Thread: Brewery in tropical environment with mold growing everywhere. Tips?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Saigon, Vietnam
    Posts
    1

    Brewery in tropical environment with mold growing everywhere. Tips?

    I live in a tropical country where a friend runs a brewery where he has allowed me to use their smaller system for their pilot batches. The place is pretty filthy. The exteriors of all the fermenters look dusty and covered in dried beer residue, certain areas of the brewery smell rotten, and on all of the glycol lines that run through the place there is a black colored mold covering the insulation of the lines. The insulation is a foam material, wrapped in what looks like a white electrical tape-like material. I guess I'm a bit too nice and felt he was doing me a favor by allowing me in there in the first place and didn't want to burst his bubble by saying, "dude wtf. clean this place!"

    Anyway, instead I just asked him, "Hey since you're letting me hang around here and use your stuff at least let me help you do something. How about I just help you clean those fermenters?" He said to go for it and it took serious elbow grease and the green side of a dish spongue to scrub the crap out of the fermenters to even get them moderately clean. Anyway, the thing that bothered me the most was that there was loads of mold all over the glycol line insulation. Taking a wet spongue to it wasn't able to remove the 'mold stains'. I had a few questions about brewery cleaning procedure in a tropical environment- specifically where mold can grow rampantly. I've decided on just being a good friend and telling him about the booger in his nose because it doesn't help him to be 'nice' about it and not tell him how gross it is.

    1.) How often should my friend be cleaning the exterior of all his equipment? (There are several 500-1000L fermenters not that it matters)

    2.) Is there any solution that can be mixed to dissolve all the nasty mold 'stains'? I was thinking just diluted bleach solution sprayed onto the areas, letting it sit, and then rinsing it off would do the trick but I'm not sure.

    3.) Once everything is thoroughly "demolded", what routines can he put in place to ensure it doesn't happen again? Like just spray it with the solution every week or something?

    4.) I feel like that disgusting rotten smell is coming from the floor trench. It smells of rotten milk or rotten tooth smell. I was wondering if there is a solution I can suggest to him to "flush" the trench to perhaps get rid of that smell (there are loads of flies all over that place)

    I know this all sounds terrible as I was under the impression that big breweries were run like hospitals and were clean as a whistle. I honestly feel embarrassed for him that a small fry like me has the nerve to come into a big brewery and tell him how disgustingly filthy the place is, but I feel it must be done. After all, customers drink the stuff that comes out of that place and I think if a customer ever went on a tour they'd feel very put off and might never want to drink their beer again.

    Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    307
    Quote Originally Posted by BrewVerymore View Post
    [...]

    2.) Is there any solution that can be mixed to dissolve all the nasty mold 'stains'? I was thinking just diluted bleach solution sprayed onto the areas, letting it sit, and then rinsing it off would do the trick but I'm not sure.
    [...]
    4.) I feel like that disgusting rotten smell is coming from the floor trench. It smells of rotten milk or rotten tooth smell. I was wondering if there is a solution I can suggest to him to "flush" the trench to perhaps get rid of that smell (there are loads of flies all over that place)
    I doubt you can find it where you are, but I've found that "30 Seconds Cleaner" works wonders for mold stains and green growth. It contains sodium hypochlorite, but seems to work better than bleach alone, so there may be surfactants or other things in it that help along. I always thought it was a chlorinated caustic, but when I looked at the MSDS a few minutes ago, it only mentioned the hypochlorite.

    The rotten smell can probably be knocked down temporarily with caustic soda or something similar. Mercaptans (Thiols) which are the really stinky stuff will react readily with it. flies breeding in drains is a real problem, and hard to get rid of. Good luck!

    Edit: Keep the hypochlorite stuff away from your stainless, though!

    Regards,
    Mike Sharp

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,787
    You can get foam cleaners which help when used regularly. However, as with all external cleaning, one of the first jobs is to make sure that the insulation cannot get wet. This means that that it has to be clad in water proof material, with no access from the outside into the insulation. If the insulation has got wet, it is probably worse than useless now as an insulator, and is acting as a source of infection, and should be replaced with fresh insulation and water proof cladding - possibly big expense I know - but there will be financial benefit from properly effective insulation.

    I have simply used a bucket and brush with domestic detergent. If the cladding is OK, and not aluminium, you could spray or wash down with peracetic acid solution - not ideal from H&S, but if you wear masks and gloves etc. and don't make the solution stupidly strong, you should be OK.

    Contact you local chemicals supplier for a suitable surface cleaner / sanitiser. Hypo works well in drains, but make sure the ventilation is good when you poor it down - I nearly chlorine gassed myself when I used hypo down a dirty gully - and worked away from the exist - not towards!!
    dick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    389
    I agree with cladding the insulation of piping and making an effort to keep it dry, but with a good closed cell foam insulation you will not pick up moisture into the foam. Most common piping insulation will be closed cell now days, like Armaflex or Coolfit. It will grow mold on the surface of the insulation where the moisture condensates, but if you add PVC or ABS cladding, then it is much less prone to hold mold.

    The PAA should not react with aluminum that has a protective oxide layer (shiny aluminum), but if the oxide layer is damaged, there will be a reaction.

    Sodium hydroxide will react to remove the oxide layer from the aluminum, so avoid NaOH on anything aluminum. I like to use a weak caustic solution (0.5% or less) to clean mold, personally. Household detergents are a great option if you have very hard water as they are less likely to bind with calcium and other ions.

    1. Clean them when they look dirty. If they look dirty, they are dirty. You can use a foaming sprayer (I have used Acid Brite 2 - Birko, with good success) or you can use a long handled nylon brush and a bucket of solution if your tanks are small enough.

    2. Do not spray any bleach on anything stainless. Personally, I don't even allow any chlorites in my brewery as I have always been able to clean effectively and economically without them. Chlorine is a very reactive compound and risks outweigh rewards IMHO.

    3. Yes, preventative maintenance. In WA on the coast, mold would grow visibly in about two weeks time. We cleaned it every two weeks as it started to appear. Its a quick job if you do it often enough. In CO it was so dry mold wasn't a major concern except in condensate areas. Clean your tap lines often too, this get overlooked easily.

    4. Dichlorvos (DDVP) is an effective agent at reducing flying insects, however there are some health considerations with these products. You should not be exposed to high levels for extended periods of time. The drains can be flushed with a caustic solution, an acid solution, or even hot brewing liquor depending on the materials the drain is made of. Check for chemical compatibility. I plug drains about once a month and fill the trench with dilute caustic, then drain and flush with Hot Liquor to get the pipework.

    Thanks for telling this brewer to clean up his act a bit. We can all use constructive criticism, and we all want to know our beers were made in a clean facility. Its easiest to stay on top of it. Cleaning becomes a huge task if you let it build.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,813
    A marine supply shop (ship's chandler) will stock chemicals used to remove and prevent mold and mildew. These are major problems when living on the water.

    For floors and drains, I wet the floors and drains down and then sprinkle them with dry caustic crystals. Let sit for 15 minutes, then scrub with a floor brush and rinse down. Works wonders, even on our uncoated and eroded concrete floors.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    951
    Diluted Quadra Quat and Ultra Quat both are excellent at keeping black mold at bay for long periods in my experience.
    Joel Halbleib
    COO / Zymurgist
    Goodwood Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    goodwood.beer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Minocqua WI
    Posts
    786
    Bleach it then quat it. wrap insulation with pvc covers.
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    tbriggs@minocquabrewingcompany.com
    "Your results may vary"

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