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wretchedgirl
10-26-2012, 11:13 PM
Hello guys,

I used 6kgs of unfiltered, straight from the hive, local honey. I used New Zealand spring water. And lalvin d47yeast.

Together it made up 19ls. I only had a 23l carboy, so I risked the headspace.

It has been in secondary with no problems since June this year. My country has been heading into summer over the past two months, so the mead has been bubbling every 5-10mins or so. I was told this was normal.

Last week, I hosted a party and had to move the mead out of harms way to the other end of my living room, so it may have gotten a little shaken up.

Today I went to check on it, and discovered this: http://imgur.com/Xy6RF http://imgur.com/DJ9l0 http://imgur.com/gBSdc

I have been told this is a Brett infection.

The mead tastes fine, smells fine.

What do I do? I have been told to blitz the mead with kmeta or ksorbate.

How much will I need? How do I put it into the mead? What will happen? Will it affect the taste of my mead?

I plan on adding this stuff, racking off, putting in some bentonite to clear it and then bottle.

If it affects the taste, could I add some normal honey to each bottle to back sweeten the mead?

Sorry if this post is rather messy, I'm kind of panicking.

Cheers!

mccann51
10-27-2012, 12:21 AM
This may not be the advice you were looking for or should heed, but I'd let it go. Brett can produce some favorable characteristics. That said, this is not an intentional inoculation with a known strain, and Brett can also produce some very undesirable characteristics. A lot of it will also depend on how far into the ferment the mead is. If it's done, there's not gonna be much for the Brett to feed on, so it might not do much of anything.

It's a gamble, but I'd personally let it run it's course. You could end up with something really good and interesting. If you really wanna push the envelope, you could also put it in a warm area to help the Brett out.

wretchedgirl
10-27-2012, 12:35 AM
You want me to leave the Brett'd mead?

I've been told to kmeta it ASAP. I'm torn between leaving it run its course and it turning out really great, or having to tip out my first mead. Oh man.

I did try the mead and it tastes normal, just like it did two weeks ago when I last tried it. No smells are coming from it.

So unsure...

I've heard of this being done with beer and often being quite nice. I just don't know. Thanks for the advice though.

tweak'e
10-27-2012, 03:30 AM
if it smells/tastes normal then i would leave it.
its doesn't look bad to me but i'm not up on the infections.

it just looks like a very slow ferment but if you have shifted it you may have lost most of the co2 and the foam.

whats your recipie?

wretchedgirl
10-27-2012, 07:42 AM
6kgs of pure local honey from the hive and nz spring water. Lalvin d47 yeast.

Chevette Girl
10-27-2012, 08:06 AM
So that's what Brett looks like... I think I've had that happen a few times myself to what I thought was finished must, hasn't seemed to affect my meads or wines that I could tell, but I still hit it with one campden tablet per gallon when I notice it. Sometimes it comes back and I hit it again, usually it doesn't, probably would have worked better if I'd used the sorbate too.

Check the packages you get for dosage, I think my potassium sorbate is 1/2 tsp per gallon (however, I reserve the right to be wrong) and you want to make sure you use some form of sulphite (K or Na) when you use sorbate, otherwise you risk other bacteria that can eat the sorbate and produce geraniols, which can't be removed from your mead later.

I don't suppose you took any hydrometer readings?

fatbloke
10-27-2012, 09:47 AM
Well, according to this from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brettanomyces), the answer would be sulphites.

Yet it also points out that the fungi live on the skins of fruit - you don't mention any fruit in the recipe.

Plus, the batch getting shaken up a bit when moving it around, shouldn't cause it to be present, it would have had to have been present from the start.

If it smells Ok, and tastes Ok, and a gravity reading suggests it's pretty much finished (or not as the case might be - I don't see any indication that you've used any nutrients etc), then it would be fine to stabilise it i.e. 1 campden tablet, crushed per gallon (irrespective of whether you can obtain potassium metabisulphite or sodium metabisulphite) and a half teaspoon per gallon of potassium sorbate, are the usual suggested dosages.

Don't forget, moving the batch around the apartment would have brought some of the yeast back into solution, possibly causing it to show as the strange skin look. Yeast can appear rather strange while fermenting. If there was any evidence of string like appearance from the surface down into the mead, then I might be concerned about some sort of infection, but as it looks in the pictures, if it's still fermenting I'd leave it be, if it's finished, I'd hit it with the stabilising chems.......

akueck
10-27-2012, 04:16 PM
How persistent are those bubbles? Do they just pop and reform? If they aren't really "solid" bubbles, it might not be infected. At least, the times I've had infections you get some structure to the bubbles on top, or a pellicle, or ropes, or something made of long-chain polymers.

If it tastes fine, I'd let it go. If you prefer though, sulfite shouldn't really hurt it if it's done fermenting.

wretchedgirl
10-27-2012, 05:21 PM
How about I take some pictures of hydrometer readings and show you? I am fairly new to mead/ brewing and am still a bit of a newbie on how this instrument works. I generally go to bottle it when it stops bubbling.

I want to add that about a week into the meads primary I did add in a packet of nutrients.

The bubbles pop over a a few hours, and then begin to reappear. I only noticed the 'infection' yesterday.

I'll get out of bed and take some pics of hydro readings and post them up for you all to see.

tweak'e
10-27-2012, 06:28 PM
sounds like more of a case of lack of neutriants equals slow ferment, which makes little co2 and slow bubbles which gives it an infected look.

see what the hydrometer reading is and you may be able to ad more nutriant in and get it fermenting at full speed.

bottling after bubbles stop could be seriously nasty as it may continure ferenting for months after woulds. go by hydrometer readings.

wildoates
10-27-2012, 07:00 PM
If it tastes okay, it probably is okay, but if you're worried, dose it. Just because Brett is there doesn't mean it's ruined, because we do add it on purpose from time to time. :)

I wouldn't use the plastics on any non-Brett batch, though, just in case.

wretchedgirl
10-27-2012, 07:31 PM
sounds like more of a case of lack of neutriants equals slow ferment, which makes little co2 and slow bubbles which gives it an infected look.

see what the hydrometer reading is and you may be able to ad more nutriant in and get it fermenting at full speed.

bottling after bubbles stop could be seriously nasty as it may continure ferenting for months after woulds. go by hydrometer readings.


I added nutrients about a week into its primary as I was instructed to do. Then I have just left it along. Admittedly, I moved it to the living room from the garage as the garage was far too cold. It's been in the living room since August. Living room doesn't get too warm but has carpet and is warmer than the garage.

I guess the recent moving didn't do it much good.

tweak'e
10-27-2012, 07:38 PM
how much nutrients to you put in?

its been way to cold for any brewing unless its inside. even then without heat its marginal.
if its been brewing for the last few months then it should be well and truly finished, unless its been to cold or suffering from lack of nutrients.

with right temp and nutrients it should have only taken 2-4 weeks.

need hydrometer readings to see what stage its at.

wretchedgirl
10-27-2012, 08:27 PM
how much nutrients to you put in?

its been way to cold for any brewing unless its inside. even then without heat its marginal.
if its been brewing for the last few months then it should be well and truly finished, unless its been to cold or suffering from lack of nutrients.

with right temp and nutrients it should have only taken 2-4 weeks.

need hydrometer readings to see what stage its at.

I am unsure, from what I recall it was a small sachet of maybe 10g? I'm unsure sorry.

Well the initial primary in June was 3 weeks. And of course i have been brewing inside. Then I racked it.

It was quiet for two months. Then started bubbling gently every 5-10 minutes and has been doing so ever since.

By the way, nice to see another kiwi here! :)

tweak'e
10-27-2012, 08:32 PM
now we are starting to get some info! :)

any idea of how much nutrients?

its sounds like it stopped fermenting due to temp and has now restarted. you have to remember that yeast has a minimum temp of 15c.

wretchedgirl
10-27-2012, 11:47 PM
now we are starting to get some info! :)

any idea of how much nutrients?

its sounds like it stopped fermenting due to temp and has now restarted. you have to remember that yeast has a minimum temp of 15c.


Alrighty, I have found out,

I used 25g pectolace

6g GO FERM

7g FERMAID nutrient

I can't remember if I added the 25g citric acid. And I used lalvin d47 yeast.

I brought a winemaking kit off of trademe and it was enough for 23L.
I remember not putting the tannin in the mead though. Thought it would be a bit gross. Here is the link : http://www.trademe.co.nz/home-living/food-beverage/other-beverages/auction-527466759.htm

I hope that might help. Am going to take hydro readings now. Will post pics soon.

wretchedgirl
10-28-2012, 12:25 AM
Here are the pics of hydro readings I promised. Sorry they are not very clear, iPad cameras are shithouse quality.

http://imgur.com/HpJmE

http://imgur.com/nfLvh

http://imgur.com/ghc8T

http://imgur.com/7ANky

tweak'e
10-28-2012, 01:03 AM
looks like it done. its either just fermenting the last little bit, which takes ages, or its degassing.
you can leave it in a warm place and let it finish or put it somewhere cold (fridge?) and wait for the yeast to drop. either way once yeasts has dropped it can be racked off the yeast.
then stablized if required, then bottled.

wretchedgirl
10-28-2012, 01:58 AM
looks like it done. its either just fermenting the last little bit, which takes ages, or its degassing.
you can leave it in a warm place and let it finish or put it somewhere cold (fridge?) and wait for the yeast to drop. either way once yeasts has dropped it can be racked off the yeast.
then stablized if required, then bottled.


Degassing... What is this? I tried my mead and its kind of fizzy.

tweak'e
10-28-2012, 03:14 AM
degassing is co2 from the fermentation coming out of the mead. it will continue for a while after ferment has finished.

fatbloke
10-28-2012, 04:32 AM
Degassing... What is this? I tried my mead and its kind of fizzy.


degassing is co2 from the fermentation coming out of the mead. it will continue for a while after ferment has finished.
Got little to no idea about average ambient temps in NZ, but tweak'e has probably hit the nail on the head.

The degassing thing ? As the fermentation proceeds, the yeast produces alcohol and CO2 as bi-products - both have different levels of desirability. The CO2 mostly sits in the ferment as dissolved CO2/carbonic acid. All the time that the ferment is going (however small), some of the yeast debris is moving around, which create "nucleation points" for the carbonic acid to attach too as gaseous CO2, which are the bubbles that are seen at the airlock i.e. when the ferment is going hard, newly started, etc there's more stuff floating around. I'd guess that the movement will have disturbed some of the sediment, enough for the bubbles to start to appear, albeit slowly. Plus it takes time for small amounts of pressure/bubbles to build up enough for the airlock to release the gas.

Also, degassing is a method to remove the gas after the ferment has completed, as the dissolved CO2/carbonic acid can give a bit of a "tang" to the batch. So it can be removed with a little vacuum or even gentle agitation (I think that the device is called a "wine whip"). The vacuum creates an inverse pressure thing that helps "pull" the CO2 out, the wine whip moves the sediment a bit to allow the gas to attach to the debris and rise out as bubbles (some people like to stopper a carboy/DJ and then shake or roll it around - obviously some carboys/DJ's are just too heavy to do that).

There is usually a noticeable change in taste once the gas is all cleared out.

As for hitting this batch with sulphites, I'd go for it, because while it depends entirely on the starting gravity, your honey to water ratio at the start would suggest that there might be a little fermentation left to go, but it also might be finished - those hydrometer readings suggest that it's either finished or pretty close too.....

The colder the temp of the batch, the more carbonic acid/CO2 gets retained (think of chilling coke, lemonade, etc and how much CO2 gets released when opening, as opposed to how much "fizz" you get when opening one that's at room temperature).