View Full Version : Antifoam

01-02-2010, 09:58 PM
Is there any reason why I wouldn't want to use antifoam?

01-02-2010, 11:46 PM
You like to shout "There she blows!"? ;-)

01-03-2010, 12:24 AM
Hello, and welcome.

I think perhaps you should be more specific in how you intend to use it, and also say what type of defoamer you intend to use. That will probably help you get a more a helpful reply.

01-03-2010, 12:27 AM
I have some, but I've never had to use it. So far, I don't get to join MEAD, alas!

If you have plenty of room in your fermenter, you probably won't need it, but as far as it possibly leaving something negative in the mead, that I don't know and will leave to the experts.

01-03-2010, 01:39 AM
I've never made mead, but have been doing lots of research (via many websites and a book by Roger Morse). I believe I'm ready to make my first batch in a week. My goal is a 3 gallon batch to include honey, yeast (Lalvin D47) and water (no fruits or spices for my first time). I'd like to make the most of my 3 gallon carboy by filling it, but haven't completely discerned from my research if I'm supposed to leave room for the foaming, or should fill it and use an antifoam. Everything I've read makes the antifoam sound like the way to go, I just want to make sure there's no reason why I wouldn't want to use it. Thanks.

01-03-2010, 01:59 AM
I don't know if there are any hazards with using it, but I don't think so.

What honey are you using? Darker honeys tend to produce more foam, so if you're using a dark honey it might be a good idea. For a lighter honey though, I don't think it's neccessary.

I would reccomend leaving airspace in the carboy though, either way... Having it as full as possible will probably be problematic, regardless of whether or not you use anti foam.

01-03-2010, 03:04 AM
It definitely easier to start in a larger container with lots of headspace and rack into a smaller container with none/very little once fermentation is done. But, if you are equipment limited, the antifoam drops seem to be a good idea. I have never used them myself, but there have been times I wish I had.

Also I suggest reading up on nutrients. Try searching for Staggered Nutrient Additions or SNA, which is one of the more "modern" approaches for mead.

01-03-2010, 04:25 AM
Also you could do what I do - mix up your 3 gallons of must, and then put aside and freeze a decent amount (maybe a litre or two) which you will then add back into the must once it gets through it's foaming phase (usually first day or two).

And yes, nutrients = good idea, especially the SNA Akueck recommends you research, and also let me recommend that you read up/search for proper aeration practices. My first few batches all stalled at way too sweet because I used only a small amount of poor "mystery" nutrient from my local brew store, and didn't aerate enough.

Good luck, and I salute your choice to start with a traditional mead! Have you decided whether you're going to let it finish dry or sweet?

01-03-2010, 04:15 PM
Welcome to GotMead?

I haven't used them either. I have a primary bucket with plenty of head space to get new meads started. I then rack it to a carboy. It gets it off the gross lees and I don't have to worry about foam. It ran less than $20 with lid at the LHBS. Other have found buckets that work for as little as $5. If you decide to look into a primary bucket, make sure it's food grade plastic. (You can search GotMead for PET for more information.)

I know you've done a lot of research, but the Newbee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14)has some great information in it. It's worth the read.

Do you have an exact recipe in mind yet? If you post it, we can give input (such as nutrients or heat vs. no-heat).

01-04-2010, 01:54 AM
Roger Morse's book "Making Mead (Honey Wine)"? If so it has some cool stuff in it, but you want to look up the more current methods of using yeast nutrients.

Medsen Fey
01-04-2010, 11:09 AM
Anti-foam drops are safe. They usually contain dimethyl polysiloxane or some similar non-absorbable silicon compound similar to the stuff they use in Phazyme drops added to infant formula to prevent gas. If you are concerned about adding it directly to your mead, smearing the antifoam liquid around inside of the neck of the carboy can be very effective in cutting down Mead Eruption Accidents (MEAs). Even with antifoam drops, you still have to exercise great care in stirring or else you may have an overflow.

Generally speaking, I advocate using large primary fermenters. You can ferment a 3.5 gallon batch in a 10 gallon garbage pail, and then rack into a 3 gallon carboy leaving no headspace at all (with a little left for topping up later).

Good luck with your batch!

And Welcome to GotMead!

Brad Dahlhofer
01-12-2010, 12:14 PM
We were using the Fermcap S antifoam drops at the meadery for a while, but we're starting to shy away from it.

It was working pretty well, but we found that it didn't completely stop the foaming problem. Leaving enough head space is HIGHLY recommended.

We also found that using bentonite significantly reduced foaming. I'm not sure about the scientific reasoning behind this, but experience has shown that it's nearly as effective as the anti-foaming drops, it's cheeper, and it helps with fining.

My 2 cents.

01-12-2010, 07:41 PM
Do you guys put in the bentonite at the start?

01-12-2010, 11:18 PM
Bentonite will help with anti-foaming because it helps to get the CO2 out of solution as smaller bubbles to begin with, and the added "roughness" of the bentonite particles will assist in breaking the surface tension of the bubbles, which helps them to pop before too many can accumulate.

There are plusses and minuses to adding bentonite before peast pitch. In traditional mead musts, the bentonite aids yeast circulation through the must by providing those small nucleation sites that produce the microbubbles that yeast cells ride on during primary fermentation. However, bentonite can severely diminish the activity of some enzymes (notably pectinases), which may be useful to clarify fruit-based melomel musts. So, whether to add bentonite at the start of a fermentation should be decided in part based on what kind of mead you are making.

Medsen Fey
01-13-2010, 10:37 AM
Bentonite will bind, denature and precipitate proteins as well. Protein content is related to "foamy-ness." Honey with high protein content like heather produces huge amounts of foam. Musts that have been boiled and skimmed will foam less.

Another potential downside of using Bentonite during fermentation is increased production of H2S. This is not seen in every case, and is probably more likely in nitrogen deficient must.

01-13-2010, 12:02 PM
Another potential downside of using Bentonite during fermentation is increased production of H2S. This is not seen in every case, and is probably more likely in nitrogen deficient must.

I've heard of this effect, too, although I can't say definitively that I've experienced it in any of my batches. Perhaps it is related to the protein binding that you noted... if sources of amino nitrogen are being pulled out of suspension in the must, then it could effectively be starving the yeast later on in primary.

01-13-2010, 06:46 PM
Ah, that stuff is good to know about bentonite during fermentation. I may have to try it out sometime in a couple batches though and see what happens...

Brad Dahlhofer
01-14-2010, 02:16 AM
Do you guys put in the bentonite at the start?

Yes, we're starting to. When we get the urge. :)

10-29-2017, 11:20 PM
This is not seen in every case, and is probably more likely in nitrogen deficient must.