PDA

View Full Version : Too much nutrient?



PDonn63
06-17-2011, 09:40 PM
A few days ago I started a cider. I juiced 12lbs of Jonagold apples, 8lbs Cameo apples, and another 5lbs of misc. tart apples bought from the market. The yeild of the juice was about 1.25 gallons. I added 7 1/2lbs of brown sugar (I know, I know... but the honey stand at the market was closed, and figured this would be something different). I added the must to my primary, and added water to 4.5 gallons. I added 4 cambden tablets and pectic enzyme per package instructions and let sit over night. The next day I pitched 5g Red Star Cotes Des Blanc rehydrated in 6g GoFerm. After lag, I added 4g Fermaid-K and 4g DAP. I sanitized an aspirin container, filled it with 15g Fermaid-K and 8g DAP and added a little bit every time I aerated (2-3times per day) until 1/3 sugar break (when I just added the rest).

I looked through several posts looking for an optimum SNA schedule, and was getting confused. From what I read, it was better too much than to little I think. I am just wondering if I have added too much, as I am always questioning my process. Any help is appreciated.

akueck
06-18-2011, 12:37 AM
By my rough math you've added about 240 ppm of nitrogen. What was the OG of your must? 240 isn't off the scales, but the amount of nitrogen you need will scale with OG and you might not have needed that much.

Too much nutrient can be a problem, though a different one than too little. Excess nutrient in your mead/wine can be utilized by spoilage organisms after the yeast is done. Really high amounts have a flavor impact, though you're not high enough to feel that.

PDonn63
06-18-2011, 12:02 PM
My OG was 1.087, and from what I have read, Cotes Des Blanc ferments around 9-10% ABV, but can go as high as 11.5%. I got to 1/3 sugar break in a little less than two days after the lag was over. Since, I have just been aerating once a day without any additional nutrient.

Medsen Fey
06-20-2011, 10:46 AM
Côte des Blancs tends to be a nutrient hog, so using the amount you have provided won't be a problem at all. There are some downsides to using too much nutrient - reduced aroma, possible sulfur odors, encouragement for spoilage organisms, and possible impact on flavor - but you aren't even close to those levels.

Côte des Blancs can be stopped early with cold temps, but otherwise it has an alcohol tolerance than can easily hit 14+% ABV.

PDonn63
06-20-2011, 01:25 PM
Thanks for the help, that puts me at ease. I had no idea it could ferment up to 14+%; I guess that's because whenever I use that yeast it is for a relatively low gravity must.

Another question about it though. I know that CdB has a reputation for a high odor ferment, but this batch seems to have a particularly potent sulfur smell. I noticed it first after lag when I went to add the first round of nutrients, then it toned back. Now that I am past the 1/3 sugar break and have stopped adding nutrients, I have noticed it is returning somewhat. Should I have added DAP after the 1/3 break, maybe up to the 1/2? Only other thing I can think of is that I may not have aerated it well enough. I areated 2-3 times per day up until just after the 1/3 break, but with a lees stirrer not O2 stone.

Also, since I hit the 1/3 sugar break, the fermentation seems to have slowed. At 1/3 the airlock was almost a bubble per second, but then slowed to 1 about every 9 seconds (two days after 1/3 break). Obviously it slows down, but does this decreased rate seem alright?

Medsen Fey
06-20-2011, 03:12 PM
I can't judge bubble rates as they tell you essentially nothing. Gravity numbers give you something to judge.

Côte des Blancs gets quite stinky when it is hungry. I'd give it some more Fermaid K or Fermaid O, and a good dose of yeast hulls. Aeration will not prevent sulfur odors, but agitation and stirring may help H2S blow off more quickly so I would do that. Hopefully that will help the odor to clear before it is finished fermenting.

PDonn63
06-20-2011, 04:15 PM
Just checked the SG - 1.003. That explains the decreased activity; I'm just not used to a fermentation wrapping up in 6 days. I have Fermaid K & O, and yeast hulls, but I am guessing that they're not necessary at this point? I will rack later tonight or tomorrow morning to a 3gal carboy.

Medsen Fey
06-20-2011, 05:02 PM
Some yeast hulls might be helpful, but I wouldn't add Fermaid. It is just about done. If still stinky, a splash racking would be in order.

PDonn63
06-21-2011, 03:54 PM
OK, so I racked last night to a 3gal. and a 1/2gal. carboy (will use the 1/2gal. contents to top up the 3gal. later). Fermentation kicked back up a little bit, but today's SG was .990, so I am guessing it is about done. However, the sulfur odor is still hanging around somewhat. Will this maybe dissipate over time? Or should I add something to the secondary to help out (I was thinking oak cubes might help)?

Loadnabox
06-21-2011, 04:05 PM
OK, so I racked last night to a 3gal. and a 1/2gal. carboy (will use the 1/2gal. contents to top up the 3gal. later). Fermentation kicked back up a little bit, but today's SG was .990, so I am guessing it is about done. However, the sulfur odor is still hanging around somewhat. Will this maybe dissipate over time? Or should I add something to the secondary to help out (I was thinking oak cubes might help)?

Everything I've read says this should work out eventually, however a second splash racking in under a week might be in order, otherwise the sulfur compounds can turn into things harder to get rid of that require copper.

I could be wrong too, I haven't had to deal with this much before.

Medsen Fey
06-21-2011, 04:12 PM
Oak won't get rid of sulfur odors. I wouldn't leave it be either as H2S will convert to more-difficult-to-remove forms. Hitting it with some yeast hulls 0.5 grams per gallon may bind some of the sulfur, but if that isn't enough, I'd try racking it with some copper. You might try taking a look at this thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18235&highlight=sulfur) and the link I put there.

PDonn63
06-21-2011, 08:55 PM
After looking at that thread and the one linked to it, I am going to try adding Bocksin (I've already added yeast hulls). My LHBS didn't have it in their catalog, but I found a 110ml bottle for nine bucks online. I'll also throw a few other things I need on the tab to make paying the shipping worth it. Fermentation just stopped today, and I'm guessing the package will arrive in three days, give or take. I know experience with this product is limited, but do you think that that delay will make the additive ineffective?

Medsen Fey
06-22-2011, 09:04 AM
No, if it is going to help, it will still help in three days. If that doesn't work, I'd use the copper. In the meantime, swirling it to blow off more CO2 and H2S may help.

PDonn63
06-22-2011, 11:29 AM
Actually this morning I got a call from the site I ordered from, and they said that they did not have the product in stock. However, they did have OmniRED, so I went with that. Thank you very much for your help! I will be sure to post my (hopefully good :)) results.

Also, just an observation. I noticed that the 1/2 gallon carboy I racked the excess into has no sulfur smell, while the 3 gallon does. I racked the 3 gallon first, and the 1/2 gallon second. Since I did the 1/2 gallon second, I think I sucked up some of the lees from the bottom of the primary (there is about a 3/4 inch layer on the bottom of the carboy). I have no idea why the 1/2 gallon from the same batch would have no sulfur odor when the 3 gallon does, but it is interesting none-the-less.

AToE
06-22-2011, 02:26 PM
I've used bocksin several times for this problem, works well. One tip - nowhere ever has "bocksin" in stock from my experience - ask for kieselsol, it's exactly the same thing, and everyone always has stock.

Chevette Girl
06-22-2011, 04:52 PM
Actually this morning I got a call from the site I ordered from, and they said that they did not have the product in stock. However, they did have OmniRED, so I went with that. Thank you very much for your help! I will be sure to post my (hopefully good :)) results.

Also, just an observation. I noticed that the 1/2 gallon carboy I racked the excess into has no sulfur smell, while the 3 gallon does. I racked the 3 gallon first, and the 1/2 gallon second. Since I did the 1/2 gallon second, I think I sucked up some of the lees from the bottom of the primary (there is about a 3/4 inch layer on the bottom of the carboy). I have no idea why the 1/2 gallon from the same batch would have no sulfur odor when the 3 gallon does, but it is interesting none-the-less.

Might be because the last half-gal got more of a chance to offgas whatever's being stinky while you were emptying away the 3 gallons? Good luck with it.

PDonn63
06-22-2011, 05:17 PM
Ah, very good tip. I'll stop by my LHBS and pick some up; I'm sure they have some. I was wondering why only a small handful of online stores had it in their catalogs.

PDonn63
07-02-2011, 10:36 PM
So I added OptiRED per package instructions 10 days ago, but when racking today, I still noticed a strong sulfur odor. I added 3g of Nobleese today. It's a fining agent, but when added during or at the end of fermentation, it can prevent the production of sulfur. I'm wondering if maybe it will help with getting rid of the sulfur I currently have. Also, will bulk aging under airlock help get rid of the sulfur odor?

I also noticed, when washing out the carboy, that the lees at the bottom had the strongest of the smell; maybe the OptiRED dragged it to the bottom?

Chevette Girl
07-03-2011, 02:08 AM
Sounds like that might be possible, if that's the case you might want to rack it again in a couple days/weeks when more junk settles out. I had a sulphur stinky batch recently and I ended up giving it a couple days without the airlock just to let the stink come out and it did mostly work.

Medsen Fey
07-03-2011, 12:14 PM
The lees at the bottom will usually be where the sulfur odor is strongest since that is where is gets produced.

Leaving sulfur odors to sit and age may allow them to form into mercaptans and later into disulfides which are harder to remove. Sometimes, because the disulfides have a higher detection threshold, it will allow the odor to improve, but if the odor remains, it is much tougher to clear because the disulfides do not bind to copper. I generally don't recommend trying to age sulfur odors out.

PDonn63
07-03-2011, 01:31 PM
Thank you for the replies. Is this batch doomed, or should I do things like splash rack often and/or leave the air lock off for a while? I don't know of any other additives besides what I have already used that can get rid of the odor. Besides the offensive smell, the actual taste is rather good; I'd hate to have to scrap it.

I will eventually use copper, but I've heard this should be more of a last resort (also, I'm not quite sure how to go about using copper).

Chevette Girl
07-03-2011, 01:52 PM
Don't give up on it so easily! :)

Splash racking, giving it some microwaved bread yeast (or yeast hulls) to absorb stink, aerating it are all things to try before admitting defeat. If you can find an old copper penny (I can't remember when the US stopped using real copper in the pennies but that info's on this forum somewhere) and scrub it well with steel wool or something so it's nice and shiny, what I did was tie it to cotton string, sanitize the whole works and then suspend the penny in the carboy for 24 hours. In my case that didn't help but a few days of agitation and "airing out" did so I think the problems I had were the early stages where copper wouldn't help anyway, I think when it goes from smelling like sulphur (eggs or matches) and starts smelling like rubber stopper is when copper becomes appropriate.

I actually have one batch that has an aroma of diesel, it developed in the bottle and rather than empty all the bottles and air them out in a carboy (because it is only an odour, the taste is fine), I use one of those wine-saver vacuum pumps and I open the bottle and pour out a few ounces, then shake the hell out of it, vacuum it, shake, vacuum, shake, vacuum... Takes a day or two of doing this every time I walk past it on the table but the wine is actually worth all this effort. If I were less lazy, I'd toss it all back in a carboy and splash rack it till it behaved.

PDonn63
07-03-2011, 02:13 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I have added yeast hulls, but I used a minimal dose. I will add some more and see what happens. I also took the air lock off of the carboy; I'll let it sit like that over night.

I remember writing a paper a few years ago in college about commodities, and was able to dig it up. The price of copper by weight of a penny exceeded one cent in 1982, so any pennies minted after that point are copper-plated zinc. I should be able to find an '81 or earlier somewhere (not pure copper, but 95-97%; should get the point across). If all else fails, I will suspend the penny in the carboy.

Chevette Girl
07-03-2011, 02:15 PM
Heh, I don't know about Canadian coins so I use one that's older than me just to be sure :) Also if you have access, copper plumbing will work too. Pennies are just usually easier to find.

PDonn63
07-03-2011, 06:20 PM
I was actually able to find some unused speaker wire in my basement I had left over from setting up my speakers. I stripped about three inches, wrapped it in a ring (looked kind of like a wedding band), ran some thread through it, and sanitized the whole thing. I put the ring in the carboy, about half way down, and tied the other end to an empty Jameson bottle to keep it anchored (yet another use for whiskey). I currently have it sitting with the airlock off. I feel like keeping it there over night might be the longest I should let it go, but I have no prior experience using copper.

Medsen Fey
07-04-2011, 02:12 PM
I find the easiest thing for me is to take a copper scrub pad and stick it on the end of my autosiphon. The little black cap that goes on the tip cap be put on which holds the scrub pad in place. Then a good splash racking with the mead being sucked through the copper pad usually gets the job done for me.