Corrective Actions for Rotten Egg Smell (H2S)?

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by joeycannoli, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. joeycannoli

    joeycannoli Member

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    Morning all!

    Rather new to wine making and hope I can get some insight. Our red wine has developed a rotten egg smell (hydrogen sulfite I am assuming) that I hope I can correct.

    We crushed the grapes and went through fermentation for about a week. After fermentation was complete we transferred the free-run and press run juice into our SSVC tanks. Approximately 400 liters. We waited about 3 weeks for our first racking and have come to find this problem.

    Doing some research I think it could have been one of the following elements or a combination of them... Extended period in contact with gross less, nutrient deficiency, or the yeast in general being known to produce H2S (we used Red Star Montrachet).

    The smell was pretty bad, but tasting the wine it did not taste spoiled. It tasted fine, but really just lacked any body at this early stage. The color was great as well.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for course of actions? I have read different opinions on both sides of the spectrum. Some say to continue racking as this process will alleviate on it own, while others mention adding items such as OptiRED or Bocksin to correct the issue. Also heard of copper sulfate, but not sure I was to risk something toxic like that.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
     
  2. dralarms

    dralarms Overboard as usual Staff Member Super Moderator

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    What I did was get a coil of copper tubing and rack through it, actually I think I'd introduce some O2 into it and see if it helps, the only time I had that problem was fermenting too hot (room to hot).
     
  3. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

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    As a small test, pull off a glass full and put some copper in with it. The amount of copper doesn't matter, you aren't going to drink this. Just evaluate if copper will help the problem or not. Assuming it does, the product to try is either Reduless or go straight to copper sulfate trails. I would try the simple Reduless first, it is pretty much add, wait 72 hours (memory number read directions) rack. You can repeat.
     
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  4. Arne

    Arne Senior Member

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    First is it done fementing? If so it should not be putting out any more oder. Splash racking can help. They have a product called redulles (sp?) that is supposed to help. Have not tried it but it is supposed to be better than exposing all the wine to copper. Stirring with clean copper has helped me in the past. If it is still fermenting you might have to add some nutrient to help with not producing more oder. The oder comes from stressing the yeast. Montrechet is a good yeast, but it has to have nutrients kept up so it doesn't stress. Good luck with it, Arne.
     
  5. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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  6. GreenEnvy22

    GreenEnvy22 Senior Member

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    I had this problem with my 2016 Dornfelder. It developed the smell a couple months into aging. I used a product called reduless to help get rid of a lot of it, then did some splash racking a few times, and the smell was gone.
     
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  7. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

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    Yet another vote for @cmason1957 's approach. The only thing that I would add is ..

    If copper helps, and you are reasonably sure that you are dealing with H2S, try a splash racking before you try using redueless.

    with H2S, a little goes a long way. just 3ppm can knock you off your feet. In a lot of cases, a splash racking may be all that is needed.
     
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  8. cmsben61

    cmsben61 House Swine

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    I used reduless on a batch of malbec and it worked out very well. Odor was gone
     
  9. dralarms

    dralarms Overboard as usual Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I didn't know about reculess, yes that would be preferable to using copper.
     
  10. cmsben61

    cmsben61 House Swine

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    The thing I liked about using it was that the amount of copper added
    was a measured amount
     
  11. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I approach it in progressive steps, however time is of the essence. H2S can develop into compounds that cannot be alleviated. Take 5 gallons and try splash racking, really aerate as you are trying to get the sulfur odor to blow off. If that doesn’t work, try redulees. If I remember correctly, the active ingredient in redulees is....copper. However, it is a really low dosage, one that is at a safe level.

    Here is the important thing. Do not just stir your wine with a copper pipe or add uncontrolled amount of copper into your wine. Even if you are ok with it, it’s is not fair to the people that will be drinking your wine. Copper is not stable with 3.5 pH liquids and will leach out and precipitate out with other compounds (which is how it rids the H2S) or stay suspended, if it doesn’t precipitate out. You do not want to leave suspended copper in your wine, which is why you need to very carefully control how much copper you add; only enough that will precipitate out with the H2S.

    You do this through bench trials and finding the minimal amount of copper you need to take care of the H2S and no more.
     
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  12. joeycannoli

    joeycannoli Member

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    Thank you all for your generous recommendations and guidance! During the racking last night the odor dissipated quite a bit just from a little splash racking. I am going to check on it again tonight / tomorrow and possibly splash rack again. If that does not take care of it I think I will go the reculess route.

    Hopefully it can be salvaged. Definitely learning a lot along the way and will learn from my mistakes and your help. At least the white we made is coming along great!
     
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  13. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

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    A side note to help it from happening again. It happens when the yeast get stressed mostly from not having enough nutrients. I generally try to follow the routine that (I think) @Johnd outlined a few days ago in another post. Decide how much nutrient to put in (and that's really the hard part of this). Give it a third at (or next day) of crush, a third at 1/3 of sugar gone and a third at 1/2 sugar gone. And I give it both Fermaid K and some Dap at the 1/3 mark. Since I have gone to that schedule of nutrients, I have never had a smelly ferment.
     
  14. Boatboy24

    Boatboy24 No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

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    I didn't see you mention a racking for 3 weeks after fermentation. Typically, after pressing, the wine should be racked 24-48 hours later to get it off the 'gross lees'. Failure or delay to do so can sometimes result in H2S.

    For now, I agree with the suggestions above. I'd start with a racking, trying to stir some air into it. If that doesn't work, try Reduless. Then copper as a last resort.
     
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  15. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

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    + 1 on what @Boatboy24 said. I like to remove the gross lees just as soon as a layer forms.

    Also, to clarify, the active ingredient in redueless is copper. Redueless is actually dead yeast cells that have a high level of naturally occurring copper. This format provides a much more controlled method for delivering copper into your wine. If redueless has no effect on your wine, then adding copper in other formats probably would not do any good as well. .
     
  16. joeycannoli

    joeycannoli Member

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    Little update. Racked wine again and noticed the smell greatly reduced. At that time we treated the wine with reduless 72 hours ago and just racked Again. I would say the smell is 95% gone with a little touch of it left.

    What would you recommend at this point? Keep racking? Treat again? Time for copper? Let it be? I am happy we reduced the smell this much and think we are okay. The wine tastes fine... needs time to age but it’s not spoiled. Any help is appreciated!
     
  17. pgentile

    pgentile Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    I had to use reduless several months ago on a malbec, after use about 60-70% of the smell was gone. Had to apply reduless a second time to eliminate completely. But maybe with 95% of the smell gone a splash rack or two would get rid of it. i wouldn't go copper, but if splash racking doesn't work a second reduless should care of it.
     
  18. joeycannoli

    joeycannoli Member

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    Thanks for the advice! Can I put another treatment of Reduless in at the same recommended quantity or do I have to scale back now to keep the total copper ppm down? According to the instructions the maximum potential copper contribution when used according to the recommendation is 0.02 ppm. I would assume doing another treatment is going to raise the ppm? Want to make sure its safe for consumption later.
     
  19. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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  20. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    If the proper amount of copper is used, it should all precipitate out, leaving little to none in solution. That is why it is important to figure out the minimum required to solve the problem.
     
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