The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > A Tragic Event!

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-16-2006, 03:43 PM   #1
Fiery Sword
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Fiery Sword's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Revere, MA, Massachusetts
Posts: 908
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default A Tragic Event!

I'm a new member here, and I actually searched out the forum specifically to present this current dilema to some knowledgeable individuals. So first off, hello to all and thanks in advace for your time. I hope that, in time, I can assist others in my current position.

I've been homebrewing for years, extract to partial to all grain. I'd consider myself a middle/intermediate - not exactly a pro with the all grain yet but i'm working on it!

HOWEVER, a year or so ago I made a run at doing my first Mead. Using the Papazian Prickly Pear Cactus Mead recipe, I figured that such a well-published and praised starting point would minimize any beginner screw-ups. Everything was just fine until this past weekend. I monitored the mead carefully over the first few months - until noticeable fermentation subsided. After 6-7 months, I still had some haze in the carboy (5 gal batch) so I figured I'd give it a few more months before bottling and aging. I did not look at it again for 4 months.

This weekend, I dig past the other beers cooking to give the Mead a peak. nice and clear, beautiful golden/amber color with a noticeable hint of the reds from the cactus fruit. Perfect, I thought. I will bottle next week!

THEN, I noticed that ALL of the water had evaporated from the fermentation lock. When did this happen? I don't know.....it could have been months ago...I never really checked it!!!!! I spent the rest of the day agonizing over whether this stupid error had compomised what would be a few YEARS of waiting for the final product.

Do you folks think that contamination is likely, or iminent? As said, the mead was clear, there is no sign of physical contamination. I am going to get a taste sample tonight, as I did not have time to yesterday, but I am green when it come to Mead to I'm not even sire I could spot any flavor issues that could have been caused by contamination/oxidation. I am crossing my fingers that the alcohol content made the MEad reistent to contamination.....I will crunch a % tonight with the sample.

Overall, I am just so frustrated to have made such a dumb mistake...it is something that NEVER occured to me - I've never done any long-term fermantation. Any input would be invaluabvle!!!!! Thanks.....and peace to all.

__________________

Last edited by Fiery Sword; 10-20-2006 at 02:01 AM.
Fiery Sword is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-16-2006, 04:57 PM   #2
david_42
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
david_42's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Willamina & Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,648
Liked 131 Times on 124 Posts

Default

Meads have such high ABV, that contamination is unlikely. Check the gravity, add water to the lock and check the gravity again in two weeks.

You might want to take a look at http://www.oregonbrewcrew.com/ The great Mead Experiment on mead's end-game.

__________________

Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

"I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact." Elon Musk

david_42 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-16-2006, 05:10 PM   #3
BrewStef
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
BrewStef's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Harpers Ferry, WV
Posts: 165
Default

Taste it, then you will know. I bet it is fine.

__________________
"Brew or do not brew, there is no try."

Primary: Nothing
Secondary: Nothing
Bottled and Drinking: Maibock, EdWort's Apfelwein, Traditional MeadUp Next: Cherry Melomel
BrewStef is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-17-2006, 06:09 AM   #4
skou
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Posts: 319
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

RDWHAHB!! (Relax, Don't Worry, Have A HomeBrew.)

Most likely, you will have no problem. Mead, especailly high gravity Mead, is pretty safe. Once you get that much ethanol in there, it'll take care of anything.

(Let us know what happened.)

steve

__________________
skou is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-17-2006, 06:46 AM   #5
Mike-H
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Mike-H's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Syracuse, NY
Posts: 224
Liked 3 Times on 2 Posts

Default

I think you are fine as it is still an "out only" system... Here are my thoughts to put you at ease....

1. If you are using a 3 piece airlock, it is likely that the movable piece makes a light seal on the spout.

2. A seal really isnt needed as it is fermenting, producing CO2, as long as there wasnt really any significant air disturbance, air is still moving out, thus, its harder for it to get in...

3. Co2 is heavier than o2, if o2 is your worry, dont worry, the co2 will stay on the bottom. and the o2, if any, will be on top.

Is is most likely your airlock still provided a nice cover for your fermentor, at least enough to keep particles out. And if that's not enough, o2 wont get to your mix anyway as the co2 is heaver.

__________________
Mike-H is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-17-2006, 10:44 AM   #6
homebrewer_99
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
homebrewer_99's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
Posts: 17,951
Liked 82 Times on 72 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Your airlock is a one-way valve (out).

Nothing will get "in" unless there is a difference in temp where the carboy would suck in water or air.

I, too, think your mead's fine.

__________________
HB Bill
homebrewer_99 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-17-2006, 01:01 PM   #7
Fiery Sword
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Fiery Sword's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Revere, MA, Massachusetts
Posts: 908
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-H
I think you are fine as it is still an "out only" system... Here are my thoughts to put you at ease....

1. If you are using a 3 piece airlock, it is likely that the movable piece makes a light seal on the spout.

2. A seal really isnt needed as it is fermenting, producing CO2, as long as there wasnt really any significant air disturbance, air is still moving out, thus, its harder for it to get in...

3. Co2 is heavier than o2, if o2 is your worry, dont worry, the co2 will stay on the bottom. and the o2, if any, will be on top.

Is is most likely your airlock still provided a nice cover for your fermentor, at least enough to keep particles out. And if that's not enough, o2 wont get to your mix anyway as the co2 is heaver.
Thanks all for the reassurance! All of your points are well taken and true, MikeH, it was a 3 piece and the "bobber" piece was at rest on the tube to the container, creating a hack "seal" if you will. The carboy itself was in a low traffic area of my basement, in the warmer part near my Fermentation Climate Control System (also know as a furnace) so I don't think there is much in the way of airborn disturbances to be had.

I am taking some measurements tonight (last night fell through, damn work getting in the way of brewing) and I will post some #'s. Hopefully, all of your intuation os corrent and the mead is indeed happy, if not still a bit young.

In the meantime, I'd say it's time to get a spiced celebration type ale in the works. Gotta get a head start on my ALL CORNIES ON DECK for the holidays. Thanks all.
__________________
Fiery Sword is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2006, 01:31 AM   #8
Fiery Sword
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Fiery Sword's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Revere, MA, Massachusetts
Posts: 908
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

So a sample of the Guilty Party yielded some positive results. The taste has come a loooooong way since the last sample, and there was no sign of any bad flavors or aromas which would have made me fear contamination.

The numbers and fermentation look like this:

9/18/05
Brought to boil:
20 lbs. Mesquite Honey
1 gal cold water

Bioled 2 hours -
8 lbs. prickly pear cactus fruits - chopped into approx. 1/4" cubes
2.5 gal cold water

Strained fruit boil into honey boil, transferred to glass fermenter. Cooled to 84F, pitched with pectin enzyme (the amount is blurred out by mini homebrew-spill!)

30 min. yeast starter w/ combination of 5 grams Lalvin EC-1118 Saccharomyces bayanus yeast and 5 grams Red Star Flor Sherry yeast

SG 9/18/05 1168 (!)
FG 10/17/06 1028

14.7% ABV? should this keep moving up or should the gravity keep dropping through more aging? there is still obviously sugar in there.....i

Best off, it tastes very, very good. Tastings at 4 and 6 months were VERY young, lots of 'barnyard' yeasty flavors. Now it has lost all unpleasant aromas and taste and is starting to have an amazing balance. The fruit is present but subtle, not challenging for subremacy over the mead's honey profile.

I'm excited to bottle and (try to) forget about this batch until the early summer. Might have to put this one somehwere innacessible.

Thanks all for the input.

__________________
Fiery Sword is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-18-2006, 08:27 PM   #9
Caplan
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,165
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiery Sword
SG 9/18/05 1168 (!)
FG 10/17/06 1028

14.7% ABV? should this keep moving up or should the gravity keep dropping through more aging? there is still obviously sugar in there.....i

Best off, it tastes very, very good. Tastings at 4 and 6 months were VERY young, lots of 'barnyard' yeasty flavors. Now it has lost all unpleasant aromas and taste and is starting to have an amazing balance. The fruit is present but subtle, not challenging for subremacy over the mead's honey profile.

I'm excited to bottle and (try to) forget about this batch until the early summer. Might have to put this one somehwere innacessible.
I make that more like 17.5% ABV! Just bottle it (still - no carbonation). It sounds perfect!
__________________
Caplan is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wyeast Event thedude123 Massachusetts HomeBrew Forum 0 04-15-2009 05:29 PM
Williamsburg Brewing Event clemson55 Virginia HomeBrew Forum 0 03-26-2009 10:29 PM
Went to a Beer Tasting Event EricS General Beer Discussion 4 04-14-2008 05:21 PM