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reese27k
03-14-2014, 02:50 AM
HERE IS A POST I DID YESTERDAY COPY AND PASTED:
Hello. I'm new to mead making. I've been doing 1 gallon batches and I'm on my 5th one. I ruined my first one (lesson learned). I think I made vinegar that time. Anyway, my other ones seem to be doing fine. The other day I started a batch using just under 3 pounds of raw Orange Blossom with 32 oz of pure Trader Joe's blueberry juice. I used 71b-1122 yeast and was going to stagger the nutrient and energizer additions over 3 days. The first day I added 1/2 tsp of nutrient and 1/4 tsp of energizer. The OG was at just under 15% potential alcohol. It started showing signs of fermentation over the next couple hours. The next morning it was going like crazy. I skipped a day to add more nutrient and energizer. I checked the gravity and it was almost at 10%. I was surprised cuz that seemed fast. I decided to just add the rest of the nutrient and energizer then. Anyway, today is the 5th day and I checked the gravity and it is right at 0. Is this normal? Has anyone ever had a mead ferment that fast? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Thanks in advance.

TODAY, I DECIDED I WAS GOING TO RACK IT TOMORROW. I BROUGHT IT TO MY KITCHEN AND PROPPED IT UP SIDEWAYS. I NOTICED IT HAS AN OFF WHITE CREAMY SUBSTANCE ON THE TOP WITH SOME BUBBLES IN IT. THERE'S ALSO POWDER HOVERING IN THE MUST AROUND THE RIM. I TASTED SOME OF THE WHITE STUFF AND IT DOESN'T REALLY TASTE LIKE ANYTHING. IT JUST FEELS POWDERY IN MY MOUTH. DOES IT SEEM LIKE IT COULD BE CONTAMINATED OR IS THIS SOMETHING THAT COULD GO AWAY?? THANKS.

WVMJack
03-14-2014, 03:20 AM
Are you adding sulfites to your meads? How about did you stir your nutrients in well? During a ferment there is always some junk floating around from the honey and the fruit, it gets carried to the top by the bubbles. I have a hard time thinking your have some contamination at such high levels so quickly during a primary ferment, you would really have to be doing something horribly wrong like stirring it with a really dirty stick to have such a high level of bad stuff forming while the yeasts are churning away. Maybe we need to mix stuff up better when we add powdery stuff or its just regular normal stuff that floats around in a mead. Sounds like your fermentation went well all the way down to 0, when you rack you can stop it right before it starts sucking down the stuff floating around on top if that bothers you, or not, it wont matter. If its normal stuff it will eventually sink, if its some kind of very bad infection its already ruined, but it just sounds like a normal thing. Keep trying, and pictures sometimes help a lot. WVMJ

Stasis
03-14-2014, 07:36 AM
I've met this substance also and it had no ill effects. I actually assumed it was yeast that surfed the bubbles and formed this water line. Perhaps using raw honey and not properly skimming the surface while boiling resulted in some wax in the mead (I prefer not to boil my honey). I even mixed the stuff back into the mead, although on second thought perhaps this might not have been the best action to take as I wasn't absolutely sure. Anyway if this creamy white substance is the same as mine I think you should be ok

wayneb
03-14-2014, 11:03 AM
What you are describing sounds very much like something that is called a "yeast pellicle." With some yeast strains, near the end of primary fermentation, as the yeast run out of nutrient and the ethanol concentration rises a fraction of the yeast cells will start to produce more fatty acids for incorporation into their cell walls - it acts as sort of an osmotic throttle against the ETOH, allowing the yeast to survive a little bit longer in an increasingly yeast-toxic brew. It also makes those cells less dense than their surrounding must and they will then rise to the surface of the liquid, forming that off-white filmy substance that you are describing. If the pellicle is made up of the yeast strain that you pitched, there is absolutely no harm in it as long as you have properly airlocked the mead to prevent exposure to oxygen and wild microbes.

However in some cases, especially if good sanitization practices aren't followed, the pellicle can be made up of wild yeasts (Brettanomyces and/or others). Additionally, acetobacter bacteria can form a floating colony that can look a little like a yeast pellicle. In both those situations it is a good idea to stabilize the mead right away, since wild yeast can introduce funky (musty, moldy) flavors into your mead and the acetic acid produced by acetobacter can make your mead smell and taste a bit like vinegar.

The bottom line is, if your mead still smells good, then there is nothing to worry about. Just minimize exposure to oxygen from this point forward and you should be fine.

reese27k
03-14-2014, 02:30 PM
Thanks everyone.