Caring for wild ferment

Mead, wine, beer, and any other form of alcoholic beverages, as well as vinegar.

Moderator: Christopher Weeks

Caring for wild ferment

Postby Lilium_Blake on Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:16 am

I'm a week and a half into my first ever ferment and having a great time.
It's been really fun and more than a little nerve-wracking.

I'm going as low-tech as possible for my first.

I'm using a 10L water bottle/cube for a vessel
Balloons as makeshift "air locks"
My recipe was:
1.5kg organic mulberries (from my yard)
3kg raw honey (Queensland honey is a little less sweet than honey from other countries)
7.2L bottled water

I've tasted it 3 times so far. I read that it can be a good thing to learn how a ferment should taste at various stages.

After 24 hours in food-grade buckets covered with (clean) cloth it was very carbonated and still extremely sweet (obviously)

I strained out the berry chunks and transferred the liquid into the cube and added a balloon.

I agitate it once per day, and change the balloon every 2 days or so, when it gets big enough that it's difficult to see if gas is still being produced. The weather here is very hot so I've got it sat in a shallow water bath, wrapped in a t-shirt (??swamp cooling??)

I tried the ferment again on Saturday (day 10). It definitely smelled fermented, and was nicely carbonated. It tasted like vinegar to me, but since it's my first ferment I have no idea what such a young ferment *should* taste like. So I'm not panicking or giving up.

Every time I change the balloon it inflates to about 10cm in diameter within 12-24 hours. So I know that *something* is still producing a fair amount of gas. There is very little space in the vessel, and I can still *see* the mixture fermenting (plenty of bubbles on the surface).

Everything I've *read* said that ascetic acid shouldn't get produced (in large quantities) unless there is oxygen available. Having the balloon on the neck of the vessel *should* mean that what little space their is above the mixture is full of CO2 right?

There's a few things I'm considering doing from here. I'd appreciate anyone pointing me in the right direction:

1. Keep doing what I'm doing, agitate daily, change the balloons whenever, don't worry about it, young ferments always taste like that, it'll come good with more time.

2. Add more honey so the yeast can reproduce and out-compete the bacteria.

3. Give up on the "wild" yeast altogether, add more honey, buy commercial yeast and see if that fixes it.

4. Congratulate myself on my tasty mead vinegar :P
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:29 am

Re: Caring for wild ferment

Postby Christopher Weeks on Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:42 am

I'm no expert and hopefully someone better will come along to answer, but I've done a few, similar things. I'd guess that either of courses 1 or 4 is what you're looking at. If you have a successful acetobacter colony, I don't think there's anything you can do about it and you're going to end up with vinegar. I guess you could pasteurize it and try the ferment again, with either wild or commercial yeast. You could also drink it before the alcohol gets converted -- I guess that's like a shrub if it's partially alcohol and partially vinegar.
Christopher Weeks
Nuka Ninja
Posts: 1818
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:59 pm
Location: Jordan, MN

Re: Caring for wild ferment

Postby Lilium_Blake on Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:39 am

Thanks for the reply.
It's still producing heaps of gas.
After I posted this I checked and it had actually filled up the new balloon to ~10cm diameter in about 2 hours.

I'm really hoping that since it's still making so much gas it's still making alcohol.
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:29 am

Return to Alcohol Ferments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests