View Full Version : katzen piss

stagnant waters
03-31-2013, 12:58 PM
I just racked and sampled a cyser that's about a month old. It has a distinctly cat piss aroma and flavor like a sauvignon blanc. It's not bad, but it's not what I was expecting either. Where did the urine scent come from? Is it because of the raisins I added to the primary?

Apple Juice to 1 gal
Clover honey aprox 2.5 # to SG of 1.110
D-47 yeast
1/2 cup raisins
DAP and energizer
Temp 65 degrees

I didn't feed it until after the lag period was over. I aerated everyday until the 1/3 break and followed the usual SNA protocol. It finished at 1.004 in 16 days. Since the yeast was D-47 I didn't rack it until 30 days.

I humbly thank you in advance for your thoughts.

03-31-2013, 11:21 PM
check ur dap/energiser some contain urea. im still a noob but i can see a possible connection. cat pee-urine-urea :confused:

...... some strong cloudy scrumpy ciders can have this sort of oder/taste but its from wild yeast id guess it would be an of flavour from stressed wild yeast ? was the juice fresh pressed ?

stagnant waters
04-01-2013, 12:16 AM
It was pasteurized, so no wild yeast in the juice. I thought about the DAP, too, but I made a couple of gallons of "4 week cyser" at the same time with the same juice, D47 and nutrients and it doesn't taste ANYTHING like this. The 4 week is very mellow with no hint of cat piss. I even boiled the raisins before adding them to the must, so I don't think there would be contamination there. The big differences between the two were the length of fermentation and the addition of the raisins. I'm stumped.

04-01-2013, 01:00 AM
did you taste that juice before hand? might just be a weird funky batch of juice ?

04-01-2013, 02:30 AM
Were the final gravities the same on both batches? Apple cider goes pretty sour/weird when dry and gets better with age. My advice? TRUST THE FUNGUS. Especially D-47. I've left it on the cake for battonage/sur lie for months without negative effects. The yeasties aren't done after 1 month either, they have plans for their toxic environment to clean up a bit before dying. Give it some age, maybe some oak, and some patience. I've made some dry apfelwein before and it tasted really gross to begin with, but after a few months became more like the sour, pungent, deliciousness I had in Frankfurt so long ago.

04-01-2013, 06:22 AM
I'd be inclined toward RachmaelBenApplebaum's advice, give it some time.
Cat piss doesn't sound like a pleasant smell, but when you mentioned the falvour you likened it to a dry wine and mentioned the low final FG.
While I've never had one smell as you describe, I've done a cyser with raisins and it was awful for about 3-6 months. Now its coming up to a year and its lovely. Give it time, mead is a patience game ;)

04-01-2013, 06:47 AM
I did some googling out of interest.
It seems some ppl are more prone to smelling 'cats piss' than others.
There is a particular hop that's known to produce this reaction in certain people.
One fellow said the flavour was detected in "German Riesling's and Gewurztraminer and sometimes Sauvignon Blancs."

As you said it tasted like a Sauvignon Blanc, I found this statement interesting.

Anyhow, from an engineering POV, I reckon you have some ammonia in your brew.
This is volatile, do I expect you could treat it like any other volatile.
ie. either try to let it age out, using the yeast cake as a sponge,
Or aerate (splash rack) it
Or by using copper maybe or some other treatment.
I'm not really sure, I'd try aging first.

stagnant waters
04-01-2013, 03:52 PM
I will trust the fungus and sit tight. Thanks!

04-01-2013, 04:35 PM
Gotta love the fact that one of the more relevant sayings I still carry with me in to adulthood is from the Mario Brothers movie :) It's just so applicable.

04-01-2013, 06:41 PM
I have a cyser that's 2 and a half months old. I used about 4.5 pounds of honey to 2 gallons apple juice. I used nutrients and energizer instead of raisins. I never did get that cat pee smell (then again, I manage a pet store, maybe I just don't smell it any more?)

I did spice mine some with cove and cinnamon for two weeks, gave it a very lovely warm scent. Sparkalloid has cleared it up and it's a wonderful golden color now. I'd consider trying some in yours to cover the scent.

If some people are more likely to smell that cat-pee/urea smell, have you gotten some feedback from other people? If other people do not smell it, it may be a perception issue.

04-01-2013, 06:47 PM
The cat pee aroma has never struck me as the ammonia part. It's more of a sour, lightly rancid kind of aroma to me. I had one wine that was actually called "Cats Phee on a Gooseberry Bush". [it's a sauv blanc] And yes, the aroma was very much exactly that.

In this particular case, I'd agree and say let it age. Apple products are a LOT better with some age. I won't even try the first bottle of cider for at least a year, even at only 5-6% abv.

stagnant waters
04-02-2013, 12:13 AM
...it may be a perception issue.

Yup, that wouldn't surprise me, I've been told that for most of my married life. I'm happy to wait and see if it settles down some. That's good to know about apples, Akueck. I appreciate it.

Chevette Girl
04-03-2013, 09:42 PM
If other people do not smell it, it may be a perception issue.

My mom has that "perception issue", she describes a lot of things as smelling like cat pee... spruce trees and black currants, to name a few...

04-03-2013, 09:53 PM
I have acid reflux, therefore I often taste salt in things that have none. It's just a chemical imbalance due to the acid always in the back of my mouth. *shrug* I could see someone having a similar issue with smell.