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-   -   mead infection, need advise! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/mead-infection-need-advise-52514/)

riverboat.red 01-25-2008 03:50 AM

mead infection, need advise!
This is my first time making mead. I added two gallons of bottled water to six pounds of honey. It fermented away for a little over one week and now has stopped. I now have a white growth about the size and thickness of a nickle floating on top of the mead. I plan on racking to the secondary on top of some cherry pie filling and a can of Oregon cherries in water. At that time I will take a gravity reading to make sure that my wine yeast has fermented it dry.
Can a infection be controlled by racking if the infection seems to be just floating on top? Should I do the cherries now or wait until I can make sure that I got all of the infection and risk having to repitch yeast? Or is mead not like beer and I could get myself and/or others sick from trying this?

sirsloop 01-25-2008 04:04 AM

You sure this is an infection? Most stuff cannot survive in alcohol as high as what mead usually contains. If it just krausen or beeswax?

riverboat.red 01-25-2008 02:49 PM

It never really got a krausen. I cant be sure if its beeswax. I used about 1 1/2 lb raw local honey. I know honey can contain botulism so I am concerned that it may be an infection that could hurt somebody. I did not heat the honey up after listening to a podcast with an "expert" author on mead making. I rehydrated my Cote de Blanc yeast per the instructions and pitched directly in (no starter).

sirsloop 01-25-2008 03:38 PM

Botulism cannot survive in Mead conditions so you can put that out of your mind. This white "growth"... is it bubbles? Is your airlock off-gassing CO2? IDK, if you put yeast in sugar water there's a damn good chance its working. If you pitched an entire packet of yeast then there's 5x as much yeast as you need in there. My bet is that white growth is just yeast. Mead doesn't make krausen that looks like beer krausen. Its usually pure white, bubbly, and can leave yeast residue on the sides of the fermenter as the level goes up and down.

malkore 01-25-2008 10:46 PM

I too am not convinced its an infection.

I also would not rack mead onto 'cherry pie filling' that crap is full of refined sugar that's going to give your mead a cidery off taste.
if you want cherries, use REAL cherries (frozen is fine, with NO SUGAR ADDED) or go to the LHBS and get a can of cherry puree

riverboat.red 01-26-2008 02:18 AM

My cherry pie filling does contain corn syrup. I was under the impression that it should ferment out cleanly as it is commonly used in bottle conditioning. The Oregon canned cherries are in water. I am looking for a hint of cherry flavor but also to add nice ruby color. I want balance, not all cherry. I do not have a recipie so if there are any suggestions as to how much/how to use them, please let me know.

NurseNan 01-26-2008 02:30 AM

just use the cherries in water. Please do not use the pie filling. It has other refined sugars as malkore stated, and thickeners, etc.

riverboat.red 01-26-2008 02:37 AM

OK I will omit the pie filling. My new plan will be to just rack on to the one can of cherries packed in water, wait 2 weeks then sample and rack onto more cherries. Is two weeks about right on the fruit or do you need longer?

malkore 01-26-2008 03:14 PM

corn syrup is NOT corn sugar, aka dextrose, used for priming bottles.

and, too much corn sugar will leave cidery flavors in the mead too.

2 weeks is good for fruit, you can push it longer if necessary.

how large a batch and how many pounds of cherries? You'll want several pounds in a 5 gallon batch to get some flavor in it. 1lb per gallon is a decent guideline to get a more dominant fruit flavor...but it varies from fruit to fruit. juicy berries like raspberries/blackberries impart more flavor than dry fruits, like apples.

riverboat.red 01-27-2008 11:58 PM

I am doing a 2 gallon batch. The only fresh cherries I can get around here are the sweet ones. I wanted some that were tart to provide a tannin bite. I do not want the cherry flavor to dominate the taste of the mead. I've had Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer and found it to be overbearing. I belive that they are using an extract though.
I will try one pound of cherries for my two gallon batch and let that go for two weeks. Then when I rack again I will do a taste test and decide if I need more.
Any other advise for a first time mead-maker?

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