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Old 06-03-2013, 04:32 AM   #1
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Default Mead Question-Sheen on the Top

Hi all,
I have been brewing beer for about 10 years without much difficulty, but I finally ran into some difficulty with some mead. I am helping a friend brew some for a wedding this fall, so we went with a basic honey mead. We made it in February and it has been sitting after fermenting for a bit in a glass carboy.

In April sometime, the airlock ran out of water, and was probably left that way for a couple of weeks. By the time this was discovered, there was a sheen on the top and what looks like some floaty things. It is only on about the top 1/4 inch and the rest in appearance looks normal.

The airlock was refilled with water. The scent is still pleasant, sweet. I'm just wondering if I should dump it or if it is salvageable at this point. I have attached a pic, let me know what you think. Thanks, Keen

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Old 06-03-2013, 04:37 AM   #2
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I haven't made mead but that looks like an infection.


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Old 06-03-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
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It looks like a ton of headspace (like it wasn't topped up) which is likely to be a problem anyway, but then it looks infected on top of that. Not good, I'm afraid.

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Old 06-03-2013, 01:59 PM   #4
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Doesn't look good. You might want to try racking to a new (smaller) vessel, leaving the gunk at the top--leave a good 2-3" of liquid in the original carboy to draw from below the gunk.

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Old 06-04-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
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DON'T DUMP! Let it ride, you may have something nice. But you will have to be patient and wait like a year. (See Wild Brewing sub-forum). An unplanned pellicle is not always a reason to dump. Let it sit, it doesn't look like mold; so it could turn out a fine, spontaneously fermented mead. You could even pitch some sour dregs to really let it take off.

I would also watch out when racking, if it does turn out to be some wild strain of bacteria, like brett or something, you're going to have to be very careful about cross contaminating all your other batches.


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Old 06-04-2013, 01:32 PM   #6
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I agree DON'T DUMP IT...even if you don't feel good about serving this for the wedding, it could be something very interesting...

Just as an example...I had half a gallon of cider sitting in my kegerator, and eventually noted some "floaty things" in there. I took it out and being the lazy $h!t brewer I am, left it sit on top of the kegerator for a while. It started to form an amazing pellicle on it...wicked looking bubbles, the whole nine yards! I really wish I took pictures of it... Anyway, I was so fascinated by it, I just let it go, and lo and behold it started clearing! The scum is dropping out, and I decided to open the top (which was sealed by the that I'm thinking about it, that probably wasn't the wisest decision!) It smelled OK! I chanced to actually taste it last night...It tasted not too bad! At this point, I'm strongly considering taking the gallon of frozen cider I have in the freezer and pitching this gunk into that! Heck, if that goes well, I might even use this frankenpellicle (which as far as I can say is basically just the wild yeast and bacteria from the cider itself...) to make a batch of cyser later this fall....

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