View Full Version : to the moon and back!

09-05-2005, 09:41 PM
ok i have made 2 meads, one is a 1 yr old show mead 12 pounds clove or ob honey 5 gallons in a new plastic carboy it started off really slow with liquid sweat mead yeast think whitelabs. the other mead is the anceint orange recipe that i followed to the T i racked it at about 1 month then let it sit and age for about 3 more.

so the show mead finished very dry at a surprising 0 and my meter or 1.0 w/e. which shouldn't be since i used sweat mead yeast. i racked this show mead at 1 month, then 6months and then i just bottled it yesterday. i have 2 problems with this yeast

1. there was a layer about quarter inch think on the top of it. this layer was white...cloudy white. it wasn't a solid, it looked kinda like mucus..jelly like. also while it was sitting in carboy the volume started high and dropped about a inch or two, there was about 5 lines of white rings where the level had been, this mucus stuff stuck to the sides and dryed. what is this stuff? also when racking there was alot of hissing and foam going on

2. i racked under this layer of mucus and bottle about 3/4 of it, and i dumped the rest. i got brave and tasted it and it didn't taste very good. when it was younger it tasted ALOT like rocket fuel but that has went away some but its still very much there and that is what tastes so bad.

the orange mead

1.this stuff would taste really great....and smells great too....but it has MAJOR ROCKET FUEL taste. This stuff could very easily be mistaken for vodka 200 proof. and i thought it was said it could be drank and tasted good at just 1 month?

I know its not the receipes fault im not blameing anyone but myself. i know its something i did or havn't done...just looking for some anwsers if anyone is kind enough.

i didn't take a meter on the orange because all the floatys when i started.

09-05-2005, 10:12 PM
I will let others more experienced comment on the show mead even though it sounds to me like you had one hell of a fungal contamination. Sterilize properly and use Campded tablets as a back-up.
The Ancient Orange....well you followed the instructions to a T up to the point were you racked it :-\ You were not supposed to rack it. I usually let the sucker sit until the raisins and orange start dropping to the bottom and the mead is crystal clear. It finishes sweet and no alcohol burn.

Hope it helps,

09-05-2005, 11:46 PM
on the orange, i did let the rasins drop, the oranges on the other hand they were still floating for the most part, but i guess i didn't read that part i thought after one month it was good to go so i racked to clear it.

do u think maybe the temps were to high and thats why i keep making rocket fuel? i dont have a cellar or anything so temps are well anywhere from 70-85 maybe even 90 on a few days.

other than temp how else can i prevent the burn when making meads? or is temp the major key?

also i didn't write down any dates so when i say 1 month for first rack it was at least one month could have been 2.

when i bottled the mead was very clear, but since i racked early it must have cleared early too.

thx for your input

also does anyone know if this is a fungal contamination if its safe to drink?
i didn't use any chemicals except maybe to balance ph.

09-06-2005, 12:02 AM
Hey hellbringer,

On the show mead. 12 lb of honey in 5 gallons of must would have a potential of less then 12% alcohol..

White labs; WLP720 Sweet Mead yeast will tolerate alcohol concentrations up to 15%. A good choice for sweet mead and cider, providing theres more sugar then the yeast can metabolize before being killed by the alcohol.

Here's a link with information about yeast used for mead. http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/strains.asp

A link for calculating how much honey is needed, http://www.gotmead.com/making-mead/mead-calculator.shtml

As to the fluff floating on the mead, I have never seen or read about such a thing, so I haven't a clue, but it doesn't sound good.

As to the fluid level in the carboy dropping, thats not good. If mead is evaporating and vapor escaping, the carboy is not ait tight, and outside air is getting in. A properly fitted airlock or bung should not allow that to happen.

I only use glass carboys and know nothing about the plastic counter part.

I have yet to make Ancient Orange so I can't add anything on that.


09-06-2005, 02:06 AM

My first batch of Ancient Orange had a strong fusel character (White Lightning-like flavor/aroma), and thus far, so does my latest batch. The key here does, indeed, seem to be the high temperature: both times the temps were in the mid-to-high nineties for the entire period of active fermentation.

Let your AO air a bit before you drink it -- you know, decant and let it sit for twenty minutes or so. I actually placed my open mazer in front of a fan, and in a few minutes, all those higher alcohols were gone, leaving behind a smooth citrus/spice mead with a respectable kick.

This seems to be a drink best made with cooler temps, despite the fact that the yeast can tolerate very high temps (I had days when the mead making space was at 100+ F, and they only seemed to work harder). They become quite active at higher temps, but they are stressed at this time for fermenting purposes (since this is a bread yeast, I guess we shouldn't be too shocked that it behaves like one).

If you had the patience, aging should make those flavors fade too. I, however, being a product of the times, have no patience whatsoever.


09-06-2005, 11:42 PM
ill try letting it air out a bit but im sure it will still kick like a horse.

yeah im going to wait till temps drop to the 60's outside then ill try another go at the ao. what would be the ideal temp? my guess is around 65 maybe 70?

as for the bread yeast has anyone tried any other yeasts with the ao reciepe? are there certain ones u might suggest i try to minimize the higher alcohols?

one last thing here, does anyone have a link to all the infections one may incounter in brewing and also pictures to help identify them? im not convinced i described my infection perfectly and i don't have pictures to show.


09-07-2005, 04:18 AM
ill try letting it air out a bit but im sure it will still kick like a horse.

yeah im going to wait till temps drop to the 60's outside then ill try another go at the ao. what would be the ideal temp? my guess is around 65 maybe 70?

as for the bread yeast has anyone tried any other yeasts with the ao reciepe? are there certain ones u might suggest i try to minimize the higher alcohols?

If you give the AO a really good airing, I think you'll be amazed at the difference. I know I was. I think someone talked about wanting to use Lalvin D-47 to make this recipe, though I don't recall if it was actually ever done. I think D-47 would be a fine candidate, all the same, and intend to use it myself in a future batch.


09-14-2005, 03:00 AM
Sounds like an interesting idea using D-47 but I'll wait for you guys first, I'm takind a chance....anger Joe....SCARRRYYYYY!!!
My first batch of AO had a kick like a mule but we drank it anyways ;D My last batch, I followed the recipe to the letter and kept it in a dark, fairly cool place (low 70's) and it was excellent.


09-14-2005, 11:05 AM
Hey Hellbringer,

Could this be what got into your mead?

Flowers of Wine: Small flecks or blooms of white powder or film may appear on the surface of the wine. If left unchecked, they grow to cover the entire surface and can grow quite thick. They are caused by spoilage yeasts and/or mycoderma bacteria, and if not caught at first appearance will certainly spoil the wine. If caused by yeast, they consume alcohol and give off carbon dioxide gas. They eventually turn the wine into colored water. The wine must be filtered at once to remove the flecks of bloom and then treated with one crushed Campden tablet per gallon of wine. The saved wine will have suffered some loss of alcohol and may need to be fortified with added alcohol (brandy works well) or consumed quickly. If caused by the mycoderma bacteria, treat the same as for a yeast infection. The Campden will probably check it, but the taste may have been ruined. Taste the wine and then decide if you want to keep it. Bacterial infections usually spoil the wine permanently, but early treatment may save it.