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View Full Version : Help - Rookie Mistake!



jlerner
10-22-2011, 03:29 PM
Greetings all! I made my first batch of mead (JAOM) 1 gallon, followed the directions exactley... but I was interrupted before I could shake everything together. I slapped an airlock on the bottle intending to get back to it, but that was 2 days ago. Now my honey has settled to the bottom and fermentation has begun. Can I save this batch?

Many thanks!

triarchy
10-22-2011, 04:49 PM
Welcome to GotMead. You have no problem really. You could either swirl it around now to help mix the honey or just let it be. The honey will dissolve on its own. If Im not mistaken, that 2nd method is used by some on this site. Its got an acronym that will pop up in searches if you are interested, but I cant remember what it is. Maybe somebody else here can fill in the blank.

In any case, good luck and just proceed to follow the instructions from this point forward and I think you will be fine.

Chevette Girl
10-22-2011, 05:41 PM
Bottom Diffusion Feeding ("BDF" but three-letter searches don't work well on this search engine) or something. Yeah, equally valid way of doing it, just makes it difficult to measure your specific gravity once you're using recipes where we don't ignore the hydrometer :)

Relax, welcome to the site (and the addiction!), and your batch should be fine.

If you can get in there with something to beat some air into it, it will probably work out better (or pour a cup or two of the must into a sanitized container with a lid and shake the crap out of it) as the yeast will get a better headstart, but that said, I've forgotten to properly aerate JAO and variations a couple times and it still tasted good at the end ;D

jlerner
10-23-2011, 11:13 PM
Excellent - thank you so much for your answers! Good thing JAO is very forgiving :) I look forward to starting my next batch soon - thus begins the addiction!

jlerner
10-26-2011, 11:20 PM
Thank you all! As you predicted, the honey is now fully disolved after just 6 days!

A small side note: At 3am this morning, a snowstorm wiped out power for about 10 hours. House temp rapidly plunged, and I feared the sudden cold snap would stop the fermentation process, or even kill the yeast... Nope! Heat came back on around 1pm - by 3pm, my fermentation room was back to 74 degrees - and that little jug of JAOM was still happily blooping away at 1 bubble every 2 seconds.

Bullet proof - I love you, Joe!

schlapppy
10-27-2011, 04:20 PM
.. and that little jug of JAOM was still happily blooping away at 1 bubble every 2 seconds. !
I love it. I think this is how I'm now going to refer to all of my active fermentation.

Wife: Is it done yet?
Me: Nope, it's still blooping away.

Loadnabox
10-28-2011, 03:21 PM
I love it. I think this is how I'm now going to refer to all of my active fermentation.

Wife: Is it done yet?
Me: Nope, it's still blooping away.

This is why I started brewing beer too.

"Is it ready can I drink it?"

"it'll be like rocket fuel..."

*gulp* "WHEEEWW!!! that's strong, when will something good be ready?"

I appreciate the SWMBO's eagerness to taste, but I much prefer delivering good drinks to people :P

Soyala_Amaya
10-28-2011, 03:36 PM
It's like my boyfriend the other day, sigh. He asked me for a bottle to give to a friend of his who brews beer, and I found one of my lemon/ginger as the only thing I really have bottled right now. It was drinkable when I bottled it, but needed age, and I told him so...apparently he's still determined to drink it this weekend despite every warning of "Another couple of months minimum would do it some good, and I'd really prefer to wait longer."

Beer brewers, you can't teach them. ;D (Yes, I know many on this board brew beer)

jlerner
10-28-2011, 03:47 PM
This is why I started brewing beer too.

"Is it ready can I drink it?"...

Oh, the waiting <heavy sigh> ... I decided to fill the long empty nights by making another batch. Now they bloop in stereo. Sublime. Trying to capture that sound for my ringtone.

AToE
10-28-2011, 04:35 PM
It gets easier as time goes on, I have batches still in bulk after nearly 2 years that I just simply keep forgetting about. ;D

TheAlchemist
10-28-2011, 07:04 PM
It gets easier as time goes on, I have batches still in bulk after nearly 2 years that I just simply keep forgetting about. ;D

Ah...blessed dementia...

Chevette Girl
10-30-2011, 03:15 PM
Oh, the waiting <heavy sigh> ... I decided to fill the long empty nights by making another batch. Now they bloop in stereo. Sublime. Trying to capture that sound for my ringtone.

You know, I think that might make it worth it to figure out how to change my ringtone, if blooping was available...

jlerner
10-30-2011, 07:19 PM
A testament to the vigor of JAO: It survives Rookie Mistake # 2.

As per the recipie, I determined that the initial "fermentation frenzy" was over, and it was time to top up my jug. I washed with anti-bacterial soap, sanitized a new airlock and stopper, and topped up with some spring water I had in the fridge.

Bubbles stopped!! What's this?? The water was too cold !! <slaps head>. Now I know what "cold shock" means...

I raced to the closet and got my electric blanket, wrapped it around the jug while appologizing profusley for being such an oaf. Just minuets later, the yeast forgave me, and resumed their contented blooping. <sigh>

This recipie should come with handcuffs.... it turns out a rookie is more destructive than a fool. I am thinking of setting up a barbed wire perimeter around my jug...

Chevette Girl
10-31-2011, 12:40 AM
Fortunately, COLD is someting that yeast can recover from pretty quickly as you noticed.

Also, just adding plain water at the same temp could have done that, since you're diluting the must a little bit, it takes a little while for the concentration of CO2 that the yeast are producing in the must to build up enough that it starts escaping and making bloops...

jlerner
11-17-2011, 12:56 PM
Many thanks to all who gave so generously of their time and expertise. Your kind encouragement kept me from tossing my first mead in to the compost heap.

The little jug is 4 weeks old today. Fermentation room temp is 76 degrees.

Yesterday: One lone raisin bobbing up and down. I slipped a card behind the glass to see if I could read it... succeeded in kicking up lots of junk.
http://www.tactics3d.com/wine/yesterday.png


Today: Junk has settled, looking almost clear after just 4 weeks! Little champagne bubbles still rising, airlock activity about 5 seconds per bubble. Don't know what the starting gravity was, as I did not have a hydrometer when I started this.
http://www.tactics3d.com/wine/today.png

Take heart, my fellow newbies... the system really works!

Chevette Girl
11-17-2011, 02:52 PM
Looks good, it's clearing already!

If I make JAO according to the recipe, I generally get a starting gravity around 1.125-1.130 depending on how much headspace I leave at the top of the carboy, so there's your ballpark...

The one lone raisin bobbing up and down is a good indicator that your fruit will start to drop within the next week or three, probably the raisins first and then the oranges as all the CO2 that's built up in them is released but not replaced as the fermentation ceases.