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Zagor
09-22-2005, 05:23 PM
:D Hello guys!
I have just racked my mead tonight and, before placing the airlock back on, I have decided to taste some of the liquid.
I was not expecting it to taste very good, since I've read that mead at first may taste like gasoline or something like that. What I found out, instead, is that it is very good! Strong in alcohol but sweet at the same time. ::)
My only concern is that now, in the secondary carboy (identical as size and shape to the first one), fermentation seems to have come to a stop. I hope it is still going a little so that CO2 will soon replace the airspace.
By the way, what is the danger of oxidation?
It is so good right now that I really hope it will not get worse because of air in the carboy...
Zagor

lostnbronx
09-22-2005, 10:24 PM
Zagor,

You will want to do something about that head space -- the oxygen can do long-term damage that will undermine all your hard work. If you can get ahold of a CO2 cannister for doing homebrew, a squirt of gas on top of your mead in the carboy will take care of things. You can also throw in a chunk or two of dry ice, if you can get ahold of any (they sell it in the supermarkets around here), which will melt and blanket your mead with CO2. Some people use sanitized glass marbles to take up the space in the carboys, but you need a LOT of marbles to do it.

The easiest route to take is to rack into a smaller secondary vessel, or to make a larger initial batch, keeping the extra must in a 1 gallon jug or something. This way, when you go to secondary, you can top off the headspace with the extra.

-David

Zagor
09-23-2005, 06:05 AM
Yes, you're right.
The problem is that I was expecting fermentation to last a little longer because it was still active before racking, about two burps per minute. After rackinging it, the airlock hasn't bubbled a single time for 12 hours, even though the water in the airlock has moved a little forward, thus indicating that some pressure is building up in the carboy. But I'm afraid it will not be enough. Are there any chances that the remaining yeasts are slowly multiplying and will accelerate fermentation a little bit?
I'm afraid I can't find a smaller carboy which fits in the airlock I have now. As to the CO2 canister, I have to look for it. I have never seen them around here.
Zagor

lostnbronx
09-23-2005, 06:36 AM
Zagor,

It's normal for fermentation to slow down considerably after racking -- after all, you left most of the yeast behind in the primary. Two blips a minute is pretty slow to begin with, so things will have dropped off quite a bit from there.

You could always mail order a smaller drilled stopper, and have it express-delivered, but that would be ridiculously expensive for such a cheap item. You could also add more honey and water (or fruit juice, or whatever) to the secondary, but that would change the flavor that you like right now.

Your best bet, I think, is to let it be, cross your fingers, and see if there's a little more activity. There's always the marble thing too -- go to a pet store and pick up the kind they make for the bottom of the fish tanks. These are cheap, easy to sterilize, and easy to add at this stage.

Let us know what you do!

-David

Zagor
09-23-2005, 07:13 AM
I have thought about it and I have come up with this idea:

I could rack it into a smaller carboy and lock it with the mechanical carboy lock (without using any bubbler). Twice a day, or so, I could loosen the lock, without completely opening the cap, thus letting some CO2 which could have formed escape from the carboy.
This operation should avoid carboy explosion, and if I find that no pressure is created for several days, it means that fermentation has really stopped and I can think about bottling.
At the actual fermentation rate (nearly absent) I don't think the carboy would explode if I loosen the lock twice a day. The fact that I don't really open the cap should prevent dirt and microorganisms from getting into the liquid.
What do you think about this?
Zagor

lostnbronx
09-23-2005, 12:46 PM
Zagor,

I think you have a plan! Under the circumstances, this sounds like the best solution of all. Good luck, and keep us informed!

-David

Mu
09-24-2005, 01:00 AM
I had an idea bout a cheap way using house hold items to cover your batch with co2. If I recall the reaction between a base (bicarbonate soda) and an acid (say vinegar, or citric acid) creates co2 as a gas. Which I guess you could use to coat the batch. Of cause im not sure if it will affect taste or what not, but if anyone wants to try it (On a small batch please) by all means id like to know how it works.

Mu.

lostnbronx
09-24-2005, 01:09 AM
I had an idea bout a cheap way using house hold items to cover your batch with co2. If I recall the reaction between a base (bicarbonate soda) and an acid (say vinegar, or citric acid) creates co2 as a gas. Which I guess you could use to coat the batch. Of cause im not sure if it will affect taste or what not, but if anyone wants to try it (On a small batch please) by all means id like to know how it works.

Mu.



Cool idea, Mu! I never thought of that! That's one worth experimenting with. ;)

-David

Oskaar
09-24-2005, 01:22 AM
Acetobacter sp. in vinegar. Don't want that in my mead or anywhere near it.

cheers,

Oskaar

lostnbronx
09-24-2005, 01:35 AM
Important Safety Tip there Oskaar, thanks!

O.J. or lemon juice would be good substitutions here, probably.

-David

WRATHWILDE
09-24-2005, 01:47 AM
Acetobacter sp. in vinegar. Don't want that in my mead or anywhere near it.


I'd have to agree with Oskaar on this one.

Wrathwilde

Fortuna_Wolf
09-24-2005, 01:56 AM
Even though aceterbacter makes vinegar most commercial vinegars are filtered and pasterized.
A distilled vingar will also be free of any bacteria too.

Another alternative is to mix up some bread yeast and sugar and use a blowoff tube to fill up the transfer vessel.

Oskaar
09-24-2005, 02:04 AM
True, but the reek from the reaction that produces the CO2 is nasty and I don't want it anywhere near my mead. There are also a number of folks here that make their own vinegar, so they need to know the risk involved if they are not using a commercially distilled and filtered product.

To me its not worth the time and effort especially when it's cheap and easy to get a small CO2 gun from many LHBS that does the job right with minimal contamination risk and hassle in general.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Dan McFeeley
09-24-2005, 04:29 AM
There's a couple of things you can do. If your's short on time, go for the marbles, and yeah, you'll need lots of 'em. Make sure you get them from a pet store, the kind made for aquariums. Ordinary marbles may have chemicals used to color the glass, which in turn could leach into your mead. If a marble is safe enough for fish, it's safe for your mead.

William's Brewing carries these neat little handheld CO2 dispensers. They're perfect for giving a carboy a quick shot of gas, and cheap as well. The main URL is http://www.williamsbrewing.com/

The dispensers are here: http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BALL_LOCK_INJECTOR_P84C148.cfm

along with 12 gram CO2 dispensers: http://www.williamsbrewing.com/12_GRAM_CO2_FOR_BEER_P89.cfm

A third idea, something I've never tried, is to get a starter batch of mead going, run a hose from that batch to your carboy, and fill it with CO2 from the blurping starter. Kind of a Rube Goldberg idea, and it might work.

lostnbronx
09-25-2005, 01:32 AM
Tonight I ran into this headspace problem when racking my Bunratty Pyment. (See "Meade" Into Mead: http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1664.0.html).

I decided this was a good time to experiment, so I took a rubber stopper I use for syphoning purposes which has two holes in it, placed it on the newly racked mead jug, and ran a hose to a small plastic bottle. In the bottle I had 1/2 tsp. of generic acid blend (I believe it's 50% citric, 25% malic, and 25% tartaric) dissolved in approx. 4.5 oz. of water. I then hastily scooped 1 tsp. of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) into the water bottle. The latter end of the hose was stuck into a single hole stopper, and I quickly affixed this to the top, holding it on for about two minutes. The CO2 thus produced had the time to run through the hose, fill up the jug, and push out all the air inside through the second hole on the fermenting jug. After this, I quickly airlocked the mead vessel again.

The acid bled is a perfect choice for this process, as it won't infect the mead with dangerous microflora, nor lend any off flavors. The CO2 is invisible, so I can't say for certain how well this worked, but I'm pretty confident it filled up the headspace in the jug with clean, neutral smelling, food-grade CO2 -- and it was very simple and inexpensive to do. There was no mess, and the acid/water/soda combo did not foam up much at all, since there's nothing else in that mix to make the bubbles hold their form.

I believe this is a viable and safe alternative for people who live far from sources of food-grade CO2, or for anyone on a tight budget (that's me and me).

Great idea, Mu!

-David