View Full Version : Shaking the carboy to aerate - Bad idea or something I did wrong?

06-21-2006, 05:17 PM
Okay, so the Newbee Guide to Meadmaking, Chapter 10, paragraph 2, says to shake the carboy several times a day for the first three days to promote aeration of the must.
Well, being a first timer, I followed this advice. Yesterday I pitched the yeast into a well aerated must, and today, 12 hours later, I decided to shake up the carboy per the suggestion in the guide.

Bad idea. After two small shakes, I had a geyser of must shooting out the top of the carboy. I lost about half a gallon before this unwelcome fountain subsided and am now cleaning floor, ceiling, walls, and myself, which are all covered with must.

My airlock was working fine, bubbling about once every 2-3 seconds, which I figured was pretty good for 12 hours after pitching, so I didn't realize that the must would be that carbonated. I used a 6.5 gallon carboy with only 5 gallons of must, so I had plenty of headroom, but alas, even that was not enough to contain the eruption.

Did I do something wrong, or is the advice in the Guide misguided???

06-21-2006, 05:44 PM
All I did was shake the crap out of it right before I pitched yeast. After that, I just let it sit. My mead came out good. I have done the same with my wines and they come out fine. The main thing is to give the yeast some oxygen initially to help it get started. All aeration does is make it easier on the yeast at first. After the yeast takes off, it can pretty much take care of itself.

Just try initial aeration next time, and don't shake it again after that. If your ferment get's "stuck" you might try it, but carefully. Other than that, leave it alone and let nature take it's course.

06-21-2006, 06:49 PM
I'm a newbee also, albeit a somewhat obsessive compulsive one. Since February 18 of this year I've made NINE 5 or 6 gallon batches of mead. The single most important thing I've learned thus far is this:

Use a 7.9 gallon plastic bucket fermenter with an airtight lid and hole for an airlock during the first 3 days !

http://www.northernbrewer.com/pics/fullsize/wine-pail.jpg (http://www.northernbrewer.com/pics/fullsize/wine-pail.jpg)

The second most important thing I've learned is:

Buy yourself a LEES STIRRER and use that to aerate your must during those first 3 days !


Transfer your mead to a 5 or 6 1/2 gallon carboy after 3 days and you will not have the problem you mentioned as there is plenty of room agitate your must. Try it .... you'll like it !!!!!

07-02-2006, 07:23 AM
Aeration of mead is good. However, shaking the carboy to aerate, as you discovered can lead to a loss of mead. Aeration of the mead does not need to be done via shaking. If you are going to aerate the mead for the first three days, then use of a bucket would be highly recommended. Stirring vigorously with a spoon, using a lees stirrer, aeration with an airstone or even whisking can be done. On the third day, aeration could be achieved by pouring (via sterilized/sanitized funnel) into a carbouy.

That said, I haven't had any problems with any mead of mine (apart from a batch of dead yeast) with just shaking when all mixed together.

07-05-2006, 10:32 AM

You actually do bring up a good point. I have edited the section in question and added a warning about the geyser effect. Thanks for pointing this one out.


Muirghein Tarot
07-09-2006, 09:49 PM
I think it can depend on the yeast type as well. I have had two batches with d47 and had no problems with shaking the carboy for several minutes.
The one batch I have going right now has Ec-1118 in it. I went to swirl the carboy today and I'm just glad it had a paper towel rubberbanded across the top or It would have been on the ceiling.