View Full Version : When is the time to panic?

01-12-2005, 02:21 PM
So I made my first batch of mead on Sunday...

27.5 lbs of clover honey
10 gal of water
3 packets of Lavin 71b-1122
yeast nutrient (2 tsps "food grade urea and ammonium nitrate"??)
SG: 1.080
Temp in fermenter room 65F. Not sure about inside the fermenter.

I made the batch large because I wanted to split it later at the secondary for different flavors :)

I might have shocked some of the yeast (2 pkgs). I didn't pay attention to the temperature until after I pitched it (noob mistake). One packet should be fine though. I areated the must by stirring it (alot), and also pouring the must into the fermenter through a small spout from my brewpot.

I'm not seeing any bubbles in my airlock. I couldn't take it anymore and peeked inside last night. There seems to be some activity, but not alot. Just a little foaming... kinda like soap bubbles. Should I open it and stir more? Should I add more yeast? Should I start panicking or should I just get a beer and chill?

Daniel Spiess

01-12-2005, 02:37 PM
I wouldn't worry too much yet. That is a pretty large batch. If you did indeed shock 2 of the packages and were only working with 1 it is going to take quite a bit of time in the reproduction stage.

The temp seems a bit low to me but not detrimental.

Since you say you see some activity I would wait a bit longer (couple of days) and see what happens. You can always add more yeast later.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

01-12-2005, 04:35 PM

One thing a lot of us have fallen prey to before is a leaky seal on the stopper holding the trap. Make sure that when you press the stopper into place that it causes the liquid in the trap to indicate pressure in the vessel. The pressure should remain and not bleed off as well. The surface activity you are seeing is a pretty good indication that fermentation is occurring.

Just a suggestion,

01-20-2005, 06:31 PM

Thanks for the advice. It looks like Pewter was pretty much on the nail for this one. The lid for my fermenter (minibrew) does not have a tight seal, and there is a bit of head room. It's supposed to be ok since a layer of CO2 should protect the must on top (according to the manual). I also didn't add enough nutrient at the start. The yeasties seem happy now.

Fermentation is chugging away (without bubbles in the airlock - which is kinda useless ;D) My SG has dropped from 1.080 to 1.050, so things are happening!

Back to waiting... :)

01-20-2005, 10:08 PM
Good to hear it's working out. I have not heard of a minibrew but I would be suspect of any kit that didn't come with a sealable fermentation vessel. Without a good seal you are asking for an infection of one type or another. If you have the money I would invest in a properly sealing brew bucket for your next batch.

Wasn't this thread a LOT longer at one point?

01-20-2005, 11:29 PM
According to their site the seal isn't needed but they will provide one if you need it. The theory is that the CO2 provides a blanket over the must or wort near the lid, and that keeps out the infections. I read alot about the fermenter on several groups before buying it, and everyone loved it. The only complaints I saw were that it wasn't stainless steel, and you can't see through it. I didn't see any posts about spoiled brews. There was a thread on another board about the seal, and several posted that they didn't have any trouble.

I'll definately keep an eye on it though to make sure I don't have any problems. So far it smells great from the samples I've taken for SG.


01-20-2005, 11:41 PM
Hey Deege,

No offense but the "no seal needed" line from the vendor is a bunch of horse-hockey. During the first couple of days of heavy fermentation I uncover my mead and stir it to get more oxygen into it. But that's only during the first 48-72 hours of initial fermentation, and after it backs off a bit it's going to be under an airlock in order to ensure that it does not become infected.

A lot of people mistake the idea of open fermentation as being for the whole primary fermentation duration. I don't even go there with wine when I'm making it, so with mead I definately wouldn't go there.



01-21-2005, 12:23 AM
Well maybe I'll get the gasket for the next batch then, and hope for the best on this one. ???

It's not really "open fermentation". There is a lid, it's just not airtight.

I didn't just get the "no seal needed" from the vendor though. I looked around on all the homebrew forums that I could find that discussed the fermenter too. I was looking at all of the posts on the fermenter to get an idea if it was a good buy or not. I didn't see any dissenters from that position, but some said it was nice so that the airlock would bubble.

I'll let you know how it works out :)


01-22-2005, 02:28 PM
As soon as the fermentation starts to slow, you need to rack into something airtight that you can get a trap on or you will likely lose the batch to oxidation...

01-22-2005, 06:41 PM
Thanks! I was actually already planning that. I want to split the batch into two and add rasberries to one, and vanilla to the other. I intended to use the minibrew as a primary only.

Glad I found this site! Don't want to be making honey vinegar... ;D

01-22-2005, 09:26 PM
Actually honey vinegar mixed with just a bit of raspberry puree is wonderful on a fresh spinach/walnut salad!

Dan McFeeley
01-23-2005, 08:46 AM
I'd agree, mead vinegar is great stuff. I haven't tried making it myself but have had opportunity to sample Chuck Wettergreen's mead vinegar. Excellent! The mead flavor and aroma dominated over the acetic acid, making it great for salad dressings and even cooking.

Historically, mead vinegar making was being researched during Prohibition years. Some suspect that it was a way of getting around the restrictions on straight research into meadmaking. After all, in order to make a good mead vinegar, first you have to make a good mead. :D

Mead vinegar has had the reputation of having superior flavor and aroma compared to other vinegars. It's a shame this wasn't followed up on.

01-23-2005, 09:59 AM
Yeah, I just got my wife some mother of vinegar for christmas. Makes me nervous having that jug sitting around with all of my mead in the same house. At any rate I am hoping to make some vinegar with the next batch I put together.

01-24-2005, 09:57 AM
My wife has made some really awesome vinegars from my meads. She currently has a black berry mead vinegar and a wild flower dry vinegar going and they both smell really good!

I can't wait to taste them!

01-24-2005, 11:20 PM
I'll keep this in mind if things go south. :D

So far so good though. Smells good and I'm at 1.040. Woo hoo!