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taldridge
02-24-2016, 03:55 PM
New here and new to mead making. I've made some pretty decent fruit wines in the past but this is my first run at trying make mead. I'll start off with my ingredients and follow it with my question.

For a 5 gallon batch:
15 lbs of local (northwest Louisiana) raw honey
4 gallons of spring water
5 teaspoons yeast nutrient (LD Carlson)
5 teaspoons yeast energizer (LD Carlson)
2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast
Fermenting in a 5 gal plastic carboy
Everything is use has been sanitized with Star San

I heated and mixed all of the honey with 1.5 gallons of the spring water and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Then I poured that mixture into the 5 gal plastic carboy with another 2.5 gal of spring water (total of 4 gal water). Mixed that all together really well and waited a few hours for the honey water mixture to cool down to almost room temp. At that point I added the nutrient and energizer as well as the yeast per the packets' instructions. Last I capped the carboy with an s-curve airlock and put the must in a cool dry closet.

The next morning (about 20 hours later), I woke up to foam from the must being pushed through the airlock. This is probably because I didn't leave enough head space. I quickly removed and replaced the s-curve airlock with a 3-piece airlock within about 1-2 seconds. The foam has receded now and it appears to be brewing fine with a good amount of CO2 bubbles and the airlock is letting out gas every 3-5 seconds. The must is 4 days along.

I have 3 questions:
Do you think the 1-2 second exposure when switching out airlocks will have an effect on the must?

When the must pushed through the first airlock and the foam receded, it left what looks like a thin layer of hard crust in the neck of the carboy. Is this normal or okay?

The bottle is on a level surface but the CO2 bubbles favor one side over the other. Is this normal or okay?

Any help, advice, guidance, or criticism is greatly appreciated. I want to get good at this and need some help getting there.

Thanks.

loveofrose
02-24-2016, 04:01 PM
To answer your questions:
1. Nope. Not unless you spit in it.
2. Yep. Art is the finished product, not the process.
3. Yep. Bubble location is not important. You have bubbles (active fermentation) is.

To get better at this craft, you only need 2 things.
1. Knowledge - Read the newbees guide and all the info you can on my site (in my sig)
2. Practice - Keep making mead and you will learn!


Better brewing through science!

See my brewing site at www.denardbrewing.com

See my Current Mead Making Techniques article here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/current-mead-making-techniques.html

bernardsmith
02-24-2016, 05:02 PM
Hi taldridge - and welcome. Not everyone on this forum will necessarily agree with me because with mead or wine making there are many ways to peel a carrot.. When I make a batch of mead I use a bucket as my primary fermenter and cover it loosely with either a cloth towel (to keep out dirt and my cats) or simply place on top the plastic lid, without sealing it. During the first week or so of active fermentation, a) there is enough CO2 being produced to blanket the mead (or wine) so there is no real need for an airlock to prevent air from getting at the mead and b) in fact you do want air to be introduced to help the yeast repair their cell structure and to encourage budding (reproduction of the yeast cells). That is why wine makers are very likely to aggressively stir air into the wine while the gravity is above about 1.010. That stirring not only incorporates air into the liquid but it encourages the CO2 to be expelled (and CO2 in fact inhibits fermentation). Fermenting in a wide mouthed bucket as opposed to a carboy sealed with a bung and airlock makes it easy to stir AND also makes it far more easy to add nutrient several times during the active stage of fermentation.. Fermenting in a bucket also means that you never have to worry about must in the airlock or about volcanoes of must caused by the CO2 nucleating around particles of nutrient when you feed the yeast.. When gravity falls to about 1.005 then you can rack the mead into a carboy and seal it with a bung and airlock..

Crowing
02-24-2016, 06:48 PM
I've had must in plenty of airlocks, not really a big deal. Just replace the lock with a clean one, like you already did, and make sure there's a sanitary liquid in there. Bubbles on one side is something I actually just experienced the other day, I figure it's just cause I tilted it and all the lees had moved there releasing co2.

pwizard
02-24-2016, 09:04 PM
I always put vodka in my airlocks. Better safe than sorry, since I'd rather have sterile vodka accidentally get in my must than dirty stagnant water with potential spoilage organisms in it.

EbonHawk
02-25-2016, 11:05 AM
When that happens to mine now, I don't panic. It's happened too many times to count. Especially if there's a vigorous fermentation going on, there's very little possibility of doing any harm to it. I just remove the old lock and replace with a clean one. I also go an extra step. I keep pure grain alcohol on hand for these situations, and I soak a paper towel with some and then clean as much of the lip and neck of the carboy with it as well as I can, then fit a new clean airlock on it. Haven't had any issues from it yet. I use distilled water in my airlocks.

taldridge
03-01-2016, 05:29 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I've now run into another issue... My must has stopped fermenting after only 10 days. Airlock is tight, room is dark and about 67. Do I need to add more yeast energizer or nutrient? In my initial post I said I used 5 tsp of energizer but I actually only used 2.5 tsp per the bottle's instructions. The recipe I was following called for 5 tsp but the energizer bottle instructions had me leary.

Also, is there a chance that some of the yeast is being held in the "crust" that formed in the carboy neck when it pushed into the airlock?

djsxxx
03-01-2016, 06:18 PM
Take a gravity reading... It might be bone dry!

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk

EbonHawk
03-01-2016, 08:41 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I've now run into another issue... My must has stopped fermenting after only 10 days. Airlock is tight, room is dark and about 67. Do I need to add more yeast energizer or nutrient? In my initial post I said I used 5 tsp of energizer but I actually only used 2.5 tsp per the bottle's instructions. The recipe I was following called for 5 tsp but the energizer bottle instructions had me leary.

Also, is there a chance that some of the yeast is being held in the "crust" that formed in the carboy neck when it pushed into the airlock?
"Some", yes, but not enough to make a difference. We're talking tenths of thousandths of percents (wild ass guess, but it can't be much). It's probably just proteins and sugars as well as some yeast (very small amount) that crusted there.

I bet it's just done.

pwizard
03-01-2016, 09:30 PM
Even if some yeast got pushed up there, the rest would soon replicate new cells to replace what was lost.

Mazer828
03-02-2016, 12:58 AM
I second the suggestion to take a gravity reading. Your answer lies with your hydrometer.

taldridge
03-02-2016, 03:59 PM
I'll take another reading when I get home. Sorry for all of the questions but this batch is throwing me curves I've never dealt with. It's actually still producing the tiny CO2 bubbles, but the airlock isn't bubbling. Instead it looks like the gases inside are actually trying to suck the water from the airlock into the carboy. Is it still fermenting since it's still producing the CO2 bubbles? Why would it be trying to suck in instead of push that gas out? All of these things may be normal with mead, just new to me. Thanks for the help.

taldridge
03-06-2016, 09:23 PM
My initial gravity was 1.12. Since my airlock was no longer bubbling I just transferred the mead to a secondary carboy to get it off the lees and took a gravity reading of exactly 1.000. It seems like there were some bubbles from carbonation in the cylinder when I tested the SG and a little taste proved that. Is this carbonation or is the mead simply still fermenting? Will it go away?

Squatchy
03-07-2016, 12:15 AM
It can take weeks for all the gasses to disperse even after the yeast stop making alcohol.