View Full Version : Possible apple smell

08-04-2009, 12:19 AM
My recipe.
13# wildflower honey
2# tupelo honey
2 tsp acid blend
5 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp wine tannin
1 package of cots de blanc yeast.
enough ozarka spring water to fill to the 5 gallon mark.

this mead was not cooked, only heated the water and honey so as to mix it together easy.
I have airreated it twice a day for the past three days, I havent touched it today other than to take a PH,taste, and hydrometer readings.

Will be adding one split vanilla bean, one clove, and some toasted oak after fermentation is over.

before yeast ,First SG test - 1.12
Current test - 1.10
PH - 3.4 it dropped to 3.0 on the second day(had issues with this and the acid blend, so I fixed it with potassium carbonate 1tsp)
current PH - 3.8 or so
(it has had 4 days in the primary almost 5 now, a 5 gallon glass carboy)

My problem..at least I think its a problem is that there is a slight nose of apple, now I cant really tell if its the dreaded sour apple smell...as it seems as the CO2 thats coming with the smell seems to to amping it up. Because of this I taste tested it.

So I did a taste test, poured a little cup of it , stirred it until all the CO2 was released and did another smell test the smell was lessened with this, though there was still a slight apple smell... a little tartish but not by much.

The taste was like a lightly tart honey with a slight misc spicy(mostly in the back of the tongue) after taste. It is really hard to say if it was an apple tartness to it or not. Im wondering if based on my readings, if my yeastes are stressed out . If they are im not sure how to make them unstressed other than give them more air, and more nutrient...but both could have side effects.

Any thoughts?

Medsen Fey
08-04-2009, 09:46 AM
What is so "dreaded" about sour apple smell? This isn't beer. It is not uncommon for white wines and meads to have aromas of fruits including apples, pears, apricots, and so forth. This comes from various esters (and aldehydes) produced by the yeast during fermentation. Yeast which are known for more ester formation produce more of these fruity aromas and Côte des Blancs is well known for this characteristic.

After a fermentation is complete, the development of an "apple smell" can be indicative of oxidation developing as it causes the conversion of alcohol to acetaldehyde, but early in an active fermentation, oxidation is not an issue.

By the way acid blend that contains Malic acid (the main apple acid) can give your mead more of an "apple" character. And again, as you will read time and again, adding acid blend at the beginning, particularly with a traditional mead is a good way to drop the pH to a point where it is too low. It is better to add the acid after the yeast are done.

When you do have to add bicarbonates, it is good to do so with a light touch. You don't have to raise the pH to 3.8. If you move it to 3.1 or 3.2 it may be plenty to allow the yeast to get the job done. Less is more.

If your "yeast nutrient" is only DAP, you may want to consider using some "yeast energizer" in your mix so that trace mineral and vitamins necessary for the yeast are available.

With this batch, going forward you should probably try to do as much "nothing" as possible.


08-04-2009, 01:26 PM
All my traditional batches so far have smelled strongly of apples at some point. Since this is the smell of beer aged/bottled sur lees I just assume that this is what yeast smell like when they're fermenting and didn't worry about it. So far I haven't tasted anything bizarre in any of the batches, seems fine.

08-04-2009, 05:29 PM
well I said dreaded because I thought that the creating of acetaldehyde was a major problem, assuming that being one of the possibilities. I guess everything is alright then, the only thing I will add then is some energizer and leave it be. Thanks