View Full Version : Here it goes: Obligatory "Is this infected?" Topic

10-02-2015, 10:20 AM
I've been officially making mead for a year now, and have had very few issues (besides misreading the dosage on the k-meta bottle a couple times :(). Until now, I've only been making one-gallon batches. Since I've got a year under my belt, I decided it was time to scale up. This is also the first time I've used 100% raw, unfiltered, untreated, crystallized honey.

It's a basic three-gallon BOMM recipe, with 83% raw OB and 17% raw western buckwheat, OG 1.108. At the end of primary, it developed this yeasty, bubbly film on top, that I assumed was just yeast stuck to wax. I racked it 6 days ago at ~0.998 (14.37%), and it's been gradually clearing since. Since racking, though, the film has come back (pictures below).

Panicking, I moved it to the kitchen and took a sample to check the aroma and flavors. When I moved it, though, the film broke up and separated into a very light-colored, opaque, grainy layer on top. Flavor-wise, it's perfectly fine. Heavy on the OB, with a little citrus and some earthy, almost buttery notes. Very aromatic. It's slightly tart, but has absolutely no vinegar aromas or flavors. Basically, it tastes like mead.

Since moving it back and flushing the space with some Private Preserve wine spray, it has looked the same as it did when I moved it.

What is this layer? Is this something I should be worried about, or is it just grains of wax floating around with some yeast along for the ride? If it's wax, how do I rack this off?

Here are some pictures (note the white grains everywhere)

Before moving


After moving



After taking a sample with a pipette - layer fractured immedietely


This morning - layer mostly unchanged


10-02-2015, 10:57 AM
My bet is bees wax.

10-02-2015, 12:40 PM
Looks like bees wax. Don't sweat it.

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10-03-2015, 12:38 AM
I've had a couple of high gravity batches develop a layer of large "dirty" looking bubbles during primary. These usually came after my second nutrient addition and oxygenation. It was a little disconcerting to me as well, but if it does your heart any good, I never had one of these come out poorly! They've all been great!

As far as what it is??? Come on...we're making alcoholic beverages out of pure organic bee vomit! Lol. Seriously though, I suspect it is just a sort of soapy compound that develops from the ammonia in the nutrient additions. But that's a purely gut-based guess.


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10-04-2015, 12:54 AM
If it tastes good and smells good, it's good. Looks like wax to me. I've got a JAOM going with a "straight from the hive" honey I got here locally and it looks TERRIBLE. The top is full of all sorts of nasty looking stuff, but the smell is heavenly. I'll just rack the clear gold off the nasty lees when it's done. It even has like three or four entire bees floating around in there.

10-04-2015, 01:04 AM
Yeah, it's slowly separating into what is very obviously a layer of bees wax. I figured it was fine, but since this is the first of 12 batches (albeit small batches) to look like this, I figured I'd ask. If anything, it should help anyone else with a similar-looking batch.

10-09-2015, 10:37 PM
If it were mold, white is good and black mold is bad with my experience. I'm on board with calling it wax and Mannye's thing on if it tastes good.

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10-11-2015, 02:46 PM
Here's a pic of my wax.


Looks like mold but it's not.

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03-24-2016, 06:08 PM
So an update

Almost 6 months later, this thing looked exactly like it did in October. Since I don't have a wine filter/pump, I just wrapped the tip of the siphon with a small spice bag. It was small enough to get most of the wax out, but it's still far form clear.


If you look close enough, you can see that there are still some tiny wax particles that made it though and are clouding it up. I'm thinking of marketing it as "unfiltered" and calling it a day. Damn delicious, though.

03-29-2016, 06:53 PM
How does it taste?

04-12-2016, 09:43 AM
Pretty good. Very floral aroma. Initial flavor is orange blossoms and American oak (I oaked it), followed by honey and vanilla. The aftertaste is distinctly the flavor of Honey Nut Cheerios (I'm guessing the 1lb of buckwheat honey had something to do with this). The residual wax has left it with an almost silky mouthfeel.

Despite it being somewhat cloudy, I'm thinking of submitting it to a couple of competitions this year to get some feedback on the flavor profile.