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eddie_1987
10-29-2012, 10:02 AM
Hello again everybody, I'm back with some new questions.

First of all, let me tell you that my first batch of mead was a "not-so-bad-failure", because I bottled it after only 3 weeks (I didn't know that it takes at least 6 weeks to bottle) and the result was a sort of REALLY alcoholic "cider-like" wine. It was pretty tasty (I like sweet booze) but it wasn't what I expected.

Anyway, I decided to go with the JAO recipe, which I followed to the letter, but I'm getting the same problem I had with the previous mead: NO FOAM.

I know that it doesn't necessarily mean it's not working/fermenting, but nearly every photo of JAO I found on the web has that signature foam on top of it, and even the JAO recipe (from the very gotmead recipe's home page) calls for "major foaming", "first few days frenzy" and so on.
In my case, it's not making any foam, although it's bubbling from the bottom of the carboy and there's lots of airlock activity -by the way, I invested a few $ on the purchase of a proper airlock =D.

Here's the (original) recipe I followed:

* 1,6 kg (3 1/2 lbs) honey (I managed to get pure honey for this one)
* 3.8 lts (1 gal) water
* 1 large orange
* 25 raisins
* 1 stick of cinammon
* 1 clove
* 1 teaspoon of bread yeast (here in Argentina we don't have Fleismann's, so I used the best bread dry yeast I could buy)


I dissolved the honey in warm water, put it into the carboy, added the orange, cinammon, raisins and clove, and then shook the heck out of the jug (with top on, as Joe recommended lol). Waited until it was at room temperature and added the yeast. Installed the airlock and put in a dark place. 30 minutes later, it was bubbling like seltzer; after 4 hours there was no foam, and still there isn't any foam as I'm writing this. There's bubbling and airlock activity, but again NO FOAM.

Thanks for your time! And sorry for the inconveniences.


PS: I don't know if I have to post it as a reply to my original post or as a new one, so I'll post it in both places. If it doesn't go here, please re-locate it to its proper place.

eddie

Intheswamp
10-29-2012, 10:26 AM
Howdy eddie.

I'm a newbee and my JAOM is 13 days old today so I'm no pro. ;)

I sanitized everything with Star San before mixing my must. I used the same ingredients that you used, though I did have the Fleischmann's yeast...in other words, I didn't use the ooptional spices.

When I shook up the must before pitching the yeast the shaking created a couple of inches of foam. I attributed this to both the aeration and also to the Star San residue in the jug. Evenutally the foam mostly subsided with only a little clinging onto the edges of the oranges. But, as you mentioned, small bubbles are coming up and the airlock has been active. I don't think foaming is necessary.

I topped mine off some the other day and replaced the balloon bung with a proper bung. While I had the bung removed I smelled and a definite alcohol smell was present along with a fruity smell. I think it's working well and it may be possible that a lot of foam with JAOM isn't desired. :)

How long has your mead been fermenting?

Ed

Chevette Girl
10-29-2012, 10:32 AM
First, keep an eye on your 3-week batch, if it's still fermenting in the bottles, you're risking serious injury if they build up too much pressure and explode. If you get a hiss and fizzing when you open the next one, put the rest in the refrigerator very carefully.

The bubbles are really the important part, not the foam. It's possible your honey just doesn't have the proteins (or whatever is responsible) in it necessary to prevent the CO2 bubbles from breaking. I've had some fermentations myself where there was never any foam, just tiny bubbles breaking the surface like a glass of something fizzy. It also might be something to do with the yeast, Fleischmann's for me is more likely to make a small amount of foam for a few days than wine yeast is.

And not foaming doesn't mean it's not an active fermentation with the potential to go explosive, either, I had one JAO variant that looked fine, no foam, very little fizz, until I jiggled it, then ALL the bubbles released at once, POOSH... good thing I'd kept my JAO jar in a bucket for just such a reason!

Edit: Ed, meet Eddie, Eddie, meet Ed ;D So Ed Intheswamp brings up a good point, did you have a lot of lingering foam after you shook the heck out of it? If you didn't, then it's probably just that your honey doesn't contribute to foam.

Intheswamp
10-29-2012, 10:58 AM
First, keep an eye on your 3-week batch, if it's still fermenting in the bottles, you're risking serious injury if they build up too much pressure and explode. If you get a hiss and fizzing when you open the next one, put the rest in the refrigerator very carefully.

Now that is the difference between someone with experience and a newbee. Good catch, CG!

Hello eddie, this is Ed. Had your name been "ed" I would have commented that "two eds are better than one". ;)

Ed

eddie_1987
10-29-2012, 11:28 AM
Thanks for your replies! It's great to have people who knows what they're doing to help you when you need it.

First off, I wouldn't worry about the 3-week batch, because I drank it all up (lol!)
And the carboys we can get here in Argentina are the plastic ones, so even in the case of an explosion, the worst case scenario would be a messy splash, nothing that a meticulous cleanup can't deal with =D.

On the bubbles note, it's definitely bubbling (it's fizzing like champagne, and the airlock is bubbling a lot), so I guess maybe it's doing ok and I'll just have to wait a little more.
It's only been there for a full day and I know it's way too early to make conclusions.
The only thing I'm afraid of is to wait too much to check if the fermentation is doing well and get past the breaking point in which I can't open the carboy without ruining the mead. I think the first 3 days it's ok to open the jug and make some changes, is that right?

And Ed, no, I didn't have lots of foam even in the shaking process. I didn't think of it at the time, but now that you and Chevette Girl mention it, I'm thinking that maybe my honey doesn't make major foam in the first place.

Thanks a lot guys, I'll keep you updated with the results; or if I mess everything up =D

eddie

GDP
10-29-2012, 01:21 PM
I have not been brewing mead for long but for whats its worth ive never had a batch that really foamed. I used a few different honey brands ranging from pure raw (local honey) to pasturized honey. Also used bread yeast and D47.

celticgladiator
10-29-2012, 02:45 PM
My buddy had a foam over on his first batch of JAO but he added a whole packet of the fleshmans and also yeast energizer, I had to explain how to build a blowoff tube over the phone. It settled after a day and he put his airlock back on so he should be back in business. The JAO I started the same day didn't foam, just a little around the fruit but the airlock is pretty active.

fatbloke
10-29-2012, 03:04 PM
While air lock activity is a poor way to judge the progress of a ferment, what it does do, is tell you that something is happening to produce the gas.

The only "sure fire" way of telling what's going on, is hydrometer readings, but as that's not part of the "JAO plan", the bubbles in the air lock are a good enough indication of progress.

So it doesn't really matter whether there's little or no foaming, it's not a necessary part of the process.

Some batches will foam like hell, others not so much.

To "coin a phrase" (from Charlie P), "Don't worry, leave it alone and have a home brew" (if you've got any - failing that, get down to the shops and "get some in").......

Chevette Girl
10-29-2012, 10:09 PM
Now that is the difference between someone with experience and a newbee. Good catch, CG!


Heh, yeah, that was the voice of experience. I think I FINALLY got all the sticky spots under the freezer cleaned up a few months ago, and the "experience" in question would have been around 2005... and that was a 4 month old mead, not 3 weeks! :)




First off, I wouldn't worry about the 3-week batch, because I drank it all up (lol!)
And the carboys we can get here in Argentina are the plastic ones, so even in the case of an explosion, the worst case scenario would be a messy splash, nothing that a meticulous cleanup can't deal with =D.

Good, crisis averted then ;D

If you've got an airlock on it you're fine, but as soon as you seal it into a container that can't let pressure off, be careful. One of our members has been injured by an exploding plastic soda bottle that got overpressurized.

eddie_1987
11-10-2012, 12:33 PM
Hello everyone, I'm back with a little problem (I guess)
Here's the deal: I had my JAO batch going just fine, bubbling and fizzing really good. I had it just like Joe recommends: in a dark cabinet and not touching it at all.
But yesterday it was rainy as hell here, and this morning when I went to check the carboy (like I do every day) it was NOT fizzing (inside the carboy) and the airlock was NOT bubbling at all.
It looks more like a strange multi-fruit-juice than a carboy full of JAO. The smell is fine and "meadish" like my previous mead (a nice, sweet blend of fruit and honey scents), but it's not bubbling nor fizzing.

So here go the questions:
1) Could it be that yesterday's storm modified anything related to the necessary climatic conditions and therefore the mead stopped bubbling/fizzing?
2) Could it be that something NOT storm-related happened to the mead and it made it stop?
3) Is it normal with JAO for the bubble activity to just drop to ZERO at any point? I had it working just fine for nearly 2 weeks now.
4) Could something just gone wrong with my mead that it stopped "working"?
5) In any case, is there something I can do to re-start the bubbling/fizzing activity (if necessary)?
6) What are the chances that my batch is wrecked and I have to throw it all away?

I'm sorry for the inconveniences I might cause to all of you asking these questions. I know for many of you it's a pretty obvious answer, but I'm pretty lost now.
Thanks in advance for all your help and for taking the time to reply.

eddie

Intheswamp
11-11-2012, 10:17 AM
eddie, what temperature are you fermenting at? You might of posted it but I missed it.

How long of a time period have you sat and watched your air lock to see if it bubbles?

Though you see no bubbles it can still be fermenting from what I understand, the bubbles are basically co2 being released. Again, from what I understand, the vigorous fermentation ends in a few weeks.

I voided my warranty I'm sure. I just hope I did not harm my JAO. I raised the fluid level upwards a bit back around the week and a half week mark...I should the bottled warranty heavily before pouring it into the fermenting mead. The bubbling activity had slowed down but this seemed to re-energize it.

Four or five days ago I went ahead and topped the fluid level up to the bottom of the neck. The bubbling activity had all but ceased. This again seemed to re-energize the bubbling a bit, but not as much as the first time. Today it is bubbling about twice per minute...it's 26 days old.

Ed

eddie_1987
11-11-2012, 10:35 AM
Hi and thanks for your replies!

First, it's been fermenting 2 full weeks now at an average temperature of 20-25 C; somedays 17 C, somedays 29 C, but you could say 20 or 25 and it would be pretty accurate.

Again, I'm worried because it's not bubbling at all, not in the airlock, nor the fizzing I saw inside the carboy everyday, until yesterday. I sat 3 times (morning, noon and evening) for nearly 3 minutes and saw no activity whatsoever. I don't know if it's going REALLY slow, or anything else.

And as far as MY mead is concerned, it didn't back down the fluid levels (it's still on the gallon mark I drew before putting all together), so I haven't had to re-fill the carboy yet.

Again, thanks for your time and knowledge!

eddie

Intheswamp
11-11-2012, 11:31 AM
<snip>

I voided my warranty I'm sure. I just hope I did not harm my JAO. I raised the fluid level upwards a bit back around the week and a half week mark...I should the bottled warranty heavily before pouring it into the fermenting mead. The bubbling activity had slowed down but this seemed to re-energize it.

Ed

I must of had a brain wreck writing that above...the red "week" shouldn't have been there, but the biggest thing is that the second red comment should read "I shook the bottled water...". :tard:

Ed

YogiBearMead726
11-11-2012, 02:27 PM
It's pretty typical for JAO to stop somewhere around the two week mark. Don't panic. This is why Joe says to just leave it and forget about it until it has cleared. Trust the mead gods, and sit tight. :)

eddie_1987
11-11-2012, 06:29 PM
Oh, thank God! I was REALLY going to panic and call Joe (even though I didn't use my grandma's yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's lol!)

I'm so relieved that (it seems) now I just have to sit back, relax and have a homebrew while waiting for the fruit to drop to the bottom.

Thanks a lot Yogi, Ed, Chevette Girl, Fatbloke and all the others!!!

I promise I WILL post results when everything's ready to go down the gullet!

I truly wish we could all be closer, so I can shake hands with all of you and share our meads (when mine gets done, of course)

eddie

eddie_1987
11-16-2012, 12:06 PM
Hello everybody, I'm keeping it updated and decided to show how it goes for now.

I'll get you straight to the pics =D

General overview of the carboy
http://s16.postimage.org/gc8g02nu9/IMG086.jpg (http://postimage.org/image/gc8g02nu9/)

That's how it looks like when you look directly at it (no additional lights, just the sun entering through the window)
http://s16.postimage.org/lq787mdkh/IMG093.jpg (http://postimage.org/image/lq787mdkh/)

A more detailed view
http://s16.postimage.org/m1ookdu0h/IMG088.jpg (http://postimage.org/image/m1ookdu0h/)

Well, I hope this is going the way it should go =S

eddie