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Thread: Plastic smell and taste

  1. #1

    Default Plastic smell and taste

    My current project is early in its secondary and has developed a plastic smell and off taste. It's not 'chemical' as some mead problems typically smell and taste nor it is burnt, sulphur or like burnt rubber but like actual plastic. I'm trying to pinpoint cause.

    The after taste must have developed somewhere between racking from primary right until before I took the sample today. I remember, and my log confirms, that there was no such plastic smell or taste back then.

    Fusels: mostly plastic tastes with a chemical background are fermentation problems. As one can read in my log the high S.G. might have resulted in stressed yeast. It did start up quite slow. I've kept the temperature down to 19 degree Celsius and slightly lower though. From my log I can tell that, between May 13 and May 27 the gravity dropped 80 points. Then between May 27th until June 20th (as far as I can still tell) the gravity dropped only 24 points; in other words, the second time lapse was considerably longer but not 1/3rd of the gravity drop.

    This would indicate to me a stress point where the yeasts had an exceptionally harder time. This does coincide with a particularly warm week where I live so perhaps the temperature did rise above 19 degrees without my knowledge.

    Orange peel contaminants: I've removed the orange peel and it smells much stronger like plastic than the sample I took. Other than pesticides I can't think of a reason why it would cause a plastic taste. I did a very throrough rinse and then simmered it for a while because of this very reason; to get rid of pesticides. Or maybe the oranges I bought just taste like plastic -.- genetic engineering anyone?

    Bleach contaminants: I use chlorine as a sanitizer and rinse with sterilized water afterwards. Though I stick to a regimen of 10 rinses, maybe some was left behind in the tubing for racking from primary to secondary.

    Full recipe and detailed log: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...-amp-recipe%29

    Halp!
    Last edited by Swordnut; 06-20-2015 at 04:25 PM.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  2. #2

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    Sound like a Braggot I made with D47. AC broke for a week and held 85 F during primary fermentation. Three years later, very little improvement.

    I hope your luck is better!


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  3. #3
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    Is there not anything that can be done to reduce fusels once they are present? Are they more volatile than the usual alcohol? If they were then would a warmer storage temperature allow them to evaporate?

    I recently brewed a K Schramm nutmeg metheglin using D47 and had the temp at 24C (75F) for two days and can taste listerine/plastic/leather now after three weeks. I thought to leave a slightly larger air space in the jar in case the extra mead to air surface allowed any transfer. I don't however have even an idea if this will help - just trying it out in case it helps.
    DRINK!

  4. #4

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    I left my sample alone for a couple of hours, just sitting there in the glas. When I tasted it again, the plastic taste seemed to have vanished. It could be that it does evaporate or is expunged from the must. In any case, the must only tasted horrible but clean like any young must does basically. I'm fairly certain it's not fusels in my case but either a contamination from something riding my ingredients or I got sloppy with the bleach.

    I'm going to wait it out. If it's chlorophenol, campden tablets can neutralize it. If its pesticide, charcoal can adsorb it. In either case it's not a lot different from what I was going to do anyway with this mead.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeymu View Post
    Is there not anything that can be done to reduce fusels once they are present? Are they more volatile than the usual alcohol? If they were then would a warmer storage temperature allow them to evaporate?

    I recently brewed a K Schramm nutmeg metheglin using D47 and had the temp at 24C (75F) for two days and can taste listerine/plastic/leather now after three weeks. I thought to leave a slightly larger air space in the jar in case the extra mead to air surface allowed any transfer. I don't however have even an idea if this will help - just trying it out in case it helps.
    Keep D47 below 21C. Its notorious for producing fusels if its above 21C. You fermented quite warm. The best method for mead (which uses mostly white wine or champagne strains) is to ferment it like white wine; slow and cool. Think below 21C and be content with a primary that takes 6 weeks.

    If its really fusels and not a contaminant, age it COOL and DARK for 2 years before your next serious sampling. Fusels turn to esters over time. The listerine taste and smell will lessen. You'll never get a fusel-free mead (if there's anything like that anyway) but it can ester out enough that your metheglin ingredients mask it. Time is your friend now mate.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  6. Default

    I did an orange blossom traditional with 71b. Everything was done to the letter and I was meticulous with my methods. The final product was pure latex paint. It's coming up on the one year mark and no change. If you close your eyes, you wouldn't be able to tell if you were sniffing the mead or getting ready to repaint the bedroom. Only time this has ever happened to me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swordnut View Post
    Keep D47 below 21C. Its notorious for producing fusels if its above 21C. You fermented quite warm. The best method for mead (which uses mostly white wine or champagne strains) is to ferment it like white wine; slow and cool. Think below 21C and be content with a primary that takes 6 weeks.

    If its really fusels and not a contaminant, age it COOL and DARK for 2 years before your next serious sampling. Fusels turn to esters over time. The listerine taste and smell will lessen. You'll never get a fusel-free mead (if there's anything like that anyway) but it can ester out enough that your metheglin ingredients mask it. Time is your friend now mate.
    Cheers Swordnut. I can't think of a better way to go than your recommendation, but what are esters like to the nose?
    DRINK!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironpapa40 View Post
    I did an orange blossom traditional with 71b. Everything was done to the letter and I was meticulous with my methods. The final product was pure latex paint. It's coming up on the one year mark and no change. If you close your eyes, you wouldn't be able to tell if you were sniffing the mead or getting ready to repaint the bedroom. Only time this has ever happened to me.
    Did you use bleach on your rubber stop? I believe this is what's causing my problems too. I used bleach to decontaminate my rubber stop. Turns out rubber can absorb chlorine and then leach it out again very slowly. The result is that your wine tastes like 'water from a garden hose lying in the sun for a day'. Take a sample, expose it to the air for 10 minutes, then try it. Then expose it for another 10 minutes, et cetera. If the smell and taste lessen/disappear then at least you know it can dissipate. If so, try white bentonite. It's rich in calcium which can neutralize excess acids (if it's somehow an acidity problem) but more importantly it can bond with chlorophenol and precipitate out to the bottom.

    It's what I'm doing right now.

    Oh and, put it in the fridge for a month or so.
    Last edited by Swordnut; 07-24-2015 at 09:51 AM.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  9. Default

    Mega bump. Has anyone ever solved this? My issue:

    Five days ago I started a blackberry melomel. It had a hint of a plastic smell at must creation but no plastic taste at the time so I figured I'd let it start and see what happens.

    Ingredients used:

    3.5 lbs of Orange Blossom honey
    1 US gallon of spring water (not to one gallon, used the full gallon)
    3 lbs of crushed blackberries (frozen, let to thaw, then washed)
    Pectic enzyme
    Yeast Energizer/Yeast Nutrient mix
    1 packet of Lalvin 71B-1122

    I heated the honey and spring water in a copper/stainless pan (I do this everytime) and did not let it boil. I put a nylon straining bag (I washed this last time in the wash, wonder if thats my problem) in the food grade fermenting pail and crushed the berries. Once I had a homogenous mixture (it never boiled) I poured it on top of the berries in the bag and then added the rest of the room temperature gallon. Pectic enzyme, yeast energizer and yeast nutrient were added. Once the must cool down to 70 I pitched the yeast and it started. The original gravity was 1.092.

    I've been watching this the past five days (down to 1.014 today) using staggered nutrient additions. The plastic smell is still there as strong as ever and when I tried a sample this morning it infiltrated the taste. What is the most likely culprit for this? The bag? I did not use any campden tablets prior to pitching the yeast. Everything was sanitized and all the water in the fermenter was spring water.

    House is at a constant 68 degrees.

  10. #10
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    Did that bag get any fragrance on it from the wash, or get run through the dryer and get fabric softener on it?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

  11. #11
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    When people talk about a plastic smell is it the smell that some call 'listerine'?

    If so, my experience for what it's worth, is that given time most meads improve and even turn out good.

    I've had several last years, including a cyser that started out with too low a ph until I adjusted it, two pyments and two metheglins (one oakleaf and one nutmeg) that got too hot for their Lalvin D47 for a couple of days. All are mellowing out and the strange smells/flavours are almost gone after 6 months.
    DRINK!

  12. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mazer828 View Post
    Did that bag get any fragrance on it from the wash, or get run through the dryer and get fabric softener on it?
    I think I accidentally washed it with a scented detergent. It did not go through the dryer.

  13. #13
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    Well if I'm reading your notes correctly it looks like you made a one gallon batch. If there was some sort of fragrance on that mesh I would think it might be detectable. & I would have no idea how long it might last or if it will fade. Ouch.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

  14. Default

    Yeah I'll keep going with it and see if it mellows at all.

  15. Default

    I removed the nylon bag on Tuesday and the smell/taste seems to have gone away. I'm step feeding now to finish at 1.015 so well see how it goes.

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    That's good news. Let's hope it stays gone!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Then glory in battle to Hrothgar was given, waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen obeyed his bidding, till the boys grew to manhood, a numerous band. It burned in his spirit to urge his folk to found a great building, a mead-hall grander than men of the era ever had heard of, and in it to share with young and old all of the blessings the Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers." - Beowulf

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