View Full Version : A little confused on Primary Fermentation.

06-26-2006, 01:09 AM
Hi all,
I am a little confused on primary fermentation. I have fermented many gallons of wine. This is my first attempt at mead. When I make wine I loosely cover my primary with a plastic lid and lay a clean towel over the airlock hole. I stir the primary 1-2 times a day. I rack to a secondary with an airlock when the wine is at the desired gravity.

What's the best procedure to use for mead????


06-26-2006, 06:31 AM
The simple version for Mead NewBees... HERE. (http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,103/topic,3495.0)

Hope that helps,

06-26-2006, 12:14 PM
Hey Deck,

Making mead is the same.

I cover the primary with a sanitized cloth rather then the lid, and aerate 2 or 3 times a day.

Once vigorous fermentation has subsided and produciton of foam has ceased, it's time to start secondary (Anaerobic) fermentation.


06-26-2006, 02:20 PM
Thanks for your comment. How long do you typically leave it in the primary? When I make wine it's typically 7-10 days depending on yeast I use.

It's a little confusing because most of the recipes or precedures that I see call for 1-3 days of non airlock and then they say to lock it down with an airlock.

I don't see why fermenting mead would be that much different than wine.



06-26-2006, 03:34 PM
Hey Deck,

It can take from 3 to 10 days, depending on the yeast, honey, temp etc...

I've had batches which never fermented with vigor (never foamed up), for those I'll wait until at least 50% of the starting brix measurement has been converted.

I came to understand the meaning of primary, secondary and tertiary by read everything that could be found on the subject of fermentation. My method has evolved from that which has come from books and experiance.

The best results and fastest fermentations have resulted from following the guidelines used by wine makers in regard to fermentation schedule.


06-26-2006, 06:15 PM

I think you are under-selling your knowledge here.

The main issues with mead are nutrient levels, and then the complexities of flavour due to the honey.

Really the issue here is:
1) have you enough nutrient for your yeasties
2) Is there enough oxygen for your yeasties

What works for wine will work for mead on the oxygen issue, so just cover off on the nutrient issue.

I put mine directly under air-lock immediately in a carboy not a bucket (as long as it isn't something that will create foam and block the air-lock, but I shake it well to give it some oxygen.
Also, if there are fruit solids to be removed, then it is easier doing it in a bucket with no air-lock.

So in summary, it isn't critical in terms of timing as to when you put it under air-lock, as long as you are avoiding infection and it isn't exposed to air after fermentation has ceased - all of which you are more than experienced in ;D

06-27-2006, 01:56 PM
Great points James.

Thanks for your comments.