View Full Version : White Film

07-27-2012, 09:21 AM
Hello all,

I've seen a few posts about white film before, but they all seemed to be about at the start of fermentation. Plus I am a little neurotic right now so I thought I'd post anyways.

My blackberry mead from http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showpost.php?p=193266&postcount=1 seems like it may have developed an infection. I racked it to secondary a few days ago, and just noticed this thin white film on the top of the must yesterday. It does not smell off at all; just yeast, alcohol, and fruit. It breaks up a bit when I move the carboy. It's very thin on the top, and a little more clustered at the sides, and there is a faint white substance on the sides of the carboy as well now. It's hard to tell if there are tendrils or not, it may be that when it breaks up, it falls down a little.

Everything I've seen says to go off of smell, but I am still freaking out about this. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Here are some pics as well.


Yo momma
07-27-2012, 12:05 PM
Hang in there! No worries yet. If its is infected then there is nothing you can do about it so there is no reason not to wait. If there is no off smell, have a glass of Mead/Wine and relax. Time will tell so be patient. Dont keep opening it up so u can see either. The more u open the better chance of a bacteria getting in. Let it roll, watch it, and check in a month. :)

07-27-2012, 03:19 PM
It is not uncommon to get a thin film of wax and other honey debris on the top. I would not worry about it at this point. Although I cannot see too clearly, I have nearly always gotten a similar film on mine and it ends up just being honey debris etc. Hang in there and let it sit.

One way to be sure is to taste it after a while. If fermentation had stopped, check the SG and make sure that bacteria is not dropping the SG even more.

Again - IMHO, I would not fret too much.

07-27-2012, 11:45 PM
I wish I could explain away the film you're seeing but I don't know for sure what it is. Possibly some honey debris that has floated to the top, did you use processed or raw honey ?

I've always been told that you will know a bad batch straight off by its smell and taste. As was said, at this point you can't do anything about it so give it a month and check its smell/flavor. Any guess as to its alcohol content now ? At a point (7-9% ?) it becomes fairly good at self sanitizing I think. Maybe rack it into a tertiary carboy after a while and try to leave the residue behind.

Keep us posted, hopefully it's nothing to worry about.

07-28-2012, 02:23 AM
It was processed honey that I used. USDA grade A, clover honey, so I don't think it is honey particles, especially since it's in secondary. It's at about 12% abv according to the mead calculator (didn't have hydrometer at start) and my most current hydrometer reading (1.043 from 1.139). As I said, smell is not off, but I'm just not sure what it is, especially this far into the process.

07-28-2012, 05:21 PM
Almost all my meads have had a white film on the top all the way through until bottling. None of them has tasted like it's infected by anything.

07-29-2012, 11:28 AM
If it doesn't smell bad, I believe white film is OK.

It could be oxygen loving Zygosaccharomyces (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zygosaccharomyces) which is in the family of Saccharomycetaceae supposedly present in a wide variety of habitats, especially those with a plentiful supply of carbohydrate sources.

07-29-2012, 05:29 PM
Update: The film seems to be slightly thicker, though it is hard to tell. I thought I was done for when I saw a white blob floating in the middle, but it turned out to be little bubbles stuck under the film. After a closer look, there were some bubbles along the sides as well. They aren't popping, I think, because they are trapped under the film, but it leads me to believe it might be doing a little bit of renewed fermentation?? Still no bad smells, but the smells from before (fruit, alcohol, yeast) seemed a lot fainter.

07-30-2012, 12:52 AM
Probably just degassing. You can get bubbles for months from degassing, but if they are collecting under something, that seems strange.

07-30-2012, 01:57 AM
It happens at times.
Here's a pic of 1 mead in ageing in two bottles.


As you can see one is clear, the other with a film.
Both were good meads.