Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 06 Mar 2006

What? The fermentation lock on the mead isn’t bubbling anymore? What does it mean?!?

The book says this ought to happen in two weeks, and here it is a week after the fact. That can’t be right. But if it is, I need a secondary fermentation chamber (read: carboy), stat!

So today after work I raced down to Berkeley, braving rain and rush hour traffic, to pick up a carboy from

Oak Barrel in Berkeley. This, it turns out, was a very wise move indeed.

While I was there I spoke to my friendly local homebrew professional about the behavior of my brew. He said that he had never seen a yeast finish up primary fermentation so quickly and that there must be something else going on. His diagnosis is that the little critters just got too cold and went into hibernation. Considering that I accidentally left a skylight open and then went away for the weekend, he’s probably correct. Being the kindly and supportive brew man that he was, he told me just what to do.

  1. Measure the specific gravity again (after showing me the correct way to read my hydrometer).
  2. Unless the SG is REALLY LOW (which would mean the yeast actually had done its work already), I should add bit more yeast nutrient, stir things up a bit and then warm the thing up to, say, maybe 70° or so.

After getting home I followed his directions. The SG was a whopping 1.110, which proves that my initial reading of maybe 1.008 way waaaaaay off base. Nutrient added, mixture stirred, fermenter placed next to the baseboard heater to catch some (infrared) rays.

Since I’d had to pull some of it out to measure the SG, I thought “waste not, want not” and downed the sample. It was probably as sweet as soda and just slightly less fizzy. Neat! I made sodie pop! But as that’s hardly the product we’re looking for, fermentation shall continue. At least until 80% or so of the sugars have been munched by ravenous yeasties.