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drachin
09-08-2005, 02:54 PM
A friend and I recently decided to take the plunge into meadmaking together. So far (after 3 days) the mixture has not begun to bubble. Is this normal?

briankettering
09-08-2005, 03:31 PM
No, this is not normal. A healthy yeast inoculation should have the must bubbling within 24 hours.

Here are a number of questions to help track down the problem:

What did you use to sanitize your equipment?

What is your recipe?

Did you use dry or liquid yeast?

How did you prepare the must before adding the yeast?

What was the temperature of the must when you added the yeast?

Did you use any yeast nutrient?

Did you aerate the must well after adding the yeast?


Brian K

JoeM
09-08-2005, 05:08 PM
Are you fermenting in a glass fermenter or a plastic bucket? Sometimes the plastic variety of fermenter doesnt seal well and you dont see bubbles in the airlock and of course you cant see the liquid inside.

mothy
09-10-2005, 06:14 PM
hi, i'm drachin's friend, and the mead is at my house, still being stroppy and not wanting to bubble much.


No, this is not normal. A healthy yeast inoculation should have the must bubbling within 24 hours.
meh. :-\


Here are a number of questions to help track down the problem:

What did you use to sanitize your equipment?

ethanol 90 % (rubbing alcohol)


What is your recipe?

i'll have to get back to you on that one. it'll take some translating.


Did you use dry or liquid yeast?

liquid


How did you prepare the must before adding the yeast?
according to the recipe, we had to mix the honey and the water in a pot and heat to 50 celcius.


What was the temperature of the must when you added the yeast?
yeah, this was a problem. it took ages to cool off, the recipe said around 25, but i put it in at 33... it was late, i wanted to go to bed! lol.


Did you use any yeast nutrient?
yep.


Did you aerate the must well after adding the yeast?
well, it didn't actually say so in the recipe, but i did give it a good airing i think, cause i had to use a ladle to get the must/yeast mixture into the fermenter.

thanks very much for your help so far. :)

mothy
09-10-2005, 06:17 PM
Are you fermenting in a glass fermenter or a plastic bucket? Sometimes the plastic variety of fermenter doesnt seal well and you dont see bubbles in the airlock and of course you cant see the liquid inside.


it is plastic, but the airlock-bubble-shower-water-container-thing is clear, so i should be able to see them.

WRATHWILDE
09-10-2005, 08:52 PM
If you needed to use a ladle to get it in the fermenter... there was either way too much Honey, or the honey & water weren't mixed well enough. They should be mixed completely. If the honey and water were mixed completely and it was still thick you might have gotten the recipe backward... like (3 parts honey, 1 part water) instead of (1 part honey, 3 parts water).
You were probably lacking in Oxygen in your must. It should be stirred almost violently at least twice a day for the first 3 days.
The Temperature doesn't seem out of range for most dry yeasts, some liquid yeasts are very picky about temperature though (might be a problem, can't help without knowing which yeast though).
Get that recipe translated quick, you're definitely in need of some help. But don't worry We can probably help you save it.

Wrathwilde

mothy
09-11-2005, 05:06 AM
no, the must was mixed just fine, i just had to use the ladle cause the pot was too heavy for me alone to lift up and pour into the fermenter. i was worried about splashing mead all over my carpet.

so here's the recipe:


3 kg honey
8 liters water
4 g yeast nutrient
40 g lactic acid
10 g weat flour
yeast (port, malaga or burgung (whatever that is) )

yield: 10 liters

heat the water and honey to 50, stir until honey has disolved/mixed up with the water.
then cool down to 25, add remaining ingredients and put it in the fermenter.
optionally you could now add spices and things (lime tree flowers, elderflowers, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, hops, ginger) feel free to experiment.
after 2-3 months the fermentation should be finished, rack and keep in a cool place. if you want to add a preservative at this point, use 1 g of "kaliumpyrosulfit" (sorry, can't translate that one)

the longer you keep it, the better it gets.

and this was from http://www.hexenkueche.de/

mothy
09-11-2005, 05:14 AM
hey, you know, i just gave it an experimental stir, and suddenly went all frothy and now it's bubbling! thanks!

i should have tried this before, but i was scared of touching it, i thought i might ruin it. ::)

well, now i know.

ta ;D

mothy
09-11-2005, 05:24 AM
oh, bugger. it's stopped again.

i'm going to go and cuss and swear at the fermenter. maybe that will help. :(

Glacierwulf
09-12-2005, 02:06 AM
i recently found out that my fermentantion cap was bad.
thus causing my first batch to carbonate in primary
might check yours

Greg

mothy
09-12-2005, 11:35 AM
i recently found out that my fermentantion cap was bad.
thus causing my first batch to carbonate in primary
might check yours

Greg


hmmm... it does fizz quite a bit when i stir it. is that what you mean by carbonate? so what happens? does it turn into honey beer, or is it just plain rank?

JoeM
09-12-2005, 01:26 PM
Sounds like its fermenting properly but that you have an air leak somewhere in your set up thats causing your airlock to not bubble. I find that this is a common complaint with plastic fermenters.

drachin
09-12-2005, 02:44 PM
Sounds like its fermenting properly but that you have an air leak somewhere in your set up that causing your airlock to not bubble. I find that this is a common complaint with plastic fermenters.


thanks. there's about half a gallon of air space at the top of the fermenter, as well. is that enough to cause not-bubbling or would it not make a difference?

JoeM
09-12-2005, 04:03 PM
Head space shouldn't make a difference, only if something isnt sealed properly. A simple way to test this is to push down gently on the lid of the bucket and see if the airlock bubbles.

chiashurb
09-13-2005, 12:47 PM
I was afraid at first that my must was not fermenting in my plastic primary, for the same reason. When I opened it up to aerate, however, I found that it was fizzing along just dandily, but that because the airlock grommet is positioned on the side of the lid, the lid was bulging quite a bit before anything went up the airlock. If I pushed down on the center of the lid to "burp" the fermenter, it would bubble and then start to visibly swell again.

drachin
09-13-2005, 06:29 PM
Head space shouldn't make a difference, only if something isnt sealed properly. A simple way to test this is to push down gently on the lid of the bucket and see if the airlock bubbles.


thanks, i'll have to try that.

Brewbear
09-20-2005, 01:06 AM
As a side note, the rubbing alcohol in U.S. is isopropyl... not a good idea to drink it ! I certainly hope you airated the fermentation vessel before you put the must in. The concern is not the ill effect of isopropyl acl. in the drink, it is well diluted, it is the flavor and smell of the higher alcohols that may be imparted to your mead in a small way. It would be a shame to have to age it longer just because of that.

Ted

drachin
09-25-2005, 05:39 AM
As a side note, the rubbing alcohol in U.S. is isopropyl... not a good idea to drink it ! I certainly hope you airated the fermentation vessel before you put the must in. The concern is not the ill effect of isopropyl acl. in the drink, it is well diluted, it is the flavor and smell of the higher alcohols that may be imparted to your mead in a small way. It would be a shame to have to age it longer just because of that.

Ted


apparently here (germany) rubbing alcohol is ethyl, so if anything it would just increase the amount of alcohol in the finished product, right?

mothy
09-25-2005, 11:30 AM
it's the non-smelly variety of alcohol, you use for making perfume and stuff.


umm, another question: if i can't watch the bubbles, how do i know when the fermentation is finished? when should i rack?

Brewbear
09-25-2005, 07:58 PM
You lucky devils >:(
Spend about 3 minutes looking at the airlock. No bubbles? Take an SG reading ( that's what most people here will tell you) and if you have no change for a few weeks, time to rack. My rule is , if no bubbles for 20 min., 'arackin' we go....I keep in secondary for a month or longer, depending on how much stuff settles on the bottom (lees). If it gets around 1 inch, rack again and age (bulk aging) for 6 -8 months. To be honest, that's what i planned on doing but some of the meads were soo good after 3 - 4 months that there's nothing left to age :'( Oh, well, I just have to brew more.

Hope this helps,
Ted

drachin
09-27-2005, 02:44 PM
You lucky devils >:(
Spend about 3 minutes looking at the airlock. No bubbles? Take an SG reading ( that's what most people here will tell you) and if you have no change for a few weeks, time to rack. My rule is , if no bubbles for 20 min., 'arackin' we go....I keep in secondary for a month or longer, depending on how much stuff settles on the bottom (lees). If it gets around 1 inch, rack again and age (bulk aging) for 6 -8 months. To be honest, that's what i planned on doing but some of the meads were soo good after 3 - 4 months that there's nothing left to age :'( Oh, well, I just have to brew more.

Hope this helps,
Ted


thanks. :)

how do you take an sg reading?

Brewbear
09-28-2005, 02:23 AM
Easy enough,
You will need a hydrometer, the least expensive ones will run you about $5.
Put some of your mead in a clean container ( I used the plastic tube the hydro. came in, sanitized of course) and drop the hydro in. The thing should not touch the bottom of the tube/vessel containing the mead. Take a reading, take out the hydro and clean, enjoy the mead sample since you can not add it back and dumping down the drain would be a sin ;D

Ted

drachin
09-28-2005, 06:10 AM
Easy enough,
You will need a hydrometer, the least expensive ones will run you about $5.
Put some of your mead in a clean container ( I used the plastic tube the hydro. came in, sanitized of course) and drop the hydro in. The thing should not touch the bottom of the tube/vessel containing the mead. Take a reading, take out the hydro and clean, enjoy the mead sample since you can not add it back and dumping down the drain would be a sin ;D

Ted


it would be a sin, wouldn't it? :D what should the sg reading be for sweet to semi-sweet mead?

byathread
09-28-2005, 10:59 AM
Sweetness is subjective, but the "How sweet is sweet?" thread will give you an idea...

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,2399.0.html

Best wishes,
Kirk

drachin
09-30-2005, 05:08 PM
ok, thank you!

CheshireCat
10-06-2005, 11:59 PM
I'm getting the same problem, 24 hours after pitching the yeast and still no activity. I'm going to try and stir it alot more and maybe get a heating pad under it since the weather is starting to get chilly but not enough to turn the heat on.

Oh, and I used a packet of Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast, does this brand/type usually take long to start fermenting? Should I chuck in another packet? Help! *gulp*

Brewbear
10-07-2005, 12:39 AM
Airating is very important in the first 3 days, the yeasties need O2. Did you airate well?
Did you rehydrate the yeast properly? I found that my first mead try was a semi-bust because I poured hot water over the yeasties and cooked most of them :'(
I had to re-pitch and then it took off. If you used the dry yeast and just poured it into your must, a 12 - 24 hour lag time is to be expected, provided the must temp. was below 100deg.F. Most dry yeast is rehydrated at 100 - 104 deg.F.

Hope that helps,
Ted

P.S. check the seal on the airlock while you are at it.

CheshireCat
10-07-2005, 02:01 PM
Yeah, I stirred like crazy, so much so I had to clean up the kitchen floor after I was done! I think I might have used too hot of liquid when I started the yeasts. I went back to the brew shop and told the shop owner my plight and he recommended Lalvin EC-1118, he said that it's a more vigorus yeast and should fare better in honey than the other ones he has. I have the packet sitting in some warm water rehydrating right now. In about 15 minutes i'll pitch it in and give the bucket another stir.

Go forth my little army!

CheshireCat
10-07-2005, 10:29 PM
Well, I haven't gotten any airlock burps, but I noticed some condensation on the cap of the lock. I'm not sure if it's just from normal water evaporating or heat from the yeast activating. I put a heating pad and towel under it to warm it up because it's starting to get cold fast. I'm hoping something will start to happen during the night, but I'll have to see.

I'm writing about my brew more here than in my log! lol

Brewbear
10-08-2005, 12:14 AM
One thing I do after rehydrating the yeast is to add and equal volume of must to it. Say you rehydrated in 100 ml water,waited 15 minutes, now add 50 100 ml must to the yeast, this will get your yeasties used to the must's temperature and high sugar. After 15 - 30 minutes I pitch it.

Ted

Dmntd
10-08-2005, 10:07 AM
Put some of your mead in a clean container ( I used the plastic tube the hydro. came in, sanitized of course...


If you're going to drink the sample rather then return it to the fermentor, why would you sanitize the test tube/jar?

Anthony

CheshireCat
10-10-2005, 04:18 PM
When I popped the lid off today the smell I got was like opening a bottle of whiskey. I thought for sure I had a batch of rocket fuel on my hands. But I ladled a bit out, not enough for a gravity reading (I'm still trying to find the old one my girlfriend's mom used to use), but enough for a taste and a close look. The smell was really strong and I thought it might be undrinkable right now but I took a sip and it was like candy! There was no strong liquor taste, barely a hint of liquor at all. The sample in the glass started to get small bubbles on the inside so it's still working hard.

I didn't take a gravity reading when I first made the must, but is there any average reading that I can test aginst to determine when it's done (the airlock still isn't burping)? It's just plain mead: 12lbs honey, 3 gal of bottled water, a packet of EC-1118, and a half pound of raisins.

Brewbear
10-11-2005, 12:10 AM
OG = 1.148
PABV = 20.1?
Your yeast should go to about 17 -18% ABV, you might still have a sweet mead that will take some time to smooth :-\

Ted