View Full Version : Dark on top of carboy

Freedom Foundry
03-23-2006, 10:42 PM
My Woodburn Wildflower mead is tasty, but looks funny. It's dark on top, and though it doesn't show very well in the photo, there are two defined bands of color on top.


Is this a problem? Is there a way I can fix it?

03-23-2006, 11:20 PM
Could you give us some background on the batch? Is this the primary, the secondary? What recipe and procedures did you follow? How long has it been aging? You know... the basics. ;D
I seem to recall one of my wildflower batches did this in the early stages... I didn't worry about it and that batch was bottled at 4 months and gone before it reached 6... so I have no way of knowing if it would have cleared by itself. but we need more info to help you out. I'm assuming in time it will settle out... and I don't think you'd want to sparkaloid a 1 gallon batch.


Freedom Foundry
03-23-2006, 11:45 PM
Sorry. It's been racked once. It's from a pint of berry honey and a pint of pumpkin. Wait, I thought that was supposed to be wildflower? The name contradicts the recipe!

Anyway it was heated for 20 minutes on low. (I don't have a thermometer.) I used a cup of sugar, too. Nutrient and energizer.

Edit: and Lalvin D47

03-24-2006, 12:14 AM
Freedom Foundry,

I'd let it bulk age a few more months, it really still looks quite young... I'm guessing less than three months old? Let time work its magic for a few more months and we'll revisit it then.


Freedom Foundry
03-24-2006, 12:32 AM
Man, I have to take better notes. It's younger than three months, but I'm not sure by how much. The beginning of february, maybe? I can probably keep this one in the carboy for a few more months. I didn't know young meads looked different.

03-24-2006, 12:35 AM

Download my Brewlog... it will help you keep better notes.


Freedom Foundry
03-24-2006, 12:38 AM
Downloaded... looks helpful. Thanks!

03-24-2006, 12:42 AM
Man, I have to take better notes. It's younger than three months, but I'm not sure by how much.

I thought as much... you'll see quite a difference in two or three months. Try to keep it in a cool dark place where it won't be disturbed.


03-24-2006, 04:33 AM

Maybe I'm missing the obvious here but have you smelled it and tasted it yet? It's time to theive off some for a gravity and sensory evaluation. That will tell you in a hurry if you have a problem.

Barring that it's OK to swirl the carboy with the airlock firmly in place and see what kind of reaction you get. I may simply be protien rising to the top, some yeasts that are dead that haven't flocced out or random weirdness. But the best way to figure out what is going on at this point aside from visual examination is a sensory evaluation.



03-24-2006, 07:19 AM
My Woodburn Wildflower mead is tasty, but looks funny.


From the way the pic looks to me it still has yeast and other particles in suspension, It didn't look like a problem to me... just a young mead that hadn't settled out yet.


Dan McFeeley
03-24-2006, 08:17 AM
Wrathwilde wrote:

>From the way the pic looks to me it still has yeast
>and other particles in suspension, It didn't look
>like a problem to me... just a young mead that
>hadn't settled out yet.

Although I tend to agree with WW, I wouldn't rule out Oskaar's suggestions -- there's a fair amount of headspace visible in the image, so contamination is a possibility. Too much O2 could allow acetobacteria to take hold. Try swirling the carboy to see if a thin film on top is disturbed. Lift the stopper, evaluate the mead following Oskaar's suggestions, check the mead to see if there's anything funky going on.

If all else is well, it could easily be nothing more than an aging mead. From the picture, the mead looks a bit opaque.

I've had this happen myself under the same conditions. For some odd reason, the clarification proceeded slowly, starting from the top, causing a dark layer which gradually grew until the entire mead cleared.

Dan McFeeley
03-24-2006, 08:39 AM
Oh yeah, I should add a bit more, should there be something going on in the mead that you don't want.

Insert a racking cane carefully, so as not to disturb whatever is on top, then rack to another carboy, stopping the siphon before the top layer gets down to the end of the cane. Try using a smaller carboy in order to keep the headspace nice and tight, about an inch or less from than the bottom of the carboy stopper.

Sulfites might help also.

Even if the mead is uncontaminated, I'd suggest correcting the headspace. Sanitized glass marbles, dropped into the carboy, will raise the level. Make sure the marbles come from a pet store and are the type used for aquariums. Colored marbles used for recreation, ect., could leach chemicals from the coloring material into your mead. If it's safe for fish, it's safe for mead.

Freedom Foundry
03-24-2006, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the comments, everybody. It tastes good, but I haven't taken FSG. I'll do that next time I have a sanitized thief.