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My wife discovered that the mead we are brewing smells a bit off, and a book we have on the topic suggest we may not have applied enough micronutrient. Any suggestions on getting more in? We have brewed for only a week and this is our first batch if that helps.

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    Probably better asked on the homebrewing SE site. – Eric Shain Sep 11 at 19:44
  • Reuse dead yeast? Anyway, my guess is that it's more because of a lack of oxygen. It's not normal anymore to use open fermentation in home brewing and as a result the yeast is often suffocated. – life-on-mars Sep 11 at 20:15
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    Does "smells a bit off" mean "smells like sulphur"? – chthon Sep 13 at 11:54
  • @EricShain isn’t this the homebrew SE site? – Escoce Sep 13 at 13:39
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    @Escoce, the question was migrated here from Alcohol SE ;-) – Philippe Sep 13 at 17:32
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The most common nutrients for mead making, DAP and Fermaid-K or -O, come in powder form. Adding a tsp of each to a 5-gallon batch of mead and mixing well is all it takes. If you see the nutrient doesn't dissolve well you can pre mix it with a little clean water (1/4cup) before adding it in. A normal nutrient regimen is to add small amounts of nutrients (with mixing) on day 1, 3, and 5. Then let it ferment along on its own. Occasional mixing at day 10 or 13 will help to degas the mead. Degassing the mead prevents dissolved CO2 from slowing the yeast. (Similar issue to the dude that left the comment about open vs. closed fermentation)

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    Ya know, that whole dissolved CO2 thing bothers me a bit. I haven’t any issues with ferments being problematic due to dissolved CO2 buildup. For instance, I just racked my apple wine with an OG of 1.108 from primary which was never disturbed during primary, primary lasted about 10 days, the airlock was still slowly bubbling before racking and the finishing SG was .988. That happens often enough for me to think CO2 isn’t part of a stuck ferment problem. Now I know this isn’t mead which is a barren environment nutrient wise, but it does seem to indicate to me at least that CO2 isn’t a problem. – Escoce Sep 13 at 13:37
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    I do agree about the nutrients, but I feel pollen is really the right nutrient for mead. DAP and Fermaid K produce metallic flavors and fermaid O doesn’t have the nitrogen boost. Pollen provides tons of micronutrients without producing off flavors, in fact it probably improves flavor because pollen is rather fruity. – Escoce Sep 13 at 13:42
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As a counterpoint, I've done mead batches with zero nutrients, and batches with different levels of nutrients, with success each time. So far I've only used diammonium phosphate (DAP) and Wyeast yeast nutrient in the primary. I've never done additional mixing, and I've never added nutrients partway through the primary, and only recently have I ever added more nutrients to the secondary (see other post). I start with what I start with, and I let the primary fermentation go until it's done and then some -- generally about a month at least. The key is giving it time to do its thing.

Yes, sometimes things smell a little funny, as yeast with less nutrient than they like might produce some temporary off-notes in the nose. A sulfury eggy smell is one such common odor. However, after 30-odd batches, I've always found that these will age out, so long as you're patient. And the thing about mead is, the longer it ages, the better it gets. :)

In one extreme instance of bad smells (my first ever usage of Lalvin K1V-1116 yeast, and my first-ever Italian plum melomel with the plums in the primary), the smell was so sudden and so pervasive that my wife thought we had a gas leak in the house and she called the gas company. Their engineer didn't find any methane leaks, but he did recognize the issue. Even after such a funky start, the end product was blissfully divine.


If you do decide to add nutrients partway through the primary, mix it in well. One important caveat I've heard about is that you might get a fizz-up: if the early mead is carbonated enough, adding nutrients may cause that carbonation to come out, so make sure you have enough headroom between the top of the liquid and the top of your container -- or you might wind up with a Mentos + Coca Cola kind of situation, and a huge sticky mess to clean up. 😳

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