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-   -   First Mead (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/first-mead-156533/)

1Brotherbill 01-12-2010 02:05 AM

First Mead
 
Ok first mead ever in the 2 gallon fermenting pail.

3 lbs (Walmart Clover) Honey
Vest from 2 Oranges
Juice from 2 Oranges
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Cloves
1 pack of Montrachet Yeast

Mixed the Honey, Vest, Juice, Cloves in the pail. After I got the honey disolved I added the Yeast and put the lid on. No I didn't take an Hydro reading. Realized after I put the Yeast in that I missed that one. So the question I'm going to ask what is the normal time from before I see activation in the air lock? My first experiment and I'm kind of nervous. LOL.

TheRabidKumquat 01-12-2010 06:24 AM

The RDWHAHB mantra works for mead too :) If it doesn't start in a couple of days then you could start to worry. There's a lot of variables that will effect the yeast and when it starts doing its thing
Is it a 2 gallon batch, or a 1 gallon batch in a 2 gallon pail? If the latter, then keep in mind the extra volume of headspace that the CO2 needs to fill before it starts to escape through the airlock.

1Brotherbill 01-12-2010 06:37 AM

Gotcha. One gallon batch in two gallon pail. I don't care if it goes dry or not that can be corrected later. I just want it to start bubbling. So I can prove to my girlfriend that I might actually know what I'm doing.

gratus fermentatio 01-12-2010 12:29 PM

Did you rehydrate the yeast, or just toss it in dry?

rsmith179 01-12-2010 01:14 PM

Take a hydrometer reading as soon as possible. This will help you verify if your yeast are indeed working or not. It'll also give you a rough estimate as to how much alcohol you can expect in your final product. If you don't have a good seal in the bucket, you may not see bubbles at all. That's why comparing hydro readings is the best way to go in determining if fermentation is happening or not.

jezter6 01-12-2010 01:24 PM

Between headspace and lack of nutrients, this may be one that's slow to take off. If your lid/airlock isn't perfectly airtight, you may never see bubbles.

Look in the beginner brew forum at some of the stickies, specifically the one about yeast sometimes taking 48-72 hours to start, and that airlock activity is not an indicator of fermentation. That should relax your fears a bit.

As rsmith said, you can always check the gravity. At this point, I wouldn't worry about that until you let this thing sit a week with no visible activity. No need to risk opening the lid and mucking around if you really don't need to. Yes, hydrometer reading is the only TRUE way to tell, but putting your recipe into something like Hightest's mead calculator (Sticky here in the mead forum) will give you an approximate gravity reading. If you check it in a week or two and it's decently below that original gravity reading/estimation, then you know it's working.

With a 1g batch, though, I'd avoid taking samples whenever possible, as the amount you need to float a hydrometer will really eat up that 1g batch very quickly if you take a lot of readings. For something this small and test batch scale, I'd just give it some time and wait it out.

TheRabidKumquat 01-13-2010 12:42 AM

Opening the lid might help it get off the ground sooner, though, if it's nutrient deprived. The yeast could use the little bit of oxygen that would come in, and if you aerate your must to introduce more, as well as to add nutrients, if you're using any.

1Brotherbill 01-20-2010 02:06 AM

After a week I popped the lid on my primary. I noticed a fine layer of bubbles around the edge. So I put a sanitized spoon in and stired it up a bit and it started bubbling like soda pop. I also added a teaspoon of nutrient while I was agitating. Put the lid back on and with in a half an hour the airlock started bubbling like crazy.

So lessons learned:

Agitation good
Oxygen good
Nutrient really good

1Brotherbill 02-04-2010 02:14 AM

I racked my first batch out of the Primary pail today. I had about six ounces that I had in a glass. I must have debated about drinking it for about fifteen minutes while I was cleaning up. So down the hatch it went.

Good god was it hot. I think I have taken Everclear shots that were not as painful. I figured it was going to be hot but this was unexpected. Looks like I'm going to leave that sit for quite some time. Like maybe forever LOL. I'll check back when the snow leaves.

TheRabidKumquat 02-04-2010 04:28 AM

The hot could be from the cloves, and the fact that it's a month old. I'm guessing it went dry? How is the citrus, combined with the lack of sweetness? I've had to backsweeten a couple of citrus meads that went dry. Was way to tart/bitter, and that seemed to accentuate the burn.


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