View Full Version : metheglin mayhem

Honig Künstler
12-08-2013, 10:57 PM
First off, I like the site. I've done only a couple wines until recently, in which I have started mead. After all my Internet schooling and types of mead, ingredients that are good to use, to everything else I could find about making mead, I tried to make a batch...no good. I established that my cleanliness was stellar, my planning....not. It was going to be just a show mead to kinda bust my cherry on the whole deal, and I wanted to get used to what it was to drink honey wines. The first go was 2.5 gallons in a 3gal. Carboy. Needless to say, when I racked into my secondary 3gal. Carboy there was way to much head space after stopping the siphoning before I sacked up the yeast bed. Anyway, that batch tasted off...so on to my current recipe: Metheglin- 4gal.-still mead

9 lbs clover (yes, crap store bought) honey
1 pint organic pasteurized apple juice (not concentrate)
1-1/2 cups of natural orange juice
3 tbsp. Of dried orange zest
3 chai cinnamon herbal tea bags
1 ounce of lavender (in secondary last 2 weeks)
1 cinnamon stick (secondary)
3 nutmeg nuts crushed not ground (secondary)
1 vanilla pod (secondary)
6 clove buds (secondary last 2 weeks)
potassium metabisulphite 3/4 of tsp.
3 tsp.Fermax yeast nutrient
1 vile of sweet mead yeast by white farms

The OG of my must was: sp1.109
Now, a crude synopsis of how it all went down...
(Everything from this point forward can be assumed of lab quality sanitation) I added 1 gal of water to a pot and boiled it for 5 min rolling boil. Dropped it down to a simmer, and added the chai tea bags, orange zest, and let that go for about 10 minutes. Took out tea bags and zest, added 9 lbs of honey held at 160 degrees for 15-20 min. While that was fast cooling, I put the apple juice orange juice and water to complete to 4 gallons of total volume into a 5 gallon carboy. Once cooled I added the honey spiced water into the carboy. (Here's a problem) I then added 3/4 tsp. Of the metabisulphite to the must to let sit for 24 hrs. Prior to adding the yeast killer I took my OG reading at 1.109.
Next day I added the yeast after warming it per procedure on vile. Oops, before the yeast I paddle drilled the must for air. A day goes by and nothing...so like a dummy I add another vile of yeast. Found out later that this yeast can take 36 hours to get bubbling. So now it is going like a champ, my question is...is that I am smelling a hard to pinpoint odor. It could be rotten eggs, or a grapefruit smell. Like I said...hard to pinpoint odor...so if it's the byproduct gas H2S, how and when can I get rid of it? Or is it just a normal smell considering what I used to spice with mixed with the act of fermentation?

12-09-2013, 09:59 AM
I would be skeptical that after such a short period of time your must is producing H2S. If it was - and even if it isn't - I would be whipping air into the must several times a day anyway, and that agitation should help dissipate any off odors, but I wonder if the smell is not simply flavor molecules from the fermenting fruit juices and the associated spices.
Worse case scenario - that it is H2S. I think you would want to make sure that the yeast has enough nutrient (although it sounds to me that 3 t in 4 gallon is certainly enough at first pitch) and that the temperature of the fermenting must (not the ambient but the temperature of the liquid) is within the range preferred by your yeast.
If the yeast is stressed and is producing H2S an alternative solution to removing H2S (if whipping air into the must does not work) is to provide the must with some copper. You can do that by getting some copper wire scouring pads from your local supermarket, sanitizing one and dropping it into your fermenting bucket for a few hours.
But that said could your yeast be "vile" (your word) rather than simply stored in a vial? (Was that a Freudian slip? ). How was it stored and what was the expiration date?

Honig Künstler
12-09-2013, 02:03 PM
The yeast was sold in a test tube..A "vial" sorry wrong spelling, and kind of appropriate now...haha. the yeast was white farms sweet mead. And expired February 2014.

Honig Künstler
12-09-2013, 02:07 PM
It was purchased, stored in the refrigerator, then before use was set out to acclimate for a few hours before being pitched. So I want to be whipping every day? Doesn't that invite air/contaminates into my fermentation?

12-09-2013, 02:22 PM
Yeast will make some use of oxygen during the first part of fermentation, so whipping or sloshing your must about is beneficial in two ways: 1) Introduces oxygen for healthy yeast, and 2) releases suspended CO2 (and sulphur gases, if present; called degassing). Most folks will stop oxygenating after the 1/3 to 1/2 sugar break, and I usually stop degassing after about the 2/3 sugar break.

As long as everything that comes into contact with your must has been sanitized, you shouldn't need to worry too much about contaminates.

Chevette Girl
12-09-2013, 07:23 PM
Meads do make a lot of weird smells while they're fermenting, I wouldn't worry overmuch unless it's still weird when the fermentation dies down (a few days to a few weeks). I've smelled all kinds of things from fermenting musts, from rotten eggs to vomit, seriously weird smells. And still can turn out just fine. Like the others suggested, encouraging the carbon dioxide to take off is a good plan and it might take the weird odour with it, or maybe it actually is something from your spice mix.

An actively fermenting must is pretty resistant to contaminants, and as everyone said, yeast need a bit of oxygen at the beginning anyway.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Honig Künstler
12-09-2013, 09:47 PM
So I can be clear... When degassing, do I stir up the yeast bed as well? Or stay up higher with The drill whip?

Honig Künstler
12-09-2013, 09:50 PM
Ohh, and thank you all for your responses. It's nice to get a lot of useful information.