View Full Version : how much air in the carboy?

10-22-2008, 10:40 AM
I decided to try the Joe's ancient orange (first time making mead) and it calls for a one gallon carboy. I don't have one - only have a five litre one.

I started the mead two days ago and it didn't occur to me that the extra air in the carboy (a litre and a half of air, so to speak) would create problems. Now my airlock isn't bubbling at all. Will it start late? Or is it too late to top up the mead with extra water?

10-22-2008, 11:01 AM
Hello Maenad,

Don't Panic!

Just over a litre of air is not much during the primary stage of fermentation, so don't worry about that. Do not top up with water as this will only dilute the final product. Airgaps above a Must have nothing to do with the ability to ferment. They can become an issue during aging when you want to reduce the air above a Mead as much as possible, so try to get a 1 gallon jug to use when you rack.

It sounds more like you are not seeing any fermentation at all since you say the airlock is not bubbling. Was it bubbling at all during any of the past 2 days? Do you see any bubbles in the Mead itself? Did you follow the directions precisely? How old was the bread yeast that you used? Do you have another packet that is younger that you can throw into the Must to see if the other one was too old?

Let us know what you did and we can help find an answer to the problem.


10-25-2008, 01:26 AM
After leaving the mead a few more days, the bottle began to fizz gently and now has a thin layer of foam on top. I had no more bread yeast, so I opened the carboy then and pitched in some wine yeast. (one teaspoon). Since then, it's continued to fizz gently but the airlock hasn't bubbled.

No point in tossing it out - it probably won't turn out good, but I'll leave it in a dark corner for a few months and let you know.

10-26-2008, 02:20 AM
If it has a layer of foam on the top, then it is fermenting. It sounds like it is working only slowly. What sort of temperature are you fermenting at ?

The extra air won't hurt it in the beginning as yeast does like some extra oxygen at the start of the process. The top of the must will eventually get covered with CO2 and protect it.

The airlock not bubbling cannot be taken as a sign that nothing is happening. Sometimes the airlock may not be fitted properly and so excess gas can escape (if it can find an easier way than pushing out through an airlock it will).