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Thread: First mead: Some foam, no bubbles after 74 hrs.

  1. #1

    Exclamation First mead: Some foam, no bubbles after 74 hrs.

    First of all, this is my very first batch and I'm using a carboy as primary. I'm going for a metheglin, the ingredients are as follows:

    1.9kg Australian Honey
    sodium metabisulfite treated water
    10g tartaric acid
    15g malic acid
    1/2 stick cinnamon
    1 split vanilla bean
    1 inch of sliced ginger
    1 crushed nutmeg

    Hydrometer read 1.120, thermometer read 20'c (68'F).

    5.75g Lalvin go-ferm nutrient
    4.6g of mangrove jack M05 Mead yeast (dry, i re-hydrated it in the nutrient mixture as directed on the nutrient packet)


    Nothing in the first 24 hours, around the 40 hour mark some white foam started appearing. 70 hour mark there is more foam.
    The water in the airlock seems to shift up and down through the airlock, though I have not seen it bubble (I have watched multiple times up until 5 minutes). It is stored in a room with the A/C at 25'C (77'F) without any sunlight contact.

    Should I be thinking about troubleshooting/adding another 4.6g of the yeast?

    ~Mead after 70 hours~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    472

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    You didn't specify what the batch size is. 5 liters?

    I'm sure I won't be the only person who says this and if you do any reading on this forum, you'll see the statement "bubbles don't mean anything". They are pretty to look at and always give us a warm feeling when we see them, but give you no information on how your fermentation is progressing. You need to get a hydrometer and watch a few YouTube videos on how to correctly use it. That being said, the foam and shifting in your airlock indicate that something is going on, so I would let the process continue on.

    What was the temperature difference between your yeast and must, when you pitched? There should have only been less than a 10F difference or you could have shocked the yeast.

    1. Are you using any other nutrients? You need something like Fermaid O or Fermaid K.

    2. Have you been aerating/degassing/stirring daily? Did you do so before you pitched the yeast?

    3. Have you read the NewBee Guide (top of the web page).

    4. Get a hydrometer!
    Last edited by darigoni; 01-12-2018 at 09:27 AM.

  3. #3

    Default

    Yes, 5L carboy. I read through the forum and other places and got mixed messages about bubbles, good to get a definite answer.

    So, I probably shocked my yeast. Just looked at my book and it said 10 degrees, I must have read it as celsius, so if I remember correctly it would have been about a 20-30F difference. How bad is this?

    I didn't get any Fermaid O or K with my kit, only Go-ferm. I'm out in the boonies so it would take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month to get any ordered in. Are they completely necessary / are there any easily obtained substitutes? My books didn't mention them in their step-by-step instructions so I didn't order any in prior.

    I have been swirling the contents of the carboy daily. I stirred the yeast before I pitched it.

    I have not read the guides completely, just picked some and skimmed the rest, as I mixed the mead before I found this forum.

    I have a hydrometer, my SG was 1.120.

    Thanks for your help so far!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    472

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    The temperature differential may have shocked your yeast, which may be why you are getting off to a slow start. Fortunately, you started off with a good amount, so it will probably recover. In the future, you'll need to follow this procedure (paying attention to the last paragraph):

    http://www.meadmaderight.com/yeast-rehydration.html


    You probably need to do more than just swirl. You need to do some vigorous stirring, which will help to aerate and degas.

    From a previous post by Squatchy (yeast are cannibalistic):

    "Add two packs of bread yeast to 1/2 a cup of boiling water. Once it cools. Add to your must. Do this for the first 5 days."

    A pack of bread yeast is 1/4 oz or 21 grams or 2.25 tsps.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure what quantity of must this is for (1 gallon or 5 gallon). Perhaps Squatchy will chime in......
    Last edited by darigoni; 01-12-2018 at 10:55 AM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Your pH is also too low for the yeast to work. We never ever add acids up front. A mead must is already quite low on pH and you have lowered it off the charts. Now you will need so K2CO3 to add to it to bring your pH above 3.2
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    472

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    Squatchy,

    Is the 2 packs of yeast, to 1/2 cup of boiling water, for 5 days, good for 1 gallon of must or 5?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Squatchy,

    Is the 2 packs of yeast, to 1/2 cup of boiling water, for 5 days, good for 1 gallon of must or 5?
    It depends some on yeast strain and gravity. And with that said I don't really know for sure. I have never tried to do an entire batch that way. It's more of a rescue if someone runs out of food.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  8. #8

    Default

    Another thing where one of my books led me astray (Making Mead by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan). Though he doesn't mention Fermaid at all, he does mention ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate in his nutrient section. Not sure if I can get these through the chemist. He also mentions vitamin b via marmite. Would these work in place of nutrients, and would they still be viable at this stage?

    What happens if I can't feed my yeast?


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    Your pH is also too low for the yeast to work. We never ever add acids up front. A mead must is already quite low on pH and you have lowered it off the charts. Now you will need so K2CO3 to add to it to bring your pH above 3.2
    So what is K2C03? and how do I check PH (do PH strips work for a number, and where would I get those)?


    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni
    You probably need to do more than just swirl. You need to do some vigorous stirring, which will help to aerate and degas.
    Would shaking it vigorously work, or does it need to me a circular motion (which is why I was swirling)?

  9. #9

    Default

    Another thing where one of my books led me astray (Making Mead by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan). Though he doesn't mention Fermaid at all, he does mention ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate in his nutrient section. Not sure if I can get these through the chemist. He also mentions vitamin b via marmite. Would these work in place of nutrients, and would they still be viable at this stage?

    What happens if I can't feed my yeast?


    On another note, checked just now and it has a strong foam on top and began bubbling vigorously and releasing an odor (not sure how to describe the odor) after swirling it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    Your pH is also too low for the yeast to work. We never ever add acids up front. A mead must is already quite low on pH and you have lowered it off the charts. Now you will need so K2CO3 to add to it to bring your pH above 3.2
    So what is K2C03? and how do I check PH (do PH strips work for a number, and where would I get those)?


    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni
    You probably need to do more than just swirl. You need to do some vigorous stirring, which will help to aerate and degas.
    Would shaking it vigorously work, or does it need to me a circular motion (which is why I was swirling)?

  10. #10

    Default

    Another thing where one of my books led me astray (Making Mead by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan). Though he doesn't mention Fermaid at all, he does mention ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate in his nutrient section. Not sure if I can get these through the chemist. He also mentions vitamin b via marmite. Would these work in place of nutrients, and would they still be viable at this stage?

    What happens if I can't feed my yeast?


    On another note, checked just now and it has a strong foam on top and began bubbling vigorously and releasing an odor (not sure how to describe the odor) after swirling it. Bubbles every 30 secs after it calmed. Is this a good sign or another situation where they don't particularly mean anything?


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    Your pH is also too low for the yeast to work. We never ever add acids up front. A mead must is already quite low on pH and you have lowered it off the charts. Now you will need so K2CO3 to add to it to bring your pH above 3.2
    So what is K2C03? and how do I check PH (do PH strips work for a number, and where would I get those)?


    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni
    You probably need to do more than just swirl. You need to do some vigorous stirring, which will help to aerate and degas.
    Would shaking it vigorously work, or does it need to me a circular motion (which is why I was swirling)?

  11. #11

    Default

    Another thing where one of my books led me astray (Making Mead by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan). Though he doesn't mention Fermaid at all, he does mention ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate in his nutrient section. Not sure if I can get these through the chemist. He also mentions vitamin b via marmite. Would these work in place of nutrients, and would they still be viable at this stage?

    What happens if I can't feed my yeast?


    On another note, checked just now and it has a strong foam on top and began bubbling vigorously and releasing an odor (not sure how to describe the odor) after swirling it. Bubbles every 30 secs after it calmed. Is this a good sign or another situation where they don't particularly mean anything?


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    Your pH is also too low for the yeast to work. We never ever add acids up front. A mead must is already quite low on pH and you have lowered it off the charts. Now you will need so K2CO3 to add to it to bring your pH above 3.2
    So what is K2C03? and how do I check PH (do PH strips work for a number, and where would I get those)?


    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni
    You probably need to do more than just swirl. You need to do some vigorous stirring, which will help to aerate and degas.
    Would shaking it vigorously work, or does it need to me a circular motion (which is why I was swirling)?

  12. #12

    Default

    Another thing where one of my books led me astray (Making Mead by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan). Though he doesn't mention Fermaid at all, he does mention ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate in his nutrient section. Not sure if I can get these through the chemist. He also mentions vitamin b via marmite. Would these work in place of nutrients, and would they still be viable at this stage?

    What happens if I can't feed my yeast?


    On another note, checked just now and it has a strong foam on top and began bubbling vigorously and releasing an odor (not sure how to describe the odor) after swirling it. Bubbles every 30 secs after it calmed. Is this a good sign or another situation where they don't particularly mean anything? (update: bubble interval increasing over time.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    Your pH is also too low for the yeast to work. We never ever add acids up front. A mead must is already quite low on pH and you have lowered it off the charts. Now you will need so K2CO3 to add to it to bring your pH above 3.2
    So what is K2C03? and how do I check PH (do PH strips work for a number, and where would I get those)?


    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni
    You probably need to do more than just swirl. You need to do some vigorous stirring, which will help to aerate and degas.
    Would shaking it vigorously work, or does it need to me a circular motion (which is why I was swirling)?

  13. #13

    Default

    Another thing where one of my books led me astray (Making Mead by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan). Though he doesn't mention Fermaid at all, he does mention ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate in his nutrient section. Not sure if I can get these through the chemist. He also mentions vitamin b via marmite. Would these work in place of nutrients, and would they still be viable at this stage?

    What happens if I can't feed my yeast?


    On another note, it had a strong foam on top and began bubbling vigorously and releasing an odor (not sure how to describe the odor) after swirling it 10 hours ago. Bubbled every 30 secs after it calmed, and is now bubbling once every 5 secs or less. Is this a good sign or another situation where they don't particularly mean anything?


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy
    Your pH is also too low for the yeast to work. We never ever add acids up front. A mead must is already quite low on pH and you have lowered it off the charts. Now you will need so K2CO3 to add to it to bring your pH above 3.2
    So what is K2C03? and how do I check PH (do PH strips work for a number, and where would I get those)?


    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni
    You probably need to do more than just swirl. You need to do some vigorous stirring, which will help to aerate and degas.
    Would shaking it vigorously work, or does it need to me a circular motion (which is why I was swirling)?

  14. #14

    Default

    Another thing where one of my books led me astray (Making Mead by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan). Though he doesn't mention Fermaid at all, he does mention ammonium phosphate and potassium phosphate in his nutrient section. Not sure if I can get these through the chemist. He also mentions vitamin b which can be sourced via tablet or marmite. Would these work in place of nutrients, and would they still be viable at this stage?


    On another note, yesterday it had a strong foam on top and began bubbling vigorously and releasing a sulfurous odor, so yeast is definitely stressed.


    So what is K2C03? and how do I check PH (do PH strips work for a number, and where would I get those)?


    Would shaking it vigorously work, or does it need to me a circular motion (which is why I was swirling)?

  15. #15

    Default

    Potassium bicarbonate. Google would tell you that. You need nitrogen. If you can't get anything quickly, go buy bread yeast like I suggested. I know they sell that where you buy food.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  16. #16

    Default

    Cheers. I plan to do it in about an hour, when shops open. Thanks.

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