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Beer yeast, pink mold in ice machine.

Techman Member Posts: 2,144
edited October 2014 in Indoor-Air Quality
Every 4 months I have to strip and clean an ice machine at a busy bar to get rid of slimy nasty pink mold that builds up inside the ice machine from the yeast in the beer that gets into the air and then into the ice maker..The icer is in a back room. There is 1 HVAC supply register in the back room, so the air(beer yeast) up front gets circulated to the back room. Will UV light kill the beer yeast spores? Can I put a UV light in the 1 supply that feeds the back room.Or can I install a UV in the back room ,wall mounted, ceiling mounted?One associate said that leaving a room light will solve the problem, I'm not sure how that would help.


  • Docfletcher
    Docfletcher Member Posts: 486
    Looks like UV will prevent/kill it. Read this in it's entirety...

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,181

    A few years ago Florida began having commercial ice makers (water & ice) tested 4 times a year for bacteria, if it failed cleaning and sanitizing was required.

    Here’s another article on the subject:

  • bic2
    bic2 Member Posts: 23
    I would just like to put out there that it's probably not actually beer yeast that's causing your mold. First, the amount of yeast in beer by the time you're drinking it is minimal. And that's only if it's craft beer. Any mass produced beer has no yeast left in it at all. Even so, the yeast would need to be airborne (i.e. come up out of the beer and into the air) and then survive in the icemaker. Not impossible, but not the typical behavior of brewer's yeast.

    I don't think this makes much difference in your approach to fixing the problem, I just think you're dealing with regular old every day mold.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I agree with @bic2, At a bar I service the way they solved the problem was to get rid of the ice machine and buy ice from ReddyIce. They crunched the numbers and between the cost of filters, wasted electricity, cleaner and maintenance it was just cheaper to buy it. The ice distributor supplies the freezer and delivers and stocks it for free.
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    edited October 2014
    Hi Guys. I spoke w/ the folks at Nu Calgon and they have a product that prevents the mold from growing. Its called "Ice Guard AP" I'll give it a try. The Calgon guy said that draught beer has "live yeast" in it as compared to a "not live yeast"(LOL) in mass produced bottled beer. He brews his own homebrew , for 25 years or so and he is accustomed to the "live yeast" .Then he said that storing empty beer bottles in the same room as an ice maker will cause"pink mold" from the residual "not live yeast"in the bottles. I thank you's.
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    Hi bic2, you might have something there about the "regular old everyday mold", I was at a customers home and their sons shower/tub had a decent amount of pink mold in it , so .
  • Just to throw this out there, the pink/red discoloration can also be iron content in the water. Here on the Island of Long we have a lot of that.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited October 2014
    Mold is everywhere. It is an airborne plant important and critical to life on earth.

    IMO, some of the mold and black mold is in the atmosphere from the ethanol in gasoline. Look for automobiles parked under leafed out trees in the summer. The roofs are all black unless washed regularly. The mold feeding on the sap from the trees. Same on shingled roofs. 30 years ago, you didn't see asphalt shingle roofs failing in 10 years. Now they have a special coating applied to the shingles during manufacturing to make them last longer. Look at roadway spilloff's at bridges where rain water runs across concrete. The concrete is stained black.


    Here's another article. Notice the part about bakeries.

  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198
    edited October 2014
    Sorry I took so long to respond. Like Ice said, mold spores are airborne and everywhere. They are so common that even "clean rooms" can't elimate all of them. Yeast, like mold, is a living thing, and needs water and food to survive, and usually can find it just about anywhere. Actually, there are several strains of mold that show up "pink", and are very common. You often find them around shower drains that don't get cleaned regularly, sinks with a slow drip or under bottles of shampoo or soap in a shower. There are commercial biocides you can use, but follow the directions carefully, and make sure they are for "food grade" service. EL is a good place to start. A good water filter can help, and make sure the door gaskets are tight. Check the scoops that are used to dig out the ice; if people are putting utensils and ice buckets and bare hands in the machine, it is going to get contaminated.
  • wellen
    wellen Member Posts: 3
    It is a mold problem, you could use a steam cleaner to loosen up the mold.Just make sure that you clean the ice maker atleast once a month.