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Old 10-29-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
Oct 2013
Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 4

Hello all!

I'm new to brewing, and everything on here has been invaluable. Everybody seems pretty nice to newcomers, so I thought I'd post my plight here, see if I can get any help.

I'm from Washington, where there was a great local raspberry mead that was delightful and readily available. You can't get it here in Arizona, and I haven't been impressed with what I can get locally, so I decided to brew my own. I scoured the internet, found a recipe that sounded manageable (on here, actually!), headed over to my homebrew store and started a batch of mead. The guy at the home brew store was super helpful--helped me pick up some tools I wouldn't have thought of, picked out yeast with me, etc. Everything is fermenting along delightfully! I've got a bubble every 6-10 seconds through my S-lock, and it is starting to smell vaguely alcoholic.

Then I got cocky--I decided I was going to start up a batch of hard cider. I ordered up a bushel of apples, ran them through my juicer to make into cider, and plopped them into the (santitized) carboy. I added some campden tablets (and the pectin enzyme that was recommended to us) to kill anything in there, and waited over night. While waiting, we got the yeast started--with a cup of the fresh apple juice and a package of Danstar Nottingham Ale Yeast (recommended by the guy at the brew shop). The fresh apple juice was not sterilized (just came straight out the juicer), but I assumed the plethora of yeast would take over anything that was in there.

I pitched the yeast on Sunday night, and now that's it's Tuesday morning the carboy is sitting in my kitchen fermenting like mad--a bubble every half second or so. It also smells very strongly--of apples, almost, but also of some strange gross sweet smell. It does not smell tasty.

So, brewing hive mind, what's the deal? I remember the first guy mentioning I needed to be careful about the temperature, so he gave me a yeast that was more forgiving about temperature for the mead. Since it's starting to cool off, I wasn't too worried about the temperature, but now maybe I'm brewing too hot? Does Ale Yeast just smell worse than Champagne yeast in general and I'm over reacting?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 10-29-2013, 02:22 PM   #2
Oct 2013
Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 4

Just wanted to note: It's not the rotten eggs type smell that I've read a lot about, it's like so sweet I want to gag someone + a little bit of 3 day old sangria.

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Old 10-29-2013, 07:05 PM   #3
skadalajara's Avatar
Nov 2008
Arizona, the northernmost state in Mexico.
Posts: 512
Liked 39 Times on 35 Posts

Did you wash your apples prior to juicing? They may have mineral wax or some other preservative on the skins.

Making the world a bitter place, one IBU at a time.

Axé Cidery and Aleworks

Primary: Social Lubricant
Secondary: Tongue Oil
Lagering: Icy Paralyzer
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:45 PM   #4
Sep 2013
Durham, NC
Posts: 39
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

What's the temperature where you're fermenting?
Primary: None, the damn dog ate the airlock
Secondary: None
Conditioning/Carbing: None
Finished: Tailwagger Cider, Sweet Ruby Cyser
On deck more Tailwagger; Caramel Apple cider

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Old 10-29-2013, 09:56 PM   #5
Oct 2013
Posts: 85
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

Did you strain what came out of the juicer or does your juicer have a built in filter/strainer?
Did you core the apples, the seeds have some nasty stuff in them if they get crushed it can be a bad thing flavor wise; or so I have read.

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Old 10-30-2013, 02:09 AM   #6
Nov 2012
Posts: 34
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Does it smell like sweet rising dough? I just made cider with that yeast and it smelled like that to me. You smell the apples, the sugars and yeast. The smell changes day to day, and as it gets more of an alcohol smell it will level off.

I also used a yeast nutrient. I read somewhere this would help cut down on any stinky fumes coming out.

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Old 10-30-2013, 02:58 AM   #7
Apr 2013
Posts: 126
Liked 18 Times on 16 Posts

Cider fermentations often throw off wacky aromas. Relax and let it do its thing. Cider almost always benefits from several weeks to several months of aging after fermentation is done; whatever funky aromas were produced during fermentation will usually dissipate during aging.

The organic chemistry that is going on during (and after!) fermentation of apple juice is amazingly complex. Aromas come and go, as do flavors. Patience, grasshopper.

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Old 11-09-2013, 12:18 AM   #8
Oct 2013
Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 4

Oh thank goodness! I lost this forum for a while (guess I forgot to make a book mark), so I'm glad I ran into it again.

skadalajara: I rinsed the apples off, but I didn't scrub them or anything. I hadn't really even considered the idea that I should scrub off the wax, etc. Whoops!

hallerobin: We keep the house around 70F, although the nights have dipped a bit below that. For our mead, the guy suggested a yeast that had a pretty high temperature tolerance range, but I didn't even think to ask for this one. I'm not sure where to check to see what the temperature is for each yeast type, but it's bubbling along nicely, so hopefully it's at least somewhat happy.

5WTFLYBUM: The juicer has a built in stainer/filter, and we didn't feed the cores though. I think we avoided all the seads, but one could have snuck through. Does that do anything weird to the scent?

It still has a little hint of the weird sweet but also sort of rotting type smell to it, but it's gotten a lot less bad. I suspect Albionwood has the right of it--just let it do it's thing for a while. If it turns out horrific, at least I learned something!

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Old 11-09-2013, 12:11 PM   #9
WVMJ's Avatar
Dec 2012
Karnage, WV
Posts: 1,548
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What do you think fermenting stuff smells like Have you added any nutrients like fermaid? Unless you enter the smells like a fart stage you are doing pretty good. WVMJ
Country Wines with WVMJ

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Old 11-10-2013, 05:31 PM   #10
Feb 2012
Marietta, GA
Posts: 162
Liked 7 Times on 6 Posts

"Gotten a lot less bad"

This sounds like good news to me!

As others have said, cider can make some weird smells and usually needs to be aged for awhile to really clean itself up nicely.

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