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Bowman7210
08-17-2016, 08:28 PM
Okay, so long story short this is my first time brewing mead and I'm getting extremely nervous about my first batches. It's been a little more than 4 days and I haven't seen a single bubble go through my Twin Bubble Airlock. I'm using some 2-gallon plastic buckets I ordered off of Label Peelers. Here are the "Recipes" that I'm using.

Regular Honey Mead
3.3 Lbs. Honey
1 Gallon of Water
1 Packet of Lalvin D-47 Yeast
1 Tsp of Yeast Nutrient

Blackberry Mead
3.3 Lbs of Honey
1 Gallon of Water
1 Packet of Lalvin 71B-1122 Yeast
1 Tsp of Yeast Nutrient
1/4 Tsp of Pectic Enzyme

We had sanitized the buckets using disinfecting wipes and a bleach bath for the utensils (A rubber Spatula, a whisk, and some measuring spoons). I'm fairly certain that the lids and the airlocks are firmly in place, and I was just wondering if there was something that I did wrong that might have messed up my batch. They're currently both sitting in my room with has been fluctuating between 62F and 66F. Would removing the lid and looking at the contents mess up my batch by aerating it, and even if it didn't would there be someway to tell if the yeast had died somehow? Would adding another packet of yeast mess up my batch? Are their any suggestions on what I should do? I apologize if this is all basic stuff and can be found elsewhere, but I'm slightly paniking and would love some help from people who actually know what their doing. I also apologize if I messed up with the formatting this post as well.

Thanks a million times to whoever can help me.

Farmboyc
08-17-2016, 08:47 PM
Plastic buckets are notorious for leaking. I would open the bucket and give the mead a stir. In these early stages of fermentation aeration is a good thing. If you have an active fermentation you should see some bubbles release with the stirring this is called de-gasing and should be done at least once a day for the first little while.

I assume you rinsed thoroughly after using the bleach for sanitation. Bleach kills yeast.

If you have no signs of fermentation I would suggest you pitch more yeast after a proper rehydration and try to warm up your must to 70 F at least in the early stages to kickstart activity.

If there are some signs of fermentation you can choose to keep things at your current temp and expect a slowish fermentation or increase temp slightly to move things along a little faster.

Hope that helps without being too overwhelming.

Bowman7210
08-17-2016, 10:01 PM
Thank you so much! That puts me at so much ease knowing that it's the bucket's fault for the air lock not working. Once I stirred it, i heard the bubbles and goodness I'm go excited. And how long should I be de-gassing for? The first week?

Farmboyc
08-17-2016, 10:21 PM
Do you have a hydrometer?

If not a week of daily de-gasing should be about right for a 1 gal batch.

Remember to sanitize your stirring spoon. I use paper towel soaked in vodka and it works fine for me.

zpeckler
08-18-2016, 09:59 AM
Hello, and welcome to the forums! For the record I love your avatar. ;)

First of all, sit back, relax, and have a homebrew. Your meads seem fine.

There are things you can do to improve your process for the next batches, though.


We had sanitized the buckets using disinfecting wipes and a bleach bath for the utensils.

Anything that you use on your fermentor has the potential to end up in your mead. I would not use disinfecting wipes, even if you're rinsing it. Depending on what's in the wipes, hazardous chemicals could get in your mead. It's just not worth the risk. Even bleach can be dangerous unless you rinse everything thoroughly after sanitizing. My recommendation for next time would be to use a food-safe no-rinse homebrew sanitizer like SarSan or Iodophor.


I'm fairly certain that the lids and the airlocks are firmly in place.

Unless your lid has a rubber gasket, the CO2 could be leaking out. Like Farmboyc said, plastic buckets can be a little leaky; especially without gaskets. Because you're now seeing bubbling and other signs of fermentation it seems like your yeast have taken off ok. The take-home lesson here is that airlock activity is not a reliable indicator of fermentation activity. What you need to get for your next batches is a hydrometer (https://www.morebeer.com/products/triple-scale-hydrometer.html?site_id=5)to monitor the progress of your fermentation. Seriously, a hydrometer is such a fundamentally essential piece of equipment I would consider it mandatory for anyone doing any kind of homebrew at any experience level.


They're currently both sitting in my room with has been fluctuating between 62F and 66F.

That's a good temp range. One thing to watch out for is that D-47 is notoriously temperature-sensitive. If it goes above 68F it makes fusel alcohols, which have a solvent taste and take a long time to age out. Other yeasts are more forgiving. If you can't keep your temps in the 60's I'd suggest using K1V.


Would removing the lid and looking at the contents mess up my batch by aerating it.

Mead is very resistant to oxidation. Very, very resistent. It's considered a modern meadmaking best-practice to oxygenate your must through vigorous stirring up until the 1/3 sugar break--the point at which 1/3 of the sugars in your must have been consumed by the yeast. You measure this using a hydrometer. ;) After the 1/3 sugar break most mazers will seal the fermentor, stop aerating, and gently agitate to degass daily until fermentation is complete.


Would there be someway to tell if the yeast had died somehow?

Yep, measuring specific gravity using a hydrometer!

Bowman7210
08-18-2016, 10:08 AM
I don't have a hydrometer. I was thinking about getting the The Thief (An attachment for the FermTech Mini-Auto Siphon that I use) but I'm not exactly sure how it works, but if you think I should get one then I will. Are their any specific hydrometers that are widely agreed upon here?

Otherwise, I wouldn't mind doing a daily de-gassing.

zpeckler
08-18-2016, 10:13 AM
I don't have a hydrometer. I was thinking about getting the The Thief (An attachment for the FermTech Mini-Auto Siphon that I use) but I'm not exactly sure how it works, but if you think I should get one then I will. Are their any specific hydrometers that are widely agreed upon here?

Otherwise, I wouldn't mind doing a daily de-gassing.

Unless you're spending more for very precise specialty hydrometers, there's not a specific brand that is any better than the generic ones you get at your local homebrew store. The basic "triple scale" ones should be in the range of $5-10.

bmwr75
08-18-2016, 11:19 AM
Here's the hydrometer I use that was purchased on Amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TUQIBG0/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A hydrometer is a must have fermenting tool to help you understand what is going on with your batches.

You should degas each batch twice per day by stirring with your sanitized spoon/spatula/whisk. Do this until the batch reaches 1.030 SG. Then stop degassing and leave it under airlock for 2-3 more weeks before checking the SG again.

Squatchy
08-18-2016, 06:47 PM
Here's the hydrometer I use that was purchased on Amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TUQIBG0/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

A hydrometer is a must have fermenting tool to help you understand what is going on with your batches.

You should degas each batch twice per day by stirring with your sanitized spoon/spatula/whisk. Do this until the batch reaches 1.030 SG. Then stop degassing and leave it under airlock for 2-3 more weeks before checking the SG again.

I'm curious where you got the 1030 piece ? :)