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davarm
02-06-2005, 01:34 AM
I am going to try a few 1 gallon mead recipies. Is it ok to do the primary fermentation in an 8 quart stainless steel pot covered with Saran Wrap? After the primary fermentation (when the bubbling slows down after a week or so), I will do all future racking to 1 galllon glass carboys.

Feedback and advice is appreciatedl

Tsuchi
02-06-2005, 01:59 AM
Um... You could try...though I don't recomend it. At all.

You could do both primary and seconday in the 1 gals...That works well

Or... Um, cave and spend the few pesos required to buy a bucket... Or better yet get one used from a local restaurant/bakery.

Frankly I don't Know where you're from but if you were near me I'd gladly loan you a bucket just so you wouldn't risk any precious necar. Seriously think about the cash you're about to put into your mead. On your first batch (if it is) I think is reasonable to assume that you should spend about as much on equipment as on the mead. Don't cut the big corners... Little one's ok, Fancy equipment, dont go there. But if it affects sanitation and control dont mess with it.

On that note you made no mension of airlock or bubbler set up. Please tell us there will be one.

davarm
02-06-2005, 02:52 AM
I'm not trying to cut corners or save on expenses. Since I am doing 1 gallon batches, I would like the primary to be at least 1.5 to 2 gallons for the additional headroom. I anticipate a pretty violent reaction in the primary, so if I use a 1 gallon carboy, I suspect with all the blowoff I'll have a lot less mead at the end of the first stage, plus the risk of a clogged air hose or stopper.

I looked into plastic containers for the primary, but have seen too many horror stories about the taste of plastic getting into the mash, oxygen permeating the vessel, or contamination from scratches in the plastic. I looked into 2 gallon glass carboys, but the smallest I could find is three.

That's why I thought stainless would be a good alternative. I can find the perfect size (8 quart), and I should be able to get a positive lock on it. Plus, there shouldn't be any problems with contamination.

Oskaar
02-06-2005, 04:15 AM
You're much better off using a plastic fermentation bucket in the primary than trying to rig a stainless steel pot for fermentation. You'll find that for primary fermentation you will not notice any transfer of "plastic" flavor once you've racked to your secondary.

What, pray tell, are you making that would cause you expect such a violent primary fermentation?

Cheers,

Oskaar

jab
02-06-2005, 01:07 PM
Yup, that's exactly what they are 'horror stories'. Realize that most of the time a 'horror story' starts traveling around you almost never have the full story. If you did then it wouldn't be a 'horror story' it would be a 'look what this idiot did' story.

Plastic taste: Use food grade plastic and you won't have to worry about that.

Oxygen: Yes plastic is permeable. However since you are only going to be using it for the primary that isn't a concern.

Contamination/Scratches: That can happen. It is important to take care of all of your equipment. As a part of that you need to clean the equipment well but also do it in such a way as to not damage it.

Considering the number of people who use plastic as a primary I think it is a little foolish to discount the practice because of a few 'horror stories'. I mean come on, if fermenting in a plastic bucket actually leached plastic taste into the brew then what is the explanation for a large portion (wouldn't be surprised to find that number over 50%) of the homebrewing public using them?

davarm
02-06-2005, 02:55 PM
Would 2.5 Gallon Drinking water jugs be applicable if they are type HDPE plastic?

jab
02-06-2005, 03:24 PM
I would think they are fine assuming that they have never been used for anything other than food products. If there was ever anything in them other than food I would pass on them. Also note that containers that held things like pickles, vinegar, etc. might impart off flavors into your mead. Although they would be perfectly safe to use you might not want to anyway.

jab
02-06-2005, 04:17 PM
Considering the number of people who use plastic as a primary I think it is a little foolish to discount the practice because of a few 'horror stories'.


I would like to restate this comment. This comment was not to be taken as directed at davram. For anyone who thought it was I apologize.

I think the comment is still valid but the 'foolishness' of the situation should sit on the shoulders of those professing to be informed and trying to pass that information along to someone trying to learn.

There are many ways to brew. Each different piece of equipment comes with it's own set of quirks. Plastic can get scratched and harbor bacteria. But stainless can get pocked and glass can get scratched and both of those will harbor bacteria as well.

Once you have chosen a viable container it comes down to 2 things really. First sanitation. You can never be too careful about sanitation. And secondly would be care of your equipment. All of your equipment: pots, tubing, carboys, pails, hydrometers, spoons,...everything should be cared for with special attention to cleanliness and usability status. Each piece should be checked periodically, and ideally before each use, for cleanliness, cracks, scratches, pock marks, fungus/bacteria, working order, etc.

All articles are suseptable to 'problems'. Some of those happen during the natural use of the item and some stem from misuse. Making mead is 10% brewing it and 90% preparation.

Oskaar
02-06-2005, 05:57 PM
I agree with Jab, and I think that there are a lot of "Urban Legends" out there regarding the horror stories of plastic primaries, and possibly even secondaries. I've done a lot of wine in my time and our family has some oak barrels (croatian oak and french oak) that we use to age the wine we make. Oxidation plays an important role in the maturation of wine just as it does in mead. Wood barrels allow a gradual/beneficial oxidation of the aging wine/mead. Most of the oxidation occurs in the area of the bung-hole, while the sides and heads allow a much smaller percentage of the total oxidation.

I've actually kept mead in plastic, food grade buckets (because I didn't have sufficient glass or stainless available) for a year or so with no discernable effect on flavor or pernicious oxidation. HOWEVER, I don't recommend this unless you are willing to roll the dice. I was in a position of either tossing the extra ten gallons (I took over a batch from a friend who was going through a divorce), or using the plastic buckets he had given me along with the mead. I fully intended to go out and get more corney kegs to transfer them as soon as was reasonable, but things changed, and they ended up sitting for a long time as described above. This was twenty or so years ago, so my priorities were different then.

They tasted fine and were very drinkable with no plastic flavor that we could discern, but I didn't rush out and do it again because by that time I had adequate appropriate storage medium for "unexpected" batches that might fall into my lap.

Cheers,

Oskaar

CosmicCharlie
02-08-2005, 04:30 PM
I wouldnt worry about extra headspace. I use one gallon jugs for my one gallon batches. I just leave a little space in the neck. If you are concered about it, you can leave a little extra space in the primary, then when you rack to a secondary you can add extra water (or a honey/water mixture) you get you close to 1 gallon again.

Suzy_Q_Brewmistres
02-08-2005, 09:13 PM
But does the mead must react to the stailess steel?? All dring this string of conversation... the question, for me, was will it react?

I've done the 3.5 gallons in a 5 gallon food grade bucket (shower cap top) in primary form and then transferred to the 3 gallon carboy and airlock.

I've also done, and I'm currently doing, the 1 gallon pickle jar,(powder free latex glove) primary, and transferring to 1 gallon glass carboys with airlocks.

I haven't bottled any mead yet... my oldest is going on 5 months old... so whether there is an off pickle taste... I can't say yet... when sample testing my batches, I've not discovered any off taste yet. So..... again..... we'll see.

:-* Suzy Q

jab
02-08-2005, 10:24 PM
I don't think you are in any danger of the mead reacting with the stainless. Assuming the stainless is sound (hasn't been pocked by bleach or whatever).

The one you don't want to use is aluminum.

I can dig up the particulars if someone wants to know why. Suffice it to say there is something in aluminum that will leach into the brew which collects in your body (lymph nodes?) when you ingest it. When you get too much of it your organs start shutting down or something. Bad stuff.

Oskaar
02-08-2005, 11:07 PM
I used to do my primary in stainless steel cornelius kegs (Coca Cola kegs) many years ago and never had a problem with reactivity or "stainless taint" in any of the batches. Stainless steel is a wonderful medium for fermentation, aging or whatever else you want to do with your mead. I've aged meads for a couple of years in my corney kegs and it was great.

Commercial wineries use stainless as well. They wouldn't if there was any way that it would ruin their product.

Cheers,

Oskaar

OrganicTruth
09-22-2013, 11:05 AM
Hi everyone. First time making Mead here. I'm using organic agave nectar however in the 1/4 water ratio proportions which I saw someone else post on another forum. I'm using stainless steel pot as well to ferment. My question is, will just covering it with the lid be enough, or will too much co2 escape this way? I'm also using a small glass jar that doesn't seem to seal airtight for the other batch.

OrganicTruth
09-22-2013, 11:07 AM
I also mixed in some fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, sage, ginger and a touch leftover brewed tea that I poured in made with those herbs as well. Haven't noticed any fizzing or bubbles yet as I have only a cloth over the pot. I heard it's supposed to be uncovered for about 3 days?

Chevette Girl
09-29-2013, 02:20 PM
Hey OrganicTruth. If you want responses to your specific questions, it's best to start your own thread (possibly referencing any threads you think are relevant) rather than resurrect an eight year old thread that's only barely relevant.

For the first few days you should be fine with just the non-airtight lid (as long as fruit flies can't get in) or even a towel, but after that you're going to want a bit more protection. There's no such thing as "allowing too much CO2 to escape", you want it to be able to leave freely. It's allowing oxygen in that's the problem later on in the fermentation (after it's used about half of the sugars available). You'll learn really quickly that an airtight seal on something fermenting makes for a lot of excitement, the reason we typically use airlocks is to maintain the same pressure inside the vessel as outside the vessel without allowing oxygen or contaminants to freely enter the vessel. For short-term solutions, I've found that plastic wrap with an elastic band or tied down with string makes an acceptable seal, as long as you're not opening it up and playing with it all the time... if it's still creating CO2, then that will be causing the direction of flow to be out of the vessel rather than into it, thus protecting it to some degree from oxygen and contaminants... it's when it's stopped producing CO2 that you'll have to be more careful about it.

OrganicTruth
10-01-2013, 10:39 AM
Hey OrganicTruth. If you want responses to your specific questions, it's best to start your own thread (possibly referencing any threads you think are relevant) rather than resurrect an eight year old thread that's only barely relevant.

For the first few days you should be fine with just the non-airtight lid (as long as fruit flies can't get in) or even a towel, but after that you're going to want a bit more protection. There's no such thing as "allowing too much CO2 to escape", you want it to be able to leave freely. It's allowing oxygen in that's the problem later on in the fermentation (after it's used about half of the sugars available). You'll learn really quickly that an airtight seal on something fermenting makes for a lot of excitement, the reason we typically use airlocks is to maintain the same pressure inside the vessel as outside the vessel without allowing oxygen or contaminants to freely enter the vessel. For short-term solutions, I've found that plastic wrap with an elastic band or tied down with string makes an acceptable seal, as long as you're not opening it up and playing with it all the time... if it's still creating CO2, then that will be causing the direction of flow to be out of the vessel rather than into it, thus protecting it to some degree from oxygen and contaminants... it's when it's stopped producing CO2 that you'll have to be more careful about it.


Chevette, thanks for that :) I have it loosely capped in 2 jars and one has a rag over it with a glass lid and a metal clamp. It's been fermenting for a few days, I see tiny bubbles going up and fizzing, but not too much. Once it stops doing that, does it mean it's ready to drink and has alcohol? Of should i tightly seal it and let it ferment longer even if it stops fizzing and making Co2?

Chevette Girl
10-02-2013, 07:07 AM
OrganicTruth, don't EVER tightly seal ANYTHING that's still fermenting or even has the possibility of still fermenting, the results could be explosive. I keep my own stuff under airlock for a year before I bottle it unless I hit it with stabilizing chemicals and completely degas it. Wine and mead will also release carbon dioxide for a while after the actual fermentation is done, and you don't want to prevent that either.

The best way to be sure something's done fermenting is to check it with a hydrometer. A good guess (and that's all it really is, you can never be sure) is that fermentation is done when the bubbling stops and the must starts to clear.

"Ready to drink" is subjective, if it's still relatively sweet, it might be drinkable right after fermentation's done and it clears up, but most meads take six months or so to start to be good.