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chouettes
11-03-2010, 01:03 AM
Hello again everyone
I have a few questions that are still not clear to me on the procedure...Even though I've read the Newbie guide, the Meadmaking FAQ and the recent posts; I'm still puzzled. I know you guys are really helpfull with your knowledge.
1--This is my first batch of mead. Is it O.K. to keep my 4gal. metheglyn in the manner I did? I mixed and kept my mead in my 5gal. plastic pail covered with a cloth for 7 days before transfering it to my 4 gal. glass carboy with airlock (like they do for wine). Mixed it everyday. Why do you put the mead in the glass carboy with airlock right away?
2--The mead has been in the glass carboy since October 10/2010. The recipe said to let it be (not mix it) so I didn't. It fermented well after a slow start. I have read in some posts that some of you mix it and aireate it. Why is this important? Should I mix it back up now, it's been in there for 24 days?
3--Should I take a gravity reading and rack now?
???

akueck
11-03-2010, 01:28 AM
Open fermentation is fine for the initial stages. I usually keep mine open (i.e. not plugged up with an airlock) for the first 1/3 to 1/2 of fermentation. Depending on specifics, that is usually between 3 and 5 days. A few days longer probably doesn't hurt much. In fact if you're not particularly agitating it, keeping it open through the entire primary should be fine. Even some beers are produced this way.

Aeration can be helpful while the yeast population is rapidly increasing. The oxygen is a vital nutrient for making cell walls, which are good things to have. This rapid division stage usually lasts about 1/3 of the way through fermentation, after which the population tends to stabilize. So that's why folks will aerate at first. After that, however, oxygen is not taken up as rapidly by the yeast and can stick around in your mead, creating oxidized flavors. Not so tasty. At this point (a month in), you probably don't want to add any air.

A gravity reading might be helpful. Definitely take one before you rack, so you know if you're done fermenting or not. Generally I don't think about racking until fermentation seems to be over, and a gravity check can confirm that.

Chevette Girl
11-03-2010, 01:43 AM
In short - oxygen exposure at the beginning when your yeast are multiplying is good, oxygen exposure after fermentation is done is bad.

However, even when you've installed the airlock and you don't want to allow any more oxygen, sometimes if there's still a significant amount of sugar left, gently stirring up the yeast can get them to finish up a little faster.

Some people start with an airlocked carboy because that's what they use for primary fermentation instead of a bucket. Some people also want tighter control over their fermentation conditions. I use an airlocked bucket until the must's SG is approaching 1.000 because 1) I find it easier to deal with fruit chunks when I can put them in a mesh bag instead of having to seive them out of the must or rack around them, and 2) I'm fighting a losing battle with fruit flies in my kitchen and I don't want the little buggers and their dirty little feet playing in my must...

I second Akuek's suggestion about taking a reading, that will tell you whether you want to rack or not, and if it's not done yet, you might want to give it a gentle stir to resuspend the yeast so they can get on with it.

If you do this you'd definitely want to give it a couple of days before you want to rack it again.

If it is done fermenting, gently stirring it and letting it sit for a while longer might help clear it up a little faster as the small particles still suspended are attracted to and dragged down by the bigger particles.

rengelma
11-06-2010, 03:44 PM
Ok, I'm really excited about trying a mead... I read a bunch of the recipes and came up with this:

3.5 lbs of raw honey
.5 lb of raisins (soaked, pulverized in food processor, twice boiled in water for max extraction - i little trick my dad taught me when making wine)
1 cinnamon stick and 1 whole clove
top off with water in a one gallon jug
1/2 teaspoon of yeast energizer

now I didn't boil the honey or any thing except the raisins. I mixed everything together and about half of the water. closed the jug and shook it for about 5 min... I pitched my yeast starter topped it off with more water and put the air lock in place. Now about 4 hours later it looks like the honey has sunk back to the bottom of the jug... and there is a significantly lighter layer of must on top. Should I be worried about this? or just let my yeast go to work and add some more energizer in a few days.

It's already starting to bubble but nothing crazy yet. This is so different than beer and wine, the must had so many air bubbles in it that I could barely read my gravity. I'm guessing that it was in the 1.124 -1.13 range.

AToE
11-06-2010, 06:39 PM
For future batches definite;y try to take your first reading before adding the yeast, that way you can read it more clearly and be sure of exactly what your starting gravty was.

YogiBearMead726
11-06-2010, 06:51 PM
You should have no trouble with the honey layer on the bottom of your fermenter. I had a similar concern/question about whether adding more honey required it to be mixed in for the yeast to eat it. The simple answer is no. But if you want more info on the subject, try searching "Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding" or "BDC DYF" with the quotes using the search tool along the top bar of the webpage.

Basically, the only problem you could have would be inaccurate SG readings due to the fact that some of your honey is not in solution. There are ways of measuring by weight how much of that honey has been eaten by the yeast, but as long as it's not more than the recommended amount of honey for a 1 gallon batch (which it seems like your recipe is right around the limit), that honey should be gone with proper aeration and nutrients in a few days. :)

rengelma
11-07-2010, 12:06 AM
You should have no trouble with the honey layer on the bottom of your fermenter. I had a similar concern/question about whether adding more honey required it to be mixed in for the yeast to eat it. The simple answer is no. But if you want more info on the subject, try searching "Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding" or "BDC DYF" with the quotes using the search tool along the top bar of the webpage.

Basically, the only problem you could have would be inaccurate SG readings due to the fact that some of your honey is not in solution. There are ways of measuring by weight how much of that honey has been eaten by the yeast, but as long as it's not more than the recommended amount of honey for a 1 gallon batch (which it seems like your recipe is right around the limit), that honey should be gone with proper aeration and nutrients in a few days. :)

Ok sweet so now that it's going I'll just let it go... it'll be cool to see that volume shrink. at first it was almost half the jar, it now seems like the must on top is growing so that should be a good thing. Thanks for the help, and I'll do more reading!

rengelma
11-07-2010, 12:33 AM
For future batches definite;y try to take your first reading before adding the yeast, that way you can read it more clearly and be sure of exactly what your starting gravty was.

I had poured the must off into a test tube to try and get a reading before pitching my yeast. I was surprised at how many bubbles stayed in solution even after pouring off into the test tube.

YogiBearMead726
11-07-2010, 11:27 AM
Also, aerating once or, even better, twice per day will help mix that honey up into solution and help your yeast get plenty of O2 up until the 1/3 sugar break. I'd also aerate before adding nutrients, just in case your mead decides to go gyser on you. :p