View Full Version : It smells like a truck full of ethanol hit an ABC store full of peach wine

07-15-2006, 12:04 AM
ok, I have done period beers back and forth,but this is my first batch of mead. I was racking for the second time and my brew partner and I noticed a POWERFUL alcohol smell. Like knock you down and make you dizzy :o. Is this a normal thing with mead (i.e. will it mellow out?) or have i managed to screw up the easiest wine in history?

07-15-2006, 12:39 AM
To the GotMead Regulars who can see it coming - Wait for it...


First off welcome to the fourm, second - Please list your exact recipe... Process, Ingredients, Yeast type, notes, Starting gravity, current gravity, Ideally the range of ambient temperature in your brewing area as well.. The more we know the more we are able to help. I'm assuming it's not something silly like forgetting that you used Vodka in your airlocks? Some of the brewers here do, and might even drink enough to forget they'd done so. ;)


07-15-2006, 02:05 AM
To the GotMead Regulars who can see it coming - Wait for it...

+1 and welcome to gotmead!

07-15-2006, 04:28 PM
the recipie! duh!! it was late, i totally forgot.
4 Gallons Water
15 lbs Honey
10 lbs Peaches (Pressed like for cider)

I snatized everything,I started with 1 gallon boiled water in the pot, then added the honey and then began the boil, I boiled the honey for 1 hour, skimming off the top, and then added the peaches for another hour boil, after that I let it cool with a wort chiller, and then added the wort to the 3 gallons of pre boiled water i alreday had in my primary fermenter.

I pitched White Labs Sweet Mead yeast at 75 degress and then let is sit open with a towel over it for 24 hours, after that I snapped the lid on with a two peice airlock and watched it bubble away. After two weeks I did my first racking and it smelled perfect, then last night I racked it again but it was much much much stronger, it didn't smell bad, just waaaaayy more alchoholic than i'm used to beer or cider smelling.

I don't have any hydrometer readings because the night I made my batch my hydrometer fell out of the test tube and hit the floor to shatter into a million pieces (thats the 4th one i've bought) my local brew store is currently out and the shipment doesn't get here till next week.

I mean it needs some time to clarify and fully ferment, and it might just be nervous old me. Oh, and the old frememometor is reading at 76, with ambient ranges from 76-78, never more than that, since I'm not looking for esters.

EDITED: Inserted CR's for readabilty ---Oskaar

07-15-2006, 04:55 PM
Looks like you have about 16% Alcohol potential, and it sounds like your near the end of fermentation, It could very well have a predominant alcohol odor about it... hopefully its not a sherry type odor, which could be signs of oxidation.


07-15-2006, 05:47 PM
actually I just checked the fermenter and the two stage is reading level, so no more fermentation. Now my problem is this, if i transfer it to a glass carboy will it clarify, and can I keep it out in the light now that it is done fermenting, after i filter all the peach chunks out of it of course.

07-15-2006, 06:23 PM
Will it Clear? I'd say you will have a definite pectin haze, the pectin will have set from boiling the peachs or peach juice, not quite clear on your process... but either way you will have set the pectin. In the future, try this recipe without boiling the honey, and add the peach juice to the secondary (again no boiling or heating). The honey doesn't need heat sterilization, and if you add the peach juice to the secondary the Alcohol will wipe out the competing organisms from the peaches. You'll be surprised how much more flavor and aroma you gain. Your batch will still be drinkable, but to get rid of the haze you'll need some clearing agents, good filtering, and a bit of luck. I personally don't use clearing agents, I let time clear my meads, and if they don't clear to brilliant I'm not too concerned about it. Attach a grain bag loosely to your racking cane and rack off the peach pieces, at this point they're not adding anything but the potential for problems. I DO NOT ADVISE straining the batch through a coffee filter or other similar means as this will expose your batch to oxygen, but as a brewer you'll be aware of this. Hope this helps.

Oh, yeah... fermentation should always be kept out of the light as much as possible, as should storage/aging.


07-16-2006, 11:15 AM
Hi scadian,

Welcome to the forums. When posting throw us a couple of carriage returns to break up long paragraphs, it makes the post easier to follow and improves the readability.

thanks so much,


07-25-2006, 08:17 AM
good day. I consider myself a newb. My first batchs were just over a year ago. One of them was a Cyzer. After primary fermentation it smelled and tasted like rocket fuel. I had been cruising the forums and read how aging was supposed to make my mead better. I didn't see how it could make rocket fuel into the sweet nector of the Gods that I had read about.

I Bottled it about 6 months after primary fermentation (3/05) and I have to admit that I was still skeptical. I tried it a 6 months after bottling and was disappointed. I tried it again around a year, still not impressed. I was sure I was going to be the only one to drink it because I was too embararassed to let someone else try it.

Last week I opend a bottle and the rocket fuel was gone. Mostly what was left was a dry slightly apple tasting wine like drink that actually tasted pretty good. I proptly started passing out bottles.

Downfall is, now I have to make more.

I know this information isn't full of experience, but I hope you find this encouraging.

07-25-2006, 09:02 AM
Hey Ciderman,
I am new at this mead game too and I have been really impressed with the knowledge I have gained from the Gotmead Sages. However, I am sure you will hear this soon...

What was your recipe, procedure, feeding schedule, aeration methods, etc. Once you post that info then the Sages can help you figure out what went "wrong". Also as Wrathwilde says many times let the mead bulk age for at least 6 months before you make a judgment. Some of Oskaar's meads are aged over 2 years, if I remember correctly. This stuff takes patience, which I have none of mind you, but the end product should be nice. One batch I have is about 4 months and it is nice now and I canít wait to taste it during the winter.

So what did you do to make your rocket fuel?

07-25-2006, 11:40 AM
Also as Wrathwilde says many times let the mead bulk age for at least 6 months before you make a judgment.


Just a clarification as to why I suggest Newbees bulk age for a minimum of 6 months after fermentation is complete. This isn't long enough to diminish the rocket fuel characteristics, but long enough that (in most cases) the Newbees won't be dumping their batches as a failed experiment. Longer is better though, I'm personally bulk aging my current batches over a year.


07-25-2006, 12:24 PM
Thanks for clearing that up. I had one nasty one but it seems to be getting better with age.

07-25-2006, 12:33 PM
wait one, looking for brew notes. This could be awhile.....

07-27-2006, 02:48 PM
In addition to what Wrathwilde suggested as a good term for bulk aging, I'd like to reaffirm that.

That is, keeping something in bulk for at least six months is a good way to asses progress. If it tastes like ass out of the gate, and tastes a little better each time, you're getting a sense that it is improving over time.

Another reason to keep stuff in bulk aging is that it is easier to make adjustments to your mead when it is in bulk. If it's already in bottles, then you're pretty much screwed unless you want to uncap and try again.

Also bulk aging keeps the volume of mead to a level that mild fluctuations in temperature won't affect it adversely unless those temperatures are sustained over time (like this blinkin heat wave in California)

Finally (but not lastly) if you plan on bottling aging in bulk is a good way to measure the status of the fermentation. If you check the gravity of the mead over the course of a few months and there's no change, then you know your fermentation is pretty much done and it's safe to bottle. If you bottle too soon, ka-BLOOEY, bottle bombs, wasted mead, lammentations and general funkery.

Bottom line,

Bulk aging is a good thing to do.



07-28-2006, 08:51 AM
Just a little story to illustrate the benefits of aging:

Lo these many years ago, when I created my first mead.....

Instead of starting with a nice easy melomel, I decided to make this recipe I found in a book that had about 20 different spices in it. For the NewBees in the crowd, metheglins can be as tricky as making a great show mead, and spices take *forever* to age into their prime in a mead...

I created the mead according to the recipe, and gleefully poured it into the 3-gallon carboy I'd acquired from my brewshop. After it finished the primary ferment, I took a taste while I racked into secondary. It was *nasty*. I consoled myself that the mead was young, and let it sit until time for the next rack. It was even *nastier*.

Well now, I'm a stubborn sort, so I racked it *back* into the 3-gallon carboy, and moved it into the basement to age. I checked it at 4-6 month intervals, and every time it was nasty. I refused to dump it, out of sheer pack-rattiness.

I tried to forget about my failed first try, making many yummy melomels and several pretty good traditional meads, including a fantastic orange blossom honey traditional.

Then, one day I was cleaning down in the basement, and came across the plastic-wrapped 3-gallon carboy. Even though I'm a pack rat, I made the tearful decision to admit my first experiment in mead-making was a failure, and rescue my carboy from the graveyard. But first, for old times sake, I decided to take a taste.

***NECTAR OF THE GODS**** ::insert inspirational music here::

The stuff had, after just under 2 years of aging in bulk, transformed in the what is *still* the best mead I have ever made. The last bottle disappeared years ago, stolen, I think by a friend who had a taste and declared it manna.

If you've patience, the Mead Gods can give you a reward. Drink no mead before its' time.

For those who are interested, this is the mead that became the Best Mead I've Ever Made (http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_rapidrecipe/page,viewrecipe/recipe_id,7/Itemid,161/).

Vicky - who just pitched a 17th century ginger beer recipe

07-28-2006, 01:37 PM
Vicky - who just pitched a 17th century ginger beer recipe

Good for you Vicky, I pitch all the Beer recipes I come across too, why make beer when you can use that carboy space to make mead. :P ;D


07-28-2006, 01:45 PM
LMAO.....I'm a huge Ginger Ale fan, and this one sounded good. I just made a gallon, we'll see if its' good or ick.....

I *really* have to bottle some meads, though....The peach is sitting there waiting, the one I made at Mead Day 2005...