PDA

View Full Version : Is the Mead Contaminated?



SandorClegane
06-08-2012, 04:14 PM
So let’s say you start the old fashioned way, by boiling or pasteurizing one gallon of honey with one gallon of water. Don't ask why, you just do it this way because you don't know better at the time. You add that to the primary fermentation bucket, then pour in four gallons of cold water. You add in the appropriate amount of yeast nutrition and stir it up with a sanitized spoon. The mix is at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit, so you pitch your yeast, seal the lid, prime the airlock with sanitized water solution, and jam it in the hole. The airlock is a tight fit, and as you are pushing it in, the rubber gasket that forms the seal between the airlock and the hole in the lid pops off and falls into your must. You panic. You pop open the lid, and the gasket is nowhere to be seen. You grab a sanitized metal spoon and start fishing around for the gasket, blind. You accidentally drop the spoon, and watch it vanish in the must as well. You panic again. You make the tough decision, not knowing what else to do, and scrub the hell out of your arm, from the finger tips up to the elbow, with antibacterial soap for a good minute, and rinse like crazy. Then, quickly, you reach into the must and, perhaps guided by the force, find the rubber gasket at the bottom right away, and you grab the spoon too. You put the lid back on, reinsert the rubber gasket, and (this time) CAREFULLY stick the airlock in. You hope that you haven't contaminated the mead.

A week passes, almost, and everything seems fine. The smell is not sour. Smells faintly like really good bread dough coming from the airlock, but very faintly.

Is the mead contaminated?
Does it need to be tossed out?

Wijnand
06-08-2012, 04:28 PM
From what I've read (unfortunately I can't answer from experience yet), I wouldn't worry much. I believe there is a thread somewhere where a ferret made it's way into the must and the mead turned out just fine.
Remember that making mead, just like wine and beer, is a very old art. Back in the day they didn't have the chemicals we have now to produce bottled water, sanitize equipment, etc.
As long as your fermentation is going (use a hydrometer to check progress), I wouldn't toss it out at all. I'd be curious to see what happens, even if it were contaminated. Aging will most likely take care of any off-flavours if there would be any.

As Adam Savage from the Mythbusters says: 'In the spirit of science, there really is no such thing as a "failed experiment." Any test that yields valid data is a valid test.'

hepcat
06-08-2012, 04:41 PM
Hell no don't throw it out, lol.
Sounds to me like you sanitized your arm pretty thoroughly.

SandorClegane
06-08-2012, 04:56 PM
Well I hope you guys are right. I am so new and ignorant that I didn't know. Your comments are a relief.

akueck
06-08-2012, 06:22 PM
I'd put in a guess that at least 30% of the folks on this board have had significant amounts of their body (or a pet's body) in their must. Hands are ubiquitous, whole arms are pretty common, cats feature prominently, and there's been a ferret or two. I'd not worry too much, yeast is a hardy organism.

056r
06-08-2012, 07:09 PM
It is most definitely ruined. Pack it up and ship it to me for "proper disposal" :icon_thumright: I'm here to help i swear ;D

fatbloke
06-09-2012, 02:33 AM
Yeasts make some quite funky smells during ferment. Bread dough sort of odour is one of them.

If it had fruit in it, it could smell like the fruit, but also a number of other smells.

The ones to worry about during the ferment, are usually, rotten eggs - hydrogen sulphide as that's usually under nourished yeast getting stressed or if it smells of vinegar, then its worth taking a taste to make sure it doesn't taste of vinegar - as that would suggest acetobacter contamination.

Under nourished yeast can be sorted out, acetobacter can't.

It's almost definitely fine, just let it do its thing.........

SandorClegane
06-10-2012, 11:47 AM
I'd put in a guess that at least 30% of the folks on this board have had significant amounts of their body (or a pet's body) in their must. Hands are ubiquitous, whole arms are pretty common, cats feature prominently, and there's been a ferret or two. I'd not worry too much, yeast is a hardy organism.

Awesome post, lol.

THawk
06-11-2012, 04:27 AM
It is most definitely ruined. Pack it up and ship it to me for "proper disposal" :icon_thumright: I'm here to help i swear ;D

Hey, I work for a waste treatment company. You should send it to me and I'll even treat it for free!! ;D