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Old 04-18-2010, 06:48 AM   #1
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Default Nail Polish remover smell

I opened my fermentation bucket today. Heres a little info, I had to repitch it since the gravity in 2 weeks went from 1.12 to 1.10. I pitched the new yeast last Friday and I checked it today its at a healthy 1.030 sitting at 11% alcohol i believe. Its 5 gallons with 15lb of honey so in another 5 days it should be at 14-15% alcohol. Anyways it had a strong alcohol smell, best way to describe the smell "nail polish remover" its a bit overwhelming. Its my first batch ever so I was expecting the scent of alcohol but didn't think it could be that strong. I'm hoping the veterans here could give me some feed back. Will the smell go away after i put it in the secondary where less yeast is present and fermentation has stopped? I did repitch with the original yeast still in the must, and I wonder if it reactivated once the healthy yeast started up. Leaving my batch with twice the amount of yeast required. Any insight?


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Old 04-19-2010, 03:19 PM   #2
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Nail polish remover is the classic character of Ethyl Acetate which is a product of acetic acid bacteria at work. It is possible that your stalled fermentation has allowed acetic acid bacteria to take hold - they usually won't grow in an active fermentation because they need plenty of oxygen. If the bacteria are there, it isn't going to clear.

Hopefully what you are smelling is something else that is chemical/medicinal in nature and not ethyl acetate due to bacteria. It is possible for yeast to produce ethyl acetate when under stress by high gravity, but that shouldn't be the case here. What yeast are you using and and what temperature are you fermenting? You may be smelling fusel (higher weight) alcohols that may be giving you the odor. If so, they will clear with enough time. There are a lot of funny smells that develop during fermentation (and after)and most of them will clear with time.

At this point, I'd finish the fermentation and see what it smell like over time as it ages.


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Old 04-19-2010, 09:42 PM   #3
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It could be due to fermentation temperature being too high or pitching yeast at a high temperature.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:24 PM   #4
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alcohol plus the acidity of carbonic acid produced during fermentation.

i wouldn't sweat it. mead takes a while to really develop.
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:41 AM   #5
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I'm using Wyeast Sweet mead slap pack. I was fermenting it around 79F but sometimes that room got up to 83-85f. I checked it today the gravity is 1.02 so its almost done fermenting. I set it down into a cooler temp that ranges between 75 to 68 depending on the time of the day. I've read that with sweet wines meads like the one i'm fermenting it should be aged for a couple of years minimum before its drinkable is that true?
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:13 PM   #6
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Usually sweet batches are drinkable much sooner than dry batches.

That fermentation temperature is too high for most meads, and with the Wyeast it will definitely produce a load of fusel alcohols. It wouldn't surprise me if it starts smelling and tasting of Band-Aids in a few months. It may take considerable aging for it to smell and taste okay.

For future batches I would either control the fermentation temperature to keep it below 70F or use yeast/recipes that are better for high temp fermentation like K1V or D21. Otherwise you'll get lot of paint-thinner/nail-polish.
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:22 AM   #7
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Yeah I tasted it today, i know its still raw at 12.9% alcohol and still in the bucket. It was probably the fusel alcohol made it taste like rocket fuel. First batch ever if it dosn't clear out after a few months it was a good lesson learned.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:55 PM   #8
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You can use a bottle in the kitchen. After searing some breaded pork chops (pounded flat a la` wienerschnitzel) in a hot iron skillet, pour a little of that mead in to deglaze the pan and then add more butter and just a few sprinkles of flour in at a time while whisking over meadium-high heat until you get a golden gravy to pour over your pork chops. Technically, it's a "roux. "
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:11 AM   #9
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Well I went to culinary school roux is just fat and butter. It would be like a a Buerr Blanc lol or a burneasse. Its doing fine i put it at a colder temp and it isnt' as strong of a smell it smells sweet but still have a strong after smell. I might be the yeast still left, wonder how it will be in the secondary. If not lesson learned plus i can still get wasted off of it..why not take mead shots.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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Roux != fat + butter

Culinary school fail


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