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I've made a number of batches of low-tech hard cider by mixing champagne yeast with Martinelli's apple juice in the bottle, and then inserting an airlock. Fermentation is visible within hours, and one week later, I have hard cider.

I tried the same thing with 1:1 honey and spring water, but after 48 hours, I still have no fermentation. I don't have much knowledge of fermentation processes, so I'm at a loss to figure out what went wrong. The only thing I can think of is that I need to dilute with more water.

Any suggestions?

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Yes, you need to dilute it. There is a mead calculator here:

http://www.gotmead.com/2014-04-16-20-10-09/mead-calculator.html

but it's a bit hard to use, so if you can't figure it out go for 1/4 to 1/3 honey by volume.

There's another issue.

Honey is basically just sugar, and yeast needs more than just sugar and water to live. You can either buy special salts called "yeast nutrients" (or something similar) or add a piece of fruit to the mix.

Good luck!

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  • Last night, I pureed a bit of pear in water, then added that plus as much additional water as would fit in the jug. Good news is that I got a LOT of fermentation. Bad news is that it fermented so much that foam/scum formed and somehow pushed the airlock and cork out. I'll let it finish fermenting, but I definitely have some great tips for experimenting with the next batch. – LukeG Aug 22 '14 at 14:48
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    The mead recipes I've used recommend adding raisins for yeast nutrient. – CDspace Aug 22 '14 at 15:06
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    @LukeG I'd recommend using a blowoff tube for very active batches, or when you don't have much head space in the fermenter – HourOfTheBeast Aug 22 '14 at 17:31
  • Raisins - good idea. – LukeG Aug 22 '14 at 22:13
  • I'd never heard of a blowoff tube, great idea. Thanks for putting up with my lack of knowledge. – LukeG Aug 22 '14 at 22:14

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