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Old 05-05-2013, 09:35 PM   #1
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Default Fist Mead / Vigorous Fermentation

Hello All!
First off wanted to give another thank you to hightest for his awesome Basic Mead FAQ. Wouldn't have had such a solid starting point without him.

On to the point! Yesterday was brew day, followed the link above as best I could. Unfortunately had to make some substitutions in the Nutrient/Yeast Starter departments. My LHBS prefers to carry LD Carlson stuff, and I picked the closest labels I could. (If this mead doesn't come out, I'll find where I can get the named brands of said products next time) Hit 1.098 for OG at 5.5GAL with about 14 lb. of honey.

Today, about 20 hours after OG reading, I verified active fermentation, gave a rough stir with my mash paddle to release some CO2. Waited a minute, then added 4.5 g nutrient and stirred. This was the first "Oh Shart!" fermentation I've ever had. Literally couldn't get the lid back on before the "head" was foaming out of the bucket.

Anyone else experience this? I expected it to kick things up a bit, but not cause me to mop the floor.

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Last edited by Getzinator; 05-05-2013 at 09:36 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:43 PM   #2
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Completely normal!
Nutrients and/or energizer have the habit of creating nucleation points when you pitch them in, therefore making this crazy foaming.
Next time, add it very slowly, letting it calm down before adding more.

Good luck

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Old 05-05-2013, 11:51 PM   #3
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Even better if you used a stick blender to aerate it (bucket in the sink too). Then once youre happy the foaming is only coming from the blender and not released CO2 a little bit of must to dissolve nutrient/energiser works wonders.....

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Old 05-06-2013, 01:02 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you, very good to know for the future. I should have probably known that it would react like that, but I will definitely know for the future.

Also when you say "stick blender", do you mean this?

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Old 05-06-2013, 06:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Getzinator View Post
Thanks to both of you, very good to know for the future. I should have probably known that it would react like that, but I will definitely know for the future.

Also when you say "stick blender", do you mean this?
Yes, with either that attachment or they sometimes have a balloon whisk attachment as well......I tend to use the balloon whisk.

Then as I tend to start batches in a bucket, it means that you can whisk the hell out of it, so if it starts rising (and there's no guarantee it will, some do, some don't - some yeasts are listed as "low foaming", others not, etc) you can then usually move the whisk over the entire surface of the foam, which knocks it back some, usually enough to prevent any overspill, though some batches, especially if you've used fruit, can still try........

Then it's just aerating the batch and once it's had the bejesus whisked out of it, you can safely add a little must to the nutrients to add.

Most brews, if they're gonna foam, will only be bad for at most, the first half of the ferment. In any case, if you're using the normally recommended method, the aeration would only be once or twice daily for the first 1/3rd of the ferment so any CO2 would be passing out of the brew naturally after that point and not disturbing the brew means it usually wouldn't foam any more.

Then once it's done, rack to carboy to settle/clear or whatever the next stage you've chosen is gonna be.......
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Yes, with either that attachment or they sometimes have a balloon whisk attachment as well......I tend to use the balloon whisk.

Then as I tend to start batches in a bucket, it means that you can whisk the hell out of it, so if it starts rising (and there's no guarantee it will, some do, some don't - some yeasts are listed as "low foaming", others not, etc) you can then usually move the whisk over the entire surface of the foam, which knocks it back some, usually enough to prevent any overspill, though some batches, especially if you've used fruit, can still try........

Then it's just aerating the batch and once it's had the bejesus whisked out of it, you can safely add a little must to the nutrients to add.

Most brews, if they're gonna foam, will only be bad for at most, the first half of the ferment. In any case, if you're using the normally recommended method, the aeration would only be once or twice daily for the first 1/3rd of the ferment so any CO2 would be passing out of the brew naturally after that point and not disturbing the brew means it usually wouldn't foam any more.

Then once it's done, rack to carboy to settle/clear or whatever the next stage you've chosen is gonna be.......
Great to know! I just so happen to have a balloon whisk attachment, so I know what I'll be using!

A general question (that will likely have been answered elsewhere, and I will search for as soon as I finish this post), is it absolutely necessary to aerate throughout the process? I didn't intend to, not at a daily frequency anyway. Have you noticed any significant difference in an aerated v. non-aerated mead?
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:13 AM   #7
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It's recommended to aerate daily until you hit the 1/3rd sugar break a.k.a 1/3rd of the way through the ferment. This procedure is for yeast health and development to produce a strong colony that in the presence of correct nutrition and pH allow the yeast to munch their way through the sugars to ferment dry or hit their alcohol tolerance, whichever comes first.

Once you hit the 1/3rd point you'd routinely airlock the batch off and leave it to finish.......

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Old 05-08-2013, 02:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
It's recommended to aerate daily until you hit the 1/3rd sugar break a.k.a 1/3rd of the way through the ferment. This procedure is for yeast health and development to produce a strong colony that in the presence of correct nutrition and pH allow the yeast to munch their way through the sugars to ferment dry or hit their alcohol tolerance, whichever comes first.

Once you hit the 1/3rd point you'd routinely airlock the batch off and leave it to finish.......
Well you had convinced me to aerate, and the laziness in me wanted to know the easiest way possible. So I found the "vigorous shake method" and started that yesterday night. Both times it has lead to an "airlock geyser" followed by the lid popping off the bucket. What the hell are people thinking when they aerate mead by shaking? It's like they want to have to mop the floor!
Your immersion blender idea works way better. Thanks for the pro-tip.

Anything else I should know about basic mead making?

Side note: I tried a sip and it's almost cider-like, which is pretty cool.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:58 AM   #9
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Update on my mead and my last nute addition. It was a much better experience this time around. I've been aerating daily with a balloon whisk, and it's working great.

I tried the immersion blender whisk attachment, but I actually like the "manual" one better. I feel like it creates less of its own bubbles.

Thanks again for your hints and tips.

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Old 05-14-2013, 10:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Getzinator View Post
Update on my mead and my last nute addition. It was a much better experience this time around. I've been aerating daily with a balloon whisk, and it's working great.

I tried the immersion blender whisk attachment, but I actually like the "manual" one better. I feel like it creates less of its own bubbles.

Thanks again for your hints and tips.
Which is the whole point. The whisking/stirring/shaking is to add some air/O2 for yeast development. It has the side effect of de-gassing the dissolved CO2, which is necessary to prevent mead eruptions when adding staggered nutrients.......
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