View Full Version : I think I may have done something wrong...

08-15-2013, 04:32 PM
Hi there,
This morning I made my first batch of mead, but I think I may have made a few mistakes and was looking for some advice.

The recipe:
~3.5 lbs honey
1 navel orange
1 pack lalvin D47 yeast
25 raisins

Before i started sanitizing everything, i put a bowl of water in the microwave for 15 seconds. Then i poured in the packet of yeast and swirled it around to get rid of clumps.
I then sanitized my 4L wine jug and all my other equipment. I poured in a 1/2 pound of honey, then a good splash of distilled water. I repeated that until i had ~3.5 lbs of honey in the jug.
Then i cut up my orange into 16 pieces and threw it in, followed by 25 raisins cut in half. I filled the rest of the jug up with distilled water and I shook it about for 5-10 minutes, trying to get the honey and water to blend, once it looked good enough, i poured in the yeast / water mixture.
I put the airlock in the stopper, and the stopper in the jug and let it sit.

After about 3 and a half hours later, i came back to check if it was bubbling yet. I then noticed that I never put any water in the airlock! I poured some distilled water in the top and have been monitoring the bubbling since.
Initially, for the couple of times it was taking 1 min 45 sec between each bubble, it has now been probably half an hour since putting the water in the airlock and i am now getting a bubble every 1 min 20 sec.

From what I have seen so far online, I think it should be bubbling much more frequently than that. After reviewing my process, I have a couple ideas on what I may have done wrong, and am looking for some experienced mead makers advice!

I looked up some info on the yeast and found this document here:
It suggested that rehydration of the yeast should be at 40 degrees C (104 F). I do not think the water got that warm in my crappy little microwave though.

My mead appears to be a fairly separated mixture right now, and i think the yeast is in the top part and the raisins (which are supposed to act as nutrients) are on the bottom. I am not sure if this could be an issue, but just a thought. I realize i should have mixed the honey and water together a little better.

Also, i don't think it should be a problem, but there was no water in the airlock for the first 3.5 hours of fermenting.

So i have spent about half an hour typing this out while watching my jug of mead, and the bubbles have sped up, maybe it is just a slow fermenting batch? or maybe it will just take a little longer than i was expecting for the fermentation to start?

Since the bubbles are appearing faster should i just leave it be? Should I add some more raisins? Should i pitch a new packet of yeast in 40C water and add it in?

This is a picture from ~30 minutes ago

And here is a picture of it now

Sorry if I am just freaking out, just don't want to screw up my first batch!

I will check on it in an hour or so with another update.


08-15-2013, 08:40 PM
It's probably just fine, there's usually a lag period while the yeast reproduces before it really starts fermenting. The 3.5 hours without the airlock shouldn't matter for a mead, unless some king of bug crawled in there, which is unlikely.

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08-15-2013, 09:01 PM
Ok, great! I wasn't sure since the recipe for JAOM said it would start bubbling somewhere within an hour.

Yeah I just went and checked on it and it is now bubbling every 16 seconds. It's been 9 hours since i put the batch together. Half of the raisins are now floating on top and the mixture appears slightly more homogeneous.


08-15-2013, 09:04 PM
Heh heh, wait till they start rising and falling. its like a poor man's lava lamp. <Grin>

THEN it'll blow your mind when they start going sideways. As much fun to watch as it is to drink! :)

Good luck,


08-15-2013, 10:52 PM
Get that jug into a washing bowl or something, just in case it foams.....

Much less messy.

Ideally, you should get something to stir the brew because you haven't got the honey properly mixed in. Not a problem particularly as the yeast should work its way down slowly........

Now, 2 points of technical info......

Presuming you've mixed this as like a JAO ? Then I suggest you read some of the JAO stuff (check the main "joes ancient orange" thread - its long but plenty you could skip).

Why ? Im alluding to the problem of using a wine yeast in it. Wine yeast eats up more of the sugars than bread yeast does and reduces the residual sugars that're supposed to be left after the ferment has finished.

The residual sugars are to sweeten it, but also to balance the bitterness that is extracted from the orange pith. If the batch gets too dry then you'll notice it in the taste once its done.....

The other point is to do with the actual yeast type......

D47 does make some fine meads, but its known (here at least) to need to be kept cool during the ferment......and by cool that means below 70F/21C. If fermented too warm its known to produce fusels and you are much more likely to end up with the alcohol hot/rocket fuel taste.

Some people don't use it during the summer (or late spring/early autumn) if they don't have some sort of temperature control.

Even with those two points, it's not ruined or even messed up particularly. Its just likely to need a little assistance. ....

It's all part of the learning curve.....

08-16-2013, 12:31 AM
Thanks for the responses!

Joe, I am having a lot more fun checking up on my mead that I was expecting to! Can't wait till I can actually drink it!

Fatbloke, thank you for point that out! I have put the jug into a larger tub to protect my carpet from getting soaked if it does foam out.

Yeah, most of the recipes i was looking at initially were using D47, so i picked up a bunch of it. Then I noticed everyone said to do some JAOM as your first batch, so that's what i am doing here, but just figured i would use D47 since i already bought some.

I have skimmed through that thread and it seems to be a general consensus that using my batch will go dry and it won't taste good. Would an acceptable way of try to save my batch be to cold crash it once my gravity level is in the sweet range? If so, I should probably go get a hydrometer!


08-16-2013, 05:55 AM
Well yes that's also a possibility too, but the ferment takes a while too slow or stop so I often suggest letting it finish then stabilise and back sweeten to about 1.020 or 1.025

Plus get another jug and do a benchmark version or as closely as possible.

You'll still need a hydrometer in any case.......

Oh and the spices mentioned also help. If you don't like them particularly, its handy to know that they're not usually too prominent, unless it goes dry.

Have a read of the NewBee guide (linked in left side yellow box). Its a bit of a read but explains most of the stuff that creates questions for the new mead maker.....

08-17-2013, 02:27 PM
...rising and falling....like a poor man's lava lamp. <Grin>

...As much fun to watch as it is to drink! :)

Brilliant image...

08-24-2013, 10:55 AM
So it has been 9 days, and I noticed this stuff at the top of my carboy.
If i sniff around the airlock it kinda smells moldy.
Should i be concerned?



Chevette Girl
08-24-2013, 11:58 PM
That just looks like foam that hasn't been agitated lately, sometimes it turns a colour similar to the fruit instead of being clean white foam like we see at the liquid's surface.

If you don't see black or white fuzzies on top of the fruit, you probably don't have mold. If you do see black or white fuzzies, try to remove them with whatever you can (sanitized of course) even sucking it up with your siphon hose might work (I've done it). Then give it all a swirl to dunk the orange bits and redistribute the foam.

08-25-2013, 08:45 AM
That just looks like foam that hasn't been agitated lately, sometimes it turns a colour similar to the fruit instead of being clean white foam like we see at the liquid's surface.

If you don't see black or white fuzzies on top of the fruit, you probably don't have mold. If you do see black or white fuzzies, try to remove them with whatever you can (sanitized of course) even sucking it up with your siphon hose might work (I've done it). Then give it all a swirl to dunk the orange bits and redistribute the foam.

Ok cool, thanks CG! I was a bit nervous because the new bee guide said that you might want to try to swirl the mead each day to keep the fruit from drying out and getting moldy when it is floating on top, but then in the JAOM recipe it said don't touch it, so I wasn't sure what to do!

Chevette Girl
08-25-2013, 03:59 PM
In my humble opinion, the four things that will void the warranty on a JAO is 1) messing with the amount of honey, 2) not using bread yeast, 3) not using one orange, at least the juice and zest, and 4) racking it before it's cleared. Giving it a swirl and re-submerging any floating fruit shouldn't have any negative effect on a must, JAO or otherwise.

09-28-2013, 02:18 PM
It's been about a month and a half since I started this first batch. I've been away at school for the last month and came home to a pleasant surprise of my mead starting to really clear!


Also, I started a batch of Raspberry JAOM on September 4th.http://i1312.photobucket.com/albums/t531/ericrichardaustin/2013-09-05_09-18-37_610_zps118b0f8d.jpg
I think I put in too many raspberries though, because about 20 hours after I started it, I had a mead geyser! Mess aside, it was hilarious! Looked like the stopper was puking out raspberries. (This picture is before the eruption.)