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Aqualab
08-08-2012, 08:43 AM
So quick background: Gave up homebrewing a few years back - lost its luster due to the mountain of quality microbrews available now. Had my first mead (sparkling on tap), with many to follow at a bar while visiting Portland, ME a couple of months back. HOOKED! Purchased The Complete MeadMaker - even more HOOKED! On Monday I started my first batch of mead - 11 gals total. Going with a simple recipe and generic directions taken from the book.

8.5 gals spring water
24 lbs of orange blossom honey
6 lbs of clover honey
3 vials of White labs liquid sweet mead/wine yeast brought to room temp, shaken and pitched after aerating the must.

Dropped in 3 semi-heaping tsp of Fermaid-K. Now I've read a couple of threads that say you should hold off using the nutrient until later? Checked the SG - 1.095 - kind of low? Tested at a temp < 80 degrees F.

Buttoned up the conical fermenter and attached a 1" blowoff tube. I forgot to put the tiny rubber o-ring back on the fermenter's pressure relief so it leaked by overnight - Duh. Corrected same and the bubbling through the blowoff started immediately, not nearly as vigorous as I would have expected though. Too early? I have never used this large of a diameter tubing for a blowoff before so maybe that is throwing me off. An airlock would probably be going nuts. Fermenting in basement so guessing ambient temp is around 70 degrees F or so. Will both primary and secondary in the conical. Dump out the sediment in between through the bottom valve.

Intending to make a sparkling mead so will add corn sugar to the individual bottles. Purchased champaign bottles, plastic stoppers and wire protectors. Making large initial batch due to the long waiting period before being able to consume. Intending to make my second batch a couple of months after bottling this one. Then alternately keeping the smaller 7-gal batches coming for year round supply.

Any input/comments much appreciated.

mediaguru
08-08-2012, 11:55 AM
I don't know, sounds good to me. My first ever batch -- a bochet with wildflower/amber blend honey -- came out at 1.100 SG, and that seemed right on the mark to me, so not sure why you think 1.095 is low...

I added nutrient to mine right at the very beginning (as recommended in the The Compleat Meadmaker -- as an aside, I don't find that book as great as other people seem to. It simply seems to be the only one out there. But it would be much better if there were illustrations or diagrams to display the methods and procedures, like there are plenty of in other books such as From Vines to Wines and Beekeeping for Dummies), and it seemed to be a good move. You added about the same amount of nutrient as I did (I did 2 heaping tsp for a 5 gal batch)


I pitched over 2 weeks ago and it's been chugging along fine since then, using D-47 in a temp-controlled wine cellar (set at 66 degrees F). Smells great, tasted great when I tasted it before the 1/3 sugar break, whereupon I added another 2 tsp of nutrient, aerated it well, and have simply left it under airlock since then. Fermentation rate is definitely slowing, as evident by airlock bubbles only coming about once every minute or two now (for the first week it was bubbling once every few seconds) -- I haven't checked SG in a while, but for several days it was dropping at a steady rate of 7 points (0.007) per day.

So, overall I'm feeling pretty good about things right now, and imagine I will be racking to secondary within a week or so. I want to experiment a little bit, so I'm going to do 3 batches of secondary: one 3 gallon glass carboy, and two 1 gallon glass jugs (one I bought from LHBS store, one I decided to buy a big cheap gallon of Carlo Rossi wine for $10 and just save the bottle. But using up that gallon of wine is going to be difficult. I will probably make sangria out of most of it and have a big party to share it, and I might use some to make drunken spaghetti (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/drunken-spaghetti-with-black-kale-recipe/index.html).) I plan to put medium toast french oak cubes in the big batch, and then do one small batch untouched (no oak or anything else added, out of curiosity to compare at the end), and the final one gallon jug will be an experiment in which I will be adding crispy baked bacon.

Aqualab
08-08-2012, 12:24 PM
Hey Mediaguru, thanks for the response. I thought I read in The Meadmaker that the starting SG should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.100+ so I just wanted to hear what other people thought. I just bought a book called The Secret Art Of Mead Making Revealed, only skimmed through the first couple of pages but looks good so far. I have to go out of town for two weeks on business, so will just let it do its thing until I return and then I will check the SG again. Add nutrient and aerate if at sugar break. Wife will be topping off the water in the blowoff tube container while I'm gone.

Crispy Bacon, never would have considered that additive - have to let us know how that comes out. You could be a millionaire if you can perfect it! How does the oak influence/enhance the mead - smoked flavor? I saw the oak pellets at a homebrew store and a screened tube to place them in. I considered it but thought I would stay simple on my first batch to compare all the others to - experimenting with fruit, honey varieties, etc....

Thanks again for the information.

mediaguru
08-08-2012, 02:45 PM
Crispy Bacon, never would have considered that additive - have to let us know how that comes out. You could be a millionaire if you can perfect it! How does the oak influence/enhance the mead - smoked flavor? I saw the oak pellets at a homebrew store and a screened tube to place them in. I considered it but thought I would stay simple on my first batch to compare all the others to - experimenting with fruit, honey varieties, etc....



I suddenly decided I should try bacon on a whim when I bought it at the store. I thought about it, and realized some people do bacon-infused vodka and (especially) whiskey, and there are even bacon-brewed beers. So why not?

I think the sweet/smoky/salty/savory flavor of bacon would really compliment the honey flavor of mead... after all, it tastes great with other sweet things like maple syrup. Why not honey?

As for the oak cubes, this is all a big experiment for me since I've never done it before, but I went with medium toast because even though I like roasted/toasted flavors, I didn't want to go TOO big with them... but I live in wine country (Napa Valley) so I've tried enough wines to know that my wife and I definitely like oak flavors, and I can even distinguish between French and American or Hungarian oak (French is my favorite by far; it just seems to have more delicate and well-rounded nuances. American and Hungarian seem more harsh.)

I plan to use 1 oz of cubes (I bought a 2 oz pack, I'll save the other half for a pyment I will make in the fall when I harvest sangiovese grapes from my vines) for about 2 months in secondary/bulk aging.

I'm glad I'm deciding to go with 3 separate treatments in secondary/aging to experiment. Since I've never done this before, I figure it just increased my chances of getting at least something good out of the batch, and also giving me more insight as to which variables to keep the same or tweak and change in the future.

I'm going to do the same thing with my pyment -- I'm going to do one that is mostly orange blossom honey with just a little bit of sangiovese for tartness/acidity and color, and I plan to go pretty dry with it, and do it as a sparkling. Something light and crisp. But I also want to try another one that is more full-bodied, maybe like a 50/50 wine/honey blend. I'm considering using clover honey or even something more savory like avocado honey for that one, but going medium-sweet with it (and not sparkling), with possibly malolactic fermentation and French oak.

Soyala_Amaya
08-08-2012, 04:32 PM
Your SG is fairly spot on for the amount of honey you added, however, let me explain what Ken meant by most meads should start at about 1.100. Each type of yeast has a different alcohol tolerance before the environment is too harsh for them to continue to reproduce. The yeast you chose has an ABV tolerance of 14% while your total potential alcohol conversion is just of 12%. That means your yeast are not going to die off and you are going to have a very dry mead that will be difficult to back sweeten. The usual advice is to brew your mead to just over the tolerance of your yeast (the posted tolerances are for regular grape and fruit wines and mead often surpasses them), so for a yeast with your tolerance an OG of 1.110 would be just about perfect. (A potential conversion of just over 14%)

The reason for this is that if your yeast aren’t properly stunned and killed, they can restart fermentation (even YEARS later) in the bottle and create what we call bottle bombs. These are bad. I know you’re going for bottle carbonation so you’re going to want a dry mead for that, but the steps are still the same up to this point. Calculate exactly how much sugar you need (you would need another 3.75 pounds for your recipe), brew it dry, then go forward.

As for front loading your nutrients, it’s not horrible, it’s just not the best for your yeast. If they have a lot of food right at the start they over produce immediately, going crazy. Then all of a sudden there will be no more food and way too large of a population that can no longer sustain itself, instead of a gradual step down of food. The yeast starve and stress out, creating off flavors in your mead. Sometimes they are very noticeable, sometimes only a very trained palate could detect it.

On oak, it’s mostly just a type of tannin. Red wines have a lot more grape tannins than white wines due to how they’re made and the type of grape, however honey really doesn’t have any at all. So people that are used to drinking wine can sometimes find mead to be lacking a certain je ne sai quois. Different tannins can do different things, and different toasts of oak have different flavors. You can get a more round, full mouthfeel from oak, woody vanilla notes, deep smoky bourbon notes or all sorts of things. It all depends on what you use, how much, and for how long. There are lots of threads on oak and tannin additions if you use the search function.

As for the bacon…I wouldn’t advise it without proper methodology taken. I have made bacon mead. It is delicious. I did not add a strip of bacon. If you’re interested in bacon mead, there’s actually three or four people on the board well beyond their first experiment who have done it that you can look up. Echostatic is one, I’m another, if you read the whole thread on mine you’ll see comments from other people. The search function is your friend before jumping headfirst into doing something that may or may not be the best idea.

I hope I covered all your questions.

Aqualab
08-08-2012, 06:06 PM
Hi Soyala, I appreciate all the helpful information. So would you suggest I add another 3.75 lbs of sugar to the batch? And if so immediately, or can I wait until secondary fermentation after I drop out the sediment from the conical fermenter? Right now I believe I may lack the headspace in the fermenter to add an additional 1/3 gallon of straight honey volume to it, assuming 12 lbs of honey equals approximately 1 gal. and that is without any additional water to dissolve the honey into? Thanks in advance.

mediaguru
08-08-2012, 09:05 PM
As for the bacon…I wouldn’t advise it without proper methodology taken. I have made bacon mead. It is delicious. I did not add a strip of bacon. If you’re interested in bacon mead, there’s actually three or four people on the board well beyond their first experiment who have done it that you can look up. Echostatic is one, I’m another, if you read the whole thread on mine you’ll see comments from other people. The search function is your friend before jumping headfirst into doing something that may or may not be the best idea.


Usually I go straight to the search engine on forums, but on this forum I find it to be seriously deficient. It's like, if I don't type in just the right keyword, nothing comes up. I sort of gave up on using it after a few attempts.

The reason I said I was planning on using actual bacon strips (definitely don't want to use grease, and artificial bacon flavor -- or even worse, simple smoke flavoring = no way for me), was based on what I have read about them being used in beer (http://www.byo.com/component/resource/article/2060-breakfast-beers-bacon-beer).

mediaguru
08-08-2012, 09:32 PM
After reading up on the subject, though, I think what I may do is to take some of the finished mead and soak the bacon in that for just a little while, but chill it to then skim the fat out and remove all of the meat before continued aging. I figure if 20% alcohol can do the trick to make an extract, why can't 14% mead be used for the same thing?

Soyala_Amaya
08-08-2012, 10:00 PM
My sister had that bacon beer not too long ago...she said she would not be trying it again. And that article doesn't say anything about anyone really loving the beer, just taking pictures of the sign and redoing the recipe. My bacon mead on the other hand is delicious and I used the extract method with the grease. The articles on making bacon drinks I've read all said you don't get much flavour from just the meat, and then you rack out from under the grease.

As for the search function, yes, it's much more specific than google. However, searching for "bacon" would have gotten you lots of results. There is no tl:dr on this site, reading and proper research is really on you.

Now, onto the OP, you really don't want to add that much sugar past the 1/3 break in your mead. Also, all of your active yeast are going to be in the lees that you would be removing from the bottom of your fermentor. However, I will say that I have very little experience with bottle carbonating as carbonation is one of my migraine triggers. I tend to drink a lot of tea and water :)

I did do a quick search for bottle carbonation and found this thread http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20108&highlight=bottle+carbonation on someone carbonating a hydromel, which is well below the tolerance of all yeasts. Chevette Girl is a great author to look up on most subjects as she has brewed a whole lot and tends to explain things in very good laymans terms beginners can understand. So from what she's said (and she's actually done it, always best to find advice from people who have done what you're asking about) you should be fine without the other 4 pounds.

It sounds like you're on the right track, keep reading and asking good questions and you'll have delicious mead in no time ;D

Aqualab
08-09-2012, 09:48 AM
Thanks again Soyala & Mediaguru. Taking into account everything you both have said as well as looking at the linked threads you provided and other additional references, etc... I am going to leave the honey/sugar content where it is with no front or back sweetening. Hoping for a dry to medium sweet (max) mead for carbonation. Obviously one of the drawbacks to making a large batch over multiple smaller ones is you get what you get, no alternatives. I will definitely research more thoroughly the type of yeast I choose to use next batch - both liquid and dry varieties. Always preferred the liquid over the dry when making beer - just a preference really - nothing scientific. I have read several of Chevette Girl's posts - and as you said Soyala, very informative. Great site!

Chevette Girl
08-09-2012, 01:05 PM
Hey guys, sorry I'm late to the party.

Mediaguru, I'm going to have to try that drunken spaghetti thing next time my mom brings back that Rossi stuff! And I agree, the search engine takes a bit of getting used to and has some irritiating limitations, a good thread on making it spit out useful info is here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18248)... others just use google to search gotmead, there's a way to do it which may well be mentioned in that thread or another where someone was complaining about the forum search tool.

Soyala, thanks for the recommendations, and yes, I have tried fermenting a lot of things with varying degrees of success (let's say I have many mistakes to learn from) and I generally have enough time on my hands to talk about it endlessly, it helps that I am used to describing complicated things to people who aren't familiar with the science or the technical terms, so technical writing sort of comes naturally :) (good thing there's no tl:dr! and don't get me talking about Chevettes either, I'll never shut up).

Aqualab, to try to clarify some things Soyala said: if you're going to make a sweet mead, yes, you might want to aim somewhere around your yeast's tolerance if you want it to finish naturally sweet without adding chemicals, but you can also pick your alcohol content, add the according amount of honey, ferment it out dry, and then stabilize and backsweeten it whether it's 8% or 16%.

The point where it gets sticky is when you want to carbonate it, especially bottle carbing like you're planning. When I do a batch I want to carbonate, I always aim for at least 2% under the yeast's listed tolerance, just to make sure it finishes its job and still has enough oomph left to carbonate after I prime it. If your batch finishes sweet, you will want to stabilise it and then force-carbonate if you still want it sparkling. There are several threads on how to get a sweet bottle-carbonated mead but it's not a simple thing. And as Soyala said, you do not want bottle bombs.

And generally you want to aerate a must a few times a day until your 1/3 sugar break, not just once when you start and once at 1/3... the yeast needs the oxygen for the first little while and 1/3 to 1/2 is about the point where they stop needing it.

The Compleat Meadmaker is a great resource (and I found it a pretty amusing read too), but remember, it was published a while ago and there have been some changes in how we do things since its publication due to new research having been done (like front-loading your must with nutrients rather than waiting until after lag phase, and energizer:nutrients ratios).

Aqualab
08-09-2012, 06:33 PM
Hello Chevette Girl. Thanks for chiming in. Now I am a little concerned with going sparkling. I have 120 Champagne style bottles waiting in the wings. Went with the thicker glass for safe carbonation. Glass shards everywhere though would definitely get me grief from the wife, not to mention the obvious danger. I just re-aerated the fermenter with pure oxygen and stone for about 5 minutes - heavy foaming. Upon observing the head space, I could maybe add an additional 3 lbs of honey dissolved in 1/2 gal of spring water to the batch if you think that may get me closer to the desired sweetness? When/if it goes wild though I may then be foaming out the blow off tube. Prefer not to attempt to back sweeten, rather have on the dry side given a choice.
Ahhhh Chevettes................ my dad worked for a Chevy dealer in north Jersey when the Chevette first came out, 75 I think, was his demo car for a year. Innovative and gas friendly, one of Chevrolet's answers to the 73-74 oil crisis.

Chevette Girl
08-09-2012, 09:08 PM
Are you going for sweet, or sparkling? I'd recommend for a first batch, you pick one. If you want both, let us know and we'll try to present you with valid options (with a batch this size you could probably try a few different things), trying to catch the yeast just before they poop out is dangerous.

If you're OK with dry and sparkling, I wouldn't recommend adding more honey. That is, until it's time to prime and bottle. If it's completely dry and finished, then it's safe to prime and bottle because you know exactly how much sugar the yeast have with which to make CO2.

<twitch> Pretty sure they came out in '76 and the last model year in North America was '87, although I think they made them in Brazil a little later than that... Mine (an '82) is still getting better mileage than a lot of cars on the road (which surprises the hell out of me, there's no good reason any fuel-injected car should not be getting at least 100 km on 10 litres of gas other than a ridiculous amount of top-end you'll never be able to use legally), at 350,000 km and down half a cylinder. Starting to have issues with long hills though... but really, to be expected, it only had 68 horsepower brand new. It's the fourth one I've owned, been driving 'em almost exclusively since I was about 20.

Aqualab
08-10-2012, 08:55 AM
I was originally intending to go with a dry sparkling, light sweetness. I guess one question I have is: does it matter whether I use corn sugar or honey to carbonate with? The MeadMaker says to use 1/2 cup of honey or 3/4 cup corn sugar dissolved in 16 oz of water, but doesn't stipulate the batch size. I am assuming 5 gals? He also says to add a small amount of fresh yeast when priming if the batch has aged for months in the fermenter prior to bottling? Not sure about that one yet. Thanks.

I have owned a Vega and several Corvairs during the 70's and a fiero in the 80's. They too had better or equal gas mileage when compared to today's better gas mileage small cars. They were heavier (more metal - corvair and vega), Fiero had the innovative plastic panels, and almost all cars had style. And.... you could tell them all apart and what model they were from a 1/4 mile away.

Chevette Girl
08-10-2012, 12:47 PM
Dryness generally refers to how much sugar is left when the mead is complete, something fermented completely dry won't have light sweetness because the yeast have eaten all the sugar.

I'd prime with honey, it'll add a little more honey flavour to your mead. 1/2 cup will give you a light sparkle but you're safe (bottle bomb-wise) up to 1 cup per five gallons.



Supposedly the Chevette and Fiero share a lot of structural bits, which is the only way I can lay my hands on certain replacement parts now, aside from flipping junkers when I can find them... gonna have to make another run to the lot to get another steering coupler as mine's about done again, need to do an engine swap this autumn too... Yeah, all cars these days are so round they all look like a jellybean, or a shoe... My husband keeps lamenting, why can't they make a car-shaped car? Although I kind of like the restyling of the Dodge Challenger. And the new Camaro looks like it's grinning evilly. It's sad how many cars are shorter than my Chevette but still get worse mileage. Sport-cutes especially...

Aqualab
09-02-2012, 09:02 AM
So it has been a little less than a month now in the primary, bubbling every 20 seconds or so. Checked my specific gravity and pH yesterday - SG is 1.030 fro an original 1.095. pH was 3.0, added calcium carbonate to bring it up to approx 4.0. No sediment in the conical from what I can tell (SS), grabbed sample from the dump valve and it was just cloudy, so assume suspended still. Tasted great, still premature though, bit of fizz. Added additional Fermaid K with the calcium carbonate. Anything I need to do or just let it go until offgassing drops off?

fatbloke
09-02-2012, 12:05 PM
So it has been a little less than a month now in the primary, bubbling every 20 seconds or so. Checked my specific gravity and pH yesterday - SG is 1.030 fro an original 1.095. pH was 3.0, added calcium carbonate to bring it up to approx 4.0. No sediment in the conical from what I can tell (SS), grabbed sample from the dump valve and it was just cloudy, so assume suspended still. Tasted great, still premature though, bit of fizz. Added additional Fermaid K with the calcium carbonate. Anything I need to do or just let it go until offgassing drops off?
Well at 1.030 that's about as sweet as a lot of "dessert" type meads, so it's got a way to go yet.

The additional FermaidK was probably a bit of a waste as there's plenty of evidence that the yeast doesn't take up the inorganic nitrogen at that stage, so a better bet would have been either FermaidO or yeast hulls or just boiled bread yeast (boiled to kill its active properties off).

Whether the speed of the ferment is to do with your use of liquid yeast, I don't know. I can't get the white labs stuff here, only the wyeast version - and in the case of that one, it's finicky as hell to use and often gets stuck (seems that it prefers it, when the must is around the right level for it's tolerance - 11% ABV, rather than the 15% ABV quoted for the white labs version).

You can of course, use a little bit of artificial sweetener to increase the sweetness of the brew, depending on how dry it turns out. With ageing, some of the honey character, often returns with time. Not the sweetness, just some of the aroma etc. If you used honey for carbonation, it's likely that you'll increase the character a bit, but the carbonation process will likely munch through the sugars and you'd end up with a small amount of lees in the bottle(s) (which has happened every time I've tried that).

I'd guess that while it's doing it's priming thing, if the bottles are stored upright, then any lees will settle nicely round the bottles punt, and if it flocculates well, then it should mostly stay there once chilled for serving/pouring.

Good luck with the batch though. If I had the cojones to make such a large batch, I'm sure I'd never leave the house without being hammered ;D

p.s. Oh and as for your earlier mention about a preference for liquid yeasts, yes a lot of beer makers seem to like them, yet it does seem that for a must like honey/water and it's lack of base nutrients etc, it really seems better to use a dry yeast, as the cell count is considerably larger. Just rehydrate as per the instructions, but with a little honey and GoFerm, then pitch that. Once the lag is over and there's visible signs of active ferment, load up the main nutrient/energiser (I like to use 2 parts FermaidK and 1 part DAP), about 3/4's of the total amount for the batch, adding the rest at the 1/3rd break. And yes, I aerate once daily from pitch to the 1/3rd break, but I use either a balloon whisk or stick blender (fine for a max 5 gallon batch).

DAGruenwald
09-02-2012, 01:06 PM
What size stoppers fit in those wine jugs? #6, same as other gallon jugs? Thanks! Great idea!

Aqualab
09-30-2012, 10:00 AM
Need some advice please, not sure how to or whether to proceed? I just checked the batch again after another month (2- months in primary) and it is still at 1.030 SG with a pH of 5.69 and a temp of 60 degrees F. Bubbling has dropped off to approx every 45 to 60 seconds. Slight fizz/carbonation to the mead, cloudy and the taste is actually pretty good. Has a slight alcohol kick to it now, not nearly as sweet as a month ago even though the SG hasn't changed. Still in the primary fermentor, had minimal sludge come out when collecting sample. Should I pitch additional yeast and lower pH? Running primary and secondary in the same vessel.

Quick recap - Started 11 gal batch in conical fermentor on 8/6, used 8.5 gals of water, 30lbs of honey and two tubes of White labs 720 yeast - initial SG 1.095. Checked on 9/1 - SG 1.030, pH 3.12. Planning to carbonate, will use honey as priming.

Thanks in advance.

Aqualab
09-30-2012, 10:09 AM
Correction - the SG is actually 1.008. So I think this may be ready to bottle?

fatbloke
09-30-2012, 10:37 AM
Correction - the SG is actually 1.008. So I think this may be ready to bottle?
Not until you have 3 identical gravity readings, each reading taken 2 or 3 days apart.

Even a 1 point drop would suggest it's still fermenting, albeit slowly. You want it fixed first, before you think of mixing in priming sugars (honey) and bottling...

In truth, I'd suggest waiting until it's cleared......

Aqualab
09-30-2012, 11:02 AM
Okay - I'll check the SG two more times over a span of a couple of days to compare. So the fizz and the delay in getting an accurate SG reading today would mean that there is still fermentation taking place? No additional yeast needed as it appears the ones in the fermenter are doing the job? So pH is okay?
Getting antsy................ Wanting to get it bottled as the majority of the commercially available mead I can find locally either tastes like sugar water and/or is way too expensive to drink a couple of times a week (medicinal purposes only of course).

Thanks

Aqualab
09-30-2012, 11:05 AM
Will it clear by itself or do you typically add fining agents like when brewing some styles of beer? if so, when would I add those?

Chevette Girl
09-30-2012, 11:09 AM
Fizz means don't bottle it yet, you're just asking for a bottle bomb. Remember, the most important ingredient in mead is patience :)

Most meads do eventually clear, and generally they will not clear if there's any fermentation at all going on. If you find one that's stopped (no airlock activity and stable SG over a month or two) and it's still really cloudy, then maybe think about cold-crashing or fining agents. I've never needed a fining agent on a traditional but I have had a few stubborn mels and JAO variants (the original recipe always clears for me).

Aqualab
09-30-2012, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the information - I'll just relax and not worry and check it again in a month. I'll change the blow off to an air lock since the threat of violent off gassing has passed. I don't want to screw it up at this stage or have glass shards maim or kill a family member or one of the black labs!

Aqualab
10-14-2012, 01:32 PM
Checked my mead yesterday and it skunked - 13 gallons and two + months down the drain. Was going fine two weeks ago when last checked, tasted fine. Wondering if changing over from a blow off tube to an air lock was possibly the cause. I didn't like the way the air lock stopper supplied by Blichmann fit into the blow off attachment - stopper seemed undersized as its top was almost flush with the fitting. bubbling almost ceased immediately after the change over. Who knows - discouraging to say the least.

Planning my next attempt, will use a dry yeast this time instead of the liquid White Lab sweet mead variety. Never had a vigorous off gas, was tame and drawn out. Would like a medium sweet finish and still going to carbonate.