View Full Version : Transporting the must?

10-28-2013, 09:41 AM
Hi everyone,
I am new to the forum and new to mead making, just wanted to introduce myself and ask a question. I am a 22 year old college student majoring in biology. I am getting ready to make my first batch of mead with my friend, a food science major.

I am planning to start fermentation tomake 6 gallons of sweet mead. I was planning to do it at my college apartment at the beginning of November. The only problem I see with doing this is needing to transport the must over Thankgiving and winter break. I am concerned about what effect a 3 hour drive would have on the success of fermentation. Possible issues I see are the addition of oxygen to the must toward the end of primary fermentation from being shaken while driving and temperature changes (it will probably be 20-30F outside)

Any tips for moving it successfully? Or would it be better to just hold off for now and start up in the spring/summer?

10-28-2013, 10:09 AM
First question is whether you can transport it without it spilling and making a mess in your car. In particular, can you seal up your fermentation equipment so that even if it tips over it won't spill out? Or can you pack it in your car/truck/whatever in such a way that it won't have a possibility of tipping over or of splashing out or spilling? If you can keep it sealed up I don't think there would be much of a problem. It would probably be best to rack before transportation since moving it around will stir up all the lees, but even if you don't to that it's just a matter of time before they settle again. Splashing inside a sealed container won't be an issue. If it's sealed, the only gas in there should be CO2.

But let me just add that I don't have any experience driving full carboys around.

10-28-2013, 10:13 AM
Depending on when you start it... the trip and vibrations would likely be a benefit to the fermentation, although you would not want your must to go below 50 F, or you risk the yeast going dormant.

Christmas is another story. That would like be the time you would be wanting to not disturb it while the must clears and the yeast fall to the bottom and are then called lees. I would suggest you rack it just before you travel with it.

Take a look at the NewBee guide and the recipe for JAOM here.

This is from the NewBee guide and a good way to get started. Be sure to buy a hydrometer and learn how to use it so the community here can help you along.

Welcome to mead making !!!

Vance G
10-28-2013, 10:34 AM
Are you taking this home for the Holidays for some reason? Unless you are starting the fermentation right before Thanksgiving and are desiring to step feed yeast nutrient or honey, it can do without your for a week or two at a time. If you want to treat it like a puppy and want to show it to friend and family, by all means you can haul it to your hearts content. At worst you will just slow down the fermentation if it gets chilled.

10-28-2013, 11:14 AM
I would strap it down in the back of my jeep and pack around it so I don't think spilling would be a problem. I guess I really wouldn't need to transport over thanksgiving because that is only 5 days away from it. It would be around 3 weeks into primary fermentation though, so depending on he speed of the fermentation it could be due for racking. Winter break is around a month long so I would need to take it along then.
Thanks for the suggestions!

10-28-2013, 11:22 AM
Well, since we all replied, now you have to tell us all how it turns out....and what your recipe is, how it tastes....etc etc. We are all inquiring minds, and inquiring minds want to know....

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10-28-2013, 02:29 PM
If you have already racked it once between Thanksgiving and Christmas you really don't have to take it anywhere during Christmas break either. Assuming of course that your apartment doesn't turn off the heat while you are gone. Also, dependant on the type of yeast you have used with the batch you may be perfectly fine leaving it along unracked for that entire time.

It will all depend on the recipe at the end of the day and how it does.

10-28-2013, 02:50 PM
Then again, being a college student (I remember those days) he might be worried about "evaporation" during christmas break.....strange things happen to alcohol while you're away from college.

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10-28-2013, 05:10 PM
Well, "evaporation" could definitely be a concern :). I would recommend biohazard signs...especially since he is a biology major. Just make up something plausible and non-lethal/toxic :).

10-29-2013, 09:43 AM
As far as the recipe goes, the details are still being worked out. I plan to start on November 3rd after I get the last few pieces of equipment. Right know I know I am using wildflower honey from California, I have 21 pounds of it, I was thinking 3.5 pounds per gallon for a total of 6 gallons. I have two strains of yeast, lavalin EC1118 and DV 10 havent decided which one would be best yet. I might use some orange slices and rasins also, I see a lot of recipes that use those. I am going for a sweet mead with a lot of natural honey flavor. I will be sure to post the details of the recipe once I have it worked out, I will also keep a log throughout the process, and of course, let everyone know how the final product is.

I don't believe "evaporation" over the hollidays will be a problem for me, I live in a fraternity house on campus but I have the reputation to be the last person any of them would want to mess with. Plus I told them they could all enjoy a sample once it is ready. :)

10-29-2013, 11:01 AM
I am not familiar with DV10, but 1118 will ferment your batch dry, as you have enough honey for about 16% and 1118 can go up to 18%.

1118 also tends to strip mead of a lot of the flavor and aroma. I would use something with a lower alcohol tolerance if you want it to finish sweet.

I will leave the discussion of DV10 to someone with experience with it.

Good luck,


10-29-2013, 12:54 PM
DV10 is a better option than EC1118 as far as aromatics and flavor. DV10 is also drinkable faster. Both yeast are rate to 18%, but require substantial care to actually get that high.

You should start with a low gravity such as 1.1 and step feed after it goes to 1. Nutrient are highly advised.

10-29-2013, 01:54 PM
DV10 was my first choice, it was recommended wtih the Sweet Meed kit I got off the MoreBeer website. I have Go-Ferm to add when I hydrate the yeast, and potassium carbonate to add to the must. For yeast nutrients I have Fermaid K and DAP. I am planning to add half of the nutrients after seeing the first signs of fermentation (within 24-48 hours) and then add the remainder 3-4 days after the start of fermentation.
I am hoping for it to finish sweet from the residual sugar but if it does make it to 18% and finish dry I might sweeten it to taste. I have a few days to do some research on the forum and other sources I have been using to iron out the details. I have been researching and gathering equipment for almost a month now so I am feeling pretty excited about getting things started.

Chevette Girl
10-30-2013, 12:59 AM
Unless there's a problem with leaving stuff in the house over break, it should be fine as long as you top up the airlock before you leave. If you're worried, put plastic wrap over the airlock lid, keeps the airlock liquid from evaporating.

10-30-2013, 09:33 AM
I'm wondering, if you're in a place where they might shut off the heat over break, and if that might be an issue. I remember when I was at college they shut off the heat over winter break, but not thanksgiving. If they do shut off the heat a freeze may be a problem, but I don't know, I'm still an amateur.

10-30-2013, 02:52 PM
The place I live at actually makes us turn the heat on over break... seems a little wasteful to me, because of that I am more worried about it getting too hot if I left it over break. Thanks for all the replies! Getting a lot of useful ideas and information.

Chevette Girl
10-30-2013, 11:19 PM
The place I live at actually makes us turn the heat on over break... seems a little wasteful to me, because of that I am more worried about it getting too hot if I left it over break. Thanks for all the replies! Getting a lot of useful ideas and information.

To keep pipes from freezing, if I had to take a guess... although why you can't leave it at 15C is beyond me... if there's a thermostat it should be OK at room temperature, especially if it's finished primary fermentation by then.