Abstract This work explains the elastic properties of the reactive suspensions of metakaolin in sodium silicate solutions immediately after mixing. The flow properties of the interstitial fluid were obtained by mimicking it with synthetic aluminosilicate gels of different Si/Al molar ratios. By comparing these results with the rheological properties of fresh geopolymer pastes and with the ones of unreactive suspensions, we showed that the early age mechanical properties of geopolymer mixes cannot be explained by the colloidal interactions between metakaolin grains but rather by the formation of a gel with a molar ratio Si/Al<4.5. In addition, we measured the evolution of the total concentration of tetrahedral Al in the interstitial liquid by static NMR. It was thus evidenced that the afore-mentioned aluminosilicate gel is formed at a very early stage of the geopolymerisation reaction resulting in a heterogeneous suspension with an Al-rich gel formed at the grain boundaries.