View Full Version : 2nd batch mead attempted, 2nd bad batch???

12-26-2007, 03:54 PM
i'm starting to get a little discouraged here.

the first batch of mead i tried - real basic, just honey, a little yeast & water - turned into vinegar and i had to dump. i was meticulously clean, sanitizing everything, but there may have been an air leak in the cover and .. i dont know if that was a contributing factor .. but i just dont like drinking vinegar and gave up on it.

my 2nd batch was a 3gal batch and consisted of 1# honey per gal of water (i didnt want to wait 6 months for it to finish) plus yeast, yeast nutrients, and some defrosted blackberries i threw in to flavor it. again, everything was sanitized and very clean. it was fermenting okay in a glass carboy with air lock, except there was a sulfur smell. based on readings from a few mead forums, i added a little more yeast nutrient which *seemed* to make a difference.

anyway, after 5, 6 days all activity seemed to stop and i racked into another glass carboy. but - the smell was really nasty .. not sulfur, just baaad. i'm almost ready to chuck this one too. i cant imagine drinking something that smells so lousy .. unless someone tells me it will dissipate after a while.

any ideas if its bad, and what may have gone wrong?

12-26-2007, 05:49 PM
At 1 pound of honey per gallon I can say for one thing your yeasts are starving to death. This can lead to bad things, namely that the yeast will look for food and when there is none, they will start in on each other. This makes for bad smells and flavors. Roughly 3 pounds of honey per gallon (depending on the yeast used... and the honey... plan appropriately) will give a more appropriate starting gravity.

I would request, as will others on the forum, that you post the exact recipe and process followed in order to better help you.

Yo momma
12-26-2007, 07:21 PM
I agree with BRUCE. Imagine putting one egg in the middle of a batallion of soldiers. The mess would be ugly with all the dead laying on the ground and the only thing to eat is each other! NASTY :icon_puke_r:

Anyway that is what I think happened to your mead. Try going to the home site and look at the recipes there and see what you could come up with. Then post your recipe in the discussion area for the rest of us to help with the instructions. It is what most of us did the first time here, and it helps knowing someone with a lot of knowledge will take time to help you with your questions. Try it and see what happens. :icon_thumright:

12-26-2007, 07:24 PM
At 1 pound of honey per gallon I can say for one thing your yeasts are starving to death.
i was told at the homebrew store that 1# honey per gal of water would permit a mead to be ready in about 30 days. using 2# or 3# per gal would mean months - or years - for it to be drinkable. hence the reason for only 1#.

i wasnt trying to be cheap about it. 8)

because of the bad smell, would you say this batch should be dumped?

Yo momma
12-26-2007, 07:40 PM
I've never came accross this problem so I'm not sure what you could do too save your batch. I'm quite sure the problem has happened before nad you could use the search up top of the forums to find out. :icon_study:

As far as your batch taking that long, BS. I have a person who helped me get started and he fed me some bs also. It is wise to listen to the people here. They have a ton more experience than I and can help you with better clarificatin on what to and not to do.

Medsen Fey
12-26-2007, 08:10 PM
Hello UP,

Welcome to Gotmead!

My advice would be "wait a while" before you dump it. Many young meads taste harsh/bad (sort of like, who put the vodka in this honey water?), and may have aromas that are off but which will dissipate with time. I don't think this mead will be ready to drink in 1 month, but if you leave it to age for a few months, it may surprise you (besides, what have you got to lose by waiting). Now granted, your starved and stressed yeast may have produced unpleasant odors and flavors that may never clear, but I wouldn't say that until I had given it a good long chance. One truism I am coming to appreciate is that in mead-making, you'd best not be in a hurry.

Secondly, as a new mead maker, you may want to try a goof-proof recipe - a good one is Joe's Ancient Orange (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=600.0;topicseen). It is ready to drink relatively quickly, and is tried and true. If you search through some of the other recipes you will find several that are ready to drink early, but even most of these will improve further with aging. You can make a mead with one pound of honey per gallon but in something like that, I would probable use an ale yeast that has a much lower alcohol tolerance.

I did not see which yeast you used. This may have something to do with it as some are more prone to bad smells than other. If you can tell us the specifics of you recipe, (which yeast, which honey, which nutrients, etc.) and other details like the temperature, some of the experts here may be able to give you more help.

Endeavor to persevere,

Yo momma
12-27-2007, 08:40 AM
Nice quote Medsen. LMAOROTF. I woke up this morning at 7:15am and logged on at 7:30am and saw that. Great way to start the day. I also agree with Medsen. My first batch was JAO and it was fabulous in about 3 months. Patience and more patience is required for a good mead to be made. Ther are such speedy recipes in the recipe section but they will not taste really good until aged for a month or so.

12-27-2007, 02:01 PM
You are getting some really good advice here.

On the GM forum are folks who are passionate about mead and think about it everyday. Some have been brewing for decades. Many others are multiple gold medal winners. Some have been kind enough to chime in to help you with your particular situation.

Chances are very good that your LHBS owner is a wonderful person and a great brewer in his/her own right. However, he or she probably doesn't have the contact with as many mead brewers as you now have.

Mead is not beer nor is it wine. Most of the recipes from until verrrry recently have been variations of wine or beer recipes. "Basically do the same steps, just add honey." Honey is not grape juice nor is it hopped-barley water. It has some very different needs. You will learn about those needs here by reading the forum, using the search function, and learning from others mistakes.

If you ask for advice from the forum, please make sure to try it! Folks are taking time out of their lives to help you, as most of them got help when they were first starting. Go to the main site ( www.gotmead.com ) and read the Mead Newbees site as well as other great mead making articles.

Good luck!


P.S. Re: your current batch - there is a pretty good chance that it will be fine. I'd add 2 more lbs of honey and a can of apple juice and aerate it with a big shake for a minute a couple of times a day for three or four days. If the must doesn't start fermenting on it's own, come back and give more details to see if folks can help you again.

As for quick mead - go buy some from one of the sponsors of the Mead Fest competition. Spruce Moutain, Rabbit Foot, Redstone, etc. Also look at the main site for the reviews.

P.P.S. Consider becoming a Patron. There are many up-to-the minute recipes in the Patron section with very clear step-by-step instructions on how to make an award winning style mead. It's only $25. You will save that in wasted time and honey in no time!

12-27-2007, 02:24 PM
You beat me to it, Leonora! Truer words were never spoken....

12-28-2007, 07:44 PM
If you're looking for something ready to drink in 30 days, you may be a bit hard pressed to find it. There are some recipes that produce drinkable mead in a short time, but most are just covering up the younger flavor with sweetening.

It's not the amount of honey you use that really dictates when it will be drinkable. There are other things that you need to take into account such as the yeast strain you use, fermentation temperature, etc.

If you don't want to wait a fair amount of time before you start sampling, consider fermenting at a bit lower temperature in the recommended range of the yeast you use, flavor the fermented mead with something strong in flavor and sweeten after fermentation is done and you may have something a little better than rocket fuel.

The Ancient Orange Mead recipe recommended, when followed to the letter, is drinkable in a short time, maybe shorter if you keep the must around 70 or so. It may still taste a bit young (fuelish) right out of the fermentor, but you can still drink it. If you can wait a bit longer you'll be rewarded with something much smoother with less "burn".

Try again, use enough honey to run the yeast to it's limit, keep it clean like you have been and wait a bit before you consume freely. Mead really does benefit from at least a bit of aging, as does all alcoholic fermentation.

If you gotta drink it sooner you'll likely have to cover up the fresh ethanol taste with some flavoring and some sweetening.

It works well but you gotta give it at least a smidge of time :)

If you want to drink now, get a few bottles of commercial to tide you over till you're ready to bottle your own, that way you'll have a few bottles ready when it's done.

Good luck