1st wine - Has foul smell.

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May 2, 2009
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I just finished putting my first attempt at making wine, a strawberry, into the secondary. It has a very strong rotten egg/septic smell. I used Red Star Montrachet yeast, which after doing some research on the web I found out it is notorious for producing high amounts of Hydrogen Sulfide. It was the yeast I received with my kit. I fear the batch is ruined. I expected some odor, but this actually makes my stomach churn. :s Is there any saving it?

I got my wine books out and checked the faults and remedies chapter.

One says.. Bad egg smell,
Caused by hydrogen sulphide made by the yeast unable to find sufficient pantothenic acid in the must. this is a member of the vitamin B1 group and is needed more by some yeasts than others. No known remedy.

the other says,
Bad egg smell,
certain yeasts can produce hydrogen sulphide, the cause of this smell, when there is insufficient acid and nutrient in the wine during fermentation.There is no remedy. ensure you always include sufficient acid and nutrient.

looks like your batch is unsalvageable. :(

I have always used a champagne yeast for my fruit wines..the lalvin EC1118.. perhaps changing your yeast will help for the next batch?

You mention this was a kit? Have you contacted the company or the shop you purchased it from, regarding this?..

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It will eventually calm down but you can help rid it of it by doing a good degassing now. When using this yeast it is impairative to use a good amount of nutrient and energizer and this will not happen. I use this yeast with great results often and when fed good nutrients the yeast does a good job. I use both nutrient and eb=nergizer with all my fruit wines and never have off smells nor have any issues with fermentation and I usually ferment my wines at very cool temps in my cellar.
If the odour is relatively mild you could perform a vigorous racking making sure to splash the wine aggressively. The aeration will cause some of the H2S to dissipate, however you have to weigh the benefits against the risk of oxidation. If the problem is too severe for aeration to be effective, it is possible to treat the wine with copper sulfate, but since this is a poisonous substance I wouldn't suggest using it if this is your first batch. It is for reasons such as this that I suggest smelling and tasting your wine right through from the start of fermentation until bottling. If H2S is discovered early on, steps to eradicate it are likely to be much more effective and less drastic.
Its still early and you can mistake it for the yeast. Let it finish fermenting and then degass.

Which kit is it?

It is the one gallon fruit wine kit from Midwest. It came with the primary, secondary, chemicals, yeast, etc. The airlock is still bubbling away, so it is still fermenting. The SG was around 1.025 when I transferred it to the secondary last night. I was going to dump it, but it sounds like I should wait until fermentation ends and try degassing.
I'm assuming that adding more nutrient at this point won't do any good, as the Hydrogen Sulfide has already been produced by the yeast? I wish I had known about adding more nutrient before I started the batch. Oh.. well, part of the learning process. :re "Experience is something you get just after you need it."
If its still fermenting you dony need any nutrient now. Let it ferment out and see what happens.
Beore trying the copper sulfate try sanitizing a copper wire or pipe ans stir your wine with it for 10 seconds a few times tasting in between, Ive heard that a few people have done this and worked well but forgot all about it till manimal suggested the copper sulfate.
If it's still actively fermenting, I agree with Tom that you should wait and see. If it is still stinky at the end of fermentation, I would promptly rack it and allow it to aerate in order to blow off some of the H2S. I have a Chardonnay aging on the lees right now that was fermented in three separate fermenters (one with no oak, one with light toast and one with med. toast). One of the fermenters developed a pretty funky H2S smell which blew off after a few days. Remember, the CO2 bubbling out of your wine will carry with it any off odours/gases with it... so it may smell pretty strong right now as the H2S is being carried off by the CO2... try taking a sample of your wine out of the fermenter and smell/taste it. I found that while my Chardonnay smelt pretty foul from the bung hole, a sample drawn off had no detectable H2S odour.
Thank you! This has never happened to me before but I was making a Sauvignon Blanc style wine from frosen pear juice. I used a German yeast that is supposed to be good at metabilising malicacid. Well, this yeat is a bit wimpy and when I added it 24 houra later, nothing happened. So I thought, give it another day, there was a LOT of sulphite in that juice. Tried again. Nothing happened. So I thought (oh dear)... perhaps it was too much acid? (Yes I know> Should have checked it at start. No excuse, had testing strips). So, put about 10g calcium carbonate in the bucket and suddenly, yes, all seemed well. Butwhen I racked it today... ugh! It's never happened before, but a v def nasty smell. Fortunatley I have geeks on hand and copper wire was forthcoming. Put it in and seems to be getting better> Thank you for the advice!

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