View Full Version : Honey settled on bottom? Is this OK?

06-01-2009, 09:02 AM
Hello All,

I just started my first batch of mead yesterday following the recipe here - http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/fast-cheap-mead-making.htm

Very simple, just wanted to try it out and see how things go...

I have one question/concern, though-

After following the steps in the recipe, it seems like most or at least a very good portion of my honey has come to rest on the bottom of the jug. Is this normal? Should it be mixed so thoroughly that it doesn't settle like that? What can I do to fix it, just continue stirring aggressively to get it mixed?

I shook the jug for a good 5 minutes or so to aerate, but that didn't do the job of mixing, I guess.

The recipe didn't really clarify, it just said "Put the honey in the jug"... but now I'm wondering!

Thanks! I'm excited to see this get going and I'm already starting to eye further equipment and recipes I'd like to try :P

My wife probably isn't too thrilled about all this... adding to my list of "Things that are always fermenting and smelling funny in the kitchen" - Yogurt, Kefir, Kvass, a multitude of sourdough starters and now... Mead! :D

Medsen Fey
06-01-2009, 09:49 AM
Welcome to the forums tjrose!!!

That recipe should work fine.

Although yeast can consume honey at the bottom of a fermenter, we usually recommend to get the honey dissolved into the solution. In doing so, it helps aerate the must so that they yeast can grow to their maximal numbers and helps to complete fermentations. I would take a spoon, stirring rod, piece of tubing, or whatever you have handy and sanitize it well then stir the honey until it is dissolved. Please start very gently so you can avoid an MEA (mead eruption accident) as it will foam.

06-01-2009, 08:28 PM
Don't know about bread yeast, but the wine/beer yeasts will eventually eat honey at the bottom of the fermenter. But yeah, stirring more of it into solution would probably be
a good idea.

06-02-2009, 05:30 AM
This is the way I have been making mead for going on 30+ years. I never made any effort to dissolve the honey, piched ample yeast and in the next 5-10 days watched the layer of honey slowly disappear. In the past year, I've entered a few contest and place in a little more than half of them. Its the easy, no work, relax, have a glass of mead method!

Medsen Fey
06-02-2009, 10:14 AM
DaleP, I recently tried a variation of your approach instead of "Step Feeding" to produce a very high alcohol mead. The details are posted in the Patron's area in a thread entitled Maximum alcohol production - a contrarian approach? (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?p=124006&highlight=contrarian#post124006) It worked quite nicely.

The biggest problem we ran into was what to call the process. I favor the term "Bulk Continuous Feeding." Other ideas tossed into the ring include:

Bulk Feeding
Continuous Feeding
Passive Continuous Feeding
Blob Feeding
Single Addition Erosion Method
Continuous Bottom Feeding
Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding, or BDC DYF for short, (pronounced BDC Diff)
Bulk Yeast Osmosis Bottom Feeding (BYOB Feeding for short)

Since you are one of the pioneers of the process, I will certainly defer to you for the naming. What do you think?

Whatever it is to be called, there are some disadvantages to this approach. For one, you cannot assess your starting gravity easily. Since honey can vary quite a bit in moisture content from batch to batch and year to year, adding honey by weight or volume may not give consistent starting gravities leaving you sweeter or drier at times.

Not having a starting gravity also makes it more challenging to calculate your alcohol content. It can be done, using a refractometer and hydrometer, or by doing alcohol by spirit indication as discussed in the Patron's thread. Still it is much easier to measure a starting and final gravity to make the calculation.

Also, by not having a starting gravity to follow, it is not so easy to track the progression of fermentation. Yes you can track the rate of shrinkage of the layer of honey on the bottom, but that will be inexact. If your fermentation rate slows down dramatically, you may not easily detect it in time to take action to prevent a stuck fermentation. You could track it by weight, and I know Dan McFeeley has a post describing the use of a postal scale as an alternative for monitoring progression of fermentation. This is an approach which could be used, but again this adds a layer of complication.

So while I agree, the basic idea is quite easy, to use it with consistency adds some complexity in other areas.

Still, I like approach, and I'm sure I'll be using it for other batches (especially the high gravity ones).


06-02-2009, 12:01 PM
I like "Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding" makes it sound special. I agree it has its problems, but some of these are of little concern, such as the alcohol content. I make hydromels, standard and sack and give friends who care to know an approximate range, especially if they seem to be be really enjoying the sacks!

06-02-2009, 02:22 PM
I've been making a braggot (It's just about at the bottling stage) and when I first mixed it, I thought I had done so thoroughly, but the OG I measured was a lot lower than it should have been (1.028!). When I looked at the carboy about an hour or so later, I saw that there were two "layers." I was thinking of trying to mix it again, but I let it go. The next morning, there was no longer two layers, since the active fermentation had thoroughly mixed the must. I took a SG reading and came up with a much more respectable 1.048, which was around what I was shooting for. My SG reading when I put it into the secondary 1.008 which I believe gave it an ABV of around 5.3% which was actually a little higher than I expected.

06-02-2009, 02:46 PM
Thanks for all the tips and advice.

Yesterday, I went ahead and stirred it up a bit, and it's going great now. From the sounds of it, it probably would have been OK either way, but I just wanted to help it along.

There actually was still a small amount of honey on the bottom, maybe 1/4 inch, but today when I went back to stir it once more, that has since all dissolved.

It's bubbling away happily and I can't wait for it to be ready! I'm already itching to start another batch :D

Medsen Fey
06-03-2009, 01:51 PM
I like "Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding" makes it sound special.

Well then, Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding (BDC DYF) it will be. I'm looking forward to trying it with some L2226 yeast.

Hats off to epetkus for the winning entry! ;D