Question about oxygen / de-gassing
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Good morning,

    I just started the recipe that FlowerPlanter kindly shared here and it got me thinking about a question that seems to have varying answers (what a surprise) when I check mead sites.

    Is it beneficial to introduce air and / or de-gas the must during the early stages of fermentation? The most common answer I seem to find is yes...for a few days and then leave it be. Can anyone offer opinions? By the way, the recipe seems to be turning out great!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Ravenseye, when I worked for a medical gases company, we sold a lot of small, 20cf, O2 bottles and pediatric flowmeters to the home brewers. Cost was right around $200 for the set. They would use an aquarium aerator stone to introduce the O2 into the must. Apparently they felt it was worth the cost.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Those are two different questions, with different answers.

    It is generally a good idea to oxygenate well immediately before adding yeast. As JW mentioned, a lot of beer brewers will use pure O2 to oxygenate. This is less common with mead/wine brewers, but a good stir with a wine whip (or shake, if making a smaller volume) to introduce some O2 can help you generate a stronger ferment with fewer off-flavours*. If using a wine whip, put it on your drill, use your drills maximum speed, and get a good vortex going. 1 min is enough. If shaking, 2-3 min is enough if you're vigorous about it. If you are using pure O2 I'd check the beer brewing sites for times and rate - I brew a lot of beer myself, but do not use pure O2, so I cannot give you advice if you go that route.

    You DO NOT want to add oxygen once fermentation is significantly under way, and you want to minimize all oxygen contact once primary fermentation has completed. Adding oxygen at these stages is far more likely to ruin the flavour of your mead than it is to help the fermentation. Many mead makers even add oxygen scavenging chemicals shortly before bottling to minimise the effect of the oxygen introduced during bottling.

    Degassing during mead-making, if done correctly, can greatly speed fermentation and reduce off-flavours*. The key here is to agitate the mead without introducing any O2. My preferred way is to use a wine whip, using my drill to create short pulses of agitation (5 sec or so). You can also cap a small carboy with saran and shake to degass (shake for a few seconds, then "crack" the seal to let the gas out). Repeat the pulses/shaking until minimal bubbling occurs. I generally degass daily during the 5 days of fermentation, and one final time on day 7. That said, you need to match your degassing schedule to what your mead is doing - if you try to degas and nothing happens, fermentation is complete and there is no advantage to degassng further. If you still have a lot of bubbling through your air lock (for than 2-3 bubbles/minute) you're mead is still actively fermenting and you should continue degassing.

    *With both oxygen and degassing, fewer off-flavours = mead is ready to drink sooner. If you don't bother with these steps (or use only one of them) your mead will still turn out fine, but may need additional time in your secondary fermenter to age-out some unwanted off-flavours.

    Bryan

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Just be careful when degassing not to trigger and explosive mead event EME as you will be cleaning walls, ceilings and all cleanable objects in the area. I am not kidding.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Thanks everyone. I ended up whipping the first day or so and then leaving it rest from 3 days on. It's now sitting in the secondary carboy and the SG is about .998. I did add some light oak and vanilla beans and I'll let it rest quietly for awhile. For now, I'm bottling some "warmish" Capsicumel and a nice batch of Lavender Blackberry that has been sitting in the secondary for about a year and both taste quite good!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Penobscot County, ME, USA
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    Default Re: Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    I'm bottling some "warmish" Capsicumel and a nice batch of Lavender Blackberry that has been sitting in the secondary for about a year and both taste quite good!
    In the *secondary* for a year?

    I wouldn't have let it go that long, I'd have racked to a tertiary after 3 months or so.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    erie, pa
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    204

    Default Re: Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Oxygen Is our enemy after fermentation! even though Oxygen is necessary in the yeast growth stage of the of the ferment once that is done about 3 to 5 days. Oxygen is not our friend. Meads Melomels and such are very sensitive to Oxidation which can cause off flavors, ruin the flavor profile of the mead and even render it undrinkable. I wish Tenbears was here He could explain all the finer points.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    erie, pa
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    204

    Default Re: Question about oxygen / de-gassing

    Quote Originally Posted by BadBeeKeeper View Post
    In the *secondary* for a year?

    I wouldn't have let it go that long, I'd have racked to a tertiary after 3 months or so.
    tertiary: a member of a monastic third order especially of lay people ???? I don't get it.

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