PDA

View Full Version : honey layer at the bottom of my carboy



hany
07-09-2007, 12:04 PM
Hello all,

First off, I am new to this forum. As much as I liked my old forum, they are all beer brewers and I started to feel that I needed some meadsters to truly interect with, so I look forward to being here.

Anyhow, I made up a must of 50/50 honey/agave a few days ago. I used low heat and added sulfites for the first time, in order to keep more aromatics in the product. However, I don't know that I mixed it properly.

The fermentation is taking off now, mostly due to the agave I believe. However, to my dismay, there is a 4-inch layer of what I believe is honey (judging by the color and viscosity) sitting at the bottom of the carboy, below a much lighter, watery liquid ontop.

Even when I bought the honey and agave, I put them in the same jar. And I noticed that the two didn't really mix, but the agave sat ontop of the honey.

Question : Can I expect the honey to gradually dissolve into the rest of the must and ferment ? If not, what are my options ?

Cheers
H

Pewter_of_Deodar
07-09-2007, 01:10 PM
As long as you have fermentation going, do not be afraid to give it a gentle stirring...

More than a gentle stirring may create a geyser if your results are like mine...

But I'd gently stir it a couple times a day for a few days to see if it lessens the layer...

Good luck,
Pewter

teljkon
07-09-2007, 04:18 PM
Id cap or cork up the top of the carboy and give it a littel rocking action cool thing about carboys is you can just roll them around on the floor a littel.
:happy10:

MtnBrewer
07-09-2007, 04:22 PM
Id cap or cork up the top of the carboy and give it a littel rocking action cool thing about carboys is you can just roll them around on the floor a littel.
:happy10:

Seems like a good way to spend the next hour mopping mead off of the ceiling. I'd use a lees stirrer (on slooooow speed) or a racking cane to carefully stir up the bottom layer.

Oskaar
07-09-2007, 04:47 PM
Teljkon,

What are you basing this advice on?

Pewter and MtnBrewer are spot on in their advice. What you're proposing based on my read of your post is to stopper up the top of the carboy and then agitate it. With that agitation you'd be increasing the atmospheric pressure inside the carboy (additionally I would recommend you never just roll around on the floor, at least have some in/outdoor carpeting under it) and very likely cause it to explode, or shoot that cork at a dangerously high rate of speed. If you have an airlock in place that would be better, but still, you should not stopper up the carboy when you agitate it during fermentation. it's OK to remove the airlock to swirl the carboy, but then you replace it immediately, and you must be sure to watch the level of the mead as you do so lest you have a carboy volcano. Even worse, if you have the 6.5 gallon screw top carboys like I do, you'll have an explosion and be lucky to live through it.

Oskaar

hany
07-09-2007, 07:26 PM
Yea, I wasn't going to roll my carboy around on the floor like that, but thanks anyway for the advice.

I had a fellow from another forum suggest that the natural currents in the must created by fermentation would generally be enough to gradually merge the honey layer back into the liquid above, so maybe I'll just get to kick back. I'll measure the height of a layer with a micrometer from day to day to see how the dissolution is going. (Not really !)

Cheers everyone !
H

Oskaar
07-09-2007, 08:12 PM
... snip...I had a fellow from another forum suggest that the natural currents in the must created by fermentation would generally be enough to gradually merge the honey layer back into the liquid above, so maybe I'll just get to kick back. I'll measure the height of a layer with a micrometer from day to day to see how the dissolution is going. (Not really !)

Cheers everyone !
H


Not real great advice there from the other forum. By not getting the honey up into suspension and dissolved so the yeast can get to it easily you're increasing the likelihood of a stalled fermentation, and promoting yeast stress. You really want to get that honey dissolved as soon as possible so the yeast can make quick work of it. Protracted fermentations due to sugar deficiency promote yeast stress, off flavors, off odors and generally sub-standard mead.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

teljkon
07-10-2007, 12:02 AM
I have seen people roll there carboy on the floor to mix the honey into there mead. Keep in mind I didnít say shake the thing like a maraca I said rock it. I thought there would be enough common since to know to let off the pressure know and again. Apparently I was wrong. I think you guys probably work with less head space than I do to. I always keep about a finger from the curve to leave plenty of foam room. Keep in mind sometimes the best solution is the one with the greatest risk involved.
:happy10:

Oskaar
07-10-2007, 04:18 AM
Teljkon,

I routinely swirl my carboys during fermentation. However, one cannot presume that someone else will have the good sense not to stopper it up tight, or roll it around on a concrete floow when told it's ok to do so. That has been proven time and time again here in these forums. So it is very important to specify in detail what you mean. Also, it is not good practice to stopper any fermenting mead when you are about to swirl or rock the carboy. Just take off the airlock or bung you're using and cover it with a sanitized cloth. Too many people lack what used to be common sense.

If you don't believe me just do a forum search on "piscamel"

Cheers,

Oskaar

wayneb
07-10-2007, 10:35 AM
Hey, Oskaar! I think the piscamel posts have been pulled, since nothing except your reference to it showed up when I just did a search and I think I joined GotMead too late to have seen any discussions along those lines. But, if my latin is still functional, I can't believe anyone would try something so stupid. "Fish mead???" :icon_puke_r:

hany
07-10-2007, 11:13 AM
I gave it one good stirring with the rakcing cane last night. This morning I looked and no layer had settled out. Looks like we're in business !

Thanks for the advice everyone !

fish mead !?!?!?!?!?

Oskaar
07-10-2007, 11:54 AM
Hey, Oskaar! I think the piscamel posts have been pulled, since nothing except your reference to it showed up when I just did a search and I think I joined GotMead too late to have seen any discussions along those lines. But, if my latin is still functional, I can't believe anyone would try something so stupid. "Fish mead???" :icon_puke_r:


What criteria did you use to search? That's too weird!

Here's (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=397&topic=1733.msg13835#msg13835) the link.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Arjan
07-10-2007, 12:24 PM
What criteria did you use to search? That's too weird!

Here's (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=397&topic=1733.msg13835#msg13835) the link.

Cheers,

Oskaar


its not weird that nothing showed up, had the same at first... when you are using the search and you are reading a topic or browsing one of the forums, it will only show up results from that forum part.
so searching from this thread it will search only through "Mead Technical Questions"

in order to search through the whole site you must do that from the main page.

i noticed that when searching for JAO posts and only 2?!?! posts showed up.. while tons it had to be :)

wayneb
07-10-2007, 12:25 PM
Hey, Oskaar! I think the piscamel posts have been pulled, since nothing except your reference to it showed up when I just did a search and I think I joined GotMead too late to have seen any discussions along those lines. But, if my latin is still functional, I can't believe anyone would try something so stupid. "Fish mead???" :icon_puke_r:


What criteria did you use to search? That's too weird!

Here's (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=397&topic=1733.msg13835#msg13835) the link.

Cheers,

Oskaar


Hey, something's not right with that search tool on the top of this page. I kept it as simple as possible - just searched 'piscamel' and got only the current thread. This begs the question -- Do I need to do the search from the forum home page instead, to make sure that all the threads in all the boxes are searched? That might be what's going on here....

That said, I'm almost sorry that I guessed right! (...and you with your Lobsterbisquemel, indeed! LMAO!!)

wayneb
07-10-2007, 12:27 PM
Aha! Thanks, Arjan, I figured that was the likely issue. Oskaar and/or Vicky, did you know that the search tool was constrained to the local currently open Box unless you go to the main forum page? Is that the way you want it to work?

Oskaar
07-10-2007, 03:18 PM
I'm not finding that to be the case. I logged in as myself, then did it logged out as well as doing it logged in as a regular member (created a bogus member account and then whacked it)

Make sure you are using the FORUM SEARCH tab in the FORUM menu which hangs down from the wide border bar containing the SITE SEARCH BOX.

If you are using the SITE SEARCH BOX with the magnifying glass next to it you are using the wrong tool. You can check this by using the FORUM SEARCH tab in the forum menu within any thread and it will always return three hits no matter which thread you are in.

Since the forums are unwrappered you are not getting the benefit of the actual function of the site search since it can only search the forum, and the forum thread you are in.

Check it out and echo back the results here please.


See attachment for further explaination.


Hope that helps,

Oskaar

teljkon
07-11-2007, 01:49 AM
I agree though I should have been more specific. You do have to be gentle and slow and pay attention the bubbles. Perhaps I should put a disclosure on all my posts. lol
:happy10:

Oskaar
07-11-2007, 03:33 AM
LOL, NBD.

It's just that we have so many new meadmakers coming to the boards now that we have to be very careful to spell things out in excrutiating detail and we can't presume that everyone knows what we're talking about. I've been guilty of that myself. Just ask Wrath about his chocolate volcano!

Cheers,

Oskaar

wayneb
07-11-2007, 12:43 PM
If you are using the SITE SEARCH BOX with the magnifying glass next to it you are using the wrong tool. You can check this by using the FORUM SEARCH tab in the forum menu within any thread and it will always return three hits no matter which thread you are in.



Well, if I didn't already know how much trouble you were having in getting the forum app to play well with the rest of the site, I'd give you a hard time about this idiot-syncracy... but under the circumstances, I'll cut y'all a little slack! ;)

Seriously, I never knew that the forum search button was unique to the forum, but global therein, nor that the "magnifying glass" tool was global to the site, but NOT linked to every box/folder in the forum while it remains unwrappered.

I'm glad that you and Vicky enjoy this kind of stuff, because if I were responsible for it, I'd have heaved a brick at my monitor long ago. :laughing7:

hany
07-11-2007, 01:06 PM
Thank you for the excruciating detail. (and Telkjon, I wasn't at all shunning your advice, I was just leary of counting on a tight enough seal to trust the carboy on its side!)

I like to think I fall in the common sensical category, but then again I can think of some pretty ridiculous things I've done both in and out of the brewing world. I don't think I can think of anything that tops that piscomel however !!! (And I mead that in a very kind and loving spirit)

I am surprised how easy it mixed actually. I had agave syrup and honey in the same jar for a couple of weeks and they didn't mix at all, but rather, the agave sat in a very distinct layer above the honey. Then I got the separation in the unfermented must in the carboy after everything had allready mixed in the pot with water.

Then one stir and everything is homogenous with no more tendency towards separation. Is it because of the low alcohol presence causing the slightest shift in the solubility of the honey perhaps ? Or is it indeed the currents that are moving upwards and preventing re-precipitation ? The engineer in me always has to seek out the scientific explanation.

Cheers
H

Oskaar
07-11-2007, 01:45 PM
OK, I split this post and put the second half in the Yeasties and Beasties Section.

OK, a couple of things. Use the forum search tool and look up margamel and read the entire thread. Agave is another naturally inhibitive natural product that is actually more serious than honey in it's inhibitive qualities. Agave nectar tends to be notoriously difficult to ferment.

What you're seeing in your carboy is probably stratification, that is, clearing of the must as fermentation slows. The yeast will tend to drop out of suspension as they have done their job. It is highly likely that you'll need to dose with nutrient and swirl to keep the yeast in suspension so the fermentation will be able to complete. Be prepared to pitch again with that concentration of agave. If you find that your fermentation goes very quickly, it is likely that your agave syrup was cut with corn syrup.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

hany
07-11-2007, 02:53 PM
Oskaar

I totally freaked out when you suggested that my agave syrup might be cut with corn syrup. So I called the food coop in Bellingham where I got it and traced it back to Glory bee Foods, which is the same source recommended in the margamead thread. Phew !!! Sigh of relief !

I read the thread. While entertaining to read, I'm not sure I picked up on any profound wisdom there. Sure, it took a long time to finish fermenting, but I wouldn't bottle the mead before 1.5 to 2.5 years anyway.

I will, however, be sure to constantly stir, add nutrient and possibly yeast later on.

thanks again for the tips !

Hany

hany
07-11-2007, 03:04 PM
Ok. Just got this product spec sheet from GloryBee:

Item #: 66-05065, 60, 58/C, 55/C
Date Issued: 02.19.07
Ingredients: Organic Agave Syrup from Agave salmiane
Physical Specification/Typical Analysis:
Color: Clear
Flavor: Neutral, Very Sweet
pH: 3.74 - 5.3
Moisture: 21.6 - 23.5%
Brix (Soluble Solids): 76.5 - 78.4%
Ash: 0.00 - 0.19%
Total Carbohydrates: 97.4 - 99.8%
Fructose: 70.5 - 74.5%
Dextrose: 20.5 - 26.5%
Others: 0.0 - 5.0%
Glycemic Index: 29.4 - 38.8

So my question is: what ingredient(s) or lack thereof, make this fermentation inhibitive ? Is it just simply the lack of nutrients ?

I actually added yeast energizer AND yeast nutrient, so maybe this explosive dose of nutrients is doing the trick for me.

Question: Is there such thing as adding TOO much nutrient ?

(Maybe my honey was cut with corn syrup and that explains the speed of fermentation....just kidding.)

hany
07-11-2007, 03:07 PM
By the way,

I feel infinitely more at home here than in the beer brewing forums ! So glad to have found this place !

Thanks
H