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Never mind the two hop bags that didn't sink, those things are more buoyant than what I gave them credit for. This is the beer in a secondary vessel. I wanted to get it off the yeast cake so I could wash the yeast (after realizing it was 9% ABV, I didn't bother, a bit much for the yeast, I fear). It's been in this bucket for one week today. It doesn't resemble a pellicle that you'd get from bacteria, but I'm getting hints from others that it may in fact be something even less pleasant to see. Any chance this is some sort of beer-SCOBY in the making? Maybe a Bacterial Cellulose? Last night when I tasted it, it didn't taste off. It smells like beer, and the film broke apart rather easily at this point. Maybe it's my mind convincing my taste buds and nostrils it's good and I don't have my first contamination after years of brewing without a single batch gone bad. Any insight would be appreciated.

Full disclosure, I believe when I brewed it, I went overboard on the fining agents, adding an adequate amount of Irish moss as well as one whirlfloc tablet. Never tried both at once before, but figured I'd see how much of the protein I could get to settle out.

1 Answer 1


If it doesn't taste off, well...

Maybe it's just hop residue? You have a ton of hops in there. No telling how tight those bag walls held-up.

I believe that I've noticed something similar when I've brewed IPAs, and have added pellet hops straight to the fermenter, without the use of hop bags.

Sometimes the pellets will sink, but (like in my last batch) they don't always, even after a week. In the case of that batch, I had a similar film on the top of my beer, and racked through a strainer when I bottled. The beer came out fine.

  • After kegging it off, the only off flavor I got was a sharp acetone-like flavor in the back of the mouth. It was a pleasant beer, nothing spectacular, but there was definitely something off about it. I don't know if that sharp alcohol flavor came as the hop flavor started to die off (it's been a while), but it was off-putting at most.
    – Scott
    Sep 23, 2013 at 18:39
  • @Scott if you dont have a solid starter for a high ABV beer or a number of other yeast related events you can easily end up with fusel alchohols causing some of that.
    – Kortuk
    Sep 23, 2013 at 20:21
  • It did cross my mind that perhaps my starter wasn't sufficient, or that I fermented too high, despite using a swamp cooler. Not entirely sure what this was, and at this point, don't know if I ever will.
    – Scott
    Sep 23, 2013 at 20:31

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