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View Full Version : First batch, first post, first really noob question (of many I am sure)



Robintun
06-20-2008, 11:21 AM
First off, very nice site, I have been looking around it for some time though just registered. I mixed my first batch on the 17th and have never brewed anything and I have a really basic question about the first week. I have read a few books and a lot of web sites and am not clear on aeration during the first few days. Mainly, how long and is the airlock supposed to be on. Knowing nothing about this I would say I have a strong start in my primary fermenter based on the bubbling I am getting through my 3 piece airlock which I put on after pitching the yeast. I have been opening it in the evening and giving it a good stirring with a large clean/sterile stainless steel scum-scooper and get some good foaming going. From what I have read, some leave the lock off for up to 2 weeks and some use it in the first day. I am just worried I will be getting some fermentation going then introducing 02 to it and causing problems. On the other hand, it has smelled better each day I have opened it so must be doing something right? But when do I know when to stop opening it to stir, and when to decide to do the first racking. For the first racking, I have seen it suggested on time and SG and bubble rate. Ok sorry, that was more than one question, but I do not know anyone who brews mead to ask.


No need to read further because my questions are really basic, but your FAQ and rules section said I should put the recipe when asking questions, so I just used the first recipe from the Compleat Mead Maker, which I think he called a medium sweet show mead:

~15# (5Q) wildflower honey (suspect it was a little less based on the OG)
Superferment (recommended amount for 5G based on package)
Lalvin ICV D-47
Preboiled tap water to end volume of 5Gal (honey not added until temp was 140F which took forever to get down)
OG was 1.109 and temp of 79F after yeast was pitched.

I had to do a bit of a yeast starter in a weak honey solution with the superferment over night, because it took the boiled water longer than I thought to cool and I had already reconstituted the dry yeast. That and not getting all the honey out of the container before measuring the next quart I think accounts for the OG lower than the 1.112-1.128 he suggested in the book.

NewBeeOne
06-20-2008, 11:54 AM
First off....WELCOME TO GOTMEAD?!


Now, I am but a newbie as well, but, I think I can help to calm those nerves a bit with a couple of things....When you give your must a nice little stir and get some good foaming, then, that is a form of aeration. I believe it just depends on how long you do this, but, perhaps someone with a lot more knowledge can answer as to how long and when to stop. I just did it for the first three days, twice a day from the day I pitched the yeast. There are a large number of methods that people use....The first racking is one of these examples. I take a gravity reading over the course of a couple of days and if I see VERY little to no change, then, I rack into a secondary. I just feel better taking a reading then depending on the number of bubbles in the airlock or the amount of lees in the bottom of the carboy. Although, some do this with fine results. (This method I used for brewing beers, only a little experience with mead..) A little advice on reading the gravity...Check it at least three times before you make any move with your mead. I speak from experiene on this one.....If all else fails, do some research on this site. It is a wonderful place that is full of knowledge and helpful people. Just use the search tool above and type in what your looking for. It has helped me many, many times to answer my questions. And last but not least.....I have learned that Mead takes a lot of patience.....Have fun and good luck!!! :cheers:

undyingfutility
06-20-2008, 12:54 PM
Welcome to GotMead?!

Aeration is done to make sure you have a strong enough yeast colony to go through with your fermentation. I've made the mistake of not aerating a batch when I felt like the yeast were doing fine, only to get a stuck fermentation. The basic procedure you want to follow for aerating just needs to get a good amount of oxygen into the must for the yeast. What I usually do is open up the carboy and give it a good swirling shake (after degassing of course, you don't want a mead volcano in your house!). A good guideline is to do this 1-2 times per day for the first three days of the fermentation. As for the airlock, I would leave it on whenever you aren't aerating, just to be safe.

If you have a really vigorous fermentation, you should get an idea of when to rack based upon airlock activity. The bubble rate should drop dramatically. Regardless, this is merely a guideline. I'd back up the assessment with SG readings. Based upon your starting gravity and your yeast choice, you should wind up with a mead in the 14% alcohol range and a final gravity in the ballpark of 1.000-1.01.

Happy meadmaking and welcome to the community!

Robintun
06-20-2008, 01:07 PM
Thank you. Those were both very helpful and fast replies.