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SephirothE102
02-16-2009, 06:10 PM
Alright, so, probably gonna seem like just another spastic Mead Newb, but here it goes.
I ended up using the Compleat Mead Maker's recipe for a Medium Show Mead. I used the No-Heat Method but made sure EVERYTHING was clean and sanitized.
Roughly 15 lbs Wildflower Honey
4 Gallon Natural Spring Water
2 Tsp Fermax
2 Tsp DAP
Pitched starter of D47
My SG was about 1.09. It's been roughly two weeks of constant Activity, and I decided to check on my meads Gravity today. It came up as 1.01. Unfortunately, I had to battle the lid on my bucket (Sticky Stuck) and the Must was aerated pretty bad, so, I fear for the worst on this. This was probably also a mistake, but the deed is done, I racked the Must over to a Carboy today.
So...Here go my questions...
1. Will the aeration (Bubbles and all) destroy my Mead, or is there something I can do?
2. The Must has a deep alcohol smell, but also a bit of a noxious bitter smell, what is this?
3. The Airlock stopped bubbling overnight (Bubbles at every second, then none), what's the cause?
4. AM I DOOMED!?
-SephirothE102
P.S. You would think someone with a pure Scandinavian background would be able to handle his mead...But apparently not.
P.P.S. When I was racking I decided to take a bit of a snort from what I had left over in the bucket, and it actually tasted fairly good. It was a bit dryer than expected, was fairly rough on the tongue, but had a fairly good Wine/Honey taste. I figure if all goes well, this will/could potentially age into something quite nice.

wayneb
02-16-2009, 06:45 PM
Let me take your questions and answer them in order...

1) Mead is actually fairly forgiving, so the splashing/aeration you gave it while trying to pry off your bucket lid may do minimal damage, or even no perceptible damage at all. I wouldn't worry over it too much. But if you want to do something proactive, you can dose the carboy with metabisulfite. The sulfur dioxide will act as a bit of an antioxidant, which should help the long-term keeping properties of the mead.

2) I don't know unless you can describe "noxious/bitter" a bit more. Does it smell vaguely of rotten eggs, burnt rubber, old cabbage or the like? If so, then you have residual hydrogen sulfide (and associated mercaptans) from a fermentation that was nitrogen starved. One of the cures for driving off H2S is to aerate (so your splashing did some good in that case). Another treatment is metabisulfite (see #1). For persistent mercaptan or disulfide issues, the problem is more difficult to cure. Get back to us with a more detailed description of the smell, please.

3) I assume you mean in the carboy, right? Either fermentation stopped and the mead has outgassed until the pressure came to equilibrium, or your stopper/airlock isn't completely sealed in the carboy opening. This happens more often than people realize. Try re-seating the stopper and check the integrity of the seal around the airlock.

4) That's not for me to say -- but I think your mead is likely still in pretty good shape! ;D

SephirothE102
02-16-2009, 07:16 PM
Well, after playing around with some chemicals at home, I'm pretty sure that it's sulfur. The only questions I really have now are what can I do about it while it's in it's shiny new Carboy to get rid of the sulfur smell? The other question I have is why my Mead/Must was Nitrogen starved? I added roughly over two 2 Tsp of DAP, and also oxygenated like CRAZY. Mayhaps I should bring a Nitrogen pump home...Muahahaha.

akueck
02-16-2009, 08:26 PM
One other explanation to the stopped bubbling--right after racking the mead will not be CO2 saturated like it was before. It will take a little while before visible airlock activity resumes since the solution has to saturate again. Same thing happens after you stir--the motion releases a lot of the dissolved gasses and you lose airlock activity for a bit. No big deal.

Medsen Fey
02-16-2009, 09:23 PM
At what temperature was this mead fermented?

wayneb
02-16-2009, 09:25 PM
The best way to get rid of H2S is to aerate while racking -- it is counterintuitive, but you'll WANT to splash the mead around a bit while transferring it from one container to another.

Once the sulfide has begun to be transformed into mercaptans, there is a product called bocksin that can work in all but extreme cases. Bocksin is an emulsion of finely pulverized silicon dioxide. It will bond with mercaptans and H2S and precipitate out, leaving you with a much less smelly result.

Oskaar
02-16-2009, 09:43 PM
The best way to get rid of H2S is to aerate while racking -- it is counterintuitive, but you'll WANT to splash the mead around a bit while transferring it from one container to another.

Once the sulfide has begun to be transformed into mercaptans, there is a product called bocksin that can work in all but extreme cases. Bocksin is an emulsion of finely pulverized silicon dioxide. It will bond with mercaptans and H2S and precipitate out, leaving you with a much less smelly result.

BTW the process Wayne described below is called "splash racking" in the red wine world and it is generally done after racking off the grapeskins. This racking is followed by a 1-3 day settling period followed by a gentle racking into barrels or tanks for bulk aging and then bottling.

Cheers, Oskaar

SephirothE102
02-16-2009, 10:38 PM
Thanks very much guys. You have been very helpful. The Mead was fermented at temperatures between 60-70 degrees (changes from night to day). Perhaps this has something to do with the wonderful (sarcasm) aromas? In response to one of the previous posts, I understand that racking or stirring would cause sudden loss in Airlock activity, but what I meant was the activity ended abruptly by itself. In a 12 hour period the Bubbles just ceased to exist.
Honestly, I'm probably just going to let this cloudy brown solution go it's course for a month or two, rerack a couple of times, and hope for the best. I'm a bit tight on cash, and a bit tight on knowledge (Other than family traditional recipes), so, I'm not exactly sure what to do in this given situation.
I will say after thinking about it, that the aftertaste from earlier lasted a long time and was fairly nice (albeit a bit rough). Who knows, I might end up with sewage water with the after taste of Odin's Mead.
-SephirothE102

Medsen Fey
02-17-2009, 12:16 PM
If your mead has a sulfur smell, you do not want to wait.

In this stage, most of the smell will be from H2S which is readily correctable. The approach Wayneb has suggested would be a good way to start. If it is still stinky after that, let us know and we can suggest some next steps.

If you wait around the H2S will combine with other things and form more mercaptans, and these in turn can form more disulfides which are extremely difficult to remove. When dealing with sulfur smells you want them gone ASAP.

Medsen

SephirothE102
02-17-2009, 05:40 PM
Well, I did a hard Splash Rack over to my Bucket and gently back into my Carboy. I'm freaked out for new reasons now. There wasn't really a Sulfur smell. With more Must smell in the air, my nose picked out the smells a lot better. There isn't really a honey aroma, but an alcohol and bitter aroma. To better explain it, take the bitter smell of beer, without the hops. It gives me the same feeling as that, just without the specific hops smell. I also didn't realize JUST how carbonated it really was. Anyway, now I'm freaked out because the fermentation was finished (almost) and I've just exposed my mead to ungodly amounts of air. Any hope?
-SephirothE102
P.S. I'm a newb, lol.

wayneb
02-17-2009, 06:56 PM
Good - if the smell is just noticeable, as opposed to strong, one splash racking cycle should be enough to remove virtually all of it. Just do what you've proposed -- rack it over to your brew bucket (making sure that it is sanitized first, of course), while splashing to aerate and release all that H2S (you can even stir it and splash a bit more while it is in the bucket if you still smell the sulfide), and then rack it back over to your cleaned and sanitized carboy.

That will cure the problem in 90% of the cases. If you still have an issue with sulfide a day after the splash racking, then do it one more time. If there is still a problem after two cycles, then get back to us. There are some more things that you can try, but what we suggest will depend on the exact state of your must at the time.

Medsen Fey
02-17-2009, 06:59 PM
Should I just "Splash Rack" back into the bucket, clean the carboy, and go back into the Carboy, or what?
That would be fine.

I looked up Bocksin, and there is no way to get it in my area in any immediate way.
Go ahead with the splash rack, that might be enough by itself. Bocksin is essentially the same thing as Kieselsol which you may find more easily.

I should note that the Sulfur smell isn't extremely strong, it just exists.

That's good. It means it should be easy to clear.

Please let us know how it goes.