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I brewed a batch of cider mead. Once fermentation was done, I put it in the fridge to let the sediment settle, and to let it clarify. After a few days, these weird bubbles formed in the sediment, along the edges of the fermentation jar:

enter image description here

Also notice that the sediment above is a slightly different shade than below. I have never had this happen before.

My thoughts: The different colours in sediment are the differences between the yeast sediment and the cider sediment (yeah, some got through). I'm guessing that the bubbles are maybe caused by trapped gas, maybe fermentation wasn't as done as I thought (maybe I need a better hydrometer)?

Has anyone ever seen anything like this? Any suggestions as to what I should do? Should I just stir it up, let it sit, and then bottle it?

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I have not experienced this before, but I would try to err on the safe side and siphon off everything above it, and try to leave the bubble undisturbed.

If it is gas, it will probably pop since the pressure around it decreases, but if it is liquid you might be able to leave it in peace.

I guess that it is liquid though which could have formed because the upper sediment is sealing the lower one, and the lower might have settled more, seperating from the liquid that was left around it. If that guess is correct, the chance of you rupuring the bubbles while siphoning is a little reduced, since the upper layer will have a guey consistency - like the skin on hot milk...

Anyways, the volume of the bubbles does not seem to be big, so the loss in volume should be inconsequential.

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+1 for just siphon off everything from above it. –  hartski Nov 1 '12 at 12:44
    
Yeah, that was my original plan: to just siphon off everything above. But then I wasn't sure if maybe it would be better to pop the bubbles and then let it sit for another day or to to settle again before bottling. Then I was concerned about what was in the bubbles and if it would really be OK to let it mix with the rest... –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 1 '12 at 17:16
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so we siphoned off the liquid and left the bottom alone. The mead tasted fine! :) the upper layer of sediment in this picture was somewhat gelatinous, which explains why the bubbles didn't "pop" when the jar was disturbed. My girlfriend thinks the upper layer was some leftover fruit pectin that was originally in the cider. It looked a bit like a kombucha culture, but I think she's right - it was probably just pectin that gelled at the bottom and formed bubble shapes. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 2 '12 at 4:07
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