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Slime like substance rising from the sediment at the bottom. Is this an infection?

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Jlt888

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I have some strange slime like substance in my homebrew mead that sometimes rises from the yeast sediment at the bottom. Sometimes, the slime brings some of the sediment up with it and some of the slime stays at the top. Is this an infection or anything else I should worry about? Would my mead still be safe to drink after finishing fermentation?
 

Toxxyc

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What's the smell of the mead like? Infection will usually show up as a bad smell as well. Also, what is your recipe and fermenting conditions? Did you sanitize properly?
 
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Jlt888

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What's the smell of the mead like? Infection will usually show up as a bad smell as well. Also, what is your recipe and fermenting conditions? Did you sanitize properly?
It smells kinda like cider which it has since around day 3. It's a very simple and basic recipe where it's just water, honey and wine making yeast. I believe I sanitised the bottle properly with an odourless washing liquid and washed it out a few times. I keep it in the closet where it is out of the way and doesn't accidentally get knocked over or something.
 

Toxxyc

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Did you use a sanitizer at all? What's your fermenting temperatures like? It can possibly be an infection - if possible I would measure the gravity and if it's close to your target, rack off the lees and infection and stabilize in a sanitized container. If it smells/tastes good, the infection won't matter much.
 
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Jlt888

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The only sanitiser I was told i would need by various websites and videos when first starting was the odourless washing liquid. I would say the temperature is slightly under room temperature
 

Toxxyc

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Washing liquid is a cleaning agent, not a sanitizer. It washes off visible contaminations on your gear and goods. It does not sanitize, in other words kill germs, like a sanitizer does. The result is that residual bacteria or fungus (like wild yeast) can be present when making your brew. Unfortunately the research you did online guided you in the wrong direction, as it's possible that you got a wild yeast in your brew. I've seen it with ciders before - it creates a slimy gunk that almost looks like a snail.

However, if the mead still smells good and if it tastes fine, you can follow my procedure above. Rack off the infection and current lees (if you are in your target finishing gravity range), stabilize and see what happens.

Stabilizing is the addition of preservatives, particularly potassium metabisulfate and potassium sorbate. These two combine to both sterilize yeast so they can't reproduce and also kills active yeast in the solution. Your local home brew store will stock these two chemicals - it's usually cheap as chips. Add the maximum recommended dose to your volume to ensure it works like it should and you should be OK with this batch.
 

Shine0n

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Post a pic or its all speculation on our part.
I personally don't use alot of chems in my mead making, if things are dirty...wash it.

We ain't making beer and the whole sanitary stuff is getting blown out of the water. Soap is an anti bacterial whether it says it or not, it's a sales pitch.

Honey is magical stuff, it just doesn't go bad so why add a bunch of crap to a batch?
If the slime is atop of the mead ,what will stop it from coming over when you rack?

One thing I've thought about is a vinegar mother, it could be from a fruit fly (gnat) and if that's the case then you may as well keep it going and make some good vinegar and NEVER use the bucket/carboy again for mead.
 

RPh_Guy

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As soon as you rinse off the soap you add microbes onto the surface.
A no-rinse brewing sanitizer is cheap insurance, and should generally be used on equipment to help reduce unwanted microbes.

Unless you buy pasteurized honey or pasteurized it yourself, there are wild yeast and bacteria in the mead regardless. In any event, the process is never sterile because microbes float through the air.
However, the pitched yeast can generally out-compete the contaminants, especially when we take steps to reduce the contaminants.

Sorbate will not be effective unless the mead has cleared. It prevents yeast growth but doesn't stop yeast already present. Sulfite kills or inhibits bacteria and some wild yeasts.
"Sterilize" isn't the right word to use.

"Cider" smell may be from acetaldehyde, which is a natural fermentation byproduct. It may go away on its own.
 

MaaZeus

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Post a pic or its all speculation on our part.
I personally don't use alot of chems in my mead making, if things are dirty...wash it.

We ain't making beer and the whole sanitary stuff is getting blown out of the water. Soap is an anti bacterial whether it says it or not, it's a sales pitch.

Honey is magical stuff, it just doesn't go bad so why add a bunch of crap to a batch?
If the slime is atop of the mead ,what will stop it from coming over when you rack?

One thing I've thought about is a vinegar mother, it could be from a fruit fly (gnat) and if that's the case then you may as well keep it going and make some good vinegar and NEVER use the bucket/carboy again for mead.
I kinda agree, people sometimes tend to overemphasize the use of sanitation solutions to a point I fear they are victims of marketing. Proper cleaning with soap and mechanical scrubbing won't kill microbes but it does wash most of them away (duh!) if you are diligent and thorough with it. Some may be left behind but the moment you introduce a billion healthy, active, hungry and horny yeast cells ready for action into your must/wort they will most likely steamroll over the other microbes and prevent them from getting a proper foothold. Good cleaning comes first, sanitation is far second and more like an insurance against some more stubborn contaminants that could potentially ruin your brew. Far too many people forgo proper cleaning and rely on sanitation thinking it is some magic solution for their hygiene problems and then wonder why their brews go bad. That said, I do use Starsan myself, it is good stuff. But I won't first accuse a homebrewer for lack of sanitation IF he has properly cleaned his stuff and everything that comes into contact with his brew, it is more likely that his problems came from somewhere else like gnats.
 

dmenke

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I have a Mead batch that has the exact thing you are describing. It has been aging for over a year, and still tastes bad. It's difficult to describe in a more quantifiable way, but after a year, I don't expect it to get better. It's likely going down the drain next time I start a batch, as I need the bottles...I strongly suspect an infection of some type, as it was my first and only attempt at fermenting in a soda keg. I thought I had cleaned and sanitized it adequately, but there are a lot of places for bugs to hide in a soda keg, and I may not have gotten them all.

As far as it being safe to drink? Yes. No known harmful pathogens can survive in even a weak alcohol solution for any period of time. I don't have hard numbers, but I have spoken to a Biology prof where I work, and they confirmed that home brew is safe to drink, even when infected with a wild bacteria. It may taste terrible, but the infection isn't harmful to you.

As for sanitation vs. cleaning et all, everyone has thoughts, and experiences of what has worked for them. I prefer to err on the side of caution, and scrub the hell outta everything with PBW, and hit it with StarSan, just to make sure. However, I have a friend who simply rinses his fermenter, and caps it with tinfoil till it's time to start another batch, and he has great results.
 
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