Could someone share a bit more about secondaries and autolysis?
My Rye/Wheat IPA (8%ABV, 88 IBU, 65 degrees F) spent two months in the secondary, and this white film started surfacing at the top of the beer's surface in carboy. It didn't change colors, tasted like yeast, but looked like mold forming. I bottled immediately but am not sure of what I have nor what to expect for shelf life, was going to wait a couple more weeks before sampling & maybe dumping. All the samples I've done with this have been great so far.
Easiest to throw out a little Palmer:
When a yeast cell dies, it ruptures - releasing several off-flavors into the beer. When you have a large yeast mass on the bottom of the fermentor, you have a large potential for off-flavors due to autolysis. If this ever happens to you, you will know it. The smell is one you will never forget.
Luckily, the propensity of yeast to autolyze is decreased by a decrease in activity and a decrease in total yeast mass. What this means to a brewer is that racking to a secondary fermenter to get the beer off the dead yeast and lowering the temperature for the long cold storage allows the beer to condition without much risk of autolysis. At a minimum, a beer that has experienced autolysis will have a burnt rubber taste and smell and will probably be undrinkable. At worst it will be unapproachable.
As a final note on this subject, I should mention that by brewing with healthy yeast in a well-prepared wort, many experienced brewers, myself included, have been able to leave a beer in the primary fermenter for several months without any evidence of autolysis. Autolysis is not inevitable, but it is lurking.
Some of us-Bonjour-have kept it on the yeast for 2 years!
Also, sounds like you may have developed some mold. You'll know in a couple of weeks!
Hope this helps.