View Full Version : First batch of mead. Bubbles acting strange.

10-26-2010, 04:13 PM
I am about 2 1/2 weeks into primary fermentation on my first batch of mead and when checking it the other day I noticed that one side of the carboy has lots of visible bubbling but the other side is releativly still with on a stray bubble hear or there. I have made homemade wine once before and the CO2 bubbles seemed to be evenly distributed througout the must. Any idea why this might be happening? There is alot of activity in the carboy and the airlock is still bubbling away every 3 to 5 seconds so the fermentation seems to be going fine but it just seems odd.

Brew is:

16-17 pounds of clover honey harvested from a friends hive.

About 4 gallons of spring water filling in the rest of the 5 gallon carboy.

1.5 cups of raisins for yeast nutrition.

10 ozs dark brewed Darjeeling tea for tannins

1 pack of Wyeast Dry mead yeast.

I don't know the original gravity as I just bought my hydrometer a week after this was started and I havent wanted to crack it open to take a reading at this point since its still seems to be carrying right along.

Thanks in advance for any help.

10-26-2010, 04:48 PM
Might be that one side of the carboy wasn't entirely clean, and as such there is some particulate stuck to the glass that is causing more bubbles to form. That's my only guess!

Give it a good swirl/spin/stir anyways, it will help the ferment along. Might be a good idea to get an SG reading as well, bubbles do indicate that something is happening of course, but 2.5 weeks is a pretty long fermentation (probably due to low nutrients, a small fruit addition like that doen't add a ton) and you might want to make sure it's definitely doing ok.

Welcome to the forum!

10-26-2010, 05:42 PM
Let me add my welcome to "Gotmead", too, and let me amplify just a bit on what AToE has already said. Any irregularity on that side of the carboy, whether it is from stuck particulate matter or just some edges in the glass, could be a source of nucleation sites which would form local spots where CO2 microbubbles can form first. That could explain why the bubbling seems one-sided. It is nothing to worry about as long as the fermentation is proceeding.

10-26-2010, 10:06 PM
I took a reading tonight and it came in at 1.06.

10-26-2010, 10:13 PM
You're definitely moving slowly, have you been aerating at all? I wouldn't aerate it now, as it's past the 1/2 point in the fermentation, but for future batches lots of aeration up to the 1/3 mark is really helpful, as would be beefing up the nutrients. I don't know anything about the Wyeast dry mead yeast, but it's cousin, their sweet mead yeast, is a very troublesome yeast. Future batches you might be better off with a popular wine yeast, such as 71B, D47, K1V, etc.

What temperature is this at roughly?

That said this could turn into a great mead, it's just progressing very slowly and might stall at a sweeter final gravity than you might like. I would be swirling it at least once a day from now until the end of fermentation. You want to help get some of the CO2 out of solution (be careful not to create a mead gyser!) and most importantly mix that yeast back up into suspension.

One thing you could do that could help a lot is add some more nutrients in the form of boiled yeast. It doesn't have to be mead/wine/beer yeast, regular bread yeast will work just fine (might smell terrible, but won't effect the finished mead, don't worry). Boil maybe a few tbsp of bread yeast in a small amount of water for about 2 minutes (watch out for it all evaporating) and once it cools pour this into your mead. It should provide a lot of nutrients that the yeast probably aren't getting from the raisins, and the boiled yeast can also help bind toxins that might be slowing your yeast down.

10-26-2010, 10:38 PM
Wow. Definitely get lots of good advice here.

I bought a variety of yeasts to use over the next few batches and I suppose in my ignorance I went with the Wyeast since it was label specifically "mead yeast". I have a few packs of D47 handy though and will definitely use that on the next batch.

The temp stays around 73-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

I will add the boiled yeast tonight and swirl the must around once a day from here on out.

Thanks again for all the great info. I will keep updating as it goes.

Chevette Girl
10-27-2010, 12:50 AM
My initial suspicion if you didn't aerate it or stir, and sprinkled your yeast in dry, is that all the yeast settled in the same place and that's where your bubbles are mostly coming from... If it evens out after you give it a swirl, that's probably what it was... if it remains one-sided, AToE and Wayne are probably right and it's something about your carboy. If you used the same carboy for another batch and it was even, it might need a really good scrub too...

And welcome to the addiction!! I mean, hobby!

10-27-2010, 07:59 AM
Similar to what Chevette Girl is saying the shelf I have my fermenter on is at a slight angle and the yeast settles on the bottom a little thicker at one side than the other. I have noticed many more bubbles on the side where the lees are the thickest. I have noticed this with my beers which I have brewed quite a few of as well as my first mead which is still fermenting.