View Full Version : Traditional Mead sour smell.

11-08-2015, 06:26 PM
Hey guys,

So Iím making my second batch of mead right now, and Iím just over 24 hours into pitching my yeast. My first batch turned out very sour. I donít know where exactly I went wrong, but I have some ideas. Anyways, my second batch is now emitting a VERY sour smell, and I donít know what is going wrong. I made extra sure to sanitize everything this time, and I even pitched some sulfites 24 hours prior to my yeast. My recipe is very simple:

6 pounds of honey
5 gallons of spring water
4 tsp of nutrient (Fermax)
4 packs of Lalvin D-47

My bucket lid broke, so I am using my bottling bucket lid. Now, there are no bubbles coming from my hose, but the mead is in fact fermenting. I cracked it and was hit with this sour smell (which smells like a sour beer), as well as the sound of bubbles. How can an infection be so strong already? It could be that the lid isnít sealing properly, but should it have gone so bad, so fast?

Iím really distraught over messing up my first two brews. Does anyone have any suggestions?

11-08-2015, 06:32 PM
Update: My slid is sealed correctly now, there was about an inch that i didnít push on hard enough. Donít think that was the problem though.

11-08-2015, 07:11 PM
It COULD be because it kind of IS beer. ;)

6 lbs of honey in a 5 gallon batch will yield less than 6% ABV.

That is not a problem in and of itself. The beer aroma is not a problem. Its a byproduct of fermentation. I've noticed it in several of my batches, and they've turned out fine.

Was it your intent to make a hydromel? Not that there's anything wrong with that (No! No! Of COURSE not! ;) ), but if you were expecting a wine-like finished product, you will be disappointed.

My recommendation, if you were not intending such a low ABV finished product, would be to take the opportunity to step feed this batch to at least 10% (another 4.5 lbs) so that the alcohol will keep any nasties from getting a foothold.

If your intent WAS to make something at 6%-ish, then sanitize everything and then sanitize it again before it touches your mead. keep it refrigerated once bottled, and drink it (and enjoy it) as soon as you can. I am not sure of how long a hydromel will last even with perfect sanitization.

In any case, a perfect seal is not a necessity during primary fermentation. And while using more doesn't do any harm, 1 packet of yeast will handle 5 gallons of mead easily.

11-10-2015, 12:03 PM
Yes, my intent was to make a hydromel. I much enjoy the style of mead that is made at Groennfell Meadery in Vermont, but sadly I cannot get it in Georgia. He makes hydromels almost exclusively (except for a new experiment in his taproom.) So Iím basically making a beer-like mead that is dry-dry-dry but will have a slight carbonation after priming (and kegging once I buy a system for it.) Check out his stuff/blog at www.groennfell.com

Iím glad to hear that the smell is natural. So will it just go away in due time?

11-10-2015, 06:44 PM
Awesome! As long as that's what you were aiming for, it sounds like you hit the target!

I'm not an expert (there are people here who have forgotten more about making mead than I know), but I've always figured that the "beery smell" was primarily due to the yeast that are still floating around in your nectar of the Gods, and some of the aromatics that they've thrown off. I've never made a hydromel, but my guess is that, yes, that aroma will slip away. Hopefully, someone where with more experience with hydromels than I (ie ANY) will jump in and enlighten both of us.