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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    KC, MO, USA

    Default Aerating Wine / Mead While Fermenting

    I have read that it make a better drink.
    Can you tell the difference or is it very subtle?

    What method do you use to do this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Burlington, Iowa

    Default Re: Aerating Wine / Mead While Fermenting

    I aerate at the beginning right before pitching yeast in mead and beer. The yeast take up the O2 for division and reproduction. Adding O2 after the initial stage can result in acetobacter formation which produces vinegar taste. That is why fermentation is done in a closed fermenter. Oak barrels allow some oxygen transfer as well as plastic buckets, but using the vessels for extended periods requires periodic attention and expertise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Corvallis, OR

    Default Re: Aerating Wine / Mead While Fermenting

    I've never heard of aerating while fermenting; conventional wisdom as beerbee said is that you want to aerate well when pitching the yeast, then keep oxygen away once fermentation starts to avoid both chemical oxidation of flavor compounds and growth of aerobic contaminating bacteria.

    Some meadmakers do a periodic degassing during fermentation. The idea is to agitate the must in an oxygen-free environment to get dissolved CO2 to bubble out. As high dissolved CO2 is somewhat toxic to yeast, this is supposed to create a faster, more complete fermentation with a cleaner flavor profile. I've never degassed myself and have been darn pleased with my meads :-)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Lyons, CO

    Default Re: Aerating Wine / Mead While Fermenting

    Aeration before the yeast leave their respirative life cycle stage is important for full attenuation as beerbee notes, but really shouldn't be performed much past when the primary ferment has kicked off. Later on, oxygen contact will oxidize rather than oxygenate the beverage, leading to off-flavors and color changes... it takes the live yeast stripping the o2 from solution during reproduction to protect the mead. Acetobacter are required in addition to oxygen for acetic acid formation, so if you are effectively preventing fruit flies from entering (one of the functions of an airlock) but allowing oxygen to interact then you'll only get oxidation (still to be avoided).
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Otsego County, MI

    Default Re: Aerating Wine / Mead While Fermenting

    I've only just started my first batch of mead, so what follows is based on what I've read/been told by other folks. When in doubt, I'd say listen to Ben. His handle is Brewcat for a reason.

    To (hopefully) add to what has already been said, a lot of people will aerate/oxigenate up to the 1/3 sugar break. That's the point where 1/3 of the available sugar has been used up by the yeast. You figure that out based on your original specific gravity (O.G.) reading. If you assume your mead will finish at 1.000, then 1/3 of the way through would mean that a S.G. reading of 1.067 would be your 1/3 sugar break.

    The method I use is to just take my big long stirring spoon, put it on the side of my plastic bucket primary at the surface of the mead, and drive it to the bottom as fast as I can (trying not to splash it out of the bucket). I'll also stir it vigorously in one direction and then switch directions.

    Any time you open up your primary fermenter (to take a SG reading or whatever), you would be well served to sanitize everything you touch, or might have come into contact with something non-sanitized. Anything that comes into contact with the mead, SANITIZE!!

    I have a friend who has an aeration schedule that he adheres to pretty stringently. For the first 2-3 days he'll aerate it a lot, but then after that he leaves it to do its thing. And remember to transfer it to a secondary as gently as you can, so as to avoid putting any extra air into it... i.e. No splashing!

    Hope this helps. Ben or Vance or whomever: correct anything I may have wrong. I'm still learning too.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Aerating Wine / Mead While Fermenting

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik the Red View Post
    To (hopefully) add to what has already been said, a lot of people will aerate/oxigenate up to the 1/3 sugar break.
    Why do they do this? I've made a bit of mead but am no expert. I aerate initially before adding my yeast...but that is all. My meads ferment to completion in a matter of two to three weeks (to the alcohol tolerance of the yeast or the total consumption of sugar...depending on design). To my thinking, it cannot speed up the fermentation process enough to matter.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson


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