View Full Version : Need some help, fermentation volcano!

01-30-2006, 07:06 PM
Dear friends (if I may be so bold) . . .

I just started my first batch of mead. Well, technically it is my second as I have a gallon of JAO about three weeks in. Anyway, back to my question. Here is my recipe:

(3 Gallon Batch)

5 lbs Clover honey
4 lbs Blackberry honey
2 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp yeast energizer
H2O to three gallons
1 liter starter of D47 made 24 hours before (huge Krausen)

I heated 1.5 gallons of water to 140 and stirred in my honey until it dissolved. Let it cool to 90 and added the nutrient and energizer. Filled it to three gallons and let it cool to room temp. Then I pitched my started and thoroughly aerated it by stirring. I placed it in my basement (constant 68 degrees) with an air locked lid. 24 hours and no activity (well, it is kind of hissing like a carbonated drink with a few bubbles). So, afraid (as all newbee's are) that it wasn't working I pitched a second rehydrated pack of D47 and stirred it lightly. I ended up with about an 1/8th of a gallon all over the floor as it took off like a volcano. Once it settled down and I cleaned everything up (sterilizing as I went) I moved it to a new location 20 feet away. Still there isn't much activity now. Am I wrong in expecting bubbling and a krausen by this time? I know there is activity but what am I doing wrong (or perhaps I am just being impatient)? I left the lid on lightly and did not seal it. I will plan on stirring it tonight once more and the putting the lid with the air-lock on. Should I just cover it with some muslin for the next couple of days?

Any help would be much appreciated. The starting OG was 1.117. What was on my hands tasted great (grin). I am hoping for a medium mead that I can split into three one gallon batches in a few weeks with a bunch of different flavors.

As always,

2/1 Update, I took a hydrometer reading and it has droped to 1.086 so it must be doing something. Guess I just need to work on my patience. By the way, so as not to waste the sample I was forced (yes, forced I say) to drink it . . . rather sweet but very good.

01-30-2006, 07:13 PM
Welcome! ;D

It sounds like you had a gusher! It's perfectly normal. In my first seven batches I've only had three.

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1082.msg8234.html#msg8234 is a good description of a gusher from an experienced meadmaker.

I'll let someone more experienced answer your questions about fermentation, but I will add that four of my batches contain D47 and none of them had a krausen. The yeast seems to sink very quickly.

01-30-2006, 09:40 PM
You often don't get krausen on mead. In beer brewing, krausen is the foam consisting of wort protein, hop resins, and dead yeast. Since you just have honey and yeast, there are not a lot of proteins to help create foam. The more ingredients in the mead (hops, fruit, spices, etc.), the higher the likelyhood of having a krausen.

The volcano you had shows that the yeast is doing what it's supposed to do, so I'd leave it alone and proceed normally (airlock it as soon as you feel it's safe).

01-31-2006, 12:01 AM
Perhaps I am just being impatient?

I'd have to say you hit the nail on the head. LOL. The hardest lesson to learn in Meadmaking is Patience, very common problem and even some experienced brewers still have trouble with it. The answer is to brew a lot... so you don't have time obsess over any one batch.


01-31-2006, 01:25 AM
just a few thoughts from my collection of brewing attempts...
For some reason, I find that almost all of my volcano's tend to come from D-47. Several of which have embedded raisins and other things into the drywall of the ceiling, several feet above the bottle. Usually the batches which turn out to be volcanos appear to be going slowly, until you gently nudge or shake them and end up with mt vesuvius in your brewing room. This mildly unsettling behavior doesn't seem to affect the taste of the final product, so I never worried too much besides some minor safety precautions. So my thoughts are that the yeast are doing just fine and keeping up to their usual tricks. I would also suggest that you treat the bottle fairly gingerly if you must move it, although an occasional gentle nudge to shake the bottle ever so slightly and release a small bit of the CO2 might not be a bad idea. ( Personally for bottles like this, I put my ear to the side of the carboy and try to listen for fizzing/bubbling, sometimes you can hear the yeasts working even if you can't see any bubbles. )
As for the krausen/foam/scunge, it is not a requirement for mead. Some recipes because of their ingrediants will have TONS of foam, while other recipes will have none. Most of my meads have very very little foam/krausen. The jasmine meads are a very obvious exception, as they kick up TONS of foam. Anyhow, foam is just another one of those things that may or may not be there, and unless you know it should/not be there, no worries.
Sounds like your mead is off to a mischievious but good start, keep us posted..
more thoughts, more rambling,

01-31-2006, 08:08 AM
That is so strange. I have only made one batch with D47 thus far, and that is the only one to have blown the airlock. ...And spew lemon guts everywhere.

02-06-2006, 02:48 PM

Sorry for the late reply, and welcome to the Forums!

Your recipe seems quite nice, with an interesting little mix of honeys there. The fermentation action sounds completely normal, but heed the words of the others about gushers and volcanos! By this time you've probably airlocked it -- and you should see lots of bubbling in the lock.

You have three pounds of honey per gallon of must (which will turn out to be more like 2 1/2 gallons of finished mead after rackings and tastings), which a nice healthy fermentation with D-47 should render completely dry. You can always stabilize and backsweeten later, if you want to put some residual sweetness back into the mix, otherwise, it's not too late to add more honey. And, of course, if a drier mead is to your liking, then you're right on track as it is!

This sounds nice, so keep us posted!


02-06-2006, 07:17 PM
The answer is to brew a lot... so you don't have time obsess over any one batch.

Oh yes, brew lots. But, you can also brew beer. From what I've been reading, it doesn't take very long to make from start to hangover. :D

I've been thinking about making a batch of beer to drink while I'm waiting for my meads to finish, and the local library, erm, I mean Barnes & Noble has (surprisingly) lots of books on beer brewing and even some magizines. But, sadly, no books on meadmaking. But I found a recipie that looks promising, I just have to find some of the ingredents.

02-06-2006, 08:00 PM
Just a quick update for you guys. I appreciate all your advice (and help). I did get it under airlock and it seems to be doing just fine. The last hydrometer reading was down to 1.064. And again, I was forced to consume the sample. ;D I even got the wife to try it. She wasn't very impressed; though I think it tastes great (still way to sweet, but, I am learning to be patient). In truth, that just means more for me.

It has lightened in color quite a bit in the last few days and is going to end up a beautiful golden color (reminicent of marigolds I think). My plan is still to split it into three batches (two of which will be melomels) and leave the third to bulk age with perhaps a bit of toasted oak.

As for the beer brewing, I have about a gallon of a simple Bock left and about a gallon of Belgian Wit. To be honest, I don't really care for beer but my friends seem to like it. We had 50 over for the superbowl and luckily I have a bunch of empties now.

Again, I appreciate all your help.


PS I will pull out my notes and add my first try to the brew log soon.

02-07-2006, 02:05 AM
Welcome to the forums ;D
My first experience with D-47 resulted in a mead shower/gusher!
I learned since then that D-47 is a low foaming fermenter that will tend to creep along even when you think it has done all it will do! Use your hydrometer (one of my 5 gal carboys popped the stopper) and be patient!