New answers tagged carboy
I would worry about that smell. Several of my local home brewers have made plastic flavored beer, it doesn't go away, just gets stronger. When it happened to me, the beer went away, and the fermenter too.
What kind of water do you brew with? Chlorinated tap water can cause a rubber-like (Chlorophenol) taste or smell. If you pass tap water through a chlorine-removing filter, it might be time for a filter change.
I have seen a lot of times that there is a layer of protection, when the ferment is going strong, the pressure of the bubbles actually push any contaminants out of the stopper hole. The layer of foam created by the ferment is also a protection from contaminants. My airlock had the ferment bubbling into the airlock, so I had to take it off and clean it, and ...
You shouldn't be concerned. When you removed the stopper, you didn't allow it to come into contact with a non-sterile (potentially bacteria-ridden) surface, so there was no potential for transfer of bacteria onto it (other than contact with the air, which does not pose a significant risk).
As jsled says you have no worries. You are doing the right things, not touching it or putting it down. If just for a few seconds to check on the brew you'll be fine, also you will gain experience regarding how your brew evolves over time.
No, you don't need to worry about contamination based on what you describe.
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