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Monkling
01-22-2014, 02:39 PM
After doing weeks of research, I started my first batch of mead on Jan. 8th: 3 lbs. honey, 1 gallon of spring water, Lalvin EC-118 yeast, 1/2 tsp each of yeast nutrient & energizer.

I did not boil the mead but did bring the spring water and honey up to about 100 degrees, the same temperature as the water & yeast so as not to shock the yeast.

Starting S.G. was 1.120 (might be off as I had a bit of trouble reading it). I staggered the nutrient & added 1/4 tsp of energizer & 1/2 tsp of nutrient on 1/10 and another 1/4 tsp of nutrient on 1/15.

I was meticulous about sanitation, using Star San for everything that came into contact with the mead. When I added that last 1/4 tsp of the nutrient, I tested the S.G. and had a reading of 1.022 so fermentation seems to be moving along fine.

Starting yesterday there's a film floating on top of the mead. It doesn't look like mold. This is the best photo I was able to get:

http://www.monkling.com/blogpics/mead.jpg

Is it possible that this is wax? When I warmed up the must, I did see something that I think looked like this, although I don't get why it would wait 2 weeks before showing up.

The must smells fine but is it possible this is some sort of contamination? If it is, would I be able to just rack it into a clean, sanitized jug, add a campden tablet, wait 24 hours and then try to restart it with more yeast or is that just crazy?

mannye
01-22-2014, 04:28 PM
Can you get a picture of the whole carboy? With this close up it could be anything but it sort of looks like a little krausening leftover.

I always get a film on top of the must once the really active fermentation is done. If it smells good and tastes good then you are fine. Especially since it seems you went to "beer level" sanitation. Get a thief in there and give it a taste.

If not, you're probably only looking at a week or so more of fermentation. Once it slows to a halt over a few days, rack. Don't freak out and rack prematurely giving yourself more work and more chances of infection.

loveofrose
01-22-2014, 05:15 PM
Looks normal to me. I always have the film on top. I guess it's the wax or something from the honey. I've noticed it generally tastes sweeter than the clear liquid beneath it. You are doing fine! Leave them yeasties alone!

GntlKnigt1
01-22-2014, 05:29 PM
I would agree that it looks normal, but don't hang an Area 51 sign on the carboy, just to be safe.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Monkling
01-22-2014, 06:06 PM
I will leave it alone & most definitely keep the Area 51 sign away.

I had no idea there were different classes of sanitation. I guess 'beer level' is better than 'fanatic level'. I did not break out the sterile gauze. :)

Thanks for your help & reassurance that I didn't screw anything up.

mannye
01-23-2014, 01:40 AM
I will leave it alone & most definitely keep the Area 51 sign away.

I had no idea there were different classes of sanitation. I guess 'beer level' is better than 'fanatic level'. I did not break out the sterile gauze. :)

Thanks for your help & reassurance that I didn't screw anything up.

Yeah, I still keep a crazy sanitation protocol that is unnecessary for mead. It gives me one less excuse when a batch comes out skunky. BUT the good news is that if you follow the advice given on here, you'll rarely get a result that's not drinkable!

Monkling
01-23-2014, 06:32 PM
Can you get a picture of the whole carboy?
Just for the heck of it:

http://www.monkling.com/blogpics/jug_mead.jpg

I'm thinking my next project to study is photography with a particular emphasis on lighting. Unfortunately, the rewards aren't quite as fun as drinking some home brewed beer or a batch of limoncello...

mannye
01-23-2014, 06:52 PM
That looks fine! Lots of headspace there but it happens to me too. From "sampling"

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/01/24/yteme5ug.jpg


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now. G

Monkling
01-27-2014, 01:38 AM
I always get a film on top of the must once the really active fermentation is done.

That's what threw me off - the fact that the film appeared nearly 2 weeks in. OTOH, that makes sense. The must is thinner so stuff could float more easily.

I'm going to take another S.G. reading tomorrow and if it's close to 1, I'll rack it. I'm going to be bottling some beer so might as well make use of that sanitizer.

Already thinking of my next project. Maybe a honey/maple syrup combo...

mannye
01-27-2014, 10:59 AM
Like Chevette Girl says, if it smells good and tastes good, it's good. If you're a beer guy you might not be in the habit of tasting before primary is over. I never did anyway. With mead I taste at least once a week during primary. Leaving a thimbleful out of the test sample.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now. G

GntlKnigt1
01-27-2014, 11:58 AM
Already thinking of my next project. Maybe a honey/maple syrup combo...

Ahh... an acerglyn....have one of those going right now myself.....
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9177&page=3

Comes highly recommended by Heather and her friends (see page 2) and has a nice label (see link on page 2).

...and no Area 51 issues either... Grin.

Monkling
01-27-2014, 09:08 PM
If you're a beer guy you might not be in the habit of tasting before primary is over.
I'm a beer, wine, homemade infusions (Limoncello, etc.) drinking gal. :D

I know, an odd name for a gal but it's been my online name for 20 years now. I didn't pick the name myself. It was sort of given to me.

I only taste the beer when I'm checking the SG on it. I'm brand new to that as well as the mead. Only on the third batch.

Monkling
01-27-2014, 09:12 PM
Ahh... an acerglyn....have one of those going right now myself.....
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9177&page=3

Comes highly recommended by Heather and her friends (see page 2) and has a nice label (see link on page 2).

...and no Area 51 issues either... Grin.

I had thought to try straight maple syrup but those didn't seem to get very good reviews. The syrup/honey ones seemed to be liked a lot better so I figured that would be safer to try. And I don't think I would even attempt to pronounce Acerglyn!

Chevette Girl
01-27-2014, 09:33 PM
That's what threw me off - the fact that the film appeared nearly 2 weeks in. OTOH, that makes sense. The must is thinner so stuff could float more easily.

Already thinking of my next project. Maybe a honey/maple syrup combo...

Possibly around two weeks in is when fermentation was mostly done enough to stop churning things under?

There are a lot of recipes around, I use one 540 ml can (just over two cups) of syrup to 1 kg (2.2 lb) honey per gallon and I use lemon juice because I developed the recipe before I learned that honey has its own acidity and adding more can drop your pH too low, although having taken a pH test strip to the finished product, it was definitely not too much so I suspect maple syrup might be alkaline... I find you need to leave an acerglyn sweet or the maple flavour gets totally lost.

Honeyhog
01-27-2014, 10:32 PM
I had thought to try straight maple syrup but those didn't seem to get very good reviews.

Unfortunately I didn't see those reviews until after I made one. I won't even taste it until it's a year old which should give it time to be worth a taste. It's pretty dry at .998 so there is room to backsweeten later with honey, more maple syrup or both.

Shmafty
01-28-2014, 12:03 AM
...it was definitely not too much so I suspect maple syrup might be alkaline...
My experience seems to support your suspicions. I recently step-fed some maple syrup for Sandman's cranberry cyser, and it increased the pH by a significant amount.

GntlKnigt1
03-02-2014, 11:38 AM
I backsweetened a 5 gallon batch with 2 parts Grade B maple syrup and 1 part honey.... at SG 1.022, seemed pretty tasty. (Oh... each 'part' was 350 ml)