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Old 09-07-2012, 06:39 PM   #1
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Default Mead Fermentation

I know this is long, but any mead lovers out there may take interest, and your input would be appreciated.

So I just made my second batch of mead. The first mead fermented very well, so I kept the yeast, and pitched it into the plum mead I just made. After the first couple days there was no action, then on the third day I was actually woken up in the next room by the sound of the mead fermenting so hard it was overflowing. I took the cap off the airlock to give it some relief and it just started pouring foam! It looked like the volcano project with the baking soda and vinegar from when I was a kid. I know I didn't leave enough room in the carboy which is why that happened.

After it stopped overflowing I cleaned the airlock and refilled it. It was bubbling at a healthy pace for another day and then it just stopped dead. So within 4 days it went absolutely ape **** and then fizzled out. I can still see movement in the liquid but the airlock isn't moving anymore.

So when I made the mead I ended up with more than I could fit in my 5 gallon carboy. Partially due to displacement by 4 lbs of plums that I didn't account for. I have a couple small containers of regular old mead fermenting on the side. Each got a little squirt of yeast.

I'm thinking of moving it to a 6 gallon carboy, filtering out the plum pulp, and loading it with yeast hulls and nutrient... being sure to aerate the hell out of it during the transfer, and dump the additional containers into that carboy with it. Any thoughts?

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Old 09-07-2012, 06:55 PM   #2
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Welcome to the group!
I did almost the same thing with fresh strawberries, once. The pulp blocked the airlock, and when it blew, pulp hit the ceiling. I suggest moving all of the contents to larger containers, and not aerating. It will be hard to get a gravity reading, but you are probably done with fermentation. Make sure the airlock is not leaking. If you add nutrients the yeast might ferment a bit more, it would be like insurance. What was the temperature when you started the ferment? Did you get a starting SG?

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Old 09-07-2012, 07:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Brewer View Post
Welcome to the group!
I did almost the same thing with fresh strawberries, once. The pulp blocked the airlock, and when it blew, pulp hit the ceiling. I suggest moving all of the contents to larger containers, and not aerating. It will be hard to get a gravity reading, but you are probably done with fermentation. Make sure the airlock is not leaking. If you add nutrients the yeast might ferment a bit more, it would be like insurance. What was the temperature when you started the ferment? Did you get a starting SG?
I really need to get a thermometer for that room and start paying attention to the temperature. The starting gravity was actually a little low, I used less honey than I probably should have. I used 10 pounds of honey and 4 pounds of plums... however I'm thinking the gravity reading may not have been accurate since all the sugars from the plums probably didn't all get into the mead yet when I checked. I'm afraid the pulp is just gonna rot there now, so I want to get the mead away from it. I don't remember OG, I'll check with my brew buddy, he probably remembers. Do you agree with filtering it away from the plum pulp? If it was all in the mead then fine but there's a big layer of it sitting on top now.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:35 PM   #4
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I remember the old saying: Better safe than sorry. Get the pulp out of there. There may not be enough alcohol to preserve it from rotting. If you have another sanitary container, you could put the pulp there, and see what happens. When you try pressing pulp at this point, who knows what might happen. I'd hate to see a batch ruined.

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Old 09-10-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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It turns out the fermentation didn't actually stop, I'm an idiot and didn't realize the alcohol in the airlock had partially evaporated and the level was too low. Once I topped it off it started bubbling at a healthy rate again. We racked it over to a 6 gallon carboy and reunited it with the additional mead that didn't fit in the 5 gallon carboy on brew day. It's happily bubbling along. We also left the vast majority of plum pulp in the original carboy. Once it settles I'll move it again and hopefully leave the rest of the pulp behind.

I like the strawberry idea, I may have to try that next.

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Old 09-10-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
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I'm glad the fermentation is still going on. Here is an over-discussed topic on what to put into the airlock: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/airl...ill-why-51331/
If I think the fermentation is really going to take off and be vigorous, I'll just cover the airlock with a clean washcloth that has been soaked in sanitizer, then wrung out. Once fermentation is normal, I just use water or water with sanitizer. If the temperature of the liquid in the fermenter is warmer than room temperature, use the washcloth method. That method saves the airlock liquid from being sucked into the fermenter.

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