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The yeast in my mead is not creating any Co2. What should I do? Answered

I've been brewing mead at home for a couple of months now. I started a 1 gallon batch of mint and honey mead about an hour ago and there is no activity going on in it. The yeast looks like it is swimming around but there is no carbonation bubbling to the top. I used dry active yeast which is what I've used for other batches over the past months.
Q1: Should I wait until tomorrow and check it?
Q2: Should I add another pack of yeast to it?
Q3: Referring to Q2, will adding any more yeast to it cause a yeasty brew in the final product?


I've never brewed mead but I've brewed a lot of wine and beer.

I've had batches that took over 24 hours to start bubbling. Be patient. Depending on the temperature, it could take a while. If your sugar content (specific gravity) is too high, the yeast will not grow.

If it doesn't start in the next 24 hours, add more yeast. It won't affect the taste and the dead yeast will act as nutrient for the new yeast.

If it still doesn't start, check a recipe and compare the amounts of ingredients to yours. If you have significantly more sugar, try diluting your solution with boiled and cooled water and add more yeast.

A hydrometer is cheap and a good investment if you intend to be doing any more brewing. It will let you know the potential alcohol content of your brew and how much longer it will take to finish.

If this doesn't answer your questions, please post more details (ex. recipe, temperature, yeast type, etc).

Sorry, missed your comment on the "dry active yeast". Do you mean bakers yeast? If so, invest 30 cents in a packet of champagne yeast and if money is tight, wash and save the yeast after you are done brewing. Instructions are easily available with a google search.

I use RedStar brand, Montrachet yeast. different yeasts are better in higher sugar contents.

There are at least two other points I would make, being a mead brewer myself.

The first would be that many municipalities use chloramine as a sanitizer. It is a particularly persistent chlorine type that does is not removed/disabled by either evaporation or boiling. (Campden tablets can be used to treat the water). The second would be that straight honey is poor for fermentation due to its natural anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties as well as a lack of free amino nitrogen for building healthy cell walls in the yeast. Culturing a yeast starter is never a bad idea and it gives you an opportunity to use malt as culture medium. This can provide some of the FAN you need. There are other mead nutrient mixes but I don't use them. YMMV, no affiliation with ... yadda,yadda....

Both of these phenomena can be researched via your favorite search engine.


7 years ago

Put a balloon or airlock on top and wait until tomorrow. If you are sure that it still isn't working, go buy fresh yeast (and check the date) and then pitch it in again. Your yeast may be dead, the liquid may have been too hot, or there may be some contaminant (like bleach) that killed it. The honey may also have been contaminated, as there is currently a huge problem with counterfeit/contaminated imported honey in the US.

yup I hate the counterfeit honey marketeers. I bought a jar of what I thought was real honey from a road side fruit stand/country market a couple of years ago and ended up with crystals of sugar forming in the "Honey", apparently a known indicator of "cutting" some of these crooks use. (they're also using that trick to counterfeit Maple Syrup) It also tasted just a bit to sugar-sweet, but the buy was made in PA and I didn't crack it open til I was home, 250 miles from the place I bought it. I ate it anyway, but I've been pretty reluctant to even buy honey since. The stuff is way to expensive to purchase and then find out you have little more than adulterated corn syrup

Depending on conditions, you *can* get sugar crystalizing out of real honey and maple syrup. See http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodstorage/a/honeystorage.htm

(Leaving a gallon jug of grade-B maple syrup at the back of the fridge for most of a year, using it only to refill a smaller jar, it the most reliably rock-candy growing technique I know. Alas, said crystals are fairly pure sugar and don't retain much of the maple flavor.)

It is well known that the crooks are cutting real honey and maple syrup with corn syrup and similar products. This is not the same as some tiny amount of crystalized sugar under odd circumstances. And it is well known that many store shelves are stocked with essentially fake honey. If the local beehive was still in business, I'd buy honey, but I won't buy it from a retails store anymore.I think that most larger commercial entities have lost any sense of honesty and consider scruples a slanderous word. That goes for the majority of corporate sponsored websites.

Yep. If you're convinced there's adulteration and would prefer to avoid store-bought honey, more power to you.... but what was described is not really evidence thereof.

(Also, "well known" to who? This is the first I've heard of a problem, not that there's any particular reason I would have heard of it... but no particular reason I wouldn't have either.. If you've got a reliable source to cite, I really would appreciate a pointer.)

BTW, when honey does start to crystalize, giving the whole jar a bath in boiling water for a while (basically, poor man's double boiler) can be enough to re-dissolve the sugar and reset the clock.

milky, year old honey is not the crystallization I'm talking about. This is something totally different. This is dime, nickel and quarter sized chunks of sugar. I've purchased honey since about 1980 as an adult, and I've only seen this problem recently, within the past few years. The photos below are crystals I happened to save from the last bottle (because they were so fascinating). I had never seen anything like it before. I've had plenty of bottles get a bit milky when not eaten quickly enough. I have purchase hundreds of bottles of honey over the years and think know the difference between crookery and natural aging.

As I say, this is the first time I've heard your problem reported and it sounds like I'm in the same general age bracket as you are. It's possible there's something going on that I'm not aware of, but it's also possible that you're jumping to a conclusion. This definitely isn't an "everyone knows" item.

Suggestion: Contact Consumer Reports and ask them about it. Product quality and tampering is one of their specialties. Or find a college with a honeybee lab and ask them.

I still suspect this is more a matter of how long bottles are sitting on the shelf and how they're handled in shipping than anything else, but I'd be interested in seeing an expert opinion saying otherwise.

I've seen it reported in at least two TV programs and an NPR broadcast. That's sufficient for me. I suppose the ostrich principle applies. I don't need to ask Consumer Reports

If NPR reported it, I'll believe it was an issue, though I'd want to check what happened w/r/t follow-up on the issue. I still want to find an actual citation.

I'm curious, so I think I *will* ping CU and see whether I can get enough confirmation to really convince myself.

Interesting if so. Thanks for raising the question, certainly.

. Please let us know what you find out. I'm not a real big honey eater, but I do enjoy it occasionally.

What was your OG?
I'd make a starter, or sample some active brew for yeast and tip that in.


Sounds like you have a batch of dead yeast. This is one reason bakers often "prove" yeast -- letting it wake up in a quarter-cup of slightly warm sugar water, and if it hasn't foamed up in about 15 minutes dump it and try different yeast.

Note too that standard baking advice is that everything should be kept around room temperature for the yeast to be happiest. "After the sugar water nothing should feel hot, and nothing should feel cold." I presume that's true for brewer's yeast too.

Can't advise you re what the taste effect would be of trying to recover by adding more yeast to what you've already got.

I've never brewed mead but my beer usually start within an hour. Did you get the yeast too hot, that will kill it?