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Troubleshooting your Mead

Here are some typical questions and answers about troubleshooting potential problems with your mead.

Your Batch of mead doesn't appear to be fermenting or the airlock is bubbling very slowly.

If this is your first batch of mead you might be wondering about the airlock and how much it should bubble.

Normal bubbling   Within the first 24-48 hours after you added the yeast the airlock should start a slow bubbling - maybe 1 bubble every 30-60 seconds. Then over the course of the next 2-3 weeks the bubbling will get vigorous (more than 1 bubble a second). If these things don't happen you will need to troubleshoot your mead.

Here are some guidelines for troubleshooting.

1. Did you add Campden Tablets to your mead? If so, did you wait at least 24 hours before adding the yeast? If you did not then you should add more yeast to the batch. The Campden Tablets probably killed your yeast. Add the same type of yeast and same quantity as you did when first making the batch.

2. Did you check the expiration date on your yeast? Yeast can last a long time but it does expire. If the yeast has expired then add more yeast in the same type and quantity you originally used.

3. What is the temperature of the room that you are storing the mead? If it is below 65 F (18 C) then it might be too cold and your ferment has stalled. Move the mead into a warmer location and it may start up. If it doesn't start up you should follow other guidelines for troubleshooting.

4. Check the PH of your mead. Honey is low in ph and the Must may be out of the growing range for your yeast. Use small paper ph strips to check the acidity. If it is below 3.7 then add calcium carbonate blend to the must and then see if it starts up within 24 hours. If the ph is over 4.6 then add acid blend and see if it starts up within 24 hours. If not then pitch a new batch of yeast. Alternately you can add a half cup of orange juice per gallon and re-check the ph.

5. Is your must being kept in a dark place or has it been covered? Light, and particularly sunlight, can prohibit the yeast from growing. Put a cover on your jug being careful not to block the airlock, and see if the ferment starts bubbling within 24 hours. If it doesn't start up then refer to the other troubleshooting steps.

6. Food for the yeast - Did you make a recipe that doesn't use some type of supplemental food for the yeast? I mean is there no fruit, energizer, nutrient, raisins, tea leaves or anything else? Is it just honey, water and yeast? Honey is a borderline poor food for yeast and you might want to just add a handful of raisins (25 per gallon of mead) or some wine maker's nutrient (it comes with quantity recommendations). Wait 24 hours to see if the ferment starts up and if it doesn't then you can pitch more yeast.

7. And here is one that does happen. Is the airlock and rubber stopper tight on your jug? Gas could be escaping out the edges and not tickling the airlock. Check it!

If your mead just won't clear up

If you are having trouble getting your mead to clear up you can use a product called bentonite which will clear it right up. It is an inexpensive clay product and it comes with instructions for use.

I have a tutorial with a video and pictures that will teach you about cloudy mead and show you how to clear it up: How to clarify mead with Bentonite

Clear Mead

New: What does clear mead look like and how do you clarify your mead?

If you are new to mead making you might be sure what a clear mead looks like - or how to clarify your mead. I have good advice for you here including a video showing mead clearing up. I also have three products you can use to quickly clear up your mead. Clear mead and clarifying mead

Is your Mead Stratified? Has it separated into distinct layers of honey and water? I have a little bit more in depth tutorial with a picture that shows you how to fix this> Fixing stratification of Mead


 

Successful Mead Making

New: The Ultimate Easy Guide to Successfully making one gallon of mead. - I have put together a video that shows you an almost fool proof method to make one gallon of mead

 

Mead Available on Amazon.com

Amazon now has a whole department of wines and meads Right here: Mead Department on Amazon