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View Full Version : Mold in my mead? Or did someone pull a Black Briar on my Honningbrew



Stilgar
03-17-2013, 05:41 AM
Here's the recipe GF and I followed:

12 lbs. Meadowfoam honey
4 gallons of treetop brand apple juice (Preservative free is important if treetop is unavailable)
DAP (Diammonium phosphate)
Fermaid k (or other yeast energizer, avoid ones containing urea)
lalvin ec-1118 yeast

pour half of one bottle into the fermenter, add 1/4 of the honey, shake like hell. (this not only dissolves the honey but aerates to allow for healthy yeasties)
Repeat until all honey is dissolved and in the bucket. Toss in the cinnamon.
Add 1 tsp of DAP and 1/2 Tsp of Fermaid k to the must (The stuff in the bucket is your must) then at 24 hrs add 1/2 tsp Dap and 1/4 tsp fermaid k, then at 72 hrs add 1/2 tsp Dap and 1/4 tsp fermaid k.

rehydrate yeast according to directions on package
always remember sanitation is key. make sure your yeasties and your must (the mead you are making is called must at this point. It's a
wine making term) are at the same temerature when pitching so you don't shock them.

the airlock should start bubbling like crazy within the first 24 hours. it is ready to drink when you can read a newspaper headline through it.


Had some trouble initially with the SNA but things went fine from there, the original poster of the recipe said to use degas and use gelatin to fine it. She tried it with no real clearing effect so recommended using Sparkalloid. 9 days later she ask me to check on something. It very possibly could be a mold spore but I don't know. She didn't stabilize the mead once it finished before clearing.

There's no "tail" from what I can see but here's the best I could do for pictures.

http://imageshack.us/a/img17/4451/201303170159261.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/17/201303170159261.jpg/)

http://imageshack.us/a/img404/1634/20130317015942769.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/404/20130317015942769.jpg/)

For degassing she used a vacu-vin wine saver.

Which leads me to my only lead to an "if this is mold I have a good idea where it came from" thought. She attached a sterilized airlock and rubber stopper to the 5gal carboy, placed the vacu seal part against the airlock and began pumping. She over did the pumping from what she told me as the cork got sucked right into the carboy. I told her it shouldn't be too big a panic as I've done the same with synthetic stoppers and had no ill effect, however it being a rubber stopper we should quickly transfer to a new carboy just to be safe. This was all done during the first week she used the gel. Things seemed fine no mold or anything questionable so a week later we siphoned into a new carboy and added the spark.

Like I said I don't really know if this is mold or not. If it is? Could've happened with the stopper incident. Or could have begun after the spark was added. Looking over the top of the mead in the carboy theres a slight white blanket, barely noticeable but something I normally see on other meads before they clear. around the rim of the carboy are what look like white sand grains which I thought were from the spark addition which has created a pretty thick bed at the bottom of the carboy.

Any and all help is appreciated. I'd like to assume all is well, but if someone did pull a black briar on this then....I do believe I'll open a bottle of cinnful cyser.

skunkboy
03-17-2013, 06:51 AM
Any funny smells? I have had little floaties sort of like that pop in a clearish mead where fermentation was not totaly done.

akueck
03-17-2013, 08:57 AM
Yeah random floating stuff does happen. Usually it's bits of yeast, pollen, wax, etc. It's hard to tell if your floatie is fuzzy--mold tends to be hairy on top. Also, if you gently agitate the mead, does the blob break up or stay solid? Mold tends to be more solid.

Chevette Girl
03-17-2013, 12:35 PM
It looks like the "skin" mine sometimes develop, if you make it ripple, it sort of folds on itself and then flakes will settle out? I think it's brettanomyces according to what I've read around here, shouldn't hurt the mead too much.

If you're unsure about it, hit it with a crushed campden tablet per gallon... that's what I do when in doubt...

Marshmallow Blue
03-17-2013, 01:26 PM
Well if it is Brett. You should keep that carboy infected to make sours much quicker than a fresh infection each time. And sour meads too!

Stilgar
03-17-2013, 02:02 PM
So took another look at the foaty, no fuzziness that I can see, removed the stopper as well to get a good look too. No off smells really. Nothing 'strong' just the usual alcohol smell. gave it a good agitation aaand whatever it is looks like part of it folded into itself like crushed paper and the rest either went floating into the golden abyss or broke off.

If I had to, even for sound piece of mind (whatever that is) I could siphon it out with a racking cane as it's out in the open near the mouth of the carboy.

I will take the advice though of crushing and adding the camtabs though. Thank you.

Medsen Fey
03-17-2013, 06:14 PM
If you add gelatin or other finings before a batch is de-gassed, it isn't unusual to get clumps of "stuff" on the surface. If it still smells good, I doubt you have a problem.

What were the starting and final gravity numbers? I would expect a batch like this to get to 18% ABV which means spoilage organisms are going to have a very difficult time taking hold. Nevertheless, adding some KMeta won't hurt, and it is still a good idea to make sure you eliminate the headspace in the carboy

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Stilgar
03-17-2013, 06:42 PM
If you add gelatin or other finings before a batch is de-gassed, it isn't unusual to get clumps of "stuff" on the surface. If it still smells good, I doubt you have a problem.

What were the starting and final gravity numbers? I would expect a batch like this to get to 18% ABV which means spoilage organisms are going to have a very difficult time taking hold. Nevertheless, adding some KMeta won't hurt, and it is still a good idea to make sure you eliminate the headspace in the carboy

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Looking over her notebook which makes mine feel less pretty starting gravity was 1.120 final gravity came out to 1.010.

Head space I wasn't sure on as I believe the plan was to go from clearing to bottling, but given what I've seen Sparkalloid do and if my memory serves you normally want to wait some time before bottling as even if it seems clear, bits may still be floating about since the lees it creates is very super fine and easy to disrupt. If can hold back on bottling I'll move it over to a smaller carboy less I make a trip out soon to the brewstore, which I was planning soon for a braggot and choco-mead. Thank you again!

Medsen Fey
03-17-2013, 09:23 PM
If those gravity numbers are correct, this batch is a long way from 18% and there is a lot of sugar left. This batch should be stabilized before bottling.

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Stilgar
03-18-2013, 12:06 AM
If those gravity numbers are correct, this batch is a long way from 18% and there is a lot of sugar left. This batch should be stabilized before bottling.

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Done and done.

Stilgar
03-23-2013, 01:23 AM
Update. I was still curious about the final gravity so took a small sample 4 days ago and the gravity was at 1.007. She'd misread it initially and to make sure did a final check today when transferring. Taste wise it's still pretty 'green', she'd noted it had a bit of a rubber stopper taste which given a few months aging I know will move on and give way to meady goodness(unless I'm wrong in which case this will never be spoken of again and buried in the desert) Thank you again for the help!