View Full Version : Odd smell and colored lees

05-19-2012, 11:48 AM
I started a traditional mead back in january, and after racking it to a new container, I noticed that it had an odd smell, and that some of the lees at the bottom of the carboy were black. The smell reminded me of Jarred vegetables that had spoiled :(. Does anyone know what can be done to save it? I added sulfite.
Here are my notes.

12.5 lbs local wildflower honey
1.5 lbs local clover honey
2 packets of lalvin 71B
5tsp Yeast nutrient (added all at once)
2 and a half tsp energizer (yeast hulls)
5 gallons total

Starting OG: 1.105

1/9/12: SG= 1.082
1/13/12: SG= 1.021
1/16/12: SG= 1.006
1/17/12 SG= 1.006
1/18/12: Racked, SG= 1.006, Cloudy, Musty
2/3/12: less cloudy
2/11/12: lees collecting at bottom of carboy
4/8/12: still very cloudy, added bentonite
5/18/12: looks clear

Thanks for any help!

05-19-2012, 03:38 PM
So if I'm reading this correctly, you haven't racked this mead yet? So you're still on primary/gross lees.

71B is not great for lees aging. 4 months is probably long enough for you to see some off-flavors. I would rack this right away and get it off the lees.

05-19-2012, 04:21 PM
I have racked it twice, the from primary to secondary and once off of the sediment. I had read that 71-B could create off flavors, so i made sure to rack off the lees as soon as primary fermentation had ended.
I should probably also mention that I had excess head-space in the secondary, but I didnt know that was a problem at the time.

05-19-2012, 05:19 PM
O wow, it says "racked" doesn't it? Ha, my bad.

I have had dark lees when there is something in the honey that is dark and drops out. What was the honey like?

Jarred veggies is a bit weird, I've only run into that in beers so far. Again, what was the honey like? Some honey has some interesting flavors that intensify after all the sugar is gone. Usually they age out a bit.

05-19-2012, 06:20 PM
No problem :)
The wildflower honey was dark-ish, with what looked like bits of the comb in it. Did not look like it had been processed very much.
The clover honey looked normal, however after adding it i remembered that it did have a slight "barnyard" scent to it. I never seem to remember important details like that until it is too late.

05-19-2012, 07:28 PM
I've had quite a bit of dark particulate stuff fall out of darker honey. Could just be that. And "barnyard" flavors do tend to mellow out.

I did have a couple meads that turned out with a real funky slightly-burnt flavor. I had a little bit of the honey left over, and sure enough it was hidden in there behind all the sugar. If the mead isn't obviously infected, then the most likely cause is just some subtle flavor in the honey that is more noticeable now.