Hello everyone. Long-time forum lurker, first time poster.
I'm currently looking at a situation I'm unfamiliar with.
Simple Oatmeal stout, third attempt after some earlier setbacks (which we'll not discuss, hehe)
First 24h after pitching, I came home to check on my ale and found that yeast (or something else, but likely yeast) was clumping into small grain-like bits at the top the mixture. Like coarse sand or something. (see photos below) As you'll notice, there's that initial layer of coarse cake-thing, and then the usual foam that you'll find on a fermenting batch.
I'm kind of freaking out, because I haven't seen this before and I'm wondering if it's the sign of a total-failure-start-over-you-noob OR if it's perfectly normal. Halp?
Recipe for reference:
12 Liter (3-gallon) recipe
1 kg (2.2 lbs) Marris Otter Pale
250 g (0.55 lbs) Victory malt (28L)
125 g (0.27 lbs) Roasted barley (500-600L)
125 g (0.27 lbs) Carafa Special I (300-375L)
125 g (0.27 lbs) Crystal 70-80L
125 g (0.27 lbs) Oat flakes
1/2 oz Challenger Hops (bittering 60min)
1/2 oz Challenger Hops (flavouring 30min)
1/2 oz Challenger Hops (aroma 15min)
Irish moss to clear the wort a bit
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast smack pack. Created a starter from its content + some 10 °P (1.040) wort and lots of oxygen, shaken every half hour or so in an Erlenmeyer flask while I was working on the mash and boil. Looked healthy to my untrained eyes.
Ended up with a 1.052 wort, cooled it down to 21°C (69 °F), aerated like crazy, pitched my starter.
Exhibit A : the top-cake looking like crumpled graham crackers floating about
Exhibit B : the same floating bits at the bottom of the carboy -after- I (likely unwisely) gave a bit of a shake to the mixture.