View Full Version : Have some odd floaters in my mead, need help decontaminating?

03-18-2014, 12:19 AM
I have three 1/10 inch or so cylindrical opaque rods floating at the surface of my mead since feeding it tempered grade B maple syrup. It is still showing signs of fermentation and there has been no growth or additional propagation of floaters in the 5 days since I noticed them. This is my first batch of mead. It is a 3 gallon batch with primary and secondary fermentation. Ingredients are as follows (The fruits were actually things that needed to be used in the restaurant I work in since they came off the menu.)
12 Pounds local wildflower honey, boiled and skimmed
3 pounds gala apples- chopped, boiled, and pureed
1 pound dried currants- re-hydrated (placed in cheese cloth)
3 Navel Oranges-peeled, juiced, boiled (solids placed in cheese cloth)
1 Stick Cinnamon
1/2 a whole nutmeg
6 whole cloves
5 grams brewers yeast
Reverse osmosis filtered water, boiled

Fermented in a fermentation bucket for 1 week then racked to 3 gallon glass carboy. Primary lasted 25 days between bucket fermentation and carboy fermentation. Still sweet, alcohol prominent on the nose and tongue. Spice and fruit only lightly developed.

Secondary Fermentation: Carboy sanitized with bleach and rinsed then run through a industrial high temperature dishwasher at 180 degrees for 6 minutes and allowed to finish in drying cycle. All other equipment also bleached, rinsed and washed in same manner.
1 pound local wildflower honey, boiled
2 cups orange juice
2 cups Star of Persia Black tea
3 Oranges peeled/segmented, boiled
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
1/4 whole nutmeg
5 grams Lalvin Ec-1118 champagne yeast, pitched with reverse osmosis water in a sanitized container

Secondary fermentation went strong for 3 weeks, has continued to show signs of fermentation (carbonation and thinning of haze.) I opened up the carboy to take a tasting sample. Spices are warm, not overly prominent. The nose is still strongly alcoholic. Sweetness has diminished and the finish is a nice dry grape with hints of tea and citrus. I added 8 ounces of grade B maple syrup which was held at 140 degrees and slowly reduced over a 5 hour period. It was then tempered with an additional 8 ounces of reverse osmosis filtered water at 160 degrees, added directly to the mead. I have not sampled the mead since the discovery of the floating mysteries.

I am looking to rack a third time and was wondering if there is a product that can decontaminate the mead, assuming of course that the flavor and character has not been impacted.

Thank you.

03-18-2014, 05:40 AM
You don't give SG readings...is fermentation complete? Stabilize with sulfite and sorbate . with all the fruit that has gone in, it is probably a stem or 3, perhaps from dried currant.

Sent from the Nexus of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which has been infected with Vogon poetry, some of which leaked out here.

03-18-2014, 08:02 AM
could it be the cloves?

03-18-2014, 11:18 AM
Whenever unexpected things are discovered during the course of fermentation, I like to follow the advice of a renowned home brewer, Charlie Papazian. If you are a beer brewer you know this, but here, paraphrased to be applicable to our end of the hobby, are his thoughts: "Relax, don't worry, and have a glass of mead!"

Odds are the floaters that you are observing are from the fruit or spice additions that have occurred along the way. What color are the floaters? Do they linger at the top of the liquid, or do they move about from the action of fermentation (i.e. from CO2 bubbles released by the yeast)?

Along different lines, I assume the two cups of tea that you added were brewed tea liquor, not dried tea leaves, correct? How much dry tea did you use to brew the liquid? Was that loose-leaf tea, or were they tea bags?

In general, if you've got "stuff" of unknown origin in your mead, as long as it doesn't look like it is growing, it doesn't produce off-aromas, and it doesn't appear to look like "the usual suspects" that typically contaminate musts that haven't been handled in sanitary conditions, you've got nothing to worry about. Since you've already had the carboy "unlocked" for the maple syrup addition, you could break the seal at the lock just long enough to get a sniff of what is going on in there. If you have a wine thief, sanitize it and pull a small sample to taste. If nothing smells or tastes foul or spoiled, don't sweat it. You can leave the floaters behind when it comes tome to rack again or to bottle.

03-19-2014, 12:56 AM
The floaters are opaque, nearly translucent and yes they just float at the top close to the glass edges of the carboy. They don't move in the column at all. All additional materials were either tied up in cheese cloth or strained out using a fine mesh strainer. As for how much dry tea I used, about an ounce, tied in a sachet. Yeah, I feel like I am worrying about nothing. I make water kefir also and when the colonies have exhausted their sugar and oxygen supply a few tend to float at the surface in a similar fashion as what has appeared at the top of this mead. I am guessing it may be some of the apple which may have broke and passed through the first sachet in the original bucket fermentation. Thanks for the relaxed piece of mind, re-racking today for the final time before bottling. Then on to some smaller more controlled batches.

03-19-2014, 04:17 PM
No off tastes or flavors. Gravity 1.016. Semi sweet with a dry finish and hints of spice.

03-19-2014, 07:35 PM
If it tastes good, then it's good!