Mead Lover's Digest #31 Tue 03 November 1992

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator


First mead, relax or worry. (stevem)

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Date: Mon, 02 Nov 92 07:55:02 PST
Subject: First mead, relax or worry.

After reading everything I could get my hands (and computer) on,
I jumped in and made my first mead. I thought it would be best to
just try a gallon first, not knowing if I even like mead, though
it sounded like my kind of stuff.

I used 3 lbs. of wildflower honey from a local bee keeper, the
orange peel and pulp from 1/2 orange, sliced ginger root, and
a little cinnamon stick, crumbled. I boiled it all for about 45
minutes, and then cooled it as quickly as I could with water and
ice in the kitchen sink. The day before, I made a starter in
my gallon jug with about 2 cups of boiled water, some yeast nutrient,
powdered sugar, and Montachet (sp?) yeast. The starter took off like
a bang, and the next day, I added the wort. Fermentation began
with-in about 4 hours, and went crazy. About 2-3 bubbles per second
at one point. Starting SG was 1.101.

This continued until the airlock got so dirty with wort I began to
worry and decided that's why people use a blowoff tube. I didn't
have one, so I got out my 3 gallon plastic fermentation bucket and
after a good chlorine session, transfered the wort to the bucket,
and then added the air-lock. This was about a week after the start,
and even though it was going great guns before the transfer, it
slowed way down after, like I had disrupted them and they were sulking.
It never really got going like it was though, now bubbling every 3-4

During the transfer, I noticed the smell was not something to write
home about, but I didn't worry. Three weeks into the ferment, I
couldn't stand not being able to see what was going on, since the
wort was now in the plastic bucket, and the bubbles had slowed to
one every minute, so I racked it back into a gallon glass jar.
The smell was still nasty, kind of like rotten oranges. It reminded
me of the time I left an orange in a plastic cooler for a few
months, and the cooler never recovered from that smell, yuk. I
tasted it, and discounting the smell (hard to do), it was not too
bad. The SG at this point was 1.042.

After this transfer, it perked back up to about a bubble every 20
seconds and now has slowed back down to a bubble every 1.5 minutes.
It has been 4 weeks now, and it is beginning to clear, with a
nice white layer of yeast on the bottom.

Now, my questions (finally, you say). Is this smell normal? Am
I just experiencing why it takes mead so long to be ready. Will
this smell go away and become a wonderful nectar? I would relax and
quit worrying, but I have no homebrew, so I thought I would just
bore you'all instead.


Steve Miller, Grass Valley Group, Grass Valley, CA. 95959, Mail stop N32B

The Six Phases of a Project:
1. Enthusiasm 2. Disillusionment 3. Panic 4. Search for the guilty
5. Punishment of the innocent 6. Praise and reward for the nonparticipants

End of Mead Lover's Digest