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ryanshanaman
09-18-2014, 12:00 AM
First time I've seen anything like this, I'm always very sanitary..
I used 2 large bottles of acai juice, all natural no preservatives to make a gallon, and used about 3 lbs of honey
Starting grav was 1.120 about 2 weeks ago, and the other day it was down to 1.030, but today I go to look at it and see this disgusting mess. Looks like yellow oil spots floating
Can I save it?
http://imgur.com/RNqg2jq

Chevette Girl
09-18-2014, 12:32 AM
That certainly does look like oil! I would suggest you rack out from under whatever it is, and if it smells and tastes OK, you're probably fine.

Maybe it's oil from beeswax in your honey? Was it grocery store honey or from an apiary or farmer's market?

ryanshanaman
09-18-2014, 12:47 AM
First time I've seen anything like this, I'm always very sanitary..
I used 2 large bottles of acai juice, all natural no preservatives to make a gallon, and used about 3 lbs of honey
Starting grav was 1.120 about 2 weeks ago, and the other day it was down to 1.030, but today I go to look at it and see this disgusting mess. Looks like yellow oil spots floating
Can I save it?
http://imgur.com/RNqg2jq

I used "nature nates raw and unfiltered honey" from costco, not their regular Kirkland clover bulk honey, but their more "raw" version

And it doesn't smell..bad I guess. Definitly not bad enough to notice. Didn't have the balls to taste it, this must have happened in the past 2 or 3 days so it's fairly new whatever it is

Chevette Girl
09-18-2014, 12:52 AM
It's weird, alright... even when I've used raisins that had been coated in vegetable oil, I never got collections like that after fermentation. I'd taste the oil (being fully prepared to spit it out) just to see what it might be... or refrigerate it and see if it congeals into beeswax or something...

...although my first suspicion would be that someone dipped a buttered knife into my honey jar for their toast...

ryanshanaman
09-18-2014, 01:16 AM
It's weird, alright... even when I've used raisins that had been coated in vegetable oil, I never got collections like that after fermentation. I'd taste the oil (being fully prepared to spit it out) just to see what it might be... or refrigerate it and see if it congeals into beeswax or something...

...although my first suspicion would be that someone dipped a buttered knife into my honey jar for their toast...

Hm, I always see your posts and they're usually spot on. Surprises me you don't know what's going on here haha. I guess I'll give it a few days, let some responses gather here, then depending on that maybe I'll just cold crash and see if it congeals like you said / try racking and tasting it.

Chevette Girl
09-18-2014, 01:17 AM
LOL, the wisdom comes from having made all the mistakes myself already :)

ryanshanaman
09-18-2014, 01:17 AM
It's weird, alright... even when I've used raisins that had been coated in vegetable oil, I never got collections like that after fermentation. I'd taste the oil (being fully prepared to spit it out) just to see what it might be... or refrigerate it and see if it congeals into beeswax or something...

...although my first suspicion would be that someone dipped a buttered knife into my honey jar for their toast...

And also, if it's infected I'm sure it will start to show a lot more in the next few days

Chevette Girl
09-18-2014, 01:19 AM
And also, if it's infected I'm sure it will start to show a lot more in the next few days

Contaminated, probably. There's definitely something in there you didn't expect. Infected? Not as likely. That's more likely to be seen as spots, clumps or a skin, not oil blobs.

Medsen Fey
09-19-2014, 05:54 AM
It is really hard for spoilage organisms to develop during active fermentation under an airlock. The yeast bind up all the oxygen and most spoilage organisms need oxygen. If it still smells OK, I'd swirl it around and let it finish. What yeast are you using?

Seneca
09-26-2014, 08:05 AM
Hello guys and gals,

I have similar issiue so I decided not to open a new thread. This is my first experience with mead (and anything fermented as well). I prepared my must 5 days ago. SG was 1100. I pitched 5 gr. of Lalvin D47. Added 25 gr of nutrient (instructions was telling it's for 23-25 lt). Sanitized everything with bleach and then rinsed with boiled water (not the marble bench). I did not boil must. Temperature is 24-25 C (75-77 F) here. And I shaked the must to aerate for 7-8 mins. After I capped the carboy, I did not disturbed the must.
After a few hours, air stop started to bubble wildly which resumed for 2 days. Then it slowed down to a point of 6-7 bubles per minute. It was 12-13 yesterday. And since yesterday white globes floting on the surface. Is this normal? Please enlighten me ( Good new preferred :) )

Here is the pic:
http://i1297.photobucket.com/albums/ag39/Strabotr/Mobile%20Uploads/20140926_142737_zpstgtxc8oq.jpg (http://s1297.photobucket.com/user/Strabotr/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20140926_142737_zpstgtxc8oq.jpg.html)

Thank you for your help

mannye
09-26-2014, 08:23 AM
Eek. That looks fishy. But I think if you rack it into another carboy onto some Camden tabs you will be ok.

Remember if it smells good and tastes good, it's good! Just get a hose in there and rack off the bottom and do it tonight!


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now.

Seneca
09-26-2014, 09:05 AM
Errrr.. What then? Should I take SG reading and add yeast, nutrient etc. again?

Medsen Fey
09-26-2014, 09:45 AM
I think it is fine. Take a gravity reading and see where it is.

mannye
09-26-2014, 09:55 AM
Yeah I'm assuming that your ferment is over. It's very very hard for anything to affect an active ferment. Not that it can't happen, but it's difficult.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now.

Seneca
09-26-2014, 12:11 PM
Hydrometer reading is like 1040. And as I mentioned before air lock still bubbles like every 10 sec. Should I take any action? Btw, it smells good (at least smells like wine).

Thank you

Medsen Fey
09-26-2014, 05:08 PM
What kind of nutrient did you use?
Do you have a way to check pH?

As long at it still bubbles, things are moving. The bad news is that D47 produces a lot of fusel alcohols at this temp and your batch is likely to be harsh (if not paint thinner) and may need a lot of aging.

Seneca
09-27-2014, 06:31 AM
Acidity is between 4 and 5 (closer to 4 as I can guess from the color). I'm from Turkey and there's no known brands of yeast and nutrients here. I bought D47 from ebay and nutrient from a local supplier. Ingredients not show on the package. But it definitely smells like ammonium. that's all I can say about nutrient.

ehhhmmm. When saying "a lot of" what do you mean? And do I have to take any action as mannye suggested? Or leave it alone some more until it reaches a certain SG?

Thanks,

Medsen Fey
09-27-2014, 06:50 AM
Did the nutrient look like white crystals? or tan colored powder?
If it is white crystals, you might consider adding some boiled bread yeast (25-50 g) which will supply yeast hulls and other micronutrients. It is normal for the yeast to slow down and it may continue to bubble slowly for another week or two.

By long aging I mean 2 or 3 years.

Seneca
09-30-2014, 11:25 AM
Sorry for delay but I was suspicious about the ph reading since I used a 1-14 scale universal ph meter paper. Now I got a digital one and it reads exactly 4.0 at the moment. I also checked SG again and it's 1040 sharp. Also measured the alcohol content with a vinometer and too the reading %11 (I don't know how precise those gadgets though). The nutrient was ten colored and granular type. By the way, it bubbles four times a minute.
It smells like vine and tastes like vine. Those floating white bubbles are still there but they do not grow more. After giving them a little sample, my friends tried to convince me to put a pump on the carboy and put it in the middle of living room so they can drink it. I think (and hope) it's fine, cause I used a really nice honeydew honey for the must. It'd be shame to ruin it. :)

Medsen Fey
09-30-2014, 06:25 PM
It is concerning if the gravity is not dropping. If you started at 1.100, D47 should take it dry. I would try adding some yeast hulls or some boiled bread yeast (25g). Swirl the fermenter gently to resuspend the yeast and give it more time.

Seneca
09-30-2014, 07:57 PM
Ok. Actually that was the issue which makes me work about. I'll do it asap and share the result.

Seneca
10-06-2014, 03:06 PM
Hello again,

I did add 20-25 gr. of boiled bread yeast by the next morning. Now, it's 5th day and SG is 1035, alcohol is %13 according to vinometer (seems a bit high compared to SG) and acidity is 4.00 sharp. That white layer on the mead dissolves when I disturb the mead and comes back again in a few hours (it does not grow though). Airlock bubbles once or twice a minute now. Looking forward for your suggestions.

All the best

(btw. sorry for the typos. I use my smartphone sometimes and it has "word correction" feature which turns to be messy sometimes.

Stasis
10-06-2014, 04:24 PM
Ok there are 2 possibilities which come to mind:

1. This is a copy of a reply to white stuff floating on top of mead by Wayneb a while back:
"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."

2. Maybe some beeswax which floats naturally when using raw/unprocessed honey. In this case it is also nothing to worry about

Seneca
10-07-2014, 01:30 PM
Thank you very much Stasis. That explanation seems very familiar. I'll give it a try but I want to hear Medsen's opinion as well before I take any action.

All the best,

Seneca
10-10-2014, 11:42 AM
Hi Medsen,

Could you please give me some more insight please? :-) By the way, I see posts saying that primary fermentation takes a month or so (or sometimes longer). Is that true?

P.S. SG is still 1035 although CO2 bubbles keep rising from depths.

Seneca
10-18-2014, 03:49 PM
Update.

After five days there's no decrease in SG so I decided to make unstuck my mead. I sulphited the must and waited for 24 hours and then transferred it to a new carboy. It was a bit messy since my first carboy fell of the chair (reminder: don't leave your carboy unattended if you incline it on a chair) and created three brand new problems: 1) The yeast and whatever else in the must had a disasterous earthquake which make them rise into must from their peaceful rest on the bottom. 2) Some of the must spilled 3) All my room smelled as if someone threw up after drinking wine.


For the first one, I had two choices between stopping the process and wait for the suspension to settle again and resuming the process and finish the unstucking attempt. My decision was to resume the process because I thought it would take some time for the suspension to settle and during this time either yeast could get alive in a stressed state or other microorganisms could spoil the must. I did not want to sulfite it again either since I did not know how much sulphite needed at that point. So I made a quick decision.

For the second part, I prepared and added some more must (600 ml) that has same SG with my original batch thinking it'll not affect the result seriously. Then I aerated the must and added Lalvin ICV-K1 yeast (after properly rehydrated). When the lag phase is over I added some nutrient. Now after 36 hours, airlock pops 10 times in a minute. I did not take any SG reading yet but it seems ok at the moment.

I know it's too late to ask for opinions however I wrote this update to share my experience and ask for opinions nevertheless so people may find it useful in the future.

All the best

Honeyhog
10-18-2014, 06:50 PM
Sounds like it's working out for you. Can't argue with successful restart. Oh how did you do with problem #3 the stale wine vomit smell? I bet that's harder to deal with.

Seneca
10-19-2014, 04:28 PM
Actually, hardest part was to explain my little daughter why her father is busy making something with so strange odor. :confused:

Medsen Fey
10-25-2014, 04:45 PM
It sounds like your plan worked. As a general rule it is best not to sulfite a stuck batch that you want to restart, but as you see, that may not stop yeast.

Vomit smell means sulfur odors. Give the batch some yeast hull or some Fermaid O. When done, if that odor remains, splash rack it and use a copper scrub pad.

Seneca
01-31-2015, 07:09 PM
Uhhmmm. Hello again.
After some weeks of patience I noticed no progress following that last brief fermentation. I just let it alone hoping it'll progress slowly. However, it was still stuck. Then I decided to give it another shot. I took readings first: pH- 3.70 / hydrometer- 1040 / temp- 18 C / Alcohol- %10. Then prepared a starter culture with Lalvin ICV K1 (I didn't have EC1118) according to instructions on the package. When it got alive, I added 250 ml warm water with nutrient and sugar addition. After a few hours I added 125 ml of my stuck mead just after the starter begun bubbling with activity. Almost as soon as I added the stuck mead, starter died and never bubbled again. It was as if poured some poison in it. Any ideas?

Stasis
01-31-2015, 10:06 PM
Was the stuck mead sulfited? From Medsen's previous post it seems it was. Maybe there was enough sulfite in the stuck mead to stop the starting culture.
When I had a stuck ferment of 15 liters, I created a much larger batch of 54 liters, but only used 40l in primary. The stuck batch was added towards the end of primary when both batches had equivalent alcohol so the yeast would have little or no shock from the sudden rise in alcohol.
Or you can try making a very dry batch and blending them both. However, I'd be rather afraid of these approaches since you had worries of contamination

Seneca
02-01-2015, 03:55 PM
Thank you for your reply, Stasis. Contamination is not an issue any more. I did not sulphite the batch after my first restart attempt. I also aerated it for 15 mins with an aquarium pump.

Seneca
02-18-2015, 06:30 AM
Well. Finally I've figured out what's going on. Fermentation was over although the gravity reading was still 1040 and alcohol content was %10. Since all variables were in reasonable limits, except the gravity reading, I started to suspect sugar content of honey. I realized that honeydew honey (especially the pine honey that I used for must) was less sweet than blossom honey. I quick research confirmed my suspicion. Indeed, honeydew honey has less sugar and more minerals etc. than blossom honey. That was why gravity reading was 1030 despite depleted sugar. When I added more honey to restart the fermentation at my first attempt, it raised to 1040 after fermentation's over.
Now, as soon as I added sugar to the must it started to ferment very actively. In short, anybody who want to use honeydew honey should consider this issue when taking gravity readings.