I made a creme ale 10 days ago and I racked to the secondary after 4 days fermenting( don't ask ) . I tasted it yesterday and it taste very bitter with little to no flavor. When I transferred it to secondary it was a pretty golden color. Now it's a dark brown color with a oil film on top. I need help!!!

  • Any other details you can provide? Was this All-Grain or Extract? Did you taste when you transferred? Did you take any gravity readings?
    – hartski
    Jul 2, 2012 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


I sometimes will see a very slight shimmer of oil on the surface of a beer, kinda just like a little rainbow effect when looking down from above. If your "oil film on top" sounds like that, then you are fine.

Regarding the color, the beer went from gold to brown because the yeast are dropping out. You'd think a beer with a lot of yeast in suspension would be darker, but the opposite is true. Since the yeasties reflect light, they make a beer look light (albeit cloudy) before they floculate out.

Finally, 10 days is WAY too young for a beer to be sampled for flavor. You'll always have weird flavors at that age that disappear as the beer conditions. Sometimes they taste bitter, sometimes they taste "sweaty" or dirty. Don't worry, relax, drink a different homebrew, and then come back and take another sample in 2 weeks. Don't touch it before then. Seriously, don't. I'll come hit your hand with the mash paddle if you try.

  • +1 on "...relax, have a different homebrew". However, as long as your yeast hasn't been taken out by any yeastie hit men, you should have a pretty good idea of what you'll be getting in a final product after 10 days in fermentation, especially for a cream ale. If anything, you should taste an over sweetness, as opposed to bitter flavorless-ness.
    – hartski
    Jul 2, 2012 at 20:20
  • When you have this oily shimmer on the top of your beer does that beer not have very good hear retention? This is what I have seen in my beers where this shimmer is present. I get a nice pour with a good head and it disappears in seconds. I haven't been able to figure that one out. Also, the bubbles in these beers are always larger. Not sure what happened, I always use the same priming sugar in every beer (glucose/corn sugar) and I've always attributed it to this oil (which I always thought came from the hops but I'm not totally sure).
    – tomcocca
    Jul 6, 2012 at 12:48
  • Hmm, no I never noticed an impact on head retention. And hop oils actually CONTRIBUTE to great head and lacing.
    – GHP
    Jul 6, 2012 at 12:52

Hey guys just my two cents,I have noticed that when I use alot of hops or hops with higher alpha I get this oily look sometimes.I could be wrong but,generally it seems to make since that it is probably the resins from the hops.Higher alphas mean that there is more resin available to be infused to your brew.Its much like Cannabis(same family as hops,this is why hops have a much,much longer history of being smoked than used in beer) some dont seem resinous and others are so resinous you can stick them to the wall.This is the same with hops.I know there are many other things that can cause the "sheen" but generally this is the most logical explanation.I have seen however,this be caused by bacterial issues....The best advice has already been given; give it another couple weeks and then taste it.Tasting after ten days is kind of like licking an egg to see what that chicken will taste like..

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