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Thread: Phew! My new mel smells like... a fart.

  1. #1

    Question Phew! My new mel smells like... a fart.

    Just started a new melomel, a peach mead using Vintner's Harvest canned puree. Today is only the first day after pitching, and fermentation is vigorous. (the log with recipe here)

    Today, getting home from work, I noticed a strong fermentation smell, which seemed ok and not out of place considering the activity going on in the primary and the clicking I hear from the valve on top.

    But, while aerating... phew! Jeez. It wasn't horrible, like rotten eggs, but it was a touch sulphuric and fart-like.

    This is my first mel -- should I expect this? I added some extra Fermaid K and DAP today, but this smell was present before I put in the extra.
    My rookie mead making season is complete!

  2. #2
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    No. Rotten egg/H2S is usually a sign of stressed/under fed yeasties.

    The usual recommendation is to get it stirred/aerated and some more Fermaidk in there.

    There's some well researched and understood sciencey info kicking around about exact how this happens but people find the smell offensive enough to throw a few different possible "cures" at it.....
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  3. #3

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    Right now, it is just over 2 gallons in volume. I have put approximately 3 tsp worth of Fermaid K and DAP mixture at a 1:2 ratio (F-K : DAP), the last tsp earlier tonight.

    Should I add more tonight or leave well enough alone and see tomorrow?
    My rookie mead making season is complete!

  4. #4
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    Check your pH if adding Fermaid doesn't clear the fart... oh, and aerate the bejeebus out of it.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  5. #5
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    83F ?!?!?
    83F

    Welcome to the world of HotMead!
    Sulfur odors are just one of the fine things to expect. Don't be shocked in few months if it smells like burnt plastic and Band-Aids. This is a batch that you make planning to put it away for long aging while making supplication to the mead spirits to forgive you for abusing the yeast. It may ultimately turn out to be good.

    In the meantime, the high temps have caused you yeast to grow quickly and outstrip the nutrients. Giving it a tsp or 2 of Fermaid O may help, and if you have yeast hulls adding some of them too. Aerate to drive off the H2S, and when fermentation is complete, splash rack it. If still stinky, rack it again with a piece of copper (or a copper scrub pad). That should improve things.

    Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with something or other.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    83F ?!?!?
    83F

    Welcome to the world of HotMead!
    Hah! Ok, not to say that I wasn't paying attention to everyone else's posts -- I got answers from all those who have helped me a lot. But, when Medsen puts in the "Holy Sh*t!!" smilies, I knew I had to take action now, and not wait to see what transpired by tomorrow.

    Here are some numbers.
    - Ambient temp 83-85 F in my apartment today. Welcome to NYC summers in a top floor apartment. Strangely, the temps do not affect my beer.
    - SG 1.050 on the nose after 28 hours, I am already at the "halfway point". This makes the ABV 7.17 - and I have several more honey feedings to go. (the total calculated OG is 1.137 after all feedings are done.)
    - pH 3.5, down from 4.3, 28 hours ago.

    Wow.

    I put the batch in an icewater bath.

    Based on the advice here, I added an ADDITIONAL tsp of Fermaid O. Then, I added 1/2 tsp potassium bicarb, which raised the pH to 3.7. I added another 1/2 tsp of it to get it grudgingly to 3.8~3.9.

    I am going to wait until the first few days of aeration are done before adding more honey, I'd like it to get over this bump... the SG might go down significantly during that time. Is there any issue with this?

    Chevette Girl -- I used up almost one fully charged battery in my drill while whipping this bad boy. Aerated it as thoroughly as I could. Every time I moved the mixer lower into the carboy, the stink came out more, so the H2S must sink downwards. It also stank when pouring a pH sample from the spigot. After aeration, it did smell a bit better, but I'll be re-charging the pack tonight for use tomorrow morning....
    Last edited by Jim H; 09-04-2013 at 12:36 AM.
    My rookie mead making season is complete!

  7. #7

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    This AM, there was no noticeable stink of sulphur. There was a small foam head on the batch, and for certain there was a lot of gas in solution to stir out, but no fart-like odor.

    Hit it with its SNA this AM, and an extra 1 tsp of Fermaid O. Aerated it a lot. Swapped out the frozen bottles of water keeping the ice bath cool.
    My rookie mead making season is complete!

  8. #8
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    Aeration and nutrients seem to be doing the trick then......

    Brilliant.....

    I think its right to say that the H2S issue is usually an earlier on problem. I'm just recalling something that I read a while ago.

    Someone will correct me if I've got an incorrect memory of that.....
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  9. #9

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    Fatbloke, I can see how H2S might be an earlier issue if a fermentation takes off like an angry bull out of the gate. This batch dropped another 17 points since last night, and that was while sitting in an ice bath. A total of 69 points in 55 hours. This is my angry bull.

    But, since last night, and the more aggressive feeding, aeration, pH corrections, and ice bath, no more stinks today. This is great news. A huge thank you to everyone for the advice.

    And Medsen -- ambient has still been hovering around 80-85, although it is less humid. The ice bath had regulated to 63 F by the time I measured it tonight, and the must was the same temperature, 63, after a very thorough aeration/mixing. I have no doubt that the cooler temps helped tame the bull's temper.
    My rookie mead making season is complete!

  10. #10

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    I have experienced pear cysers throwing H2S odors during days 2 and 3 of fermentation when the yeasties are most vigorous. In my experience the smell disappears in a few days and (in the case of one brewed two years ago) was not evident in the flavor or aroma of the finished mead.

  11. #11

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    Thanks, anir... that jives with other reports of various fruit wines. I am sure that with avid temperature control, and perhaps NOT using a starter, I could have lessened the overzealous yeasties. But at least what happened is not out of range, or unrepairable.
    My rookie mead making season is complete!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by anir dendroica View Post
    I have experienced pear cysers throwing H2S odors during days 2 and 3 of fermentation when the yeasties are most vigorous. In my experience the smell disappears in a few days and (in the case of one brewed two years ago) was not evident in the flavor or aroma of the finished mead.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
    Thanks, anir... that jives with other reports of various fruit wines. I am sure that with avid temperature control, and perhaps NOT using a starter, I could have lessened the overzealous yeasties. But at least what happened is not out of range, or unrepairable.
    Now while that helps to suggest we're on the right track with suspecting its an early stage issue, we should jump to any conclusion. I'll see what else I can find but doing nothing isnt an option nor is, I suspect, trying to change the yeast activity.

    Once H2S is observed/present, it must be removed, for sanitary reasons as well as practical ones. Like, to get rid of the stink but equally so that the batch won't develop mercaptans. The H2S/stink can be removed......mercaptans will ruin your batch.
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

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