Floating oily balls post fermentation - Help please

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New Member
Oct 8, 2023
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Northern Ireland
Hi all,

Need a little help please. Ill try and give as much info upfront as possible so please bear with me.

Ive been brewing now for a few years (all be it, this is the first in a few months due to having a baby) I have never seen or come across this issue before.

I was dry hopping my IPA this afternoon and taking a FG sample at the same time. When I was taking my reading I noticed a few wee black balls floating in the sample tube. When I picked them out with a wooden coffee stirrer I noticed they were oily. Does anyone have any idea what this could be?

Few points to note:
1. Grain bill is, pale malt, cara malt and torrified wheat.
2. Brewed in an all in one machine with 25+ brews through it.
3. Fermented in a SS Brewteck Conical fermentor - 2nd time using it but was bought 2nd hand and had been used before. Also cleaned by me when I bought it.
4. All cleaning and sterilising was done as usual for the 20+ brews I've done to date. Never seen this before
5. New yeast used this time for the first time - AEB FY-4
6. when adding in the dry hops and after seeing this in the sample tube I looked at the beer in the fermentor and I don't see any signs of this on the top of the wort.
7. Seems to float in the sample tube but not floating on the beer - odd?
8. Fermented at 20C for days 1-4 and then ramped to 23C for a diacatyl rest. Temp controlled via SS Brewtech glycol chiller
9. Chilled to 14.5C today from 23C before dry hopping
10. FG was supposed to be 1.009 but I missed it badly and only hit 1.020. However sample tube was very cloudy so Im hoping that the hydrometer wasn't floating properly due to yeast in the sample.

1. Does anyone know what this is?
2. Is it safe or is batch ruined?
3. Seems odd to me that Im not seeing it floating on the top of the batch when I open the lid. Could it be something in the sample taps of the SS fermentor?
4. Is my 1.020 FG accurate and I missed that badly, possible contamination in the batch causing FG to miss? Ive never been this out in any batch.
5. Could it be hop oils?


Sorry for the long post but Ive tried Googling this and I can't seem to find any other examples or answers.

If your not seeing them at all in the fermenter then it's either in the test jar or tap as you say, have you drawn off a second sample and seen same result?
If your not seeing them at all in the fermenter then it's either in the test jar or tap as you say, have you drawn off a second sample and seen same result?
I’ve taken 3 hydrometer samples this evening and all have the same issue as seen in the photo.
Lots of tiny little black/dark green balls of oil
I would guess your assumption is correct and it's picking up something when sample is drawn. I don't think you have much to worry about but I would draw the beer out of the fermenter via a different method and then have a good examine when cleaning

Re reading. It might not have finished. Or it's finished higher than expected (prob obvious!)

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