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Old 02-02-2010, 04:56 AM   #1
AmuckMeadMaker
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Default First Time Mead brew; a couple questions.

I'm about 3 days into fermenting my first batch of mead, and it bubbled very well for the first two days, and now has come to a complete stop. According to the compleat Meadmaker book, It matches the symptoms of a PH problem. Either that, or it could be done. It may have finished rather quickly because I started with a gravity of only 1.090, I wanted to start with a pretty light mead. I can't get another hydrometer reading though, because I don't have any container deep enough to read anything lower than 1.040. Tomorrow I plan to go shop for a graduated cylinder, and possibly a PH meter. One final thing I'm worried about is if it could be infected. I've never seen mead fermenting before so I have to ask, is it normal for it to smell kind of like vomit?

Thanks in advance,

Wassail!


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Old 02-02-2010, 08:15 AM   #2
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Vomit?? Mead does have its own smell while fermenting, but I've never experienced anything that made me think of vomit.

Have you aerated it at all? Nutrients? Was there a drastic temperature change?
You could get a reading by either putting the hydrometer directly into the must (unless it's a 1 gallon batch, then I usually bottom out) or in the little tube that the hydrometer came in, if you still have that.

Just about every wine yeast will be able to take the mead to dryness.
I would definitely suggest you get a pH meter. I've tried the little strips, and I've never gotten a reading that made sense from them. Everything seems to turn the same color. I tested the must, orange juice, sanitzer water, all came out a blueish color that wasn't within the test range.


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Old 02-03-2010, 04:50 PM   #3
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Well, it doesn't really smell like vomit, but it does smell rather unpleasant.

I aerated it by stirring vigorously for 5 minutes, I added fermax, and have had it at a constant 70f.

I finally got a hydrometer reading, and it's at 1.008. So I guess it didn't quite finish. I didn't get a PH meter because I really don't have an extra $50 in the budget at the moment. I guess I'll just see how it turns out.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:30 PM   #4
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You learn to get used to, and then maybe start to like, or at the least, tolerate the smell. Sometimes, depending on the other ingredients in the must, the ferment can smell really nice.
I would guess that the yeast might be able to eat through those last remaining points. Let it sit for another week or so to let it finish up and some of the yeast to die off and drop out. Then rack to a new container.

Don't be surprised at the flavor/aroma at the time of racking. It probably won't taste too great, and definitely won't taste like any honey. The honey smells and taste do come back with some time aging. Just be patient
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:38 PM   #5
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Does is smell like rotten eggs, cabbage, burnt rubber or anything that would be a sulfur odor?
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:19 AM   #6
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Definitely not like any of those smells. It smells like alcohol much stronger than it is. Plus a sharp, kind of bitter smell. Really hard to describe, sorry.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:45 AM   #7
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Sounds like it's probably fine. How is the taste at this point. If it's at 1.008, it's getting real close to being done. How much honey did you use, batch size, yeast used, etc.?
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmuckMeadMaker View Post
It smells like alcohol much stronger than it is. Plus a sharp, kind of bitter smell.
You may have produced a lot of fusel alcohols. What temperature did you maintain during fermentation? What yeast did you use? The other recipe details might also help folks to give you a more definitive answer.

The good news is that a lot of odors created during fermentation will fade with aging. Sulfur odors tend to be the big exception and those need treatment sooner rather than later.

Medsen
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:59 PM   #9
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I used 5 pounds of raw Vermont honey blend, 6 quarts of water, Premier Cuvee white wine yeast, and nothing else. Starting gravity of 1.090. Since I pitched the yeast, and up until now, it has been at a constant 70f.

I just gave it a taste, and it's surprisingly not half bad. Tastes like wine, but the aftertaste is a little harsh.

Guess I was worrying about nothing, seems like it should turn out rather nicely with some aging.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmuckMeadMaker View Post
Guess I was worrying about nothing, seems like it should turn out rather nicely with some aging.
It certainly sounds like young mead aroma and flavor, which means that it will definitely improve with age.


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