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mgvsquared
10-28-2013, 11:53 AM
First post! (If I missed an introduction forum or thread, I apologize. Please direct me to the right place if I did.)

So I'm fresh off the heels of bottling my first batch of mead (5 gallons of the Medium Sweet Orange Blossom Mead from 'The Compleat Meadmaker'). I bottled it last Saturday night after it sat in its carboy for 8 months. Still needs to sit for a bit longer, but it tastes and smells great, aside from the slight tinge of alcohol. I'm guessing it is still a bit young.

Anyway, I just started a test batch of black tea metheglin. Recipe as follows, modified from another recipe to have more honey.

3 lbs acadiana (local) honey
1 tsp each of nutrient and energizer
2 tbsp loose english black tea
1 packet Lalvin 71b-1122

For reference, I used a 1 gallon glass carboy instead of a fermentation bucket (I realize now that this was probably a mistake)

Everything went very smooth, from sanitation to popping on the airlock took less than an hour. An hour later fermentation was already starting.

A few hours later, everything was going to hell. All the loose tea is above the liquid (I didn't consider using a coffee filter and string or something to keep it contained) and mead has filled the airlock. I pulled the airlock off, cleaned it with vodka, refilled it, and popped it back on. As of this morning, the airlock is full of mead (and tea), but its still bubbing ferociously.

What are my options?

As I'm fairly new to this whole thing, I did not know about blowout tubes, etc.

I'm hoping the tea stayed in the must long enough to impart flavor, but I'm worried it may not have. I was planning on rack it into a second carboy after a month, but can I even wait that long? Last I checked it was bubbling to the top of the airlock, but it hadn't overflown, so I may be okay. I'll have to wait and see when I get home from work.

Any suggestions are of great help. ;D

GntlKnigt1
10-28-2013, 12:02 PM
If you have a bucket for fermentation, I would suggest you put it in there until you hit the 1/3 break, at least. I also started using the recipes in that book, and had troubles too; I hear Ken Schramm's book is a lot better. Anyway, It's going to keep going furiously. The other alternative is to lower the temp to slow down fermentation.... I don't know what part of the country (or world) you are in, so have no idea what your outdoor temps might be....but most yeasts like it in the 60 to 65 F range.

mgvsquared
10-28-2013, 12:21 PM
If you have a bucket for fermentation, I would suggest you put it in there until you hit the 1/3 break, at least. I also started using the recipes in that book, and had troubles too; I hear Ken Schramm's book is a lot better. Anyway, It's going to keep going furiously. The other alternative is to lower the temp to slow down fermentation.... I don't know what part of the country (or world) you are in, so have no idea what your outdoor temps might be....but most yeasts like it in the 60 to 65 F range.

I'm in Kenner, LA (suburb of New Orleans), so temps here are generally very high. My house is generally set at 76 for summer, 70-72 in the coldest months.

I do not have a secondary bucket, but I was thinking of getting a 2 gallon one for doing 1 gallon test batches in, of course, in response to this problem. This is a recipe from a fellow meadmaker, so I can't knock the book on this one ;D

Since it doesn't seem to be overflowing, I'll have to leave it be until I can get a bucket to siphon it into. Even though it's useless now otherwise, leaving the airlock on right now seems to be just enough headroom to keep it from spilling everywhere. It's in a room thats pretty safe from contaminants, so I'm not really worried about my batch going bad.

joemirando
10-28-2013, 12:29 PM
I did kind of the same thing for one of my first meads. And yeah, the tea leaves really push up, don't they? I'm sorry to tell you that, left to itself, it won't stop doing that anytime soon.

What I ended up doing was to pour the whole thing through a strainer and funnel into another 'carboy' (you can call it all the fancy names you want, but let's face it, it's a gallon jug <grin>), tie up the tea leaves in a mesh bag weighted with anything that won't add off-flavors or harbor growth of nasties (I used a couple of sanitized small-ish non-porous stones) and pop it into the new carboy to finish.

I don't know if there is a substantive difference between adding tea leaves vs brewed tea, but brewing it and adding the resulting tea is what I do now.

Alternatively (too late for this batch though), I guess you could take the dry tea and put it in a spice grinder (aka coffee grinder) and turn it into a fine dust, but I'm not positive that would alleviate the problem.

Good luck,

Joe

mgvsquared
10-28-2013, 01:07 PM
I did kind of the same thing for one of my first meads. And yeah, the tea leaves really push up, don't they? I'm sorry to tell you that, left to itself, it won't stop doing that anytime soon.

What I ended up doing was to pour the whole thing through a strainer and funnel into another 'carboy' (you can call it all the fancy names you want, but let's face it, it's a gallon jug <grin>), tie up the tea leaves in a mesh bag weighted with anything that won't add off-flavors or harbor growth of nasties (I used a couple of sanitized small-ish non-porous stones) and pop it into the new carboy to finish.

I don't know if there is a substantive difference between adding tea leaves vs brewed tea, but brewing it and adding the resulting tea is what I do now.

Alternatively (too late for this batch though), I guess you could take the dry tea and put it in a spice grinder (aka coffee grinder) and turn it into a fine dust, but I'm not positive that would alleviate the problem.

Good luck,

Joe

Funny you mention all of this. I had read beforehand of people using tea bags and weighing them down with sanitized marbles, but I thought, eh, I'm sure I can just siphon the mead off and the loose tea won't be a problem. Eh heh heh heh heh :(

So, I guess my option right now is get a 2 gal fermenter and dump it in. That seems like the only real solution I have right now. (I ordered it, so hopefully by Friday.)

bernardsmith
10-28-2013, 02:41 PM
I think the problem is that the CO2 (carbon dioxide) produced by the yeast as it converts the sugars in the honey to alcohol is enough to make the leaves buoyant and float to the top. Add to this the effect that the leaves have on the CO2. There surface acts to nucleate the gas and so allow that gas to form larger bubbles with less energy than they would form absent the leaves. The one simple solution that wine makers tend to use is to begin fermenting in large mouthed containers and several times a day they will stir the must vigorously to introduce air, to ensure that the fruit (or in this case the leaves) on the surface is immersed and drawn through the liquid and to help the CO2 escape. By beginning fermentation in a narrow necked carboy, filling the carboy to the top and then sealing the carboy with a bung and airlock the one thing that you are guaranteeing is that your must will fill the airlock and will continue to do so every few hours.
I understand that stores like Home Depot or Lowes sell food grade buckets

mgvsquared
10-28-2013, 02:55 PM
I think the problem is that the CO2 (carbon dioxide) produced by the yeast as it converts the sugars in the honey to alcohol is enough to make the leaves buoyant and float to the top. Add to this the effect that the leaves have on the CO2. There surface acts to nucleate the gas and so allow that gas to form larger bubbles with less energy than they would form absent the leaves. The one simple solution that wine makers tend to use is to begin fermenting in large mouthed containers and several times a day they will stir the must vigorously to introduce air, to ensure that the fruit (or in this case the leaves) on the surface is immersed and drawn through the liquid and to help the CO2 escape. By beginning fermentation in a narrow necked carboy, filling the carboy to the top and then sealing the carboy with a bung and airlock the one thing that you are guaranteeing is that your must will fill the airlock and will continue to do so every few hours.
I understand that stores like Home Depot or Lowes sell food grade buckets

This was absolutely my error. I thought I left enough headroom but I clearly did not. I did not expect the leaves to rise like they did nor the mead making it to the airlock. I feel silly, but then again, being so new I'm entitled to a few beginner mistakes. Admittedly this was kind of a hindsight 20/20 deal, but I'll learn from it at the very least.

Thanks all for your help and suggestions. I'll see if Home Depot has some 2 gallon buckets on my way home to see if I can remedy this in the short term.

Another question though. Will I need to repitch yeast? Or will fermentation continue without much worry?


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kudapucat
10-28-2013, 04:31 PM
<snip>
So I'm fresh off the heels of bottling my first batch of mead (5 gallons of the Medium Sweet Orange Blossom Mead from 'The Compleat Meadmaker'). <\snip>


<snip> I also started using the recipes in that book, and had troubles too; I hear Ken Schramm's book is a lot better. <\snip>

FWIW, Ken Schramm wrote 'The Compleat Meadmaker' and it's an awesome book.

Chevette Girl
10-29-2013, 12:03 AM
You shouldn't need to repitch your yeast. It sounds sufficiently vigourous!

If too much of your tea has been blown out through the airlock, you can always add some more once the fermentation settles down a bit. Just make sure you degas the must well before adding anything that's potentially nucleation sites or else POOOSHHH!! Mead Eruption Accident...

mgvsquared
11-04-2013, 10:39 AM
You shouldn't need to repitch your yeast. It sounds sufficiently vigourous!

If too much of your tea has been blown out through the airlock, you can always add some more once the fermentation settles down a bit. Just make sure you degas the must well before adding anything that's potentially nucleation sites or else POOOSHHH!! Mead Eruption Accident...

Thanks for the advice!

I ended up just putting it into a 2 gallon bucket for a week, loosely covered by it's lid. Transferred it back to the gallon carboy yesterday. Fermentation is still going, although very tiny bubbles. Airlock isn't getting much activity, maybe 1 bubble every 10 seconds. So, I'm in the clear. Does it taste like tea at all? I guess we'll see in a few months after I bottle it.

GntlKnigt1
11-04-2013, 11:39 AM
Aww.....I love those MEAs. We should have a contest for the best video of an MEA.....

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fatbloke
11-04-2013, 04:07 PM
Aww.....I love those MEAs. We should have a contest for the best video of an MEA.....

Seeing as we've just managed to spend some 50K on the new kitchen extension, I'll be buggered if I'm gonna splatter the hell out of it with fruit or any other explosive mead recipe, just for a bloody video......;D:rolleyes:;):cool: