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View Full Version : My mead has a scent



The Red Lass
01-20-2012, 02:33 PM
Hello! I am new to the forum and have just recently decided to try and brew mead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2ueyNQfnfE

I followed this instructional guide to the letter with a few exceptions
1) I was given a wine making kit for Christmas that included a bucket (5 gallon) as oppose to a jug (1 gallon) So I used the ingredients shown x5.
2) Instead of distilled water I used a Britta water filter till the bucket was full.

I have a few questions as I am very nervous and I really want this to turn out well. If anyone would be so kind as to give me a bit of their well honed and earned advise, i would be very appreciative.

1) My airlock is not doing anything. (I started the mead on 1/15/12) I double checked to make sure the seal is tight, but still nothing. Is this a problem? Is it because I used a bucket as oppose to a jug?

2) There is a slight scent in the room, sort of a yeasty, orange scent that reminds me of when you first open a bottle of cheap wine. I'm assuming this is a good thing...right?

3) I'm so nervous and so excited! I would like to hear some "First Time Brewing" stories of success and failures to help me along!

JohnS
01-20-2012, 03:05 PM
welcome!!

The yeasty orangy thing sounds about right.

I would check the airlock, like you did. I would also use a hydrometer as that would be the definitive thing to check how the ferment is going.

What is the tempture of the mead at the moment? If its too cold, like it is in some parts of North America, consider putting it in a warmer place.

It sounds like your making a JAO and I think bakers yeast likes warmer temperatures. My JAO at the moment is still fermenting, even after 3 weeks or so.

I am a newbee here also, so I am not the definitive source on this, and I am sure someone else with more experience will post something on your thread.

Chevette Girl
01-20-2012, 03:37 PM
Welcome to the addiction! :)

OK, to answer a few of your questions, buckets are notorious for being leaky when it comes to being airtight, I do own one (even sold as a primary fermeter) that has never held enough air to make an airlock bubble. If it smells yeasty and orangey in your room, it's probably doing something. If you're concerned, give the bucket a little swirl then pop your airlock out and listen, if you hear fizzing, you're good, you just have a non-airtight bucket.

My very first brewing attempt was a "learn from my fail" kind of thing... I made what I thought should be a wild grape wine and I didn't understand that one must stabilize it before backsweetening so I fermented it (nowhere near enough) then added a little sugar and stuck a cork in the bottle... the next day my ceiling and most of my kitchen were purple when the cork blew out and wine went everywhere ;D However, one nice friend of mine got me a how-to book on winemaking shortly thereafter, I got myself a starter winemaking kit and a wine kit and 140 batches later I have managed not to hit the ceiling again! The floor is a different story, I am kind of messy.

First question I have for you is did you use D-47 as recommended, or did you use bread yeast (or some other yeast)? That makes a big difference on whether you want to keep this warm or cool. Bread yeast likes warm, D-47 likes cooler temperatures.

My second question... if you got a winemaking kit, did it come with a hydrometer? If so, check the specific gravity right away, then check it in a day or two. If there's a drop, it's doing its thing! This is why you will hear so many people on this forum tell you that airlock activity is a poor way to judge a fermentation. If the specific gravity doesn't change, then tell us and we'll help you get it going! If it's moving, wait till it gets close to 1.000 and then you can rack it to your carboy.

HunnyBunz
01-20-2012, 03:37 PM
I was wondering - if you are making a 5 gal. batch in a bucket (a bucket is often a good way to go for primary fermentation) how did you aerate the must before pitching your yeast?
Obviously picking up a 5 gallon bucket and shaking won't work for most of us;D but it is important to stir the must vigoursly to get oxygen in there for the yeasties to do their job. If you didn't aerate, that could be one reason why your fermentation didn't seem to get off to a very good start.

Also, most of us do not heat the water and honey as is mentioned in the video. Did you make sure the must was cooled down to at least 80 degrees before pitching?

If all else fails you may just need to pitch more yeast.

Welcome to the forum, and don't stress! The people here are excellent problem solvers!

Loadnabox
01-20-2012, 04:17 PM
This is an adaptation of Joe's Ancient Orange that was invented by Joe Mattioli right here on Got Mead

The recipe has been changed by not including spices and using a commercial wine yeast instead.

As noted by CG if you're using D-47 this needs to be kept cool or it will take a long time to be good (age out)

The guy says to use room temp water to rehydrate the yeast, this is also completely incorrect, it needs to be around 105-109 Fi

There's no need to boil the must in honey. There's a number of threads that discuss why this isn't necessary for mead.

The shaking of the bottle isn't to mix the honey (as he states), it's to aerate the must and he wasn't nearly vigorous enough

Ignore what he says about racking, let it go until there's no bubbling at all or if you used bread yeast wait until the fruit drops to the bottom.

What you have should come out OK, but it's not nearly as easy or as fast as the original recipe. Read the Newbie guide and the JAO recipe. It comes ready faster and is frankly even easier (and comes ready sooner)

Chevette Girl
01-20-2012, 04:28 PM
Obviously picking up a 5 gallon bucket and shaking won't work for most of us;D but it is important to stir the must vigoursly to get oxygen in there for the yeasties to do their job. If you didn't aerate, that could be one reason why your fermentation didn't seem to get off to a very good start.

Oh, and the best way I've found for aerating a 5-gal bucket full of stuff is to aerate the crap out of stuff before I pour it in and then whip the crap out of it with my brewing spoon while there's still room in the bucket so I don't splash over the edge. Considering trying a whisk on the next batch I do in a bucket.


Also a good point, however, I used to boil everything (which removes most of the oxygen that might have been there in the first place) and didn't aerate a lot of my early batches, they did fine despite my inattention. It helps. But if she's smelling fermentation, non-airtight bucket is probably more likely.

And Loadnabox, I think rehydrating in warm water is ideal, but rehydrating it in plain water is still better than the dry-pitching I used to do.

Best advice from my first winemaking book? "Do the best you can, and don't worry." Yeasties are a pretty hardy lot, most of the time they'll do a lot for you despite neglect and abuse, and occasionally, no matter how well you treat them, they still don't show up for work in the morning...

(yes, there is a LOT to learn from my fails, you name a mistake or a bad practice, I've probably done it at least twice :p)

Loadnabox
01-20-2012, 05:11 PM
Also a good point, however, I used to boil everything (which removes most of the oxygen that might have been there in the first place) and didn't aerate a lot of my early batches, they did fine despite my inattention. It helps. But if she's smelling fermentation, non-airtight bucket is probably more likely.

And Loadnabox, I think rehydrating in warm water is ideal, but rehydrating it in plain water is still better than the dry-pitching I used to do.

Best advice from my first winemaking book? "Do the best you can, and don't worry." Yeasties are a pretty hardy lot, most of the time they'll do a lot for you despite neglect and abuse, and occasionally, no matter how well you treat them, they still don't show up for work in the morning...

(yes, there is a LOT to learn from my fails, you name a mistake or a bad practice, I've probably done it at least twice :p)



I didn't say it wouldn't work, but it is best to correct bad practices, especially when they're found on youtube :)

Chevette Girl
01-20-2012, 05:14 PM
I didn't say it wouldn't work, but it is best to correct bad practices, especially when they're found on youtube :)

Oh, absolutely! And the sooner you correct bad practices, the sooner you develop good ones, the sooner you make better products!