View Full Version : Fermentation, what I am looking for ?

07-03-2004, 09:13 AM
I recently started my very first batch of mead. But I am not sure it's working out correctly.

I did everything according to recipe, I added the water, honey and yeast, and put it all in a food grade plastic bucket. According to the recipe I must now wait for the first fermentation to end and then transfer to a waterlocked glass bottle. Now I am waiting for some sign of fermentation. But at this point I have no clue wether it is fermenting or not.

What am I looking for ? Or am I to impatient, I started everything 2 days ago. Thanx in advance. And sorry for my English, it's not my primary language.

07-03-2004, 10:28 AM
If your not noticing any fermentation it could be a few things. With straight mead there are hardly any nutrients for the yeast to feed on, just sugar. Yeast Nutrient is a great thing to help kick off fermentation.

The yeast died from tempretures being too low or high, not enough acidity for that particular yeast, or possibly a completely dead yeast.

Also my mistake when I first made mead was not checking my airlock on the top for water levels. The easier way to tell if its fermenting is to watch the little bubbles run through the airlock and of course the smell.

07-03-2004, 11:53 AM
Do you have an airlock on your bucket? You should definately be seeing signs of fermentation by two days. i usually start my beers and meads in a glass carboy so i can clearly see fermetation begining (bubbling, foaming, and churning), in a plastic bucket the most obvious thing to look for would be bubbling in the airlock. Usually things start up between 8 and 24 hours of the yeast being added, however, i wouldnt panic yet. its not unheard of for it to take 3-4 days for fermetation to start up, especially it dry yeast is used and the must contains little nutrients. If another day or two passes and nothing happens i would try to figure out what went wrong and try to correct it quickly...it may be as simple as adding another package or two of yeast or maybe a pinch of yeast nutrient.

07-04-2004, 07:38 AM
Thanx for the replies,

Yes, the bucket is airlocked, yes I added nutrients. It's been days now, but still nothing.

I've tried adding new yeast to it, I made a new starter, squeezed an orange, 2 table spoons of sugar, neast nutrient and let it simmer for a couple of hours, that seemed to be fermenting quite nicely, it had bubbles and all that :)

So I added that starter to my bucket an hour or so ago, and now again I am hoping, keeping my fingers crossed.

What kind of smell am I looking for ?

And is it possible to just not get it going at all ?

07-04-2004, 12:23 PM
It sounds to me like you’re doing everything properly, if it doesn’t start up in a day or two its really hard to say what the problem is. As long as you do things right it really should start up within a reasonable amount of time without too much difficulty. When you opened the bucked to add the starter did you look at the surface of the liquid? Was there any foam? It is possible that your batch is fermenting but that your airlock isn’t sealed properly and therefore is not bubbling. This is one of the reasons why I tend to not like plastic buckets…sometimes its hard to tell what’s going on in there. What’s the temperature in the room where your bucket is? If its much below 68 degrees F it may be stopping the yeast from growing. As far as the smell goes…many people report all different kinds of smells, but in my experience when mead starts fermenting it gives off a kind of sulfery, almost rotten egg sort of smell, which then progresses to a sweet honey type of aroma after a week or two. Good luck and let us know what happens!

07-05-2004, 06:54 AM
So I took some advice from you guys, and transfered to one of my 10 litre glass bottles (re-oxygenated) and lo behold, it's fermenting like crazy now. It's really, really active.

Woohoo !


07-05-2004, 08:17 AM
Glad its working now. Could of just been a bad yeast. Certain yeasts give off certain smells. I like the smell of the Lalvin(sp?) DC - 47. Montracht(sp?) gives off some extremely funky smells. (Going to start leaving the mead in my brothers room so I don't have to smell it)