View Full Version : Fruit cap and fermentation

03-24-2009, 01:29 PM
So, two days ago a brewed a strawberry melomel. I'm using 20 lbs of strawberries total, but I'm splitting them up 50/50 between the primary and secondary. I checked my hydrometer yesterday and got a reading of about 1.100. I checked it again today, and it's still around the same mark. I've been stirring and aerating a few times a day. about an hour after I aerate, a reddish foamy layer forms on the top of the mead. I assume this is the fruit cap. After I break it apart and stir it around, my airlock starts bubbling like crazy. I get a bubble almost every second. However, when the fruit cap forms again, I get absolutely no airlock activity.

So, my question is this. Is my mead fermenting? I'm just worried because I know a bubble every second is usually a sign of pretty vigorous fermentation, but unless I'm somehow reading the hydrometer wrong, the SG hasn't dropped at all. Is there any other possible cause for all that airlock activity? Thanks everyone!

03-24-2009, 01:43 PM
It would help us to be more thorough about assessing all the possibilities if you provided us with a little more info about the exact recipe, the yeast used, your rehyradation and pitching process, fermenter style (carboy, bucket,etc.), etc.

In general, you don't get CO2 formation from anything other than fermentation, so your airlock activity is a good thing. However, a heavy fruit cap can trap a lot of CO2 in solution in the must. That can significantly slow yeast activity and it might even result in a stuck fermentation. With lots of fruit in the mix, I suggest breaking up that cap several times throughout the day during the first few days of fermentation -- 4 times a day is a good minimum.