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Old 12-29-2012, 01:06 AM   #1
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Default My Primary Fermentor for Mead is a:

Big bucket or a carboy?

Having recently joined here, having most of my experience winemaking, this list does some things a little different which is why I joined. Do most meadmakers here do all their primary mead fermentation in a carboy, even if they are making a melomel? One reason I ask is it seems common here to have a blowoff tube on a carboy that is overflowing with foam, we start most of ours in a 10 gallon brute, if I can get 5 gallons of mead to overflow that I would be pleased to post a picture of that.

Also do most of you meadmakers here ferment your primary closed under an airlock?

Thanks,

WVMJ



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Old 12-29-2012, 01:26 AM   #2
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I do all mine in carboys with airlocks. I have a blueberry melomel that was in danger of overflowing, so I drained a bit out and it settled at a happy point and hasn't threatened to escape since.



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Old 12-29-2012, 03:19 AM   #3
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I got a bucket for Christmas so I thot I.would try it once. I am freaking out cause its now day 3 and no airlock bubbles. How ever it is frothing up when I aerate and I get little bubbling in my 3 piece air lock...I used four gallons of water 12lbs clover raw honey half gallon squeezed OJ and half gallon apple juice and 50 raisens...how ever I did not get a sg. Do to the fact my daughter broke my hydrometer ...I pitched lavin 71b-1122....any ideas ....I'm thinking about putting it into a carboy ....temp 68 to 73 degrees ...

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Old 12-29-2012, 05:36 AM   #4
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I use whatever I have available. I've got 5 x 27 litre buckets, some 19 litre glass as well as a couple of 22 litre plastic, 2 x 54 litre glass 2 x 34 litre glass and about 30 or so 1 gallon glass. Oh and 3 2 gallon plastic brewing buckets.

Sometimes I'll air lock stuff other times just a piece of cling wrap and an elastic band......

Jackfrost should check the bucket seal as that's usually why you see no air lock bubbles. Or maybe the grommet holding the air lock is of the harder almost plasticy type, I've had those not sealing well before and have changed to the orange coloured natural rubber which is much softer and seems to seal better.

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:18 AM   #5
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I use a bucket for my primary, always. That way I do not have to mess with blowoff tubes and such. The bucket allows easy access for stirring and for working with fruit.

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Old 12-29-2012, 01:01 PM   #6
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Like saramc, we use a bucket, for us its an 8 gal bucket or 10 gallon white brute. The bigger the bucket the harder you can stir and not make a mess, you can drop a drill stirred into a 10 gall brute and go full power, that will dissolve any honey. We cover it with just a dishtowel over the top secured with a bungee, if you seal the primary then stuff can condense on the lid where if its just covered with a towel it can breath during the primary fermentation. There is so much gas produced you dont have to keep it sealed to protect the mead. That makes it easy to get in there and stir a couple of times a day. I am wondering if this is more of a beermaker thing where carboys are used and airlocks put on very soon since beer has such a higher pH and lower alcohol and needs to be protected much more than wine or stronger meads? Its also a lot easier to mix everything up and get some air into the must in a bucket vs carboy.

Is there any advantage to doing to whole fermentation from start to finish in a carboy? Does it help the more traditional meads that dont have fruit? Do traditional meads oxidize easily? I havent made enough of them yet to uderstand about making traditional meads.

WVMJ

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Old 12-29-2012, 01:16 PM   #7
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So that fact that its not bubbling is fine it smells right how long do I leave it in the bucket before I rack it to a secondary?

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Old 12-29-2012, 02:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackfrost View Post
So that fact that its not bubbling is fine it smells right how long do I leave it in the bucket before I rack it to a secondary?
I typically transfer from primary bucket to carboy/airlock when the OG has dropped by 2/3 or 10 days maximum. I do not use airlock while in primary.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saramc View Post
I use a bucket for my primary, always. That way I do not have to mess with blowoff tubes and such. The bucket allows easy access for stirring and for working with fruit.
Yep, me too. It's easy to remove bags of mushed fruit out of a bucket, but not out of a carboy!

After primary, the wine/mead/cider/ is racked to a carboy and airlocked.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by WVMJ View Post
Is there any advantage to doing to whole fermentation from start to finish in a carboy? Does it help the more traditional meads that dont have fruit? Do traditional meads oxidize easily? I havent made enough of them yet to uderstand about making traditional meads.

WVMJ
I can't think of any reason that a carboy would be preferable for primary. It would be more difficult I'd think to add your nutrients at the sugar breaks and to stir, although it would be possible.

Meads don't oxidize quite as easily as wines, but there is a risk if too much headspace is left or if the mead is splashed when racked.


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