View Full Version : Volcanic Explosion in Primary!!!

09-16-2008, 02:35 AM
Greetings to all you cool meaders out there! And MUCHO Thanks and Praises to Vicky and crew for this wonderful resource that you've made available to the world! (I plan on upgrading to Patron very soon.)
1st post for me...I've been lurking for months.
I tried mead for the 1st time at a Beltane Festival this Spring and have been hooked ever since.
I'm in love! In my opinion I'd rather partake of not-yet-ready magical nectar of the Gods than anything else.
Being a good Noobie, I have researched all my questions and found WAY more than adequate answers to all my queries. (Thank you!)
This evening I couldn't sleep so I finally got up and read posts as usual.
Shoulda stayed in bed tonight!
I was actually about to post tonight to ask if it is really all that necessary to aerate in the primary? I have 2-6 gallon batches of very basic Medium show mead (Ken Schram's recipe) that I started on 9/13...I pitched 2 packets of rehydrated D-47 into each b/c they were larger batches than the other 5 gallon ones that are now decorating my kitchen. These 6 gallon batches were bubbling so happily, they were rocking the foundations of my house! (55 beats per minute)...much more vigorous than any of my previous batches. So I was going get the nerve up to ask if it could really be that important to aerate them?
Well I read all kinds of posts singing the praises of aeration and I was sold.
So at 12:30 I got out my electric screw gun and attached my spinny-thing that I got at my local brew shop, opened my plastic 7 gallon bucket fermenter gave gave it a whirl for about 30 seconds.
Needless to say, All Hell broke loose!...with a FURY! :sad2:
Half of the bucket frothed up and out and made its way all over my kitchen...under the couch...down the hall...you get the picture. Fun cleaning up honey water till 2am. (Any ideas on how to wash the bottom of 6 full glass carboys w/o disturbing the settlement too much? )
So I guess I over did it, huh? (As usual...)
Maybe next time should I just use a big spoon?


Medsen Fey
09-16-2008, 09:05 AM
Welcome to GotMead Sunny!

Maybe next time should I just use a big spoon?


Or Antifoam drops (http://www.eckraus.com/INSTANT_ANTI/Page_1/FM210.html)! ;)

Of course, even with antifoam, if you are going to aerate, it pays to start slow and gentle.

As for the clean up, you can move the carboys around and clean the bottoms. Don't worry about disturbing the lees. During primary fermentation you want to get the yeast back up into suspension anyway, so they can be their most active in the must. They'll all settle back down to the bottom with time.

Congratulation on becoming a mead maker!


09-17-2008, 09:18 PM
Thanks Medsen,

I'll definitely want to have those anti-foam drops on hand!

I'm guessing that I'm probably not the first person to clean up a honey water mess.
It sorta felt like some kind of initiation!

It's kinda fun having so much to learn...so much ahead of me.

I appreciate your reply.

09-18-2008, 12:25 AM
No worries Sunny... you're really one of us now. Bwahahahaha!!!!!

Ahh the mead volcano. I doubt there's anyone that hasn't had that happen at least once. No matter how many times you read about them you'll still inevitably get it sooner or later. Sooner is better I guess. That's the main reason I've gone mostly to buckets during primary and carboys for secondary and bulk aging. Waaaay fewer mead-canos.
:cheers: Welcome to GotMead!

09-18-2008, 07:44 PM
Thanks Sandman,

I love this Forum.
I get the feeling there are no normal people on board. At least I hope not.

So is there any kind of National Annual Mead Rally where everyone brings the best of their Brews and camps out and talks the talk and has fun.
That would be quite the party...in my imagination.

09-18-2008, 07:48 PM
When my first batch was in its primary I wasn't sure if I should open it up to aerate, so I just shook it up a bit - the must shot up through the airlock - at which point I stopped shaking it. It is a blueberry mead.

09-19-2008, 12:14 AM
Thanks Sandman,

I love this Forum.
I get the feeling there are no normal people on board. At least I hope not.

So is there any kind of National Annual Mead Rally where everyone brings the best of their Brews and camps out and talks the talk and has fun.
That would be quite the party...in my imagination.

Hey, Sunny! Let me answer that -- Oskaar and Vicky have worked tirelessly to make an event like that happen, and right now it's the Home Meadmaker Competition (HMMC), which has been held the past few years as part of the International Mead Festival. And lest you think that there are ANY "normal" people involved in meadmaking, you've gotta see the limbo party held at the end of this event! ;)

For that matter, all the rest of you who can get to the venue owe it to yourselves to get to the event at least once. It's the mead equivalent of the GABF, and for the past few years it has been held, like the Beer Festival, in Colorado. But we're working to make it a travelling show of sorts to allow other folks in different parts of the country to get a chance to experience the greatest gathering of meadmakers on the planet. Stay tuned as I'm sure once we figure out where and when it will be in 2009, Gotmeaders will be among the first to get the details!

09-19-2008, 09:41 AM
Hello Sunny and welcome to GotMead?!!

Although I don't use the anti-foam drops, they are the preferred method of stopping erupting foam. I've noticed that it happens more with mels or meads that have a cap of sorts. I always use a 6.5 bucket (more surface area for gasses to release) and I always very slowly punch down the cap first. That helps ease the tension. Then I just start very slowly the aeration process. Trust me little sister, I feel your pain when it comes to mead shooting all over the bloody counter. :confused4:
As it progresses, you'll notice the cap becoming thinner and less need to take it slow. I always put my new meads in a clean, sanitized plastic tray, a cat litter box size, and that way, any over flow is caught and not all over the floor. :icon_thumright:
Also, if you punch down more often, it's not as bad.
Just my .02 worth. Back to Danzig..... :headbang:



09-21-2008, 06:51 PM
Okay then, I'll keep an eye out for the upcoming HMMC and I WILL be there!...where ever it may be. I look forward to limbo-ing or congo-line-ing or what ever festivities that may ensue. If any East Coaster's want to have a Regional or even local fest...my backyard is always available for such occasions. Did I mention I live in Wayne's boro?

09-21-2008, 07:04 PM
Thank you for your .02 worth, DD. It's such a smart idea to put my primary bucket into a tray. I'll do that from now on. I like the idea of not having to worry about cleaning up an overflow like that again.

I also will head your advise and from now on will very gently break a virgin cap...I appreciate your guidance and as you said, to ease the tension I will henceforth start slowly and as it progresses will not take it so slow. As per your instruction, I'll do it more often.