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  1. #1

    Default My Mead Goes Stinky Suddenly

    I started my first mead on 1/7/2019. It fermented clearly without off flavors. Fermentation was completed on 13/7 and I added .4 gram K meta into my 1 gallon mead on 15/7. I left it on the lees with daily stirring so as to 'clean' or 'absorb' the 'chemical'. I then racked it to a new vessel leaving the rough lees behind on 20/7 and .3 gram K meta and .7 gram sorbate added. At this point, it still smelled normal with a note that reminiscent of the honey I used. However, after the last rousing on 27/7, I checked the mead today (29/7), upon opening the carboy cap, a pungent and stinky smell came through, just like the gym socks. May I know what can I do for that, just dump it or any measures can be used? And what issues will lead to this problem?

    Also, I have found that some long strand like things floating at the bottom half of the carboy after settling for 5 days without doing anything, may I also know what possible it is?

    ingredients used and SG:
    acacia honey (the light straw color one) to reach 1078 SG
    fermaid-O: 2.7 grams in total (TOSNA 3.0)
    Opti-White: 2 grams
    goFerm as well
    yeast: DV10
    Temperature during fermentation: around 72~75 degree Fahrenheit
    Temperature after fermentation: around 86 degree Fahrenheit

    Pardon for my poor English as I am not a naive speaker.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    Default

    Hi doublebase. I am no expert and others on this forum may have better ideas and better suggestions as to how you might treat your mead but I think the "stringiness" sounds like the mead got infected with specific strains of lacto-bacteria and treatment would seem to be to whip air into the wine and then add K-meta (perhaps twice the amount you would normally add to kill wild yeast before you add (pitch) the yeast). Rope like strings in wine used to be far more common in the 19th Century than today perhaps because of better sanitation processes...

    The bad smell (gym socks) suggests that your mead has a Brett infection. Some Brett yeast create a more pleasant smell and taste and others don't. Most wine makers try to avoid Brett but some brewers (beer) look for Brett. Not sure that there is anything you can do to remove the Brett once it is in your mead but significant aging CAN transform what is an unpleasant smell/taste to one that actually enhances the mead /wine...

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you for your input. Will it be the tool I used for stirring the lees is not appropriate as it is a long wooden chopstick with a few black spots on it? But I have washed it with starsan solution prior to stirring. Actually should I clean the stirring tool with dish soap first and then rinse it and then starsan? Also, to correct, I used bung with airlock instead of cap for the carboy.

    It reminds me that the 'stringiness' appeared in the last hard apple cider that I make. However, the smell didnt appear in that situation. May I know what measures can I take to prevent lacto-bacteria and Brett infection next time aside from better sanitation?

    With regard to what you said, should I add k meta prior to pitching the yeast even that is a traditional style?

    I have now racked it into other vessel, leaving the lees behind and added more k meta.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    It may be that your equipment has been compromised and so you may need to really clean and then really sanitize your carboys (perhaps by using boiling water to pasteurize them) and all tools that touch your mead or wine. I think but am not certain that Brett can happily live inside wood (some Brett yeast can convert wood into sugars and I think that once you have brett inside wood it is near impossible to eliminate them.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    It may be that your equipment has been compromised and so you may need to really clean and then really sanitize your carboys (perhaps by using boiling water to pasteurize them) and all tools that touch your mead or wine. I think but am not certain that Brett can happily live inside wood (some Brett yeast can convert wood into sugars and I think that once you have brett inside wood it is near impossible to eliminate them.
    Brett yeasts are big fans of wood (oak barrels in wine tend to be a source) and can be rather tenacious with respect to plastics as well... the reading I did on it lead me to believe that brewers will use a separated set of tools/gear for anything that touches brett as it is there to stay from then on! The biggest problem with Brett is that it can tolerate pretty much anything Saccharomyces can so the wine yeast cannot kill if off for us. The one thing Saccharomyces has been selected to tolerate better is sulfites... but by that point you likely have a nice large Brettanomyces colony in the must and the sulfites seem to piss them off!

    doublebase: for your gear
    • Replace & discard what you can
    • For heat tolerant gear (metals and glass will tolerate this, & some limited plastics... if you're not certain about the plastic then its not safe) baking with a maintained temperature will produce a hospital grade dry sterilization. (see temps and times below)
    • Soak the rest in 1:100 dilution (1 part bleach to 100 parts water) of household bleach for 1-2h. That bleach solution could also be used as an environmental disinfectant.
    • No more wood unless its oak to add flavor. Wood is beautiful and a great material but it hard to keep clean of microbes!


    Dry heat sterilization times from CDC guidelines: 170C (340F) for 60 minutes, 160C (320F) for 120 minutes, and 150C (300F) for 150 minutes. (remember that your oven cycles up and down so overshoot some to ensure you are maintaining above the temp)

  6. #6

    Default

    Thank you Sir for your great information and suggestion. I will use metallic stirring tool from now on.

    Actually, will you pour boiling water into the fermentation vessel to sort of sanitize it or just starsan will do its work?

  7. #7

    Default

    Starsan is all you need
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  8. #8

    Default

    Boiling water will certainly sterilize equipment but I worry about the glass itself heating that fast. I've learned recently that our glass equipment can be a little brittle! I wouldn't recommend doing it with my recent experience.

    Starsan will sanitize equipment but it will not sterilize it. I'd only do that really aggressive stuff (heat & bleach sterilization) if I had a tenacious microbe (yeast or bacteria) that was messing up my meads. If all is going well then starsan is definitely sufficient to keep microbe counts under control and all of that other stuff is serious overkill!

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks! By the way, I would like to know if a higher temperature (30 degree Celsius 86 degree Fahrenheit) pose a threat to surlie ageing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Pretoria, South Africa
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    I wouldn't age wine at 30C. Lower is better, preferably under 20C (68F).

  11. #11

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    I wish I can keep it under 20C but the place I am living is too hot.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    How about placing your fermenter in a large bowl of cold water and wrapping a wet towel around the fermenter that wicks water from the bowl. If you aim a fan blowing air at this towel you can drop the temperature of the fermenter by 10 or more degrees because of the evaporation of the water from the towel.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    Quote Originally Posted by doublebase View Post
    I wish I can keep it under 20C but the place I am living is too hot.
    Buy the cheapest second-hand fridge you can find. Buy an STC-1000 temperature controller. Wire up the fridge to the controller, stick the probe in the fridge, set it to 20C and leave it. I did this for around $65 a week ago.

  14. #14

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    Thank you gentlemen for your suggestion. I would also like to know what factors determine a yeast strain suitable for sur lie aging. Some said CY3079, DV10, D47 are suitable for sur lie aging, how about other yeast strain like BA11? The rate of the autolysis will be one factor as I read that on Scott Lab handbook. And what should I pay attention to when sur lie aging is adopted? I have read an article on http://www.brsquared.org/wine/Articl...lie/surlie.htm , he states that 'It is worth noting that the early use of SO2 increases the number of compounds that bind with later SO2 additions. Excessive SO2 tends to oppose wood/oak flavours and stunts flavour development, whereas insufficient SO2 favours premature ageing and flattens the wine.' And I wonder should I add K meta to the mead when using sur lie aging?

    Also, will malolactic fermentation take place even I don't introduce the MLF culture to it? Some concepts arent quite clear in my head. Some say secondary fermentation equals to MLF.
    Sorry for so many questions asked.

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