View Full Version : noob mistake, need help

09-15-2010, 08:49 PM
Hi all, I did my first batch of mead, but when I raked it, and put it into another carboy. I got some white mold looking dots on top of the mead, and no gas coming out. A friend, who brews beer, suggested that I may have to start over via boiling it slightly to kill the bacteria. I really need some advice/help on what I should do.


09-15-2010, 09:03 PM
First of all, don't despair. We might be able to help. Can you describe what you're seeing in your mead in a little more detail? Better yet, can you take a pic of the white floaties and upload it so we can see it?

I think there may be two things not going right with your mead at the moment. First there's the obvious -- you don't want a spoilage organism growing in there while it is fermenting. Second, you suggest that fermentation has stopped. When you say that you racked it, what exactly do you mean? Was it fermenting in another container before you transferred it to the carboy? What yeast did you use? What's the exact recipe, as in how much honey, how much water, did you add any nutrients, is there any fruit or are there any spices in this batch?

We'll help, but we need to know more about what exactly you did.

One quick comment -- you may not have to boil anything. Instead, you might be able to rack the clean mead out from under the spoilage organisms, and then add some sulphite (potassium metabisulphite, or campden tablets) to keep the infection from coming back. That way you won't have to lose delicate honey aroma and flavor to the boil.

But tell us more about exactly what you did, and welcome to "Gotmead"!!.

09-16-2010, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the response Wayne.

Here is what I did, I followed a recipe from the "The compleat Meadmaker" by Ken Schramm.

I used four gallons of water: one boiled with 15 pounds of orange blossom honey, and then added the other 3 gallons after it cooled to the specific tempature. I did use nutrients and a yeast energizer. I also used two packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast. I did rehydrate the yeast as the book called for it. I had a friend who brews come over to help. We did sanitize everything, and made sure it was cleaned.

I had the mead fermenting in a five gallon bucket with a fermentation lock for two weeks. It was going well, and the book stated that about two weeks you should rack it. Which I did, but I could not get the siphon to work with the water method, so I had to use my mouth to start the process. Which mean that some tap water did enter the mead. I did sanitize my equipment before I started to rack it. I will try to up load some pictures tomorrow if it is help full. The bacteria are about 2 cm in diameter, and they are floating on the top of the mead.

Any thoughts on what to do would be greatly appreciated.


09-19-2010, 12:56 PM
Joe, sorry to take so long to get back with you, but I've been traveling again and I'm only now catching back up with Gotmead messages. If the stuff on top looks like organized colonies of bacteria or mold rather than just floating yeast crud, then I'd recommend racking the clear mead out from under the colonies (as I noted earlier), then dose the mead with potassium metabisulfite to prevent the reappearance of the infection. While you have it in the process of racking, you should draw off a sample for tasting/smelling and measurement of SG if you have a hydrometer. It is important to know what the final SG is, or if you don't have any way of measuring the SG, at least taste to see if it has fermented out enough for your taste. If at all possible, keep the liquid level topped up near the narrow neck of the carboy to minimize the potential for oxidation, and seal it up with a stopper and airlock. Let the sulphited mead rest for a couple of weeks and take a look at it periodically over that time to see if there are no more obvious signs of infection.

Since you've got what is likely an infection in there, I'd recommend being generous with the sulphite addition - go with 1/2 gram per gallon (or since Campden tablets are 0.44 grams apiece, I'd use 6 tablets in a full 5 gallon carboy). That will provide a substantial free sulphite level, one that in a traditional mead should knock out all typical infection agents, including all wild yeasts. Since your mead is a traditional, the free sulphite won't find much to bind with in there, but over the course of a few weeks most of it will come out of solution and dissipate in the airspace at the top of your carboy, displacing the air that is there to begin with.

Good luck with this one, and keep us apprised of how it goes from hereon out.

09-19-2010, 07:56 PM
Wayne no worries on the reply.

I did talk to the guys at the home brew store and they stated the same thing that you did. I was going to rack it last night, but as I was moving the carboy up to the self, the white spots disappeared. Now I am believing that they are bubbles, but I am not sure I will take a picture of it and post it tomorrow night.

Thanks for all of the great advice.


09-21-2010, 09:41 PM

I've been trying to download pictures, but the site will not let me. It says that it is too big, and that I can only download a 1kb jpeg. Any thoughts on this.

Also will mead actually have bubbles. I've been taking a hard look at and it seems to be bubbles.

Thanks in advance for your advice.


09-22-2010, 11:29 AM
Well, if they're bubbles, then you likely have no problem!

Yes, some strains of yeast will form a protein "scum" on the surface of your mead during fermentation, and that stuff will trap CO2 from the fermenting liquid as it is released, and you'll get some bubbles forming. Typically that's called "foaming" and if you dig around the yeast manufacturers' websites a bit you can find out which strains of yeast are "foaming," and which are "low foaming." That foamy krausen (to borrow the beermaking term) is no problem at all.

As far as the issue with uploading pictures, how are you trying to do it? Are you going to the "manage attachments" button in the Attach Files area on the posting page, or are you trying something different?

09-22-2010, 02:29 PM
I have a blackraspberry mead that did that. It kind of scared me. But ... it tasted fine! I came to the conclusion it was not anything bad. Maybe wax or something that floated to the top and coagulated in little rough shaped rings. I racked out from under it and drank the stuff closest to it right away. ;-) I am still alive and that was about a month ago!

09-22-2010, 02:44 PM
I almost always get a layer of junk at the surface after fermentation is over. It seems to be made up mostly of yeast, and it typically will end up being a mm thick layer of loosely connected solids. So far, nothing amiss has happened.

09-22-2010, 08:34 PM
thank you all for the great advice.

09-27-2010, 02:45 AM
I had almost exactly the same thing happen to my mead that I made following a recipe in Ken's book. There were some white circle like dots on the surface. Since I had too much headspace in my carboy I just racked my mead into 4 1 gallon jugs. The white circles disappeared when I moved the mead. I never had any off odors or taste so I'm still not sure what it was.

Good luck with your mead!

If you scroll down through this link you will see the pics I posted of mine. Does your problem look anything like that?

09-27-2010, 10:31 PM

No it did not look like that. It was smaller, but they are gone now, so I am just waiting out the rest of the femintation. Thanks for the pictures, and that was a good post with good advice. Thanks mate.