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first batch not bubbling?

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drachin

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Sep 4, 2005
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A friend and I recently decided to take the plunge into meadmaking together. So far (after 3 days) the mixture has not begun to bubble. Is this normal?
 

briankettering

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Jun 2, 2005
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No, this is not normal. A healthy yeast inoculation should have the must bubbling within 24 hours.

Here are a number of questions to help track down the problem:

What did you use to sanitize your equipment?

What is your recipe?

Did you use dry or liquid yeast?

How did you prepare the must before adding the yeast?

What was the temperature of the must when you added the yeast?

Did you use any yeast nutrient?

Did you aerate the must well after adding the yeast?


Brian K
 

JoeM

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Jan 9, 2004
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Are you fermenting in a glass fermenter or a plastic bucket? Sometimes the plastic variety of fermenter doesnt seal well and you dont see bubbles in the airlock and of course you cant see the liquid inside.
 

mothy

NewBee
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Sep 10, 2005
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hi, i'm drachin's friend, and the mead is at my house, still being stroppy and not wanting to bubble much.
briankettering said:
No, this is not normal. A healthy yeast inoculation should have the must bubbling within 24 hours.
meh. :-\

Here are a number of questions to help track down the problem:

What did you use to sanitize your equipment?
ethanol 90 % (rubbing alcohol)

What is your recipe?
i'll have to get back to you on that one. it'll take some translating.

Did you use dry or liquid yeast?
liquid

How did you prepare the must before adding the yeast?
according to the recipe, we had to mix the honey and the water in a pot and heat to 50° celcius.

What was the temperature of the must when you added the yeast?
yeah, this was a problem. it took ages to cool off, the recipe said around 25°, but i put it in at 33°... it was late, i wanted to go to bed! lol.

Did you use any yeast nutrient?
yep.

Did you aerate the must well after adding the yeast?
well, it didn't actually say so in the recipe, but i did give it a good airing i think, cause i had to use a ladle to get the must/yeast mixture into the fermenter.

thanks very much for your help so far. :)
 

mothy

NewBee
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Sep 10, 2005
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JoeM said:
Are you fermenting in a glass fermenter or a plastic bucket? Sometimes the plastic variety of fermenter doesnt seal well and you dont see bubbles in the airlock and of course you cant see the liquid inside.
it is plastic, but the airlock-bubble-shower-water-container-thing is clear, so i should be able to see them.
 

WRATHWILDE

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Mar 19, 2005
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If you needed to use a ladle to get it in the fermenter... there was either way too much Honey, or the honey & water weren't mixed well enough. They should be mixed completely. If the honey and water were mixed completely and it was still thick you might have gotten the recipe backward... like (3 parts honey, 1 part water) instead of (1 part honey, 3 parts water).
You were probably lacking in Oxygen in your must. It should be stirred almost violently at least twice a day for the first 3 days.
The Temperature doesn't seem out of range for most dry yeasts, some liquid yeasts are very picky about temperature though (might be a problem, can't help without knowing which yeast though).
Get that recipe translated quick, you're definitely in need of some help. But don't worry We can probably help you save it.

Wrathwilde
 

mothy

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 10, 2005
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no, the must was mixed just fine, i just had to use the ladle cause the pot was too heavy for me alone to lift up and pour into the fermenter. i was worried about splashing mead all over my carpet.

so here's the recipe:

3 kg honey
8 liters water
4 g yeast nutrient
40 g lactic acid
10 g weat flour
yeast (port, malaga or burgung (whatever that is) )

yield: 10 liters

heat the water and honey to 50°, stir until honey has disolved/mixed up with the water.
then cool down to 25°, add remaining ingredients and put it in the fermenter.
optionally you could now add spices and things (lime tree flowers, elderflowers, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, hops, ginger) feel free to experiment.
after 2-3 months the fermentation should be finished, rack and keep in a cool place. if you want to add a preservative at this point, use 1 g of "kaliumpyrosulfit" (sorry, can't translate that one)

the longer you keep it, the better it gets.
and this was from http://www.hexenkueche.de/
 

mothy

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 10, 2005
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hey, you know, i just gave it an experimental stir, and suddenly went all frothy and now it's bubbling! thanks!

i should have tried this before, but i was scared of touching it, i thought i might ruin it. ::)

well, now i know.

ta ;D
 

mothy

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 10, 2005
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oh, bugger. it's stopped again.

i'm going to go and cuss and swear at the fermenter. maybe that will help. :(
 

Glacierwulf

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Aug 19, 2005
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i recently found out that my fermentantion cap was bad.
thus causing my first batch to carbonate in primary
might check yours

Greg
 

mothy

NewBee
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Sep 10, 2005
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Glacierwulf said:
i recently found out that my fermentantion cap was bad.
thus causing my first batch to carbonate in primary
might check yours

Greg
hmmm... it does fizz quite a bit when i stir it. is that what you mean by carbonate? so what happens? does it turn into honey beer, or is it just plain rank?
 

JoeM

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Jan 9, 2004
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Sounds like its fermenting properly but that you have an air leak somewhere in your set up thats causing your airlock to not bubble. I find that this is a common complaint with plastic fermenters.
 

drachin

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Sep 4, 2005
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JoeM said:
Sounds like its fermenting properly but that you have an air leak somewhere in your set up that causing your airlock to not bubble. I find that this is a common complaint with plastic fermenters.
thanks. there's about half a gallon of air space at the top of the fermenter, as well. is that enough to cause not-bubbling or would it not make a difference?
 

JoeM

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Jan 9, 2004
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Head space shouldn't make a difference, only if something isnt sealed properly. A simple way to test this is to push down gently on the lid of the bucket and see if the airlock bubbles.
 

chiashurb

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Sep 12, 2005
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I was afraid at first that my must was not fermenting in my plastic primary, for the same reason. When I opened it up to aerate, however, I found that it was fizzing along just dandily, but that because the airlock grommet is positioned on the side of the lid, the lid was bulging quite a bit before anything went up the airlock. If I pushed down on the center of the lid to "burp" the fermenter, it would bubble and then start to visibly swell again.
 

drachin

NewBee
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Sep 4, 2005
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JoeM said:
Head space shouldn't make a difference, only if something isnt sealed properly. A simple way to test this is to push down gently on the lid of the bucket and see if the airlock bubbles.
thanks, i'll have to try that.
 

Brewbear

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May 10, 2005
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As a side note, the rubbing alcohol in U.S. is isopropyl... not a good idea to drink it ! I certainly hope you airated the fermentation vessel before you put the must in. The concern is not the ill effect of isopropyl acl. in the drink, it is well diluted, it is the flavor and smell of the higher alcohols that may be imparted to your mead in a small way. It would be a shame to have to age it longer just because of that.

Ted
 

drachin

NewBee
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Sep 4, 2005
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Brewbear said:
As a side note, the rubbing alcohol in U.S. is isopropyl... not a good idea to drink it ! I certainly hope you airated the fermentation vessel before you put the must in. The concern is not the ill effect of isopropyl acl. in the drink, it is well diluted, it is the flavor and smell of the higher alcohols that may be imparted to your mead in a small way. It would be a shame to have to age it longer just because of that.

Ted
apparently here (germany) rubbing alcohol is ethyl, so if anything it would just increase the amount of alcohol in the finished product, right?
 

mothy

NewBee
Registered Member
Sep 10, 2005
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it's the non-smelly variety of alcohol, you use for making perfume and stuff.


umm, another question: if i can't watch the bubbles, how do i know when the fermentation is finished? when should i rack?
 

Brewbear

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May 10, 2005
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You lucky devils :mad:
Spend about 3 minutes looking at the airlock. No bubbles? Take an SG reading ( that's what most people here will tell you) and if you have no change for a few weeks, time to rack. My rule is , if no bubbles for 20 min., 'arackin' we go....I keep in secondary for a month or longer, depending on how much stuff settles on the bottom (lees). If it gets around 1 inch, rack again and age (bulk aging) for 6 -8 months. To be honest, that's what i planned on doing but some of the meads were soo good after 3 - 4 months that there's nothing left to age :'( Oh, well, I just have to brew more.

Hope this helps,
Ted
 
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