View Full Version : Fusel Troubleshoot

04-27-2017, 10:07 PM
Just this past winter I made a gallon of mead with just honey, water, and lalvin 1118 yeast. It finished with a lot of fusel/rubbing alcohol taste.

I've recognized two things to fix/change:

After cooling the must I siphoned instead of pouring. So I failed to aerate pretty much completely!
I also didn't use any fruit, so the must was probably lacking the fair share of nutrients the yeasties needed.

If there's anything else you can recommend, or these things aren't huge issues, please say!

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04-27-2017, 10:25 PM
Hey deinonymous, and welcome!

First I just want to ask, what do you mean by cooling? Did you heat/boil the honey-water mixture? If so, you don't need to do that as it will kill the delicate flavors of the honey. You can warm it to help dissolve the honey, but generally keep it at 100 or below and not for an extended period.

You did nail the first 2 points. Yeast need oxygen and nutrients.
Usually you will aerate for a couple days after fermentation starts until 1/3 of the sugars have been fermented (1/3 sugar break).
You don't need fruit for nutrients specifically. If you use fruit, you usually have to give it even more with something like Fermaid O! Look at http://www.meadmaderight.com/ for what is generally agreed on as the best nutrient protocol.

The one thing you didn't mention is temperature. Generally yeast like fermenting in the upper 60s. The yeast you mentioned, EC1118, is ok with higher temps, but if you push past 75 and towards 80, even it will complain by giving off fusels.

The good news is fusels aren't permanent. :)
You'll just have to wait til this next winter (minimum) for them to dissipate. You can also try adding some oak cubes to soften it/the alcohol, and possibly back sweetening with more honey (if you've stabilized properly!!).

Hope that helps.

04-27-2017, 10:29 PM
This was tremendously helpful--thank you!

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04-27-2017, 10:34 PM
I forgot to mention... Look at the NewBee Guide at the top of the page as a great place to start for learning all the bits and pieces of mead making.