View Full Version : Stupid question but, how strong is the smell of fermenting mead?

03-27-2011, 11:58 PM
I'll be able to keep it cooler in my house, but I need to convince my wife... I just need to find out how strong the smell will be w/ a 1 gallon fermentation...
Thanks for the help!!!

03-28-2011, 12:02 AM
The answer is:
It depends...
Betelgeuse (5gal) was a seriously smelly boy when he was in the primary, but with the air lock on you could hardly notice. I'd take the air lock off at times, and get intoxicated by the smell...
Red Rope (a one gal batch) I can hardly smell at all, even when I put my nose right in there. No air lock on him, just covered with the plastic paintbucket cover.

03-28-2011, 12:03 AM
If you're just fermenting honey, not strong at all. In fact, I doubt you'd even smell it unless you swirled it around a bit and got your nose right up to it.

03-28-2011, 12:26 AM
I like the smell. My wife complained that our coat closet smelled too much like fermenting beer when I was keeping things in there, but I didn't mind (mostly she didn't want to go out smelling like a brewery). Most of my traditional meads seem to smell a bit like honey and yeasty/bready. Smaller batches will smell less, as there is less gas being evolved.

03-28-2011, 12:54 AM
I think it smells delicious, but I also just enjoy the scent of yeast. However, my mother is...not impressed, she thinks it smells like rotten eggs (sulphur). My sister's biggest complaint is that my airlock has grain alcohol in it and that's all she could smell, not a hint of honey or yeast.

So...my answer is beyond your ingredients, it depends on the nose. I could stick my face into the bucket and sniff like a kitty on crack. My mother kind of wishes I would find somewhere else to brew.

Chevette Girl
03-28-2011, 01:22 AM
If it's a nice clean ferment, it usually isn't too bad. I'd often have 50 or 60 gallons in various stages of fermentation in various sizes of carboys in a corner of my kitchen and the only time I could smell it in the kitchen was when I had something open (racking, etc). Now that I'm brewing in the basement where there's a lot less airflow, I smell a particularly active fermentation for about a week, and I almost stunk my husband out of the basement for an hour when I racked my stinky sulphurous pumpkin mead, but when bottling a finished wine, there's not much smell to it, no complaints from hubby. Bigger batches produce more gas so if there's a smell it will be stronger the bigger the batch is, but usually even if it is a bit whiffy, it'll only be that way for a week or two. I find the strongest-smelling activity is removing the fruit bag from primary bucket and subsequent transfer to the compost bin, but I rather like the smell of fermented fruit, so long as it's not gone stinky like that dratted pumpkin batch or vomit-y like one recent crabapple batch!

03-28-2011, 01:23 AM
Watch out for sulphur odours, they can be dealt with but they are often sign of nutrient difficiencies for your yeasts, and can end up permanently in your mead if not dealt with.

03-28-2011, 01:43 AM
My current 6+ gallon batch filled my apartment with the best scent of honey you can imagine. As the smell went more and more over to being the smell of yeast, it got less intense anyway. My girlfriend can't even smell it now, and the only time it really comes out is when I take the lid off the fermenter - which doesn't happen all that often now that I've gotten a little more peace of mind :)

03-28-2011, 11:22 AM
My 6 one gallon batches of JAO had the kitchen smelling of oranges and spices.

Too bad my wife can't smell. :(