On my last homebrew when I transferred my beer to a bucket for bottling I noticed that the top had an oily shimmer to it. When I tried the beer a few weeks later the beer came out with pretty weak head and not enough bubbly. How do I remove that oily shimmer before bottling next time? Did it cause my problems, or was that something else.

  • can you give more details please - the oily film may not be the cause of the problems if there was little carbonation also
    – mdma
    Aug 13, 2013 at 16:49
  • What specifically would you need to know. It was a partial grain dunkelwiezen. It fermented for about 3 weeks and was bottle conditioned for 3 weeks. The oily film was very light and had a slight rainbow shimmer to it.
    – anton2g
    Aug 13, 2013 at 17:29
  • You didn't by chance boil your grains did you?
    – Scott
    Aug 13, 2013 at 17:52
  • Steeped them at 155 degrees F. It might have gotten a little hotter than that, but not boiling.
    – anton2g
    Aug 13, 2013 at 20:01
  • Can you post up the recipe? Perhaps you had some unconventional additions in the boil or something in left field.
    – Scott
    Aug 13, 2013 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


FWIW, its highly possible that the oily surface you observed is not at all related to your head and carbonation problems.

I've seen that oily 'shimmer' on the top of several beers in primary, and like you, I was worried that some soap or something had gotten in there. However, I never noticed a correlation between the oily/rainbow sheen and any head problems.

I don't know what causes that little oil slick on top of the primary, but it could just be oils from the hops or something. Perhaps an adjunct like oats can add it too, who knows? Anyway, I would just make sure next time that you rinse all your gear real well to make sure there's no cleanser left behind, but don't freak out about it too much.

  • 1
    I agree - 36 hours carbonating at 30psi and then the remainder of the week at 13psi didn't seem like enough time to me to force carbonate, and that is more likely the problem.
    – mdma
    Aug 15, 2013 at 21:05
  • 30? 13? what units are you talking about
    – anton2g
    Aug 15, 2013 at 22:01
  • PSI. 30 PSI for the first 36 hours, and then 13 (or whatever your serving PSI is) PSI. I've had good success with this.
    – Scott
    Aug 16, 2013 at 1:21
  • @anton2g I was quoting from your recipe
    – mdma
    Aug 16, 2013 at 11:33
  • @Scott, I also use that schedule for kegged beers and it works pretty well for most beers, but maybe not ones that need those high, "prickly" levels of carbonation.
    – GHP
    Aug 16, 2013 at 13:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.