Hello, I'm making mead for the first time (also first attempt at brewing in general). I bought some raw honey from a local apiary I used to work at. I mixed a campden tablet in a mug of water and disinfected everything to the best I knew how (dipping everything in it or swishing it in my bucket). I did not boil the honey as I was told thats a dumb thing to do. Now 5 days later we were going to transfer the must into a glass jug (I'm only making 1 gallon). There appears to be black mold however. I am also told that there is some red and white molds on the lid (I'm not there right now as I was called away to work for a week). Normally I would try and siphon the middle out and give see what happens, but as I'm not home and this is my first attempt, the fams decided to chuck it. Does anyone have any tips for my next attempt? Am I disinfecting wrong? Would siphoning from the middle work or just avoid it since its black mold? Should I have put a campden tablet in with my must?
I have a photo and a video, though I cannot figure out how to post the video. I'm told that the mold is a half in to an inch deep.
1.Campden tablets are used to sanitizing must, also they are a tool to remove chlorine from water used to make a mast. They also acting like antioxidant during raking phase. To sanitize equipment is used widely Star San Sanitizer (no rinse needed).
2.Honey do not need be boiled, some old recipes call for it but IMO - not need in present times.
3.Siphoning from middle isn't good option. If mold is growing that means already some reactions inside must are in process.
Did you use airtight container with airlock? Did you used yeast? How ratio -honey to water did you used? Room temperature and many more questions to find reason on your mold growing on top of mead must.
1. Many sites told me that campden in concentrated form works just fine for sanitizing equipment? Do you disagree?
2. I know that, I said so in my post 😛
3a. I've read mixed things on siphoning from the middle. Some say its fine as long as you avoid the bottom sediment and the top floating mold (since mold cant grow in the middle). Would you disagree with that, and why?
3b. I mixed 2 pounds of honey to 1 gallon of water. I added a teaspoon of dry wine yeast, although it seems to not have activated (maybe I neededI 8 to have activated it first?)
3c. Room was roughly 70°
3d. No I didnt use an airtight container, I used a bucket with a small drilled hole in the top (its what the kit from homebrewing.org provided), I was told by my uncle who makes wine that since it is the primary, thats what you're supposed to do (with a cloth laid over the hole to keep bugs out).
1. it can be used as sanitizer but it has very short period of acting in that way. (sufites very quickly reacting with oxygen molecules and loose their power). In must they are fine and acting nicely as antibacterial and wild yeast "killer".
3a. Let say this -1. mold cannot grow without presence of oxygen 2. mold should not grow on must because very low acidity (must should be in pH 3.8-3.4). If mold is growing on top that means - bacteria, wild yeasts can grow also. (keep in mind that sugars are perfect food for unwanted microbes also)
3b. real mead is 1;1 up to 4:1 - water to honey(v:v). first is very challenging and results can be achieved after 3-4 years. 4:1 - good in few months but tastes like lemonade. Yeast always should be activated/dehydrated (i'm using for that purpose solution with Go Ferm)- with exceptions for already activated yeasts.
3d. your uncle is lucky guy that his must never turned to vinegar. yeast in presence of oxygen is working very slowly but multiplying good (and other microbes too), without oxygen is fermenting good but not multiplying well. For these reasons on beginning of primary mead makers or winemakers opening and mixing couple times must for sort period of time for degassing must and add some oxygen. During that time I add some nutrients for yeast too. That small hole in cover should have rubber grommet and airlock.
Sorry StephanS, but I have no clue what your saying in this part
"without oxygen is fermenting good but not multiplying well. For these reasons on beginning of primary mead makers or winemakers opening and mixing couple times must for sort period of time for degassing must and add some oxygen. "
Can you rewrite that, or explain differently?
So you would suggest that I put my airlock on my primary bucket also? Ill try that next time.
ok , sorry for misspelling and "shortcuts" without grammar.
Yeast cells or yeast - fermenting good without oxygen present but cells not multiplying well (number of yeast cells not growing well) , on other hand - with oxygen yeast cells multiplying well but not fermenting good. Myself (and others)using some trick to resolve that. I'm opening my fermented bucket (when i see that fermentation started well) for short period of time to mix must for degassing. After mixing, I'm adding first dose of yeast nutritions (Formaid K and DAP). Then after week or so- second opening, mixing, degassing and adding second dose. During opening and mixing oxygen is delivered to must also. Then i do not open fermenting pail until siphoning after primary fermentation.
I'm not fermenting without airlock present on bucket, these-matter what period of fermenting, even aging and clarified in carboys always with airlock. Until bottling - always with airlock.