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View Full Version : What is floating on top of my melomel?



NWSeadog
07-22-2010, 09:08 PM
This is my first melomel. I started it off in the fermenter using using Wyeast Sweet mead and some cut up oranges. Over the last 8 weeks it has slowly moved from 1.10 down to 1.04. (I'm shooting for 1.02). About a week ago the temperature dropped to 64* and it seemed to come to a stop. To restart it I racked over into a secondary and added some energizer (and raised the temp to 70*.) That seemed to help, but now I'm seeing some yeast (?) on the surface. Do you suppose this is just the Wyeast back at it, or did I end up with an infection? Suggestions are welcome!

http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/295a831376.jpg (http://www.freeimagehosting.net/)

skunkboy
07-22-2010, 10:00 PM
Looks to me like bits of oranges and yeasty sludge...

Chevette Girl
07-22-2010, 10:38 PM
I second Skunkboy, provided that it's not making any gross odours (other than general fermentation odours).

What happens is the yeast get everywhere and when they eat sugar they release carbon dioxide, which can get trapped in the fruit bits, especially citrus (I also see bubbles up against the glass in the photo, which further supports the carbon dioxide theory).

Try giving the fermenter a gentle swirl (don't take off the airlock, you don't want to expose it to oxygen at this point since you already have considerable headspace), it will knock some of the yeast off the fruit bits and perhaps also dislodge some of the carbon dioxide causing the floaties, and allow some fruit bits to settle to the bottom. It might also degas the must a bit and displace some oxygen that may be present in your headspace.

wayneb
07-22-2010, 10:55 PM
Yup - I concur with everything that Skunkboy and Chevette Girl have already said. The only time I'd start to worry is if the floating bits began to look like they were dropping tendrils down into the liquid, or if the scents coming from the airlock started to smell "off," like something that was spoiling.

NWSeadog
07-23-2010, 01:47 AM
Evereyone - Thanks for the quick reply. I swirled it a day ago and most of the floaties disappeared, but they are back again. Could be that the CO2 attaches to them and brings them back to the surface. It smells great (very fresh honey-orange) and tastes good but sweet.

What I've been doing to keep the oxygen to a minimum is floating CO2 on top of the mead from my tank.

I'll go swirl it some more. - would really like to dry it out a bit more.

Thanks again.

wayneb
07-23-2010, 08:15 AM
Could be that the CO2 attaches to them and brings them back to the surface.


That does often happen; again it is nothing to worry about.


It smells great (very fresh honey-orange) and tastes good but sweet.


You may be stuck with this batch where it currently sits. Wyeast Sweet Mead strain can be problematic, often sticking at final gravities higher than where you'd like them to be. If you do a search on "Sweet Mead" yeast here in the forum you'll find that lots of folks (including me) have had this experience. That is why I don't use that strain any longer. I've found that I get much more consistent results with active dry wine yeasts from Lallemand or Red Star than I do with any of the wet packaged products, and the Sweet Mead yeasts from Wyeast and White Labs are perhaps the least consistent performers out there.

Tannin Boy
07-23-2010, 10:43 AM
That does often happen; again it is nothing to worry about.



You may be stuck with this batch where it currently sits. Wyeast Sweet Mead strain can be problematic, often sticking at final gravities higher than where you'd like them to be. If you do a search on "Sweet Mead" yeast here in the forum you'll find that lots of folks (including me) have had this experience. That is why I don't use that strain any longer. I've found that I get much more consistent results with active dry wine yeasts from Lallemand or Red Star than I do with any of the wet packaged products, and the Sweet Mead yeasts from Wyeast and White Labs are perhaps the least consistent performers out there.


:mad: Too Late dammit, I'm committed....

I too am in the midst of a 1st. batch with the Wyeast Sweet Mead product.
Wish I had read about this before, I was not a member at the time! Yet this type of conversation continues to reinforce my membership here at Gotmead folks!

I did find one interesting fact about this wyeast product, It loves temperature and lots of it. I bought a heating pad for the melomel and pushed it to 84 deg's. Man did this stuff pound away at fermenting for 5 straight weeks at high rates of off gassing and after sampling the mel at the second racking it had a pleasant sweetness to it....I will be bottling it today and will try and report back at the 3 month progress point..

I have cold crashed it for a month and sulfited it, trying to keep the clarity better that I have done before...Newbie mistakes of course :BangHead:

NWSeadog
07-23-2010, 01:35 PM
Swirling looks like it got rid of the floaters. I still have some yeast on the surface, but I'm not to worried on that since they seem to still be at work. Raising the temperature to 70* and adding some 2 tsps of energizer has made an imporvement as well. The SG has dropped from 1.04 to 1.032 over the last week.

I have to agree with you on the Wyeast. It seemed to really go to town in the slap pack then went downhill from there. Might have to give Red Star Cote Des Blanc a shot next time.

Jord
07-25-2010, 08:20 AM
What I've been doing to keep the oxygen to a minimum is floating CO2 on top of the mead from my tank.

While it won't hurt the mead to blanket it with CO2 it's not necessary during primary fermentation due to the mass amounts of CO2 that are naturally produced during the fermentation process.....and you're just using your CO2 up which'll cost you money in the long run. :)