View Full Version : stuff - Need Help

04-02-2010, 09:27 AM
hi. i need help...sum1...any1...plz!!!!!!

just spent 60 on honey and every time i make a batch(1gallon) it makes poison........its a polyflofal set honey....i melt it in boild water then leav it to cool and poor it into the demijohn n ad the yeast

wot av i done rong?

04-02-2010, 10:45 AM
hi. i need help...sum1...any1...plz!!!!!!

just spent 60 on honey and every time i make a batch(1gallon) it makes poison........its a polyflofal set honey....i melt it in boild water then leav it to cool and poor it into the demijohn n ad the yeast

wot av i done rong?
I am having difficulty understanding exactly what you are asking for. Perhaps you have done nothing wrong, but I think that you can get more detailed and comprehensive answers if you post your question in this section, http://www.gotmead.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=136 which is specifically designed to support new meadmakers. Also, could you provide us with a little more detail about your recipe (how much honey, how much water, which yeast, etc.). We'll be glad to help, but we need a little more information than what you have provided so far.

And it appears that someone already moved your post -- was it you who beat me to it, Medsen? ;)

Medsen Fey
04-02-2010, 10:50 AM
Welcome to Gotmead onanguiste!

I moved you post over to start a thread of its own since it wasn't really about the chat room, and it sounds like you could use some assistance.

What exactly do you mean by "poison"?

It will help if you can provide us with the details of your recipe and process. Information like what was the starting gravity? the final gravity? which yeast? What temperature was it kept? How long has it been fermenting/aging? what nutrients? etc.

The more you can tell us, the better the answers you'll get.


04-02-2010, 10:57 AM
hi. i need help...sum1...any1...plz!!!!!!

just spent 60 on honey and every time i make a batch(1gallon) it makes poison........its a polyflofal set honey....i melt it in boild water then leav it to cool and poor it into the demijohn n ad the yeast

wot av i done rong?
Hum? depends on where you're getting your honey, as to how much 60 buys.....

To start with, "polyfloral" ? as in "wild flower" ???

Then you say it's set honey, which is indicative of over processing to make it nice and easy for the supermarket to stock it for use on bread or in cooking.

Then you say about melting it with boiling water, cooling and just adding the yeast to it in the DJ.

Well you haven't made poison at all. What you have made is something that's about as close to a pure "traditional" as is possible but with modern materials.

The honey description, well that suggests to me that it's one that will have been blended for eating and believe it or not, the best mead making honey isn't always so good for that.

Just honey and water, well given that honey is notoriously low in nutrients, of the type so loved by yeast, it will ferment, but probably very, very slowly.

I mean, what's the ratio of honey to water ? because if you have it too high (about 3 to 4lb per gallon is about right), you can end up with an osmotic shock effect on the yeast - which will kill it off as it can't manage all the sugar content (and has no other food - starving to death).

That's not to say that you can't make a must of high gravity, you can but they tend to take quite a lot of management. I mean, if you did make your must with just honey and water, then it's also possible that the yeast did struggle along, but as it had little to no nutrient, it was also causing "off flavours" of some sort or another.

What yeast did you use ?

Do you actually have any yeast nutrient ?

etc etc etc.

If you can be a little more specific about the type of honey, how much in weight you've got, what kind of yeast you have available, nutrients, types and sizes of fermenters, etc etc, then someone will be able to point you in the right direction.

As for brands and names etc, if you include a rough guide to where you are, then someone might even be able to point you toward actual suppliers etc...



p.s. Oh and if you're expecting to have a drinkable mead in a rush, then you're probably gonna be disappointed.....

04-02-2010, 03:21 PM
well...erm..i payd about 58 for about 25kg the only information it has on it is polyfloral blossom honey

i got the from littleover apiaries derby england

at first i used about 900g to a galon of water. the end product smells off and seems to contain little or no alcohol. 900g of any other honey works fine just not this sort

and the yeast is youngs super wine yeast compound

and youngs yeast nutrient(diammonium phospate, ammonium sulphate)

04-02-2010, 03:42 PM
How soon are you drinking this? Most mead tastes like junk for a couple/few/many months before turning into something good.

Medsen Fey
04-02-2010, 03:52 PM
Does the honey smell funny or taste odd?

The Young's super wine yeast compound (http://www.homebrewcentregy.com/Yeast_Nutrients.html) (a mixture of yeast, Bentonite, and nutrients) marketed as suitable for high gravity is an interesting product that I've not seen before.

If you've used the same process before with good results, the likely answer is that there is something with that honey. However, a fermentation with Bentonite can cause sulfur odors in some cases. Can you describe what it smells like a bit more (rotten egg? vinegar? band-aids?)


04-02-2010, 06:18 PM
the honey is realy nice to taste, looks fine , smells fine.

the odor after is a eggy vomit/stagnant water sort of thing

Medsen Fey
04-02-2010, 06:27 PM
Okay, that suggests sulfur odors and/or a spoilage organism.

Did the odor start during active fermentation, or did it develop after the fermentation was over? How old is this batch?

04-02-2010, 06:47 PM
during fermentation. 3 different dj's all went the same way

04-02-2010, 07:01 PM
Seriously though, we do need to know how old this is (couple people have asked, it's pretty crucial to answering any questions).

04-02-2010, 07:12 PM
i smell the smell after about 2 weeks of fermentation. i always leave it in a dj for at least 1month before i do anything with it (tip it down the drain) and it still looks n smells the same

04-02-2010, 07:21 PM
Well, right there could be a huge part of your problem - you can't make much of a judgment on any batch before the 3-4 month mark, and even then it's not close to what it's going to be like 6+ months in the future. Mead isn't like beer, it needs time to develope and time to lose nasty flavours.

Much of what you're tasting/smelling is possibly just yeast, after 1 or even 2 months that mead is nowhere near done clearing, so it's still full of yeast - and yeast taste bad in most cases. It's possible that Medsen is right, that you have sulphur production problems, but how you describe it sounds like at least half my batches do... they develope that smell a few days after fermentation is complete, and it takes a month or 3 after that to go away.

I don't even bother taking taste tests before the 4 month mark now (unless I'm trying to diagnose a specific problem).

EDIT: I hate to say it, but there's a very good chance you're pouring perfectly good mead down the drain!

Medsen Fey
04-02-2010, 07:31 PM
Your description doesn't sound like a spoilage organism.

Onanguiste, take a glass of this stinky mead and try adding a piece of shiny copper (a coin, a piece of wire, a piece of tubing, or whatever you have) then swirl it around for a couple of minutes. Tell us if that reduces or eliminates some of the odor.

04-02-2010, 07:36 PM
thanks for the advice but i realy dont think its a good mead. i hav been making mead for about 2 years and every batch i make smells like alcohol even as its fermenting, just not this new stuff . i know that they get beter with age but if that were true for this batch it would be about 5000 years before this is drinkable lol. the last of the bad stuff was in a dj for about 2.5 months before i got round to tipin it away and still no change

04-02-2010, 07:40 PM
i would but the last whent down the drain about a week ago

04-02-2010, 07:44 PM
thanks for the advice but i realy dont think its a good mead. i hav been making mead for about 2 years and every batch i make smells like alcohol even as its fermenting, just not this new stuff . i know that they get beter with age but if that were true for this batch it would be about 5000 years before this is drinkable lol. the last of the bad stuff was in a dj for about 2.5 months before i got round to tipin it away and still no change

Ah sorry, the way you were phrasing your questions made me think these were your first batches. In this case I'm with Medsen, the most likely culprit for an eggy smell is sulphur being produced by stressed out/undernourished yeast. Maybe this honey is lower in nutrient content than the ones you'd used previously, I don't know. There are ways to fix a batch with these problems though, I've had to do it myself a number of times.

04-02-2010, 07:45 PM
well its bed time round ear. we'l continue in the morning (or wen ever ya redy)

Medsen Fey
04-02-2010, 07:56 PM
Well, if you have sulfur odors, they usually won't just go away with aging. The smell may lessen some as the sulfur compounds form more-stable molecules that may have a somewhat higher detection threshold, but they'll still be stinkin' up the place.

For your next batch, consider using a different yeast that doesn't have the Bentonite mixed in. Using 900 g honey in a gallon batch, virtually any yeast you pick should take it bone dry. If you have Lalvin ICV-D47 available, it is really rare for it produce sulfur and you might give it a shot.

If you insist on using the same yeast/Bentonite mixture, give it more nutrients than you used last time, preferably one with B-complex vitamins. If the odor develops, add some yeast hulls and let the fermentation finish. Don't treat with copper while the yeast are active - that will cause them to produce more hydrogen sulfide. Once fermentation is done (check with the hydrometer), get it off the lees as quickly as possible and splash it while you rack.

If the odor persists after fermentation is complete and the racking has been done, treating with copper may eliminate it if used early.

I expect with some modification of your practice you can still get some good use out of that honey.


04-02-2010, 10:03 PM
I am in complete agreement with Medsen. Since the yeast nutrient content of honey from different floral sources varies widely, but is still far lower than that found in grape or other fruit juices, it is certainly possible that the ingredients and process you've used in the past to make fine meads could be troublesome with this particular batch of honey. From what you are describing it seems that you have undernourished yeast - and the problem is compounded by the fact that bentonite can bind and remove some nutrients from your must, just when the yeast need them most.

Have a look at our NewBee Guide (link is over on the left of this page), and then search the forums for posts on "staggered nutrient additions," and you'll learn far more about adding yeast nutrients than what we can cover in one or two posts here. The production of sulphurous smells (principally hydrogen sulphide when fermenting, and then changing to other sulphur compounds when the sulphide reacts with ethanol in the finished mead) is almost always associated with yeast stress brought on by lack of nutrients, especially nitrogen compounds. You can prevent this entirely with adequate nutrient additions, made several times during the course of fermentation.

But, whatever you do, please don't tip your mead down the drain without an attempt at making it right -- 58 is far too much money to waste on a failed batch before you are certain that it can't be salvaged.

04-02-2010, 10:06 PM
If I didn't know about nutrients I would have panicked about some of my batches, too...because when it gets that smell, it does smell like all is lost--until you put in a few grams of nutrient, and voila! The smell goes away like magic.

04-03-2010, 03:24 AM
Well onanguiste, that's a good price for the honey.

Though I'm already thinking that you need to take more of a "winemaking approach".

For instance, some yeasts need more nitrogen than others, and I'm thinking that the eggy, or hydrogen sulphide (H2S) smell is more than likely caused by the yeast getting stressed.

The copper pipe trick mentioned earlier, is, as I understand it, a way of removing some of it, though I'd also suggest that when, or if you notice the smell, that quite often, a way of sorting that is to add a little more nutrient and give it a damn good stir.

The problem with using Youngs yeast compound is that it's very much a "general purpose" yeast, and even with wines, it does the job but not spectacularly so. Plus Youngs yeast nutrient, is more of a "yeast energiser" than a nutrient i.e. it's really meant for a grape or other fruit/country wine, that presumes that the other nutrients are present and that the wine is just short of nitrogen. Hence it also "does the job" as per the yeast.

So, I'd suggest, too start with, that as far as yeast is concerned, you look to your HBS. If they only stock Youngs yeasts, then you should be trying the High Alcohol/Dessert wine yeast - or you may be lucky enough that they stock Lalvin yeasts (or maybe Gervin yeasts).

My local one (http://www.brewathome.co.uk/) tends only to stock Youngs stuff, as he's really only wine and beer orientated. So I have to get the Lalvin yeasts mail order (you could also register at WaH (http://www.winesathome.co.uk/forum/index.php) as Bob who runs them, often has some of the Lalvin yeasts or Karl (Duffbeer at WaH) runs a home brew shop, might have some. I'll direct you toward Lalvin K1V-1116, which is a robust yeast that does work well with meads and was good enough to be the yeast that Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey fame used before his passing in the 90's.

As for nutrient, well yes, you can also do like I did and find some FermaidK, but that definitely isn't easily available in the UK (if at all), so has to come mail order from the US, but you can get Tronozymol, either from the local HBS or mail order easily enough.

If you read through threads here that talk about staggered nutrient addition, well where they mention using FermaidK, just substitute that with Tronozymol, where they mention using yeast energiser or DAP, just use the Youngs yeast nutrient.

If you still have a gallon that is stinky/smelly, then use a little of the Youngs yeast nutrient, and give it a good stir to see if that helps.

If not, then just plan ahead a little more to make sure you've got some of the rather better materials available.

As for the honey, well I'd have to take "polyfloral" to be wild flower. Also, at 900gms per gallon, you'd end up with a dry mead that's not too high in alcohol. I'd suggest that you go for at least 1.36kg per gallon, a.k.a. 3lb per gallon, as a minimum. I regularly use 3 and 1/2 to 4lb per gallon.

The yeast should be hydrated as per instructions (Lalvin ones have the instructions on the back of the pack).

The nutrient, well if you had FermaidK available (and GoFerm, which is different from "normal" nutrient - it's purely for rehydrating yeasts to make a bit like a yeast starter) then it's done in a slightly different way, but with Tronozymol I'd suggest that you add the stated dose at the start, before you pitch the yeast - it's something like 1 teaspoon per gallon. Then using your hydrometer to check, when it's fermented about 1/3 of the sugar in the honey (use the numbers i.e. if you had an initial gravity reading of 1.100 and take "dry" as 1.000, then there's a 100 point drop total a 1/3 sugar break reading would be about 1.067 - so between 1.070 and 1.060 is fine) I'd be adding something like 1/4 of the suggested amount of tronozymol and the same amount of youngs yeast nutrient stirred in.

That can be done as far as the 1/2 sugar break level i.e. 1.050 using my analogy above.

Also, you can use something to stir/agitate the fermenting must to about the same levels (from the numbers) as in the early stages, yeast will actually need oxygen to do it's thing. I stop agitating/stirring at the 1/2 sugar break level.

I'm thinking that the honey you have isn't going to be over processed like the cheapo stuff you can get at the local tesco/morrisons/asda etc, but it's "set". So you should be able to get a respectable mead out of it, but, I'd suggest that you don't use boiling water to dilute/let it down. Leave it to dissolve either in the tub/drum/bucket/whatever, in a sink of hot tap water, or as a good method of aerating the must before you pitch yeast, you can always sanitise a liquidiser, and put largish spoonfuls of the honey in, with some hot tap water (and you can also add any other ingredients, like acid, tannin, nutrients etc) and give it a good whizz. Once all the honey you want to use in the recipe is done like that, then you can mix it to the right levels with water (dunno what the water is like in your part of the country, down here it's hard as nails, with very high calcium, as it comes through the chalk).

If you're into getting it right enough, then have a look through amazon market place, for a book called "Making Mead" by Ashton and Duncan. It was an "amateur winemaker" book, then same as CJJ Berrys' "First Step", but it's out of print so you have to get a used copy - I think mine was about 1 plus the postage. It's got plenty of info about tannins, acids and other nutrients etc. Plus about the benefits of using "varietal" honey.

I'm hoping that lot will be of some use.

Anyway, good luck



p.s. and don't forget, once it's "made", don't expect your mead to be brilliant. It might even be horrible tasting with a number of tasting faults. Just get it into it's own DJ that can be left alone for 12 months and put it away somewhere so you won't touch it. With mead, one of the biggest factors in how it tastes is how long it's been aged for.

And if you look around you may be able to find a commercially made mead, but the only problem with most of the ones available here is that they tend to be cloyingly sweet "dessert" meads. You can make better than that quite easily......