View Full Version : Apple cider rotten egg smell, nothing I've done seems to help...

10-30-2010, 02:08 PM

Brand new here on this forum so I would like to introduce myself. I live in Las Vegas and thankfully have a small LHBS in the area now! A friend of mine introduced me to mead a few years back and have been loving it ever since.

There are 7 batches of mead under my belt so far:
-JAO (Tasty)
-JAO Pyment version (Tasty)
-Simple Cyser (Sewer!)
-2 batches Hard Cider (Sewer!)
-Cherry Plum Cyser (Tasty)
-Blueberry Hydromel (Awesome)

I find that I do not like bitter at all and have a preference to semi-sweet to sweet drink. To that end I usually back sweeten just a bit and have found that making my own leads to results that I very much enjoy.

Now on to what I hope I can get some help with.

You may have noticed that most of the Cyser/Cider batches have a "Sewer!" comment. That is caused by the Rhino farts, as I have learned they are called, and while most advise they will go away in time I have not found that to be the case. The gas goes away, but the must retains a rotten egg/sewer/dead body like smell.

I bottled both batches of cider, one batch I splashed back and forth between a couple of pitcher to help drive off the gas, and now 4 months later I get a blast of ass when I open a bottle. Just not drinkable...

From the first batch of cyser on I have been searching the forums looking for ways to counter them. So far nothing has worked. (The Apple Cherry Cyser worked though, but I also had 12 lbs of fruit in a 3 gallon batch so I assume that's the reason it worked out!)

So I am trying a variation of the Caramel Apple Mead recipe I originally saw posted by SummerSolistice. Not sure if he got it somewhere else or not...

This is my version with tweaks.
10 grams Lalvin K1V-1116 Yeast
3 Gallons Muscleman's Apple Cider
3 lbs. Clover Honey
1/2 Gallon Water
2 large sticks cinnamon
6 cloves
2 lbs. Cracked Crystal Malt 60L
1 1/2 tsp. Pectic Enzyme
3 grams Fermax
1/2 tsp. Brewmaster Yeast Nutrient

*Changes: I have left out the DME and reduced the honey in order to keep the OG down from 1.120. I have also added spices because I like them! =) The pectic enzyme is there as I've found unfiltered apple juice clears a lot better with it added.

As I have elected to exclude the DME from the mix I assume my nutrient levels are not going to be what the original recipe had so I supplemented with the Fermax and Yest Nutrient right from the get go.

*Notes: The fermentation will be carried out in a water bath with a temperature of 60F - 65F. As I've read that rhino farts can/could be dependent upon fermentation temperature with a low incidence correlating to low temperatures.

Regarding nutrients, I am going to be aggressive on this batch with them as I've also read that rhino farts are caused by stressed yeast and that is most often caused by lack of nitrogen.

Here is what I've done...

10/28/2010 - 05:00 PM - Finished brewing up the Spiced Caramel Apple Mead/Braggot/Cyser (Frankenmead)

*OG: 1.085
*1st Sugar Break: 1.061
*2nd Sugar Break: 1.036
*Target FG: 1.012

-Steep crystal malt, placed in muslin bags, in 1 gallon apple cider @ 155F for 45 minutes by heating on the stove to 157F and then storing in an insulated cooler for 45 minutes.

-Rinse 1 gallon of apple cider through the grain bags and back into the mash pot.

-Mix in 3lbs of clover honey to the must/wort and stir well.

-Pour must into 6.5 gallon fermenter and add last gallon of cider, cinnamon, cloves, pectic enzyme, Fermax, and nutrient.

-Adjust SG to 1.085 with cold water(~1/3 Gallon). Must temperature was 85F.

-Hydate yeast in 104F water for 15 minutes and then pitch into the must.

-Aerate the must using pump, filter, and stone for 5 minutes.

-Lid and airlock.

-Place in 63F water bath in garage. (30 Gallon rubbermaid Trashcan filled with water/ice)


10/28/2010 07:00PM - No bubble acitivity yet.

10/28/2010 11:00PM - Small Airlock activity. ~50 seconds interval

10/29/2010 09:00AM - Iced bath to 59F. Added 1/2 tsp. Brewmaster Yeast Nutrient, 3g Fermax, 1.5g DAP, Aerated 5 minutes. SG @ 1.084

10/29/2010 10:05AM - Bubble @ 45.94 seconds. Water bath @ 61F

10/29/2010 01:38PM - Bubble @ 4.50 seconds. Water bath @ 62F. Added ice. Off like a ROCKET!

10/29/2010 04:43PM - BUbble @ 2.90 seconds. Added ice 20 minutes ago. Water bath now @ 61.5F

10/29/2010 10:36PM - Aerated 5 minutes. Add 3g Fermax, 1.5g DAP, 1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient. SG @ 1.077, pH @ 4.1, Water Bath @ 59.5F (Tasted very caramel, sweet, dark. A bit fizzy!) *Being agressive with the nutrients to stave off rhino farts/HSO2 formation. Will wait for 1/3 sugar break to add the last dose. Estimate 30th @ 9:00PM it will reach 1st break.

10/30/2010 10:00AM - Water Bath @ 65F. Add ice. Noticed a slight Rihno Fart Smell! Damn! Bubbles are erratic but much faster than last log entry, a flurry of bubbles every few seconds.


Okay, so there it is. Comments welcome!

Thanks and sorry this post turned into a novel... hopefully I'm in the right forum.

10-30-2010, 02:28 PM
This sounds pretty tasty from your recipe description.

In regard to the sulfur smell, it seems that cyser tends to be a culprit for it no matter what. I think minimum recommended aging is a year or more. Try yours again then and see if it's not any better.

10-30-2010, 03:01 PM
Thanks Yogi. The cyser is still in a gallon jug about five months old now. Should I age it in the jug with an airlock, or bottle age it? Does it matter in regards to getting the egg smell out?

10-30-2010, 03:06 PM
Do a search for copper and sulfur. It is said that copper can remove some of the sulfur stuff, but it's complicated. Not all the information is in one post, it's spread out over several posts over several years.

10-30-2010, 03:10 PM
Do a search for copper and sulfur. It is said that copper can remove some of the sulfur stuff, but it's complicated. Not all the information is in one post, it's spread out over several posts over several years.

In regards to the Copper I am just a little leery about doing it. I have some reagent grade copper sulfate pentahydrate on hand as I use that when making custom plant fertilizers. But I always wear gloves and am very careful with the chemicals. Putting it in something I will drink directly is something weird to me.

Also I have read that I may need to add in some ascorbic acid to reduce the complex mercaptains back to the simple form that copper sulfate can bind to. I will need to head down to the LHBS and get some if they have it. I will continue to consider this option and thank you.

Medsen Fey
10-30-2010, 06:19 PM
Thanks Yogi. The cyser is still in a gallon jug about five months old now. Should I age it in the jug with an airlock, or bottle age it? Does it matter in regards to getting the egg smell out?

Welcome to GotMead Demolitron!

It is common to get some transient H2S with apple fermentations even when you have used proper nutrients and management. If it persists once fermentation is complete, then treating sooner rather than later is wise. There are several possible treatments including addition of copper, splash racking, treating with aerated lees, treatment with Boksin (Kieselsol) and treatment with Reduless (a yeast hull derivative).

If you have left it with the sulfur odor for many months, treating with Ascorbic acid (25 ppm) several days before copper treatment my increase its effectiveness by converting some of the disulfides back into forms that will bind with copper. Even this may not remove them completely. That leaves some rarely used steps such as treatment with mineral oil (since the disulfides are more soluble in oil), and as a last resort, activated charcoal (which will strip the good aroma and flavor as well).

There is a good Patron's thread "Hydrogen Sulfide - A thorough review (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13256)" that has lots of useful info.

Endeavor to Persevere!


10-31-2010, 12:29 PM

Thanks for that link and information. Lots of good stuff in there regarding H2S. I think I'll take a wait and see approach until the primary is finished. The smell is much less than in my previous attempts and I attribute that to the low temperature fermentation (60-65F) and increased nutrient levels.

If I still get H2S at the end I'll try some boksin. It that the same thing as Kieselsol then? My LHBS has Kieselsol but not boksin.

Also the samples I've tasted did not have the rotten egg smell. However I did take them after aeration so I may have just driven it off. I should STOP aeration after the first 1/3 sugar break or risk oxidation correct? Could I bubble say...CO2 gas through the must instead to drive off the H2S gas? Would the extra CO2 in solution hurt the mead?

I'm thinking a poor man's way to do it would be to put some dry ice and hot water into a jug with a bung and tube in the top leading to an air stone in the fermentation bucket.

Thank you.

Medsen Fey
10-31-2010, 04:34 PM
Sparging with CO2 might help drive off H2S with less risk of oxidation, but in my experience with stinky batches, I usually do aeration with splash racking, and I haven't found that it causes noticeable oxidation (though I haven't done a side by side comparison).

I'm not certain if Boksin is different from Kieselsol in any way. In any case, I don't think it is as effective as other measures.