Tips and Troubleshooting

Need some help? Check out these pointers.

Click here to watch videos about using your swing-top bottles

The honey isn’t liquid!

Most varieties of honey crystallize naturally.  This is just a sign that you have raw honey (honey that hasn’t been filtered or treated in any way).  This does not affect the taste or fermentability of the honey at all.

If your honey is crystallized, here are some ways to re-liquefy it:

  • Place your honey in a pan of WARM water (less than 120 degrees) and let it liquefy;
  • Microwave it on low or defrost power for four minutes, stir it up, and repeat until the honey flows like you want it to;
  • Put your honey in the car, and park the car in the sun on a warm day;
  • Use a knife or spatula to extract the honey from the jar into your primary bucket, and then add your very warm water to it as described in step 1. Stir to dissolve.

I don’t own any measuring spoons

It’s fine to use a standard spoon (a tea spoon, not a soup spoon) to measure out your nutrient and energizer.

The airlock isn’t bubbling on the primary fermenter!

By design, your primary pail should only be about half full once you finish stage 1.  That’s a lot of extra room in the bucket, so your airlock may not move during this step.  You can crack open the lid and listen for a fizzing sound.  This is the sound of yeast making carbon dioxide and alcohol from your honey sugars.

My mead is cloudy!

Sometimes home-brewed mead will take time to clarify. (Commercial meaderies have special – and expensive – filtration systems to prevent this.)  The cloudiness comes mostly from the  honey proteins that also contribute to the mead’s flavor.  As long as you bottle without catching the lees, it shouldn’t affect the taste, and will settle out as the mead ages. When you drink it, carefully decant the mead and you’ll have a glass of clear beverage.

You can, however, siphon the mead off of the lees back into your primary pail (clean and sanitize it first). Rinse the lees out of your carboy, then siphon the mead back into your carboy. Cap it with the airlock and let it set to clarify more.

My mead tastes harsh!

If there is one universal rule of meadmaking, it would be patience, patience, patience.  If you try your mead and it tastes “young” to you, let it age more.  A good mead can turn great with age, and a rough mead can really mellow out over time.

Finding bottles

Local homebrew shops should carry bottles, including self-sealing flip-top (also called “swing top”) bottles which are normally marketed for beer. You may also find decorative bottles in your grocery or department store (look near the canning jars), or on eBay.

There’s always the option of picking up some Grolsch — just for the bottles, of course.

2 thoughts on “Tips and Troubleshooting

  1. Your instruction booklet tells us to follow the directions on the sanitizer packet. I assume that means the packet labeled “cleanser”. There are, however, no instructions on that packet, only dire warnings about wearing goggles and rubber gloves. I’m opting to use a bleach solution, as published on another winemaking website, but wanted to let you know that there is a gap there. I tried your Contact Us page, but something is wrong and the contact form was not available there today.

    1. Laurie:

      Thanks for your note! The instructions are on the reverse side of the packet, and sometimes the flap folds over the instructions instead of the first aid notes. Dissolve the packet of C-Brite in two gallons of warm water, and use this to wash your equipment, then rinse well. You can use the two-gallon primary bucket for this step.

      I’ll go take care of the contact form now!

      Mead Magic

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