View Full Version : Is it a disaster?? All the vodka evaporated out of my airlock!

10-23-2006, 05:09 PM
Heavens, Oskaar and Co., help this poor woman! :tard:

I've been watching my Elder Mead Child, Joey Orange, who is now clearing so beautifully and which has become a golden elixir of the most glorious hue. The two-month mark was last Wednesday 10/18. It had not gotten clear as of that day (and my racking supplies aren't here yet either) so it is still in the primary. I have been so pleasantly excited by how clear it has become in the last three days, though. I'll bet I can read newsprint through it now.

Today, I looked at and low and behold! All my vodka had evaporated out of the airlock! How on earth could that have happened??

I sweated! I hollered! I quickly poured some more in it (a few drops of which flowed right through it and onto the orange pieces that are still floating--the only things that have dropped are one raisin and the cinnamon stick)(which, the way I read The Compleat Meadmaker, is why Ken recommends vodka--he says it won't alter the taste of your mead if that happens).

Has my mead met it's demise? Or has near disaster been narrowly averted? :tard:

10-23-2006, 10:20 PM
How many days are we talking here? I goofed and had an airlock run dry for probably a week during storage mode, nothing ill happened. If you only had a problem for a day or 2, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I can't use the low alcohol vodka alone - it's too dry here and evaporates too quickly. I mix it with water.

10-23-2006, 10:41 PM
Only a day or two. I had refilled it middle of last week. We've had a cold spell since then (which in October here in Alabama means low dewpoints and dry, dry, dry air) so I'll bet that's what did it.

I also wondered if the layer of fruit might have insulated it from oxygen somewhat too.

Thanks for the water-vodka idea too.

Oh--and Happy Mole Day everybody!

10-24-2006, 01:36 AM
Well I have been doing this for a while so I end up with meads that get no human companionship for months at a time. A few times I have come across empty airlocks I refilled them (I actually just switched to vodka last year) with no ill effects. I have no idea how long they were empty but I am sure that it was longer than a week or two. I now check airlocks every couple of weeks just to be safe. Change the ones with dead fruitflies and maybe give the meads a sniff.
Your mead will be fine.

10-24-2006, 08:00 AM
You mentioned a change in temperature and I think that is a big contributor.

I had a similar effect with water which would vanish practically over night. I was keeping my mead in the garage where it would get cooler at night (but still in acceptable ranges) The cooling of the mead container will cause some suction as the air inside the container condenses (air molecules get closer together). That can pull some of your liquid into the container.

I have since moved my mead into my laundry room where the temp is much more stable...


10-24-2006, 07:33 PM
Oh big whew! Thanks so much for easing my poor tortured brain, guys. :icon_shaking2:

I got the shipping email about my racking equipment, so it should be here in the next day or so. If my dream comes true (ha!), I'll rack this baby into a growler and a big glass apple juice jug or two for some aging.

I am beside myself with anticipation. I only want to taste a drop, but I can hardly wait. :blob1:

I want to echo Leonora's gratitude, BTW. I'll post a nice thank-you poem later!

11-13-2006, 04:24 PM
I've had that happen too with regular tap water in the airlock. I live in a dry part of Colorado. If you catch it in a couple days which it sounds like you have there should be no ill effect. I noticed about a month with no seal is when the mead turns bad. Darn vacation.

You use vodka in your airlock? May I ask why? It seems like it would evaporate quicker then normal water.

11-13-2006, 09:14 PM
...You use vodka in your airlock? May I ask why? It seems like it would evaporate quicker then normal water.

Probably does. Ken Schramm says (in The Compleat Meadmaker) that he uses vodka because IF on the outside chance it gets drawn down into the mead, it won't change the taste. :tongue1:

I've had some of this that ended up with the empty airlock (it couldn't have been empty more then 3 days) and when I first tasted it, I cried for joy. Delicious! :toothy10:

11-14-2006, 12:11 AM
I use glycerine in the airlock during the drier parts of the year here in Northern Arizona. It doesn't evaporate at all, cleans up with water, and is available at many LHBS's -- as well as online at E.C. Kraus (http://eckraus.com/FLV310.html) and suchlike.


Dan McFeeley
11-14-2006, 02:26 AM

The mead is probably ok, although you won't know for sure until it's time to bottle it.

I've had carboys pop their stopper, due to changing temperature, etc., and gotten varying results. Sometimes the mead was just fine, one took on a bitter taste.

I'm assuming the bitter taste was from oxidation of phenolic material in the honey. A bit of tartaric acid helped mask the bitterness, and with aging it turned into a good mead.

Scott Horner
11-14-2006, 03:19 PM
You have fallen victim to "suckback" sometimes as mead or any other fermenting drink slows or stops fermenting it creates a small vacuum and that will pull in what ever you have in the stopper. Fret not, this has happened to me a few times and have yet to have any ill effects.

I do recommend this little critter to help stop this in the future. http://morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=16646

Basically it takes the place of the liquid filled stoppers. It's breathable so the CO2 can get out, but prevents anything from getting in during the "suckback" phase.