Citrus wine smell burnt my nostrils!

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


May 31, 2010
Reaction score
Hi everyone.
I am brand new to winemaking and am enjoying it so far.

My issue is; I recently went to siphon my tangerine wine from the fermentation bucket to the glass carboys, and when i smelt the wine while testing it's PH my nostrils and nasal cavity were burnt or aggravated pretty aggresively by the odor.

The wine was about 10 days into fermenting and the smell through the airlock as it bubbled up was sweet like tangerines, but the bucket smells very harsh even now that the wine has been siphoned out and the bucket cleaned.

The wine was started by boiling about 5 lbs of sliced tangerines and adding to the juice of 10 lbs of tangerines. I added some water and cambden tablets. The boiled peels and pulp set with the juice and cambden tablets for 2 days in a bucket with a lid on before I added boiled sugar water, yeat nutrient, pectin enzyme, and wine yeast (yeast added an hour after other ingredients). After 5 days the pulp and peels were strained out using a nylon bag. More sugar and water were added and then the fermentation continued vigorously for 5 more days.

Now the wine is too harsh to even smell.
I have an orange wine too, that smells alright but burned my throat when i gave it a test drink after 10 days.

What is causing this? Do you think there is a fix for the harsh smell?

Just racked my Tangerine today. it to was pretty harsh right out of the bucket but it is a couple months old now and it was a lot better this time. I made a f-pac and sweetened at the last racking about 40 days ago and it has a good tangerine flavor so be patient with it come around..:sm
You are just smelling fermentation (I hope).
Continue as directed. whats the recipe? this would help
The recipe;
Process in my previous post. The ingredients were;

Juice from about 15 lbs of tangerines or 30-35 tangerines
4 lbs of sugar
1.5-2 gallons of water depending on how much boiled off while boiling the sugar water
2 cambden tablets added at the beginning when the fruit juice was soaking with a few peels and 2 liters of water.
2 tsps yeast nutrient added 2 days after the fruit was juiced
1/2 to 1 tsp pectin enzyme added 2 days after the fruit was juiced
3/4 tsp wine yeast added an hour after the nutrient
This made about 3 gallons of must.
The fermentation is taking place in the house which has a temperature of 74-76 deg F.

My nostrils need to heel a notch before I sniff again. And I am worried that tasting might not be a good idea. I hear time cures excess acidity.
I have the wine split into multiple carboys now and dropped another cambden tablet into one, yeast energizer into one, and nothing in the other to experiment. The fermentation has just about ceased in all 3 carboys, the airlocks showed no pressure after about 2 hours.
You say
Soaking with a few peels
This can be part of your problem. The white "pith" is bitter so you may have extracted some bitterness. (next time use zest). I'm betting since this is your 2st you are not used to the way it tastes through out the wine making process.
Tom is right I did not use the peel in my recipe. I did use just a little of the zest but not much. hope this helps
Thanks for the advice. No peels next time, just zest.
We'll see if this was the cause of my burning nostrils.
I will also let you guys know how the wine with the peels tastes in a few months.
There is nothing wrong. You took a deep breath of CO2 from the bucket, which has a very acrid odor and it will 'burn' the nostrils and take the breath away from you when its really concentrated.
CO2 is heavier than atmospheric air so it hangs out in the bucket for a while.
CO2 by itself is odorless. Now mixed with an active fermentation is something else altogether.
It can be either the S02 (sulfite) as Malkore said or the pith like Tom said. Hopefully its the S02 as that will dispearse and not the pith as that most likely will not and may even come through more possibly in time. Hope it all works out for you and welcome to our forum here. When starting another recipe, run it by us here as we have lots of very knowledgeable people here that can suggest some changes and give some advise to make your wine really shine.
Day 17 and the tangerine wine still smells terribly harsh. And unfortunately now has a faint touch of a vinegar smell. I'm going to let it continue for a couple of months to see what happens, but I think it might be lost.
At the start there was 3.5 gallons of must fermenting in a 6 gallon bucket for about the first 10 days. Could this excess air space have cause a problem as well? The orange wine was started following the same recipe and only appears to be acidic on the throat at this time, no harm to the nostrils. The only difference between the orange and tangerine is that the orange was fermented as 2 gallons in a 2 gallon bucket.
Just hang in there til you find the answer. Start an ew batch of something until we can see what the issue is with this one.

Fermenting wine and beer can indeed have some knock you back smells. This isn't necessarilly a bad thing. What did you expect it to smell like?

I hope you wait joes before you do extreme things, I have seen worse problems than yours reversed and as it usually turns out, it is a simple solution. Sorry It wont be me to offer it to you but there are many members in here who can help.

Hang in there for an answer.