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  1. Default Can Bad Tap Water Cause Heavy Fusel-ing?

    I totally screwed up a 5 gallon batch, I used HORRIBLE tap water instead of my spring water.

    The mead is only 2 weeks and 4 days old, but this isn't my first brew, and all I can taste AND smell is Fusel. The permanent marker, Rocket fuel thing

    Will tap water that, literally, tastes worse than your local swimming pool (heavy chlorine and chloramine) cause yeast to strain and produce more Fusel than Ethanol?

    Thanks,
    Jonas

    *Edit* As a side note, Amazingly there is almost NO carbonation in the glass despite a Vigorous fermentation which also leads me to believe the yeast were strained by the chemicals. The fermentation temperature was only 66 - 68 degrees, optimal temps.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Evergreen, CO (west of and above the Denver smog!)
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    Hi, Jonas! Welcome to "Gotmead!" Generally, if fermentation starts well, then it won't be too traumatized by chlorine/chloramine during the rest of primary. Chlorine tends to outgas from water relatively quickly and it will tend to be forced out of solution even quicker by the generation of CO2 that is occurring as your yeast eat those sugars. Fusel production is usually far more influenced by the temperature of fermentation than by the amount of chlorine in the water.

    Even so, never fear. In the long run fusels will age out, breaking down into simple ethanol and saccharides, and eventually all that rocket fuel character will disappear.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  3. Default

    Thanks Wayned, and excuse for not introducing myself.

    I'm Jonas, and I've been brewing root beer and strawberry wine for a while, this is my first mead, though. I'm enjoying it, though I hope I didn't contaminate it with impatient sanitizing technique due to a prior, and unhappy, tasting experience. Hopefully all is well and will be able to age out without contamination, now. the bubbles that come up through the airlock smell amazing, but once you pop the bung it's a whole different story. NOTHING but fusel, and it is strong. I do hope it ages out well. I'm preparing to make 3 gallons of Red Raspberry Melomel, and three gallons of Blue Heaven, but now I know what not to do next time

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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    Can you tell us more about what you did with this batch? (recipe details)
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    Can you tell us more about what you did with this batch? (recipe details)
    Ya.

    16 lbs. raw Clover honey (from my Grandparents Fields)
    Rehydrated 71B-1122 Yeast, Yeast Nutrient, Yeast Energizer
    Enough water for 5 gallons
    Primary Fermentor 2 weeks, Racked to Secondary Sunday the 2nd.

    That's it so far.

    Jonas

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Ottawa, ON
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    Hiya Jonas, I'm sure someone else who's trying to help will want to know your process as well, ie, when did you add the nutrients and energizer, and how much... how often did you aerate, that kind of thing... Mostly they will try to figure out what you might have done to stress out your yeasties...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  7. #7
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    It sounds like you treated this batch okay. What was the starting and final gravity? Do you know the pH?

    The things that lead to lots of fusels are high temperature, high pH, high solids, and high oxygenation. High concentration of certain amino acids may also contribute, and high pitch rates may be a factor. It doesn't sound like any of these would be problems except perhaps the pH.

    It is possible that medicinal or chemical odors may come from phenolic compound rather than fusel alcohols. Sometimes these things can come from the honey, and if you notice similar odor using other recipes with that honey, that may give you a clue. In any event, you'd probably be best to let this clear and rack it as lees develop, and let it age. In 6-9 months, it will probably smell and taste much much better
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    It sounds like you treated this batch okay. What was the starting and final gravity? Do you know the pH?

    The things that lead to lots of fusels are high temperature, high pH, high solids, and high oxygenation. High concentration of certain amino acids may also contribute, and high pitch rates may be a factor. It doesn't sound like any of these would be problems except perhaps the pH.

    It is possible that medicinal or chemical odors may come from phenolic compound rather than fusel alcohols. Sometimes these things can come from the honey, and if you notice similar odor using other recipes with that honey, that may give you a clue. In any event, you'd probably be best to let this clear and rack it as lees develop, and let it age. In 6-9 months, it will probably smell and taste much much better
    The one thing out of your heavy fusel-ing list that I did was over oxygenation. I used the Blender technique and that's why I think the entire thing fermented out in two weeks. I added all the ingredients before pitching the yeast. Before I added yeast and nutrient, energizer, I took 5 to 6 cups of the honey - water must and then just before pitching the yeast I blended the whole thing to oblivion. No need to oxygenate after that. you lose all transparency in the must, the must turns into a high density foam, and the yeast are vigorously Eating up the sugars and popping airlocks off the top in one hour. ( no kidding) I use this trick when making rootbeer but I guess it's too much for a mead.

    Jonas

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Generally speaking, you can't over oxygenate by vigorously stirring in air just at the onset of fermentation. You'll reach the O2 saturation limit of the must, and the yeast usually seem to find that to be just fine. Over oxygenation occurs when you continue to stir in more air over the course of a significant portion of the primary fermentation interval.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

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