View Full Version : Total Failure with mead 1st time.

06-03-2008, 07:12 PM
So me and a friend had our first try at mead making the other day.

Sadly it was a total failure.

We filled a carboy with water, honey, blackberry, and raspberry juices.

We added the wine yeast and yeast nutrient we had.

We sealed the carboy, and this morning it had exploded all over the ceiling of the basement.
The airlock just popped right off and the garbage inside got all over everything.

Why might this have happened? If anyone can indicate something I might have done wrong, and help me do better on the next batch I would really appreciate it.

06-03-2008, 08:00 PM
Hmmm, I would have to ask....how much water inside what size carboy?

06-03-2008, 08:01 PM
Hi! Welcome to "GotMead?"!!

What happened in your case was that the fermentation started up so aggressively that the must got pushed up and out of the airlock, plugging it up in the process, and then the pressure built up in your carboy until it launched the stopper and airlock up to the ceiling.

Don't feel too bad. The same thing happened to me about a year ago, and I had been making mead on and off for about 20 years at that point! :laughing7:
One key difference between my experience and yours was that mine happened during what is called secondary fermentation, and your geyser erupted during primary. That can often happen during primary fermentation, which is why we either recommend that you ferment in an open container (like a sanitized, food-grade bucket) covered loosely by a sanitized cloth, until the most vigorous part of fermentation has ended, or you leave lots of headspace in your primary carboy.

Now that you've had your first meadmaking "experience," and you're lucky enough to have found the Gotmead site, you probably will want to read the NewBee's Guide, which you can find here: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14

BTW - NewBeeOne is right to ask, how much water, honey , etc., did you use in your carboy? Generally, there are more meadmaking experts here than anywhere else on the planet, but to best advise someone who is just starting out, we need to know exactly what you did, and how you did it. Posting your recipe (including quantities of all the ingredients as well as temperatures, etc., will help us out a lot.

06-03-2008, 08:11 PM
No joke on the exploding carboy's! My first time was with my first ever 5 gallon beer I placed in a 5 gallon carboy.......Lesson learned.... :laughing7:....It took me several days to clean that mess up....Oh yeah...WELCOME TO "GOT MEAD?" This is an awesome place to find just about anything you want to know, need to know, and just plain have to know about mead!

Medsen Fey
06-03-2008, 08:23 PM
Welcome AshtrayDinner!

Sadly it was a total failure.

Not by a long shot! First of all, it did start fermenting (quite rapidly it seems). Second, if there is an explosion, but there is no flying glass and no injury, that it reason enough for celebration - a little clean-up is just an educational experience most of get along the way.

Whatever recipe you decide to attempt next, try ANTIFOAM DROPS (http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=5987). It will save you a lot of grief.

Wishing you good luck on the next try!

06-03-2008, 08:49 PM
Here's our recipe.

3 kg honey
700 ml strained boiled blackberry juice
200 ml boiled raspberry juice
20 L of purified water

23 L carboy

We sanitised the carboy with sodium metasulphite. We added about 8 litres of water to the carboy, funnelled in the warm honey and juice, topped up the carboy most of the way. Added the yeast (Lalvin degree 48 I think) and yeast nutrient.

The carboy was full past the shoulder, we sealed it with the airlock, added water to the airlock, and let it relax.

On day three foam was noticed in the airlock.
Today is day four, this morning the airlock had shot out of the carboy creating a significant mess.

Thanks for the help, I think you are right about what happened. I will be more careful in the future.

06-04-2008, 12:41 AM
For future reference, I won't put any more than about 5.5 gallons into a 6.5 gallon carboy for the primary fermentation. You've got a 6 gallon carboy there, so you should be ok with 5 gallons (19 L) in that. Or, food-grade plastic buckets are pretty cheap and usually hold 6-7 gallons. The large mouth of a bucket makes explosions less likely (though foamovers can still occur).