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Old 02-24-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
jmureiko
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Default Adding K Bicarbonate to Low pH Must

Hey everyone, I'm attempting to take my mead making skills to the next level by much more closely monitoring pH during the first few days of fermentation. Following Ken Schramm's advice to raise a must pH below 3.5 (mine was 3.3 24 hrs after pitching the yeast at 3.7) to 3.8ish, I added some potassium bicarbonate, approximately 1/8 tsp. since this is a half gallon test batch. Within about 2 seconds, it started spewing up like a volcano and I had to to plug it up while I ran outside to keep it from going everywhere!

I didn't lose but maybe 1 oz. and it brought it up to 3.6, so I left it there.

My question is, How do you add some kind of base to an acidic environment without getting little volcanoes? Should I mix it with water first? Thanks!

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Old 02-24-2013, 12:06 PM   #2
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First, I would try to degass the mead as hard as I could and then sprinkle the k-bicarb very slowly... As it started foaming, I would give it some time to calm down and then add some more until I added everything. Should work

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Old 02-24-2013, 12:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VCTFernandes
First, I would try to degass the mead as hard as I could and then sprinkle the k-bicarb very slowly... As it started foaming, I would give it some time to calm down and then add some more until I added everything. Should work
That sounds wise to me. :-) What are your recommendations for degassing techniques?
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:00 PM   #4
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Well, the simplest way would be to shake your fermenter with airlock on until it foams and repeat until your arms fall off.
You can also use vacuum in order to pull the CO2 out of solution, which works very well in my opinion...
But I believe the most efficient way is to use a lees stirrer attached to a drill and spin it deep in the liquid to avoid aeration (unless you want to aerate it too).

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Old 02-24-2013, 02:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VCTFernandes View Post
-----snip-----
You can also use vacuum in order to pull the CO2 out of solution, which works very well in my opinion...
-----/snip-----
Vacuum will be the most efficient, how easy it is depends on the kit you have access too.

Vacuum racking will remove some of the dissolved CO2 (carbonic acid). You can also just manually rack and use a vacuvin pump. That needs to be used on a "per bottle" basis.

A mityvac pump (or similar device) can be used on larger amounts. It's just connected to a holed bung and piece of tubing (of appropriate size). That'd work on 1 gallon carboys (glass, vacuum doesn't like plastic fermenters), probably fine with a 3 gallon size carboy as well. How well it would do with 5 gallon or larger I don't know.

Or you can rig an enolmatic vacuum bottler to either vacuum rack or to degas directly, same applies as with the mityvac i.e. appropriate size tubing and holed bung. It would be quicker as the machine does all the work. The same applies to a proper vacuum pump of course.

It's all relative as to how much you have to de-gas at a time as well as the size of the fermenter.

Of course, other, manual methods work too, but unless you can shake the hell out of a 5 gallon fermenter with a sealed bung, or you want to chance introducing the possibility of air/O2 exposure with a "wine whip" type agitator, then machinery of some sort is probably the best option, just up to the individual as too how much they want to spend.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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Nucleation points will do that, as mentioned. If you dissolve the k-bicarb in a little of the mead first in a small glass, then stir it in, and stir well to knock out the co2, it won't volcano up on you.

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