View Full Version : Mead Help (First Post)

11-03-2015, 11:05 PM
Made my first attempt at any type of home brew this past Sat. Making a mead from honey from my own hives as I just harvested.

2 1/2 gal batch
Lavlin 71B
7.5 lb my wildflower honey (slightly less)
Mountain Valley Spring Water (bought the 2.5 gal carboy and the water inside was a bonus)
Yeast nutrient
Yeast energizer

Made the mistake of re-hydrating the yeast in the spring water which it turns out was very soft.

Second mistake was starting yeast re-hydration before checking temp of must to ensure it was cool (used warm water to help dissolve the honey). Let yeast sit in soft re-hydration water for about 40 mins before adding to must which was at a temp of 88F when I added the yeast.

Pitched yeast around 4PM on Sat. and there was still no bubbling action today (Tuesday). So I added another packet of 71B re-hydrated using tap water. Fingers crossed!

Another potential issue, I'm not sure how accurate the Ph test strips are but it said my must was at 3.2. What can I add to raise the Ph? could this be my issue?


11-03-2015, 11:19 PM
More info would help. You probably shocked your yeast to death. The must and the yeast slurry need to be within 10 degrees of each other for best results. I rehydrate my yeast in 104 degree temp with goferm. Then a temperate to within 10 degrees of each other in mini steps and pitch the yeast within 25 minutes from the start. Potassium bicarbonate will buffer your pH

Don't ever rehydrate with any nutrients except goferm. Other wise just plain water

11-03-2015, 11:53 PM

I suggest you go here: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/9694-How-do-you-get-started-making-mead and read the second post. If you can, read through that whole thread.

Also try the JAOM. don't wait for the batch you've already started to finish up, start a gallon of JAOM now.

Get a hydrometer... you won't need it for the JAOM, but you will for your first batch. That first batch, once it gets going, won't be ready to drink for a long time, at least a year. The JAOM will be ready way before, probably in as little as 100 days (but it's better ar the 6 month mark.

Then read up on the BOMM protocol. Once you have your original batch bubbling away, and the JAOM (if you have followed instructions) in a dark corner where you won't look at it, you can order some more supplies, like the fancy Wyeast 1388 liquid yeast and you can start a BOMM, which in 30 to 60 days, will be ready to drink.

11-04-2015, 10:35 AM
Pitched the 2nd round of yeast yesterday around 3:00 PM. Nothing last night and no bubbling activity this morning either.

I appreciate the advice for how to make future meads better. Can anyone help with this batch of mead?......like how do I get it fermenting? I suspect my Ph is too low (too acidic). What do I use to raise the Ph that won't affect flavor?

Thanks again!

11-04-2015, 03:57 PM
Potassium Carbonate

11-04-2015, 05:05 PM
Potassium Carbonate


I checked with my LHBS yesterday and they don't carry Potassium Carbonate. Many online stores don't carry it either. Is it commonly available from other merchants that I would find locally?

Thanks again!

11-04-2015, 05:10 PM
More wine.com

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11-04-2015, 06:14 PM
Will it affect my mead to essentially be stalled out (fermentation not started) for most/all of a week before I can get calcium bi-carbonate ordered in?


11-04-2015, 06:33 PM
maybe. It didn't ever get off at all right? That means you have stuff growing in there right now you don't want. I would for sure add some Camden tablets and store it in the fridge or outside if it's cold enough where you live

11-04-2015, 07:22 PM
You can make a yeast starter and proof your yeast to make sure it is alive and then put it in your mead. What smells are coming from your mead right now? Are there any bubbles, stuff floating and sinking? If you stir it briskly do you get a fiz? First batch can be nervewracking, for you and for us:):)

Are you a new beek also or have you been doing it for a while? Another kind of mead for the future you might be interested in doing is a whole hive mead, toss in the trimmings and some comb and maybe even a few drone brood:)


11-04-2015, 08:01 PM
Well, now I am confused.

I pitched 71B yeast this on Sat. (Oct. 31) with OG of 1.107. It has never bubbled through my air-lock. It did however foam up when I stirred it like it was giving off CO2 gas trapped in the liquid. Yesterday, I re-pitched another packet of 71B that was re-hydrated in tap water (couldn't find GoFerm locally). After re-pitching, I pumped in pure oxygen through a 0.5 micron stone.

I checked on my batch just now when I got home after work and it still isn't bubbling. I stirred it and no CO2 bubbles came to the surface. I put my hydrometer in and it reads 1.040! So it has dropped 67 points since Sat.......is that even possible in 4 days? I tasted it and sure enough I taste alcohol. I re-checked the acidity with the test strips where you read the color of the strip and it said 3.6 best I can tell. The color difference between a reading of 3.2 and 3.6 is subtle so difficult to read reliably.

Any idea what is going on? I apologize for all the questions.

11-04-2015, 10:17 PM
The fermentation is definitely happening, so what about checking the bubbling? Maybe an air leak? Is there water in the air lock?

11-04-2015, 11:33 PM
Yes, distilled water in the air lock.

I'm using a 3 gal food grade bucket/lid from a local bakery. I can't say it doesn't leak but when I tap on the lid the water in the air lock jumps.

11-05-2015, 04:35 PM
Some more questions:

Is there anything accumulating on the bottom?

If so, you have fermentation. You might want to check the seal on your bung. Often when i think nothing is happening, its the stupid plug thats not sealing the stupid hole.

You can find ANYTHING on amazon. I get all my chems there. If you have Prime you can usually get what you need quickly. And it seems you need stuff quickly.

Before you re-pitch, get some camden tabs and hit it with them.

But before you even do that, order a hydrometer. When i first started making beer in the late 80's I had a batch that I kept trying to get started much like what you are doing now only to finally break down and buy a hydrometer and i found out that the reason I couldn't get it going was that it was already done!

Sometimes a batch will go from start to finish very quickly.

Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

11-05-2015, 09:20 PM
The bucket lid is leaking. Assuming your hydrometer isn't broken or affected by sunspots there is no other reasonable explanation.

You measured starting gravity and have seen it drop from 1.107 to 1.040 in four days.
Therefore sugars are being converted to alcohol and giving off CO2.
CO2 gas is not visibly bubbling through your air lock.
Therefore CO2 gas is getting out another way.

(ETA: Occam and Sherlock must be so proud of me :-P)

11-05-2015, 09:27 PM
PapaScout, I think that is the only explanation. I tasted it yesterday and I definitely tasted alcohol. What is odd is that I see hardly any foam on top.

Checked the hydrometer again this afternoon and it is down near 1.020 so it's still converting those sugars! Odd, but I'm sure happy it appears to be working out.

Thanks everyone!

11-05-2015, 10:31 PM
The bakery buckets are not perfectly air tight, but your primary should still ferment well. I've done some primaries in these kinds of buckets, and it really can fool you.

If you crack the lid and put your ear to it, you might hear the hissing/fizzing of fermentation.

11-06-2015, 03:41 PM
Thanks Shelley! I'm sure that explains everything.

I sure appreciate everyone's help!

11-09-2015, 02:21 PM
I didn't know you had a hydrometer already. That would have made everything easier. If the hydrometer is going down then you are making mead.

Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.