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gray
02-05-2011, 01:02 AM
I suppose since this is my first post I'll put this here in the NewBees section.

Back in September I started doing some small test runs and I made four one-gallon batches of mead all using the same must, but each with a different yeast.

It's been sitting in secondaries since October and has cleared nicely, but each one has a white film over the top. I've tried to read all the threads I could find that discussed white film and I seem to be in the group of people that shouldn't worry (no foul smell, no tendrils, no fuzziness...). I didn't siphon with my mouth so I nixed that notion. Maybe my sanitation on these 1 gallon jugs was off...

But the mead still smells like mead and, though I haven't officially tasted it I did stick my finger in to get some of the white film to examine and taste and got some residual mead on my finger (its sweet, which I was expecting for these). The film itself isn't liquidy (more like a thin foam without bubbles if that makes sense) and tasted chalky... maybe I shouldn't have tasted it ;D

Anyway, I was wondering if there was a way to identify it based on what I know about its characteristics? If not I wont worry about it too much.

Thanks!

akueck
02-05-2011, 01:56 AM
Hello and welcome to GotMead!

The more details you can give us about your batches, the better we'll be able to guess at what is going on. Things like recipe, gravity readings, nutrient schedules, temperatures, etc are all very helpful. For "what is this thing" kind of questions, a picture says a thousand words.

Ok, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, a white layer on the top of your mead could be lots of things. It could be waxy particles from the honey, yeast that has decided to hang out at the top surface, a terrible infection, or all of the above. ;) The lack of tendrils, fuzz, or off aromas is a good indication that it's probably fine. Get back to us with those details and we'll try to sort it out.

gray
02-05-2011, 02:39 AM
Sorry about that.
The must was pretty devoid of anything... 12# fireweed and enough water to bring it to a little over 4 gallons. No nutrients or anything. Original Gravity was 1.106. It was mixed in one container and then divied into the 4 gallon containers. The remaining must was used to start 4 different yeasts. I pitched, airlocked, and set aside. I didn't touch them again until 20 days later... they were all at about the 1/3 break and I racked to new jugs. Set it aside again and the film formed about 2 weeks after. Once it formed it pretty much stayed the same, not growing or shrinking. Not sure of final gravity as the hydrometer bottoms out in the jugs and I haven't started transferring them yet.

All four jugs have the same thing going on. Sorry about the picture quality, can't find my real camera so I grabbed these with my phone.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_WxGCqEz3GhI/TUzwUsh-6-I/AAAAAAAAAw4/yLvoLPRgeO0/s800/mead1.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_WxGCqEz3GhI/TUzwUglt-1I/AAAAAAAAAw8/dVdDl7Li1-g/s800/mead2.jpg

YogiBearMead726
02-05-2011, 03:45 AM
Looks fine to me. ;D As long as it smells and tastes fine, you're good.

gray
02-05-2011, 04:06 AM
Looks fine to me. ;D As long as it smells and tastes fine, you're good.

Yeah, I'm not terribly worried. More curious since this is the first time its happened to me personally and was hoping to use the opportunity to expand my experience. I'm going to assume (pray) that its a yeast film or maybe a slight contamination after primary. I think I'm going to have to redo the tests though just for my own peace of mind... not that having another 4 gallons of mead will hurt me :)

If it turns out to be something worse I'll be sure to have someone update this thread for me posthumously for everyone's edification. ;D

Medsen Fey
02-05-2011, 11:10 AM
That film is probably is nothing bad, but from the look of things, you have far too much headspace in there and these should be topped up.

gray
02-05-2011, 11:25 AM
That film is probably is nothing bad, but from the look of things, you have far too much headspace in there and these should be topped up.

Yeah, normally I wouldn't have that much headspace and the other two are actually topped up, but when I racked I decided to leave two of the gallons low like that to see what would happen. Everyone always talks about minimizing headspace so I thought test batches were a good place to see why (I actually have a few other small batches in secondary with far MORE headspace). So far it's been beneficial as the film is much easier to see on these two :)

Medsen Fey
02-05-2011, 12:56 PM
Leaving headspace after a fermentation is complete is a bad idea. You may do it numerous times and get away with it, but eventually it will bite you and you'll wind up with vinegar/spoilage.

gray
02-05-2011, 01:15 PM
I'm hoping for vinegar/spoilage in at least one or two of my test batches. I uncorked one batch after fermentation seemed to have stopped to air out the CO2, so I'm hoping that one will go first.

Chevette Girl
02-05-2011, 01:28 PM
I get something like that on some of my fresh batches, it doesn't seem to affect anything. Generally if it hasn't gone away by the time I want to bottle it, I hit it with sulphites just to be sure, and I don't think I've ever had it come back in the bottle. Yours kind of reminds me of what it looks like when I've first mixed up honey with water.

gray
02-05-2011, 01:58 PM
Yours kind of reminds me of what it looks like when I've first mixed up honey with water.

It does kind of look like that doesn't it? Or like some of the scum that rises when boiled...

I did a batch a while back using comb honey and the melted wax also looked similar though it congealed rapidly once it was skimmed out. I thought it might be a little residual wax from the honey in these batches since I didn't skim... though at this temperature the wax shouldn't be so much of a liquid anymore I don't think and it I think it wouldn't disperse and regroup when stirred up a bit. I dunno though... if I did I wouldn't be trying to identify it ;D

kudapucat
02-06-2011, 07:01 AM
I got something like that.
Posted a pic, was told it was harmless, ignored it, and the mead appears quite OK. I've not tasted it yet though, as it's still in secondary.


Well, the primary ferment is pretty much done, and now I'm getting this weird Kraussen - please see photo.

It has long white streamery bits hanging vertically, I'm concerned that this might be bacterial or something.

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=529&d=1296125321

Any ideas?

The pic (as seen above I hope - it's in the patrons only section so I don't know if it'll work for everyone) is a bit clearer than the ones I saw above in this thread.
Does it look like the same thing?

gray
02-06-2011, 10:45 AM
Yeah I can't see the photo (one more reason I guess I should upgrade I guess :))

Based on the description in your quote though I can say that mine doesn't have any vertically hanging bits.

I found my camera, but of course the battery is dead... I'll have to locate the charger now... it's always something.

akueck
02-06-2011, 12:02 PM
Those "vertical hanging bits" are just the yeast falling down the sides. You can get some neat streaks as they drop down along the glass. Most of mine end up like that at some point.

gray
02-06-2011, 12:26 PM
Those "vertical hanging bits" are just the yeast falling down the sides. You can get some neat streaks as they drop down along the glass. Most of mine end up like that at some point.

I definitely do get streaking on mine during sedimentation, but vertical hanging bits just conjures up images of tendrils hanging like on a jellyfish. Maybe my imagination is going a bit far :D

I think these pictures may be a bit large for the post but the first shows a better shot of what they all look like

first one (https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_WxGCqEz3GhI/TU7KoErFZoI/AAAAAAAAAxQ/oBBkPFVKxSU/s912/mead2_1.jpg)

and this one is the one that i touched

second one (https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_WxGCqEz3GhI/TU7KoZetKFI/AAAAAAAAAxU/4r2qEYeIG5o/s912/mead2_2.jpg)

So the one that I touched ended up dispersing for the most part. It still seems to be a film, but no longer a clumped together film.

Fisher kel Tath
02-06-2011, 02:36 PM
looks like it's just Co2 foam to me...

akueck
02-06-2011, 04:16 PM
Yup looks like yeast.

gray
02-06-2011, 04:46 PM
Yup looks like yeast.

Groovy. Thanks, everyone.

kudapucat
02-06-2011, 08:40 PM
Yah, ignoring it certainly didn't hurt my mead. It smells lovely!

wildbill001
02-15-2011, 04:07 PM
BUT....

It looks like yeasties that are "sun bathing". I had something similar on one of my batches and I'm still alive to type this msg....:p