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I have recently bottled a sparkling elderflower drink (sometimes referred to as Country Champagne or something similar). Together with the elderflowers, it contains water, sugar, lemons and a little wine vinegar, and it relies on naturally occurring yeasts to ferment a bit of the sugar and produce the carbonation in the bottle.

However, the bottles have white stuff at the top and bottom of the liquid (which is perfectly clear other than this), and a little in suspension, which I suspect is a form of mold. If I taste it and the taste is not affected, is it safe to drink?

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  • I can't comment on the safety, since your beverage may lack the protective factors of beer (low pH, 'high' alcohol, hop bitterness) but the white stuff on top is quite possibly a pellicle, which is formed by a variety of wild microbes. – Franklin P Combs Jun 20 '15 at 3:26
  • Post a picture what's on top? A pellicle should look different from mold. Stuff at the bottom should just be yeast. – Pepi Jun 21 '15 at 5:12
  • I've added a photo. Would be really interested if someone could identify this. I have tasted it (taste was OK), and I'm still alive, but the appearance is more than puts me off (not to mention the wife). – jonpd Jun 22 '15 at 13:30
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Wine vinegar? If the acetobacter was still alive it could be eating up the new alcohol, making more acid and maybe the floculant stuff too. Idk, just a thought.

Also, may not have caught a wild yeast, and there is no alcohol, and any number of organisms can be at play. Did it carbonate? Did you take OG / FG readings to get an ABV?

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I have made this before but always used packet wine yeast, and always boiled the must before fermenting it. I keep meaning to try some wild brewing but never have built up the nerve to try this.

Usually if it looks clear and tastes & smells OK then it is fine.

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