View Full Version : Ruined Melomel Secondary Fermentation with Aeration?

10-18-2015, 08:24 AM
Hello! I may have ruined my peach melomel, and I wanted to check with folks if I might do something.

After finishing the primary fermentation, I racked the 1-gallon of mead to the secondary, added 3 pounds of peaches, pectic enzyme, and some energizer and yeast nutrient to help with secondary fermentation since I added the fruit to the secondary fermentation rather than primary.

I was so pleased with the progress, that I shook the secondary vessel well to mix the contents. Putting it down, I thought "oh-oh!" that I might have just ruined the batch by aerating it.

There is no sign of bubbling fermentation in the air lock 24 hours later.

Have I hurt the batch? If so, anything that I can do to help?

I do have another one-gallon mead going well in primary that I was going to make a strawberry melomel with (again adding the fruit in the secondary). Would a adding small amount of that to the peach restart the peach melomel secondary fermentation? Best regards.


10-18-2015, 09:40 AM
I doubt shaking it once hurt it. Not sure that you needed to add the energizer and nutrient to the secondary. Maybe somebody else will chime in on this.

Do you have hydrometer? S.G. readings would help you understand what is going on with your batches.

10-18-2015, 01:18 PM
Hello! Unfortunately, it was more than that before I realized what I was doing - several shakes for a couple of seconds - more like a "victory dance," if I can use that analogy - to thoroughly mix the fruit with the mead. Best regards.


10-18-2015, 06:44 PM
You have nothing to worry about. Mead is not very easy to hurt with oxygen in that manner. Check your airlock to see if you have leaks. Use your hydrometer to see if fermation really has stopped. How many points did the yeast eat up? Maybe you have just run it's corse and they really are finished. Tell us more.

10-18-2015, 07:54 PM
The way I understand it is that unless you still have active yeasties in secondary, you probably won't be getting any more fermentation. Comparing your SG and recent gravity tests will help you be able to determine where you're at. Also, if you're wanting the yeast to actively ferment the fruit then why not add it in primary? Most stuff I've read says to add fruit in secondary in order to get more of the fruit taste (versus a fermented-fruit taste) because the fermentation is basically over at this point. And if you do still have active yeast/fermentation going on then you do want to aerate to some extent because the yeast need the oxygen to do their job.
But I am by no means the most experienced mead maker, this is just how I understand things to work :)

10-19-2015, 06:40 AM
Thanks! I'll let it sit and transfer to a carboy in a few weeks. I was concerned about it turning into vinegar, but it sounds like that will not be a concern.

My hydrometer arrived broken with my kit and had to be replaced, so I did not check the initial s.g. when I prepared the initial fermentations of my initial batches. As a result, I'm not sure that a s.g. reading now is helpful?

I wanted a fruity, moderately sweet peach mead, so I put the fruit in the secondary. I thought some fermentation would occur with dilution and added fruit sugar to help so that it would not resemble a fruit drink, but it does not seem like that would be a concern from the comments.

I have a second gallon that I want to add strawberries to and that will finish primary in a few days. I'll check its s.g. before adding it to the secondary. I won't aerate :-)
so I'll see if fermentation continues in the secondary.

Thank you for the insightful comments. Best regards.


10-21-2015, 06:29 AM
Hello! For the second strawberry melomel, I added the fruit about 2/3 into primary fermentation, and the fermentation picked back up. The first peach melomel has not started fermenting again, so I suspect the aeration killed the yeast. I suspect that it would be a sweeter mead when the process is finished compared to the strawberry.

If fermentation stops, does adding fresh yeast to the batch ever help, or does the alcohol present significantly inhibit the growth of any fresh yeast so that adding it would not restart the fermentation? Best regards.


10-21-2015, 08:30 AM
As already said, aeration like you're talking about didn't kill your yeast. It's likely still in there just dormant due to the higher alcohol level. If you get a hydrometer you can begin taking readings now, and every few days to confirm that nothing is changing. You might have a slow ferment that is going unnoticed because of a slight leak in your airlock (not to worry). Just don't use your airlock as your only source of information on what's going on inside.

I've done lots of mels, and almost always add the fruit in secondary, after the primary ferment is pretty much done. I don't aerate again, just rack to a clean bucket, add the fruit in a clean mesh bag, and let nature take it's course. With the addition of fruit, including all that natural nutrients and simple sugars, my yeasts have always woken back up within a day or so for some dessert.

Bottom line: don't worry. Wait it out. Take gravity readings now and every couple of days for about two weeks. Even if the yeast don't go crazy again, your fruit character will come out into the mead. After a couple of weeks rack it off of your fruit, and let it stabilize and clear. Then you can taste it and decide perhaps if you want to blend it with something else to get the result you want. My guess is it'll be awesome as it is. Just take good notes so you know what happened in these circumstances, with this yeast, this temp, this gravity, etc.

Good luck!

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10-21-2015, 08:36 AM
Thank you!

10-21-2015, 09:05 AM
Gravity reading are still useful without an OG.
They tell you how sweet it really is vs how sweet it tastes, and more importantly, they tell you if fermentation is complete.
If it doesn't change for 2 weeks running, your brew's done.