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Thread: Lord Rhys Chocolate - Nasty odor

  1. #1

    Default Lord Rhys Chocolate - Nasty odor

    I started a 5 gal batch of the Lord Rhys chocolate using the following:
    4 gal water
    1 gal (12 lbs) Fruitwood Orchards wildflower honey
    10 g ICV-D47 yeast
    16 oz Ghirardellie Unsweetened cocoa powder

    Yeast was rehydrated using ~15g Go Ferm in 104F water.

    Overall procedure was basically:
    1. Honey & Water
    2. Let water cool
    3. Add chocolate
    SG was 1.089 at this point
    4. Pitch yeast after ~25 mins rehydrate and < 10F temp difference
    5. First of 4 total nutrient additions consisting of 3/4 tsp Fermaid K & 1 tsp DAP for total YAN of 65 PPM per addition and 260 overall.

    Other nutrient additions were at 16.5, 26, & 43 hours later. I don't have SG readings for these because I broke my hydrometer in another batch (which I had to toss, still hurts thinking about it), on Christmas day, so I had to wait until 26 Dec to get a replacement.

    I don't normally pitch the yeast before the first nutrient but I missed a step and had to go back. So #5 should have been before #4.

    Within 16 hours the SG had dropped to 1.080 and I could see definite signs of fermentation. Had a rather nice chocolate aroma at this point.

    So far so good.

    At about 69 hours into the ferment, I noticed that the aroma had changed significantly and it was now not so nice. Pretty horrible in fact. I can't quite put my finger on the aroma, but it isn't the CO2 that you would normally get (notwithstanding the chocolate) and it it certainly was no longer a nice chocolate aroma. I don't think it was sulfur either. But whatever it is, it's nasty.

    One thing that I did with the nutrients that may be relevant. I mixed up a measuring cup with all the required nutrient additions in the beginning with the goal of just doing my nutrients from the measuring cup as I needed them. But, I did not protect the resulting solution at all, in other words I left it out for the 43 hours that it took to complete all 4 nutrient additions. After I did this it occurred to me that it probably wasn't such a hot idea.

    I am now debating whether or not to toss the batch or sit out and see how it goes.

    I have no reason to believe that the fermentation is stuck. At ~78 hours I'm at 1.007 so it appears to be going strong still.

    Any ideas or suggestions? I would hate to toss a 5 gal batch of chocolate, but I don't want to spend considerable time on a batch that can't be recovered.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm relatively new (have a few batches under my belt) so have no idea whether or not this is normal.

    Thanks,
    Todd

  2. #2
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    I'm thinking that it is most likely to be sulphurous, but maybe affected by the chocolate etc.

    Search for ways of checking for sulphur......

    Not sure if it's the right test or not, but sanitise a piece of copper pipe, then stand it in some coke as the phosphoric acid will burn off any other residues, then you can stir the batch with it and if sulphur is present in any amount, it shouldn't take long for it to get a surface coating of copper sulphate.

    You'd have to search for that to make sure it's the correct process, but I think it should work.......

    Sorry if that's total crap, but it's the only thing I can think of, as the 2 problem smells are usually sulphur - which often manifests earlier in the ferment, or vinegar/acetic acid for acetobacter contamination.......
    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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    You seem to be pretty quick on the trigger to dump stuff out, that is the first thing that should be fixed What temp are you fermenting at? Bloke didnt go over his temp routine for D47 which seems to like it cooler rather than warmer. You heated the water for some reason, did you also heat up the honey with it? Never heard of anyone mixing up all their nutrients ahead of time, might be a good idea, but I think if you did that it should be taken care of, put a lid on it and store in refrigerator. Have you added any sulfite? You might want to just put this out of the way and let it age for a long while, but dont be so quick about dumping it out. WVMJ

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
    I'm thinking that it is most likely to be sulphurous, but maybe affected by the chocolate etc.

    Search for ways of checking for sulphur......
    ---- SNIP SNIP ---

    Sorry if that's total crap, but it's the only thing I can think of, as the 2 problem smells are usually sulphur - which often manifests earlier in the ferment, or vinegar/acetic acid for acetobacter contamination.......
    Even if it's total crap, if it keeps me from dumping a 5 gal batch because I took the time to investigate more, then it's good.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVMJack View Post
    You seem to be pretty quick on the trigger to dump stuff out, that is the first thing that should be fixed
    Absolutely a fair point. Patience is not a virtue that I was born with and it's taking some time to develop.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVMJack View Post
    What temp are you fermenting at? Bloke didnt go over his temp routine for D47 which seems to like it cooler rather than warmer. You heated the water for some reason, did you also heat up the honey with it?
    Temp started at about 84 but quickly dropped to about 66 and has stayed there. I did two things to heat the honey:
    1. Heated the initial 2 gal of water into which the honey was added to make it easier to dissolve. Added the balance of 2 gals after I had thoroughly mixed the honey and water.
    2. Put the 1 gal of honey in its original container in hot water to make it easier to poor out of the container and result in less to be cleaned out of the honey container.

    In both cases, the "hot" water was out of the spigot hot, no more. Given that some people heat the honey and water to much higher temperatures than this would subject it to, I figured this was safe. If that isn't the case, I'll change my methods.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVMJack View Post
    Never heard of anyone mixing up all their nutrients ahead of time, might be a good idea, but I think if you did that it should be taken care of, put a lid on it and store in refrigerator. Have you added any sulfite?
    I did not add any sulfite at all. Neither I nor anyone that I know has any sulfite allergies but I was trying to minimize the addition of other things such as sulfites.

    I am looking to get a sealable container and do exactly what you suggest next time re. the nutrients in the fridge. The main reason for mixing the batch ahead of time was measuring capability. I do not have a scale that can be used for small quantities and it seemed like mixing larger quantities (i.e. for the entire batch instead of each addition) was less error prone than smaller, possibly less accurate smaller quantities.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVMJack View Post
    You might want to just put this out of the way and let it age for a long while, but dont be so quick about dumping it out. WVMJ
    Point taken re. patience and I will heed the advice. I will also take fatbloke's advice and look for some method to test for the presence of sulphur.

    Thanks to both for the advice.

  6. #6

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    Forgot one question. If my reading is correct, sulphur problems are generally caused by insufficient or incorrect nutrient additions. If my math is correct, I added ~260PPM total YAN between the Fermaid K & DAP, which is actually a touch more than the recommended level for a starting SG of 1.089.

    Does that nutrient level sound about right for the starting SG?

    If it isn't incorrect nutrients that caused a sulphur problem, I'll do some more investigation on that topic. Which I should probably do anyway.

  7. #7

    Default All is apparently well

    Thanks for the advice. Looks like the sulfur odor has been resolved and I did not toss my 5 gal batch of mead. So some important lessons learned, not the least of which is the virtue of patience.
    Last edited by rtu; 01-02-2014 at 07:42 PM.

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    Very cool
    Bees stole my signature file!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtu View Post
    I am looking to get a sealable container and do exactly what you suggest next time re. the nutrients in the fridge. The main reason for mixing the batch ahead of time was measuring capability. I do not have a scale that can be used for small quantities and it seemed like mixing larger quantities (i.e. for the entire batch instead of each addition) was less error prone than smaller, possibly less accurate smaller quantities.
    My lazy standard staggered nutrient regime: I figure out the total amount of nutrients and energizer I want to use in my batch, add half of the energizer at pitch and half the DAP (nutrient) when there are signs of fermentation, then I mix the remaining amounts together dry in an empty energizer container, then every time I go in to aerate and check the SG, I add a little shake of the powder mixture (important safety tip - do this AFTER you aerate until it's stopped fizzing or you risk a big mess) and by keeping track of my SG, I can time it so that the last addition is right around the point at which the yeast have eaten 1/3 of the sugars...
    "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

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