View Full Version : Question about mead fermentation.

02-02-2006, 10:59 AM
Hello all,

As some of you may know I am currently fermenting a Honey Maple Mead. The recipe was given to me by WW and I received lots of great advice from everyone. Yesterday when I got home from work (about 18 hours after the yeast was dumped into the fermentor) I decided to open up the three fermentors, one at a time and, using my O2 tank, oxygenate the must and add a bit of DAP. I was shocked when I opened the first fermentor and saw this;


I have made meads before but I usually used Costco honey. Is this the result of an unprocessed honey? It is what it is supposed to look like? My second fermentor was identical but the third was like nothing had happened. It seemed to have a thin layer of yeast on the surface but the thick "lemon meringue" like substance was no where to be found.

So what do you guys think?


02-02-2006, 08:54 PM

What does the must smell and taste like? Small taste and spit it out if it tastes funky.

That's an awful lot of growth for 18 hours, if I didn't know better I'd say it was a surface mold, but that's definately not anything I've experienced.

What is the consistency and smell of this stuff? If it were me and the must still tastes ok, I'd definately get that off my mead, and pour/filter the mead into another vessel. Then I'd give some serious consideration to hitting it with a healthy dose of sulfite and repitch 24 hours later.

That's just too weird dude.

How did you sanitize? What sanitizer did you use? How long did you let it stay in contact with the fermentation vessel? Was everything you touched that vessel with sanitized? Wow, that's some intense growth.

Let us know,


02-02-2006, 09:21 PM
Well thinking that it was normal it sort of got mixed in when I oxygenated. When I came back today it was back, just not as big. I tasted it and is not funky at all. It had a slight sweet honey taste, little bit of yeast, but tasted mostly sort of waxy. My best guess is that it is impurities in the original honey.

The consistance is like the foam on a cup of latte. Maybe the CO2 working through the must pushed the wax like substance to the surface.

The must tastes and smells fine. It seems to be fermentating nicely.

Also I super sanitized everything. I was even more careful then normal since I wouldn't be boiling anything. I just checked all three buckets and they are all identical and all smell great.

What do you think?


02-03-2006, 09:05 AM
That is the weirdest thing I've ever seen, none of my batches have ever had a surface layer. No advice to add to Oskaar's. What type of aeration do you use?


02-03-2006, 09:45 AM
A micron stone and pure O2. This morning things seemed to have calmed down a bit. I looked in one fermentor quickly and there was nothing on the surface but it was still happily bubbling away. Very weird!

02-03-2006, 10:19 AM
I've seen maple syrup do this during heating. It foams very easily and has sort of a dark crust on the top of the foam. Does this sound like what you had?

02-03-2006, 10:21 AM
I'd still skim that stuff off. It's probably just a wax/impurity cap and some aggressive foaming by the yeast, but I don't like things that look like whale blubber in my mead. Seriously, skim it off and see if it tries to reform. This is a no heat batch, but there may have been a lot of junk in the mead.

Agfisher, was this the first or last bucket you poured from the mixing kettle?



02-03-2006, 10:24 AM
OK, i'll give it a look tonight and see if there is anything to skim off. The crustie stuff on the top I believe is yeast. Its very light and fluffy. As of this morning, peering through the whole in the lid, there didn't seem to be anymore of that stuff.


02-09-2006, 05:48 PM
I didn't end up skimming anything. The mead is fermenting well (down to 8.5 or so two nights ago) and it tastes great. I should be doing to first rack pretty soon

Boston, MA

02-09-2006, 10:54 PM
Glad to hear it's doing well, that photo had me worried. Any other questions or notes on progress... don't hesitate to post.


02-10-2006, 12:50 AM
Wow that picture is awesome! I have to say that over the years Iíve seen the foam/bubbles/krausen from fermentation vessels take on some pretty weird characteristics. And while Iím not saying that what youíre showing us here isnít really weird, I cant say that it surprises me. Iíve had batches where the foam looked like nothing Iíve ever seen before and I was sure they were contaminated. After a few days, they usually settle down and up being fine. Hopefully this will be the case with your batch, and from your descriptions of how it tastes and smells it sounds like its doing fine.