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View Full Version : Possible Infection, but dont know.



Christoph
07-27-2005, 01:41 PM
Greetings,

Got a question for those wiser in mead making than myself.

Ive brerwed much good ale, but recently tried my hand at making mead.

I made about 6 gallons of blackcurrent mead, from blueberry honey. The fermentation went a lvigourously and completed about 4 weeks later. I started the batch on June 21 and I am still getting the occasional bubble, about one bubble of the airlock every 3-4 minutes. The mead is somewhat clear but hasnt cleared completely , even with Ising glass.

Anyways for about 2 weeks I noticed what looked like a very very slight surface skin. Its not really a skin and doesnt have any thickness. it doesnt have fur or spots or grow beaneath the surface. It can really only be seen with a flashlight and careful looking. None the less its in both carboys, and I am worried its an infection. the mead is alcholic, and it taste fairly good for being only a month old. This tiny grayish pattern forms on the surface though, even if the mead gets mixed, it comes back.

Now I made this mead with a fair amount of juice and other stuff. I cant tell whether or not this is just some yeast or fruit residue or if it is an infection.

btw, I didnt use campden, Sulfites give me the most hideous headaches known to man, so I have to do without it.

Any Help appreciated.

Thanks
Christoph

webmaster
07-27-2005, 02:33 PM
It's likely just pectin or some other surface-dwelling haze. If it tastes ok, carefully put in your siphon, and rack it out from under the skin. I've had that happen with fruit meads several times.

Oh, and try this for clearing: Beat a couple egg whites in a bowl until frothy, and pour this into your mead and swirl the container a bit. If you have a pectin haze, it will grab it and take it to the bottom.

Another method I've found effective is time. Every single one of my meads (except one peach) cleared on its own just sitting.

Vicky

Christoph
07-27-2005, 02:53 PM
Hello Vicky,

Thanks for the respone. I feel a little better now. I just didnt want to bottle flowers of wine to wake up to the worst exploded mess Ive ever had to deal with :/.

Anyways Ive heard about the egg thing, but is that sanitary ? Wont doing that infect my brew ?

Thanks Again
Christoph

webmaster
07-27-2005, 03:20 PM
I haven't had a problem with it. Eggs in the shell, as long as its unbroken, are fine. The whites will settle to the bottom and not leave anything behind, and unlike bentonite and other clearing agents, it doesn't leave an odd flavor.

Make sure the egg shell is relatively clean, and break it *carefully*, and you should be fine.

If you're worried about bottle bombs, use your hydrometer to check the SG, and make sure the mead is done fermenting. If you're not sure, or can't tell, I recommend bottling in beer bottles, champagne bottles (wire down the top) or grolsh bottles. All are much thicker than traditional wine bottles, and won't blow up (at least none of mine have, although a few have fountained all over the ceiling when opened...). I *have* had wine bottles explode. It is not a pretty site, and damn dangerous. Thats why I tend to use beer, grolsh (flip top bottles like Redstone Meadery uses) or champagne bottles. I just like to be safer.

Vicky

HomeBrew
07-27-2005, 05:34 PM
I apologize if this comes off as nitpicking, but undamaged eggs can indeed become contaminated. The shells are actually porous to the point that both fungi and bacteria can migrate through them. A quick look and smell after you've broken the egg should be enough indication as to whether it is good or not. I used to have to grow H. paragallinarum in eggs and harvest the fluids...Because of what I had to see/ smell I still can't eat eggs :(

Peace.

webmaster
07-27-2005, 10:34 PM
Thanks for the clarification, Homebrew. I should have noted that. If it smells ok, it probably is ok.

Vicky

David Baldwin
07-28-2005, 01:40 PM
One of the worst cases of food poisoning I've ever gotten was from eggs that looked and smelled fine.

I used them to make a pancakes and not thinking, I took a quck taste of the raw batter... ::)

Lesson learned. I keep better sanitation in the kitchen than I did before I started mead making. Not just "clean" but sanitized, and good sanitation practices.


David

byathread
07-29-2005, 06:49 PM
Can't say I've ever used egg whites in meads, though I do consume 2-3 raw egg yolks per/day in breakfast shakes for the last 7 years. There are many modern myths about eggs. Egg shells are certainly porous (and a good thing too so fertilized eggs can breathe). The best advice I can give, whether you're eating raw eggs or using in meads, is to pay attention to the source. Almost anywhere in the country there are range-fed, organic, locally-produced eggs available. And even if you pay double the price as the factory eggs from the grocery store, eggs remain one of the cheapest protein sources. (Plus, you're supporting family farmers and the chickens live happy natural lives).

:)