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Old 11-30-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Newbie Query: fermentation in the dark necessary?

I have been operating under the assumption that my carboy should be kept in a warm, dark place during fermentation. This is my first mead, but I've brewed beer a few times. I know that my space should be between 70º-80º F, and I am thinking about moving to an area where temp is more consistent, but has more light in the day time. Can someone inform me how important darkness is for a mead as compared to beer fermentation. I am using White Labs Champagne yeast, btw.

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:03 PM   #2
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Keeping it out of the light is crucial- but you can throw a towel or blanket over the fermenter just like you can for beer if it's in a clear carboy. A temp over 65 degrees is generally good, and a steady temperature is better than one with big temperature fluctuations.

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:06 PM   #3
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actually for mead keeping it out of the light is not necessary. you want to keep beer out of direct sun light and UV lights because of the hops (apparently indirect is ok). since mead has no hops there is no need to keep it in the dark.

oh and keep it near the low end of that temp range for a better end product.

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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Yeah, I've already got a dark, heavy t-shirt over it. I'll add another garment for the new location, just to be safe. My concern for it's current location in the house is more about fluctuation than actually being very could. Thanks for the quick response.

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:09 PM   #5
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I do understand that light won't effect the finished product, but my concern is for the active yeast in the carboy at the moment. This confusion is what made me ask....

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:19 PM   #6
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hmm not sure what the affect light has on yeast. my guess, and this is just a guess, it has no affect. yeast is a fungus, and yes fungi typically grow in the dark but thats because the CAN grow in the dark. they don't require photosynthesis. i've seen break mold grow in a perfectly well light kitchen.

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TipsyDragon View Post
actually for mead keeping it out of the light is not necessary. you want to keep beer out of direct sun light and UV lights because of the hops (apparently indirect is ok). since mead has no hops there is no need to keep it in the dark.
That's not so. Meads and wines and ciders are damaged by UV light- they can get "light struck" and taste bad. Young white wines are often sold in clear bottles, but reds and aged whites are usually in colored bottles to protect them from light. There are no hops, of course, so it won't "skunk" but it can get damaged anyway. The storage area for wine and meads and ciders must be dark because UV light will damage it by causing the degradation of otherwise stable organic compounds found in it. Since these organic compounds contribute to the aroma, flavor and structure of the mead and/or wine, the changes caused by UV light will cause deterioration.

Treat your wines, meads, and ciders as you do beer. Protect from light (particularly UV light) and keep the temperatures stable and it'll be fine.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:35 PM   #8
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if sunlight is bad then why don't meads, wines, and ciders come in brown or opaque bottles?

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:41 PM   #9
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if sunlight is bad then why don't meads, wines, and ciders come in brown or opaque bottles?
Many do, and almost all should. If it's in a clear bottle, there is a good chance that it's light struck. White wines (young ones, not chardonnays that are oaked and aged) often come in clear bottles because they are consumed young. But even imported German whites like Liebfraumilch come in colored bottles. Anything with any age or quality should be protected from light. Red wines are always in colored glass, because the light can "bleach" it. Meads of good quality should be in colored glass, or in a dark box and protected from light. Even cheap "champagnes" like asti are in colored glass to protect it from light.
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