View Full Version : Well...so..how do you get rid of the sulfur smell

08-25-2009, 12:50 AM
The mead, 4 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy...i have nothing smaller other than two one gallon carboys, has decided that it would like to give me the middle finger after smelling and tasting good. It smells of sulfur, it is there, and it is distinct.

I cold crashed the full 5 gallon carboy in the fridge for about 3 days to get the yeast to stop feeding..it was nearing 16% and I didnt want it that high. I then racked out 1 gallon of it onto some raspberries in a one gallon carboy, and the rest went into another 5 gallon carboy.

The raspberry batch smells wonderful.
I cleaned and used the acid sanitizer on all equipment, rinsed very very well, i was paranoid after my last batch failed.

The only other ingredients in the 5 gallons carboy other than mead are 4 cloves and half of a split vanilla bean and there is...well was soome foam on top very light and not very thick kinda swirly kinda not, it was not moving on its own, but I shook it to see if I could gas it..
I also used the recomended dose of sodium metebisulfate to help keep anything else from happening. Also this smell crept up over night it was not in the original.
Its in the nose, not in the taste, tastes fine actually like it did before I cold crashed it.

Can anybody tell me how to get rid of this before I pull my hair out...being so close to TRF and I will have nothing to bring...aside from a few bottles of raspberry melomel. Im not serving anybody this awful smelling, good tasting mead to anybody.

Medsen Fey
08-25-2009, 09:14 AM
For the smelly batch, please provide the details of the recipe and process including the time frames and doses of all additions in the format outlined in the FAQ.

08-25-2009, 11:44 AM
Also, please describe the exact smell. Sulfur compounds can either smell like burnt matches or lit firework fuses, or they will smell of rotten eggs or cabbage. The exact nature of the sulfur smell is important to determine.

08-25-2009, 05:10 PM
My recipe is as follows

11 # wildflower honey
4 # of Tupelo honey
1 tsp wine tannin
2 tsp Acid blend
5 tsp Yeast nutrient
enough ozarka water to fill to 5 gallons.
I did a no boil on this one.

I had some PH issues with the acid blend but I fix the issue before it got bad.

The starting gravity was 1.12, the ending was around 1.01.

I feed the yeas about 2 tsp yeast nutrient and a little energizer at 1.08, and at 1.04 I feed it 1 tsp yeast nutrient and a little energizer around a 1/4 tsp.

When the SG got to 1.01 ,I put the whole thing in the fridge and crashed it for three days. After this I racked onto some sulfites ( i dont remember how much but it was the recomended dose on the package) 4 cloves and a split vanilla bean(well half of one). The next day I open it up to smell it and I have a rotten eggy smell may be with a hint of burnt match..im not sure.... I do know that it smells of rotten eggs.

And Like I said everything was absolutly perfect until I racked it..and even the one gallon I racked from the same 5 gallon batch(the bad smelling) is perfect.

08-25-2009, 06:20 PM
What yeast did you use?

It might just be the sulfites offgassing, in which time should cause this to go away.

David Baldwin
08-25-2009, 07:04 PM
I'm inclined to think too that it may be the sulfur from the sodium metabisulfite offgassing.

One thing to note that caught my attention. The sodium metabi is fine for sterilizing equipment etc, but I stick with the potassium metabisulfite for stabilization. I don't want the added sodium in my diet.

If it were my meadworks, I would bubble CO2 through the mead to assist in offgassing the sulfur. It may help.

08-25-2009, 08:11 PM
The yeast I used was cote de blanc, or however you say it...so two of you thing it might be somthing out gassing...I dont have any equipment to blow co2 through it.....is there anyother way for me to do this?

Medsen Fey
08-26-2009, 09:19 AM
Just keep degassing the mead by swirling the carboy and blow of the dissolved CO2 for a few days. That may eliminate the smell. If it does not, racking again may help. It it still smell stinky after that, then treatment is probably needed.

08-26-2009, 03:00 PM
"Rotten Egg" is definitely hydrogen sulfide (reduced sulfur). Oxidized sulfur (including the SO2 coming from metabisulfite) smells more like burnt matches or fireworks fuses in the process of burning. The excess SO2 coming from metabisulfite in solution will be "sharp" smelling, irritating the inside of the nose but NOT smelling like a rotting egg or a dead animal carcass.

You definitely have H2S in there, and the best way to get rid of it is to purge the gas out of solution by splashing it a bit as you rack from one vessel to another. Yes, this will introduce some oxygen into your mead. However, slight oxidation is far preferable to the bad odors/flavors that will remain in the mead if you don't purge the H2S before it changes to mercaptans and, eventually, disulfides. If you're worried about oxidation after you've splash-racked, then add enough metabisulfite to bring the free SO2 level up to about 50 ppm. Again, that releases oxidized sulfur into your mead - the "good" kind in winemaking - which will both assist in purging any remaining H2S and will act as an antioxidant for the mead itself.