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whatlurks
08-17-2011, 01:12 AM
I'm sure there are tons of threads like these so I apologize in advance if I sound like a broken record, but I have done my homework and just want to ask for an opinion on what might be the real culprit out of a few things I suspect.

I cleaned all my equipment in an IO Star solution, but had to juice all the apples for my cyser which took a few hours, so I put in 6 campden tablets for the 6 gallons I was making. I also added in yeast nutrient.

for the first 48 hours the odor the airlock was letting off smelled exactly like the must all be it on the second day it smelled a little more cider like. On the 2nd day the fermentation was very active, but now on the third day in it has slowed ever so slightly and just smells like straight sulfur.

So, my question to the more experienced would be do you think this could be from the campden tablets or do you think my batch has gotten an infection despite my efforts? And do you think it could be tied to the slowed fermentation? In either case could this sulfur issue be solved in about a months time when I rack it and let it splash around? my house is typically at a temperature between 70-80 degrees if that helps too.

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 01:49 AM
Sorry, this is my first time doing this so while I was as thorough as I could be there may be details I'm not thinking about that I should post. OG was about 1.097 and I had pitched in a two day old starter I had made with White Labs WLP720 Sweet Mead/Wine Yeast. I unfortunately did not buy anything to measure pH at the time that I had made it so of that I am uncertain. The recipe is as follows:

4.5 lbs of clover honey
5 lbs of buckwheat honey
about 5 gallons of freshly juiced apples
palm full of allspice powder
palm full crushed cardamom
10 crushed cinnamon sticks
palm full crushed star anise
1 crushed vanilla bean
palm full lemon peal
palm full tangelo zest

AToE
08-17-2011, 02:14 AM
Oh no, you went straight for the most troublesome yeast in history! (you did make a starter though, which while usually not needed, with this yeast should help) Oh well, that shouldn't be what's causing your problem - neither will the campden tabs, those are guaranteed not to be the issue.

Did you add any nutrient at all? I've never really heard of this yeast going stinky from lack of nitrogen though, and yeast love apple juice.

The most likely thing is this is just how it smells - apples are notorious for giving off horrible sulphur odours while fermenting, but unlike normal problematic sulphur odours, these dissapate entirely during aging.

Can you describe the smell more specifically? Like burnt matches, or rotten eggs?

AToE
08-17-2011, 02:23 AM
Sorry for the double post, left out a couple things: 1, infection - highly unlikely, in practice it's very difficult to get spoilage organisms taking hold in your must. Also, I've never heard of one that creates sulphur smells, that could be inexperience though.

2, slowed fermentation? What do you mean? I don't see any gravity readings in your post other than the starting one - and bubbles mean next to nothing. Slow fermentation won't cause sulphur odours, though too little nitrogen could cause both things to happen.

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 02:32 AM
Oh no, you went straight for the most troublesome yeast in history!

Lol, it figures I would find a way to make things more complicated than they should be.

I did add 6 teaspoons of nutrient. It is a JD Carlson Co. product and says it contains food grade urea and diammonium phosphate. Urea is a form of nitrogen I think so that sounds like I have it covered.

As far as smell goes it smells like rotten eggs, but putting my nose close to it as it bubbled I detected some cider like smells still so it may be because of the apples like you said.

Thanks!

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 02:35 AM
But yeah, I was just going by the bubbles. I have been too scared to open the thing to get any more readings. :P

AToE
08-17-2011, 02:43 AM
Well, you can often still smell the must itself through the sulphur, sometimes it's just a whiff of sulphur even. I am betting that this is simply apple troubles - it's not something I've personally encountered when fermenting apple juice, but it is extremely common.

Maybe someone who's experienced it can chime in as to whether it typically is more rotten egg or burnt matches.


Are you keeping track of the SG as this ferments? Also, are you aerating at all? Typically you'd want to get O2 into the mix for the first 1/3 of the ferment, but without taking readings it's impossible to say how far it's gone now.

AToE
08-17-2011, 02:51 AM
Don't worry about opening it, opening it is good and safe! Just keep your tools sanitized and you're fine. Many people like to taste or dump out their samples that they draw for SG readings, personally I just pour them back in. Going on 50 batches soon and not a single contamination, and the last half of those I've been pretty lax with my sanitation.

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 02:54 AM
I've not taken any readings or aerated, but I suppose now this would be about the fourth day into it so I doubt it's gone too incredibly far. I'll see about doing that after a few hours sleep here.

AToE
08-17-2011, 03:02 AM
Oh I dunno, I once had a ferment finish entirely within 1 day - usual times for the first 1/3 of fermentation to take place would be 3 to 4 days, and yeast love apple juice. Don't aerate it if you're past the 1/2 mark though, unless someone comes along here and tells you this probably isn't normal apple juice sulphur, then it may be wise to aerate anyways as this can help dissapate the odour.

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 11:14 AM
Ok, so I guess my primary fermentation is done since I just took a sample and it was at about 1.002 (the temp was 75 degrees Fahrenheit so I adjusted the 2). Wow. I guess I will rack now as airlock activity has slowed way down as well. It smelled a *little* better this morning, but I tried to take a sip of the sample I took and it was NASTY. Hopefully this does clear up with aging and as the yeast settles.

AToE
08-17-2011, 01:24 PM
Welcome to the unusually fast fermentation club. ;D

I'm not familiar with how long apple-sulphur smell takes to clear, hopefully someone else can chime in on that, but yes, new mead tastes horrible, and new cider tastes even worse, and this is a combo of the two!

Time should heal all.

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 04:25 PM
Well it's in its new home now and there is activity in the airlock every now and then, but I think it's mostly done fermenting. I splash racked it thinking a little O2 might be good for it at least. There is an awful lot of sediment at the bottom even in the new carboy now so I added some bentonite thinking clearing it up a bit might help with smell and taste and a little more nitrogen as well.

In either case, thanks a lot for your help, I really appreciate it!

icedmetal
08-17-2011, 07:21 PM
There is an awful lot of sediment at the bottom even in the new carboy now so I added some bentonite thinking clearing it up a bit might help with smell and taste and a little more nitrogen as well.


Nutrient additions during the first 1/3 of fermentation only, unless you're doing some super difficult ferment. And, if so, you need to add DAP-free nutrients at that point. No matter what, no more nutrient additions for this batch.

Bentonite will help clear things, but is more effective if you let the yeast die and and flocullate on their own first. That'll remove the bulk of the sediment, then if it isn't clear enough for you, try bentonite.

Good news: Bentonite won't hurt anything. Bad news: I can't say the same for adding urea and DAP post-ferment, perhaps someone else has experience there.

AToE
08-17-2011, 07:48 PM
Nutrient additions during the first 1/3 of fermentation only, unless you're doing some super difficult ferment. And, if so, you need to add DAP-free nutrients at that point. No matter what, no more nutrient additions for this batch.

Bentonite will help clear things, but is more effective if you let the yeast die and and flocullate on their own first. That'll remove the bulk of the sediment, then if it isn't clear enough for you, try bentonite.

Good news: Bentonite won't hurt anything. Bad news: I can't say the same for adding urea and DAP post-ferment, perhaps someone else has experience there.

That last post almost reads like whatlurks is thinking the bentonite might add some nitrogent?

Whatlurks, could you clarify that? Did you just add bentonite or did you add nutrient as well, and if so, was it that same blend you mentioned earlier, or pure DAP or urea? (Also what amount would be good if you did add something... nothing to be done about it now anyways though!).

Also, I agree with everything icedmetal says above.

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 09:08 PM
Hahahaha, yeah it was the mix of DAP and urea. I really didn't think before I did that, oops. I added three teaspoons in addition to the bentonite. Oh well, at this point I think I would do best to not even touch it for awhile and just let it to what it's going to do.

whatlurks
08-17-2011, 09:18 PM
Someone appears to have claimed that flavors from too much DAP can eventually age out so I'll just hope for that I guess.

AToE
08-17-2011, 10:12 PM
3 tsp is a lot, but at this point yeah, wait and keep fingers crossed!

caffeine211
08-18-2011, 10:43 AM
I've only worked with apples twice in my time brewing but both times I had light sulfur/rotten egg smells come off and I don't think either were caused nitrogen deficiencies.

I know you're done fermenting already, just thought I'd throw in my two cents.

edit: Hope this one turns out well for you!

Chevette Girl
08-18-2011, 10:55 AM
3 tsp is a lot, but at this point yeah, wait and keep fingers crossed!

Not so bad considering it's a 6-gal batch, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Congrats on a fast ferment with a notoriously unreliable yeast!

I haven't had sulphur smell in my crabapple batches before, but my last apple batch did taste like barf (literally, smelled like vomit too) for a few days in there.

Medsen Fey
08-25-2011, 01:22 PM
It is very common to get some sulfur odors when doing apples, however, usually it is transient, and not that strong. Having really strong odors that don't clear is a sign of undernourished yeast - and even if you gave enough nitrogen, the product you are using doesn't provide the key vitamins (like pantothenate and pyridoxine) that are needed to keep sulfur odors from being produced. For future batches, you'll want to get some yeast energizer (tannish powder) such as Fermaid K that provides these essential nutrients in addition to the nitrogen from the DAP and urea.

During a routine, well nourished apple fermentation, by the time it is done, the sulfur has usually dissipated. If your batch is really stinky now and has completed fermentation (gravity no longer dropping), it needs to be treated or you may wind up with more-complex sulfur compounds that won't go away. A splash racking is helpful, and then treating with yeast hulls sometimes helps, but more often than not, you will need to treat this with copper - racking through some copper pipe, or with a copper scrub pad, or stirring with some copper.

This should quickly eliminated the H2S and mercaptans that are causing the stink, and with age, the apple will come back.

Endeavor to persevere!

Medsen

havoc64
10-18-2011, 02:00 PM
Well I am on my second batch of Cyser and I am using the K1-V1116 yeast. Both batches got smelly around the First Sugar Break. I added the Fermaid K and Aerated the batches like crazy..smell went away shortly there after and didn't come back. I attributed it to the Cyser smell..lol

I would say that both my batches smelled more like a smelly fart than Sulfer..:p, but again, both went away after the Nutrient addition. I also did add the prescribed amount of DAP and FermK at the end of the Lag.

Now I didn't add any spices, so that's also something different between our two batches.

I will say that Medsen is giving good advice that he gave me once..I had a Show mead that developed a sulfer smell, Racking onto a copper tube cleared it all away...

Let us know how it comes out..

Loadnabox
10-20-2011, 09:23 AM
Somehow I got lucky with my cider.

I used WLP775 which gives off "Rancid Rhino Farts" as many have put it.

I never got a single off-smell from it.

One things I have considered, is that at one point, the temperature bulb from my fridge temp controller got into the must overnight. It's a large copper bulb so maybe that kept the copper down. Then again, copper can cause those issues if it's not needed.

*shrug* just a thought....