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Funkychicken
01-03-2008, 07:36 PM
oh how i wish i found this site before I started. Someone please help lol. My very first batch isnt coming along so nicely,
first fermentation issues, now nasty smell

So i finally get the mead fermenting, and yesterday i noticed this very distinct vomit smell, coming from my bucket.
Reminded me very distinctly of acid reflux and tasted just as bad. Heres what ive done so far.

4.5 gallons water
10lbs clover honey
1 package of red star cotes de blanc
5 lbs pears

wasnt really doing anything so i added some yeast nutrients 2 days later
5 tbs as per instructions of crosby and baker fermax nutrients

im in day 9 of primary in a bucket.

initially i didnt have a hydrometer so i have no base numbers to go by.
definatly not going to be as sweet as i want it so im going to have to add some more honey or something,
i would like to save this batch if at all possible, really curious why it smells like vomit? and is it going to go away?
definatly dont want it in the flavor... is there anything i can do? or do i need to scrap it and start over? im lost lol :(

Oskaar
01-03-2008, 09:40 PM
Hey Funky! Welcome to Got Mead?

OK a couple of questions:

1. How were the pears prepared (chopped, squeezed, mashed, julienned, etc)
2. How did you blend in the nutrient (sprinkle it in and stir, dissolve in water first and then add, etc)
3. What was your starting gravity (hydrometer reading in gravity points or brix points)
4. What is the current gravity (as above)
5. Can you check the pH of the must? (litmus strips you can get at a home brew store, or a pH meter)
6. What is the current temperature of the must, and the ambient temperature of the area it is occupying
7. Is your bucket sealed well or are you open fermenting. If open fermenting, do you have the bucket covered with a clean sanitized cloth?
8. What does the must look like? (are there mold colonies growing on the surface, is the surface dry?)
9. Have you been stirring the must (punching down the fruit cap) to keep the fruit resuspended in the must for flavor extraction
10. Have you tasted this?

If you can answer those that will help us get to the heart of the situation.

Thanks,

Oskaar

Funkychicken
01-03-2008, 10:41 PM
1. How were the pears prepared (chopped, squeezed, mashed, julienned, etc)
The pears were cored and deflowered and sliced rather thin
2. How did you blend in the nutrient (sprinkle it in and stir, dissolve in water first and then add, etc)
I pretty much sprinkled it in and stirred
3. What was your starting gravity (hydrometer reading in gravity points or brix points)
No idea i was unprepared when i started, and just recently bought one
4. What is the current gravity (as above)
current gravity if im reading this right is 1.011
5. Can you check the pH of the must? (litmus strips you can get at a home brew store, or a pH meter)
I dont have pH strips right now but ill get some
6. What is the current temperature of the must, and the ambient temperature of the area it is occupying
temp in the room is 71 but seems my thermo is broke so i dont know about the must
7. Is your bucket sealed well or are you open fermenting. If open fermenting, do you have the bucket covered with a clean sanitized cloth?
doing an open ferment and yes covered with a clean sanitized towel
8. What does the must look like? (are there mold colonies growing on the surface, is the surface dry?)
im linking pics of it
9. Have you been stirring the must (punching down the fruit cap) to keep the fruit resuspended in the must for flavor extraction
no i havent been doing that
10. Have you tasted this?
Yes it tastes horrid, like acide reflux kinda taste its so gross, i hope its fixable

heres a couple of images

http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/th.a6e91febfb.jpg (http://img2.freeimagehosting.net/image.php?a6e91febfb.jpg)

wayneb
01-03-2008, 10:54 PM
I can't tell from the smaller image that you've included in your posting (and the link to a larger image doesn't appear to work), but if the taste is really like acid reflux you've probably got an infection of a lactic acid producing bacterium (lactobacillus acidophilus, bulgaricus, etc.). That "rancid vomit" taste and smell are an almost certain sign of excess lactic acid in the must. The other thing that can produce volatile acid (vinegar) in the must is acetobacter aceti. It always forms a telltale colony (cap) on the top of fermenting must, like what is suggested in your picture, but the byproduct of acetobacter is acetic acid (and there's no mistaking the smell of vinegar).

Either way, I'm afraid that there is no way to remove the acidic aroma/taste. In the future, scrupulous sanitation of everything that touches your must can prevent a recurrence. Also, as Oskaar suggests from his list of questions, punching down the cap regularly will submerge those aerobic bacteria and will naturally limit their reproduction, even if they happen to settle on top of the must, since they need free oxygen to reproduce. Punching down the cap daily is a good thing.

Funkychicken
01-04-2008, 12:09 AM
so im assuming since theres no way to get rid of it or whatnot then i need to toss the batch wash and resanitize everything and start over? tell me that nasty smell will come out of my bucket =(

akueck
01-04-2008, 12:43 AM
To get rid of the smell, get some percarbonate cleaner (same as oxyclean powder) and soak it for a few hours. Repeat if necessary. That stuff has always worked well for me. Rinse a couple of times with hot water and it should be good as new.

wayneb
01-04-2008, 01:31 PM
I agree -- percarbonates work wonders on nasty smells. They let loose lots of free O2 when mixed with water, and that does a fine job of scrubbing most noxious odors out of gas-permeable materials like polyethylene buckets. The most widely available percarbonate based cleaner in the US is OxiClean. I use it routinely for bucket cleaning after fermentation, and it will probably work for you. But if you need something stronger the commercial formulation called PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) has the highest concentration of percarbonate, and works on virtually all stubborn stains and odors.

Funkychicken
01-04-2008, 10:34 PM
ok cool, so im gonna start cleaning tonight, picked up a new thermo, i think ill try to make some JAO first see how it turns out and make an aging mead from there. Hopefully i wont mess that up, im gonna spray my whole kitchen with sanitizer lol.

Oskaar
01-05-2008, 12:13 AM
If you're going to make that same batch take some time and read my recipe post for Oskaarz Blue Berriez Cyser (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=6088.msg49558#msg49558) to help you with cap management concepts. Also I'd suggest that you juice the pears or puree them to the point of liquifaction so you can get maximum extraction.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Wolfie
01-05-2008, 05:57 AM
Hey welcome to the boards dude (and bummer about that first batch!)

Taking some of the tips on this site can make you a world of difference. This time next year you wont even be thinking about those pears.

Good luck in your next endeavor.

/Wolfie