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Member Since 06 Dec 2017
Offline Last Active Aug 07 2019 10:56 AM

Topics I've Started

Mold Again Using Dry Ghosts -> Long Post

21 April 2019 - 04:43 AM

I began on April 12 a new batch of sauce fermenting thai chilies, prik chee fa, 80 dry ghosts, onion, shallot and garlic.  

To prep for this I:


1. Briefly rinse the ghosts (which are dry) then put them in a bowl and add boiling water to soften them.  I then go do my other steps listed below.


2. All other ingredients are smoked.  I leave out a bit of each ingredient from smoking as the heat can kill the good bacteria.



3. I wash all bottles and before adding mash, I rinse each bottle in dilute bleach and hot water and rinse afterwards.  I added 6 cups of water to which had been added 4% (of the weight of the fruits) Thai sea salt.

Then I add the salted mash and cap them with airlocks lid.






I had full-on fermentation the next morning.  Excellent.  


Now, it's hot season here and effen 100°+ everyday.  We only AC the rooms we are in and running AC just for the ferments would be nuts and super expensive.  There is no cool dry place here unless YOU make it.

A few days after fermentation kicked off, #$%$#@ mold appeared on the surface of mashes.  



Pissed as all get out given the lengths I've gone to prevent this, I did this:


1. Scooped out 1/2 inch of each bottle. The spoon I used was dipped in dilute bleach, rinsed, scooped out moldy chili, dump moldy chili, rinse, dip in dilute bleach, rinse, repeat.  


2. Once all the moldy chili was removed, I went a step further.  Since the spoon was dragged with the moldy chili up the sides of each bottle, I'm pretty dang sure this spooged each bottle side with mold.  So I took a paper towel, dipped that in the dilute bleach and squeezed it dry, then wiped the inside of each dagnabbed bottle. I give each bottle some air time before closing the lids to let the dilute bleach outgas and turn to water.  


3. I put the lids back on each and kept the bottles in AC rooms which meant walking up a flight of stairs with 10 bottles with 600MLS in each one.  Not fun.


Next day, mold again!!!!!!


Now I need to add here that I had made, on the following day as the ghost mash, a batch of my original Thai chili sauce prepared in exactly the same way except no ghost chilies and no airlocks as I had used all those bottles.  I had to use the typical clasp style bottles.  Otherwise everything in my methods were identical.

Those 2 bottles of original recipe HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO MOLD.  Same brutal temps.  They are only a day younger than the ghost mashes that are fermenting and getting moldy.

So the only difference between moldy and not moldy is the ghost chilies, and I can only conclude that my handling of the dry ghost chilies is incorrect.  I'm not doing something right before adding them to the mash.

Does anyone have any suggestions?  When I add the ghosts to the mash, I add the water they were soaking in as well, FYI.  


My only guess is that I need to first add boiling water to them to kill molds & bacteria, let them soak a bit, then dump that water and add boiling water again as there must be mold or something in these ghosts despite being from a commercial grower in the US who sells online.  I can see no mold on them and you can see them in a pic above.


I've managed to save the ghost mashes I made so far by following my above procedure AGAIN, then putting all the mashes into 2 giant clasp bottles and then putting them into the fridge.  There is very little headspace in these since the highly active fermenting is done.  I figured worst case, it will be easier to scoop off from only 2 bottles instead of 10! ;)


TIA for an help!



Chiang Mai Habeneros

21 April 2019 - 03:38 AM

People think of Thailand, where I live, as a place of spicy food which is true.  But here they only use a few varieties as they are hard to grow because of insects and heat.  100+ today

A friend sent me this pic from a grocery in Chiang Mai.  That's $82.36 per kilo!  No I'm not buying any lol.  My sauces will have to do without.


First Airlock Ferment, First Airlock Overflow

23 February 2019 - 10:40 PM

I have a real basic question on what to do when one's airlock/bubbler is overflowed into from the ferment.

I got real nice fermentation going on overnight and I'm using bubblers/airlocks for the first time.  


5 of the 6 bubblers were overflowed into and so I'm wondering what is the procedure to deal with this?  


I used vodka in the bubblers after seeing someone here or on youtube doing that.  Since I had no lids that are made for fermenting, I drilled holes into these lids and used Tackiwax to seal the bubbler in place. 


Should I take off the lids and clean them or should I break the wax seals to just remove the bubblers and clean and replace them?  Obviously less air will get in by just removing the wax and then the bubbler, but just want to see how others deal with this minor inconvenience.  


Thanks in advance for any tips :)




Large Scale Fermentation Gear & Mash vs Chopped

11 February 2019 - 06:07 AM

I have been wondering about the mash vs chopped veg choice especially after 2 large ferment bottles developed some mold on top just recently.  

Once smoked and blended to a mash, I add x amount of water with 4% salt of the total veg weight and stir it up and cap it with lock top jars with no gasket so they don't blow up overnight.  The mash is NOT covered by brine.  One batch went bad so I scooped out the mold as best I could and added 2% boiled brine to cover what was left of the mash.  THAT grew mold on top so I tossed it. :(
Do I need to cover my mash with brine?
Would it be better to use chopped veg and keep it submerged to prevent mold?
Is 4% of the total veg weight the correct way to calculate the amount of salt?


I now have air lock bubblers so perhaps my mold issues will be behind me, and I'm searching for someone to sway me to either 1 gallon narrow mouth carboys or 3 gallon widemouth glass bubblers such as in these photos.  
Pictured are a .7 gallon narrow mouth carboy and a 3 gallon wide mouth.  These are what are available here so I don't have PET choices and 5 gallons is more sauce than I want to get into for now.


Points I'm interested in are the air tightness of the lids for the wide mouths as I've heard of issues for brewers with them, and the obvious cleaning issues that will come with the narrow mouths.  


Anyone of you who have been there and done that care to weigh in on this?   :)


Here in Thailand we don't have a lot of choices as brewing is technically illegal here, so the gear is hard to come by.  Fortunately there are enough home brewers making it possible to make inroads against these %$#%$ laws so there is at least one supplier.  


Me, I just wanna make chili sauce! ;)
Thanks for any comments and suggestions!

Back From the US With Ghosts :)

15 January 2019 - 01:11 AM

Just back from freezin' my butt in the US for a month and glad to be back in BKK with high temps and VERY high pollution! It's like freakin' Beijing here.   :mad:


While in the US I was excited to get lots of dried ghost chilies as well as bubblers and dried Mexican chilies (chipotle etc) that I can't find here in TH.  So I'm ready to start my next ferment!


I bought 2 different brands of ghosts while there.  Freida's, which are in most grocery stores now it seems, and I also ordered a 1/2 lb of dry ghosts from the ghostpepperstore.com since they are located in Alton, Ill near where I was staying in St. Louis.  


I took a taste of Freida's and found them to be distinctly salty tasting.  I wrote the company and eventually heard back that nothing is added to them.  My tastebuds say otherwise but OK.  


I just tried the tip of a ghost from ghostpepperstore.com and there was no saltiness to it.  Spicy but not lingering and building as I had worried.  Does anyone have any experience with either of these chili brands?





My first and only experience with a ghost sauce previously was Mad Dog Inferno which, with a small drop on a tortilla chip, set me on  :fireball: and kept building.  I eventually went to the sink to rinse my mouth!  Subsequent research into that sauce showed that they use extract which is cheating in my book.


Thanks for any comments on these 2 brands of chilies!  I'll be following up with my sauce recipe questions in a separate post.   :onfire:  I'm off to the store to get my fresh chiles etc to get these ferments cookin'!