Stirring in primary fermentation?

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HeruRaHa

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I've been reading several instruction sets online that recommend stirring the must in the primary, at varying frequencies or schedules...

The recipe that came with my mead kit simply said to leave it be until fermentation slows and it's ready to be racked.

What are your opinions? Should I be okay just leaving it alone or should I sanitize a big spoon and open up the bucket to swirl this stuff around?

So far my fermentation seems to be going well and I'd rather not mess with it, but there's so much waiting and staring at an opaque white bucket with nothing to go on but frequency of bubbles in the airlock and the smell in the closet to tell me it's on track... it's hard not to second guess oneself as you spend hours reading, waiting for it to be time for the next step...
 

Inc88

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i make sure the shake /stir a lot before i pitch the yeast but once the airlock goes on i don't mess with it unless i have to
 
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HeruRaHa

HeruRaHa

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Okay, thanks for the info... I think I will leave well enough alone. I aerated like crazy before I pitched the yeast, it got nutrients and it's only a semi-dry mead with no fruits or anything. So I'm probably okay.

It's just so hard to do nothing for so long! I've already done so much in my head just to this batch (take readings, taste, rack, readings, taste, check pH, bottle, etc), not to mention the other dozen batches brewing away in the back of my mind!

must... be... patient...
 

fatbloke

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Well, I mix a must and record gravity etc, so I know where the 1/3rd sugar break will be, then it gets stirred (aerated) at least once daily (and measured) until it hits the 1/3rd break.

I also work out how much nutrient/energiser I'm gonna use, which gets split in half, I rehydrate my yeast with GoFerm, then pitch it. Half the nutrient/energiser is stirred in but only once there is signs of fermentation starting i.e. airlock activity, stirring daily of course, then once it hits the 1/3rd break, I aerate the last time to prevent a foam eruption and the stir in the second half of nutrient/energiser.

Oh, and I always ferment dry and the back sweeten.
 

ExoticMeadMaker

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I do it similarly to fatbloke with a few differences.
I mix the must, do the calculations, aerate, add yeast dry with 1/2 of the nutrient up front. Add 1/4 nutrient at 2/3 and 1/3 sugar breaks ,aerating before and after each additions. I also will shake the primary randomly daily until the 1/3 sugar break, I start gently let it sit a few mins then get a little get more aggressive
 

fatbloke

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Some excellent info/guidance can be found in the Gotmead NewBee Guide.

Of course, it's up to us all how we make/process our batches, but the guide does seem to be current best practice as it's the result of a number of peoples experiments, efforts, developments and peer review......
 

MeadMax

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I use a staggered

Below is from Curt Stocks article

Other Fruit Melomels – for Experienced Dummies

A real advance in mead-making in recent years is called staggered nutrient additions – or SNA. Instead of adding all the nutrients at once, the same amount is staggered over several days. SNA
2
promotes yeast health and helps assure a fast, clean and healthy fermentation. One thing I like, you can drink the mead sooner because it doesn’t require as much aging depending on yeast choice.
SNA was developed by the commercial wine industry as a way of supplying nutrients as the yeast needs it during the growth phase – kind of a just-in-time delivery. Healthy yeast are essential for a clean fermentation with less chance of off-flavors or the production of higher alcohols (fusels) which can give mead a burning sensation on the back of the throat – the “rocket fuel” sensation.
I prefer to use Fermaid-K (yeast energizer) and diammonium phosphate or DAP (yeast nutrient) for adding the additional nutrient requirements of the yeast during fermentation. One teaspoon of Fermaid-K and two teaspoons DAP should be adequate for a 5 gallon batch. You can mix them together for a stock blend and add them using the following schedule:
Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix immediately after pitching yeast.
Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix 24 hours after fermentation begins.
Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix 48 hours after fermentation begins.
Add ¾ teaspoon yeast energizer/nutrient mix after 30% of the sugar has been depleted.
Anyone who has ever stirred a fermenting beverage knows the foaming, triggered by the release of CO2, can make one heck of a mess! To help minimize this, you should mix the nutrient blend into ½ cup of must and add it back to the fermenter. Then begin to slowly stir the must to release the main portion of the CO2 gas. After the foaming has subsided you can begin to stir more vigorously. Mix the must well enough to introduce plenty of oxygen into the fermenting must. Oxygen is needed by the yeast throughout the growth phase. Oxidation is not a huge concern until you get past 50 percent sugar depletion.
SNA serves many purposes for yeast health. Abundant CO2 is toxic to yeast, so mixing while adding the nutrients will release the gas. Vigorous mixing introduces oxygen need by growing yeast. The mixing also disturbs the fruit cap (or floating fruit). Punching down the cap should be done at least three times a day during the period of vigorous fermentation.
 

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