View Full Version : when to rack?

06-06-2006, 07:43 PM
I picked up 6 1 gallon carboys tonight. Going to rack into them and make several different batches. Now...when would I want to rack from my primary? I'm using 16lbs of honey for a 5 gallon batch....i'd like it on a slight sweet side.

06-06-2006, 09:13 PM
I usually rack when my airlock activity falls to 1 blip every 15 seconds.


06-06-2006, 09:22 PM
Normally I'd say when the SG goes below 1.030 its safe to rack, waiting until the SG is 1.010 if you can. But with such a high starting gravity, wait until the mead reaches 10% abv.

06-08-2006, 05:18 AM
I don't think you guys are understanding the question here...

It sounds like MurCurY plans on mixing a 5-gallon batch in one big primary. Then (s)he plans on splitting it up into 1-gallon jugs.

Wouldn't you want to do something like that within the first few days of starting the ferment regardless of ABV or airlock blips? ???

06-08-2006, 06:34 AM
the 5 gallon batch was what i was going to do....i then went to the local farm market and found some REALLY good grape juice and apple juice. Made up a 1 gallon batch using 32oz of apple juice (non sweetened), 25oz(or so) of spring water and 2 lbs of blackberry blossom honey. Starting SG is 1.095. Used Campden so yeast will go in today. Honey grape will be started either today or tomorrow.

06-08-2006, 06:45 AM

Looks to me like MCY would be better off just starting out by mixing the must in one big five gallon batch, and then splitting them and inoculating separately based on what each batch was going to be.

However, the deal is bust anyhow since it looks like separate batches are already in the can.


If you're looking for a sweet mead, the 1.095 is not going to give you a sweet yield. Would you mind posting up your exact recipes so we can take a look at your must composition. Most yeasts will take the 1.095 to complete dryness, hence no residual sugar.

Hope that helps,


06-10-2006, 07:51 AM
went the seperate batch route. mixed up a 1 gallon batch 2 nights ago. Recipe goes as such...
1 32oz bottle of apple juice (no preservatives)
2lbs of blackberry blossom honey
fill to within 4" of top of carboy with spring water
1tsp energizer
1/4 tsp tannin
1 campden crush

Added yeast last night and airlocked it...this morning it's bubblin' ::YAY::
I'm using Lalvin ICV-D47.
I figured the yeast would use all the sugar and make it dry. The actual SG was 1.100. I checked the hydrometer against distilled water and it came up .900. I'm going to do a sweater one with grape juice and honey tonight after work. What should my starting SG be to make a semi-sweet mead?

06-10-2006, 09:47 AM
With D47 shoot for 1.120-1.125 as a starting gravity and you'll have a semi-sweet mead around 1.010 or so

Hope that helps,


06-10-2006, 10:55 AM
I checked the hydrometer against distilled water and it came up .900.

.900 :o :o ??? Are you sure?

06-10-2006, 06:47 PM
::grabs hydrometer::

Actually the line it's at is .996. And that's measuring from the lower maniscus.

06-10-2006, 06:49 PM
ok...so using EC-1118 or Premier Cuvee What would I want to aim for at SG for the high end?

06-11-2006, 12:40 AM
OK with EC-1118 be aware of a couple of things:

1. It is a high nutrients need yeast. I recommend rehydrating with Go-Ferm and using Fermaid-K at the end of the lag phase, and also when your gravity drops by 30%. I've found that it works well with this nutrient dosing schedule, your mileage may vary.

2. It is a high producer of H2S and SO2. This is relevant because it will produce up to 50 ppm of Sulfites during fermentation (all yeast produce sulfites to varying degrees during fermentation) Why is that number significant at 50 ppm? Because, by law commercial wine producers are compelled to label their product if it exceeds 10 ppm, EVEN IF THERE IS NO SULFITE ADDED. Most wines produced will exceed 10 ppm of sulfite without having added any sulfites. Again, this is just the sulfite produced from fermentation. I recently learned about this in a University of California at Davis Enology and Winemaking course I'm taking. Home mead/wine makers are not compelled by law to label their product. However, that doesn't change the fact that your mead will have produced enough sulfite to exceed 10 ppm. I make it a point to label my mead indicating that it contains sulfites as part of the fermentation process. I generally don't add sulfites to my mead, but I consider it responsible mead making to at least let the people drinking your mead know that it contains sulfites, especially if you offer it to people you know that are sensitive.

3. EC will go up to 18% ABV and can be step fed up to about 20% ABV. This means that you will need to have a starting gravity high enough to leave some residual sugar for sweetness. Here (http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,77/) is a link to the Gotmead Mead Making Calculator. Plug in the amount of honey you plan on using, and set the total volume to your intended yield. The calculator will spit out the gravity along with the PABV and give you a good ballpark idea of where to start. This calculator is not a substitute for a good hydrometer and good hydrometer readings. Spend the coin and get a hydrometer if you don't already have one. OK, that said, to get something sweet you'll need to go with a starting gravity of at least 1.140 to get some sweetness into it. I usually shoot a little higher than that. Try the calculator and see how much honey it says you'll need.

5. Here is what Lallemand (the manufacturer of this yeast) has to say about EC-1118

Lalvin EC1118 is the original, steady, low foamer, and is popular for barrel fermentations. It ferments well at low temperatures and flocculates with compact lees. This strain is an excellent choice for secondary fermentations of sparkling wine. EC1118 can produce high amounts of SO‚ (up to 50 ppm) under low nutrient conditions and, as a result, may inhibit malolactic fermentation.

So I recommend nutrient dosing as described above, watching your temperature, and aeration of the must during the first few days of fermentation. Thereafter, you can airlock the vessel and swirl daily to keep the yeast in suspension.

BTW, for those of you who are subscribers I've posted up a PDF file containing comprehensive description of yeasts by Lallemand and Laffort in the Patrons only section. This includes temperature ranges, fermentation dynamics, nutrient needs and some flavor and taste influence notes. Also included is information on tannin addition, enolmatic enzymes, malolactic fermentation, nutrient dosing, filtering and much more.

Hope that helps,


07-15-2006, 12:03 PM
I "thieved" some from the carboy to give to a friend. She said it's good...just needs to age to mellow out a bit. SG is 1.000 with an alcohol content of about 17% and there is Zero activity in the airlock since about a week ago. Should i be racking it off the lees? Also, I went to the brewshop and the guy said to use 2 chemicals to stop activity and an antioxidant. When should I add these and how long before I should bottle? I'm going to be using amber beer size bottles. Is that ok? Also, I used 1/4 tsp of tannin when i mixed it up. Should i be using a clearing agent?

In the meantime.....I started a 5 gallon batch of Irish Stout which i just racked off. Going to prime it and bottle it today.

Thanks for all the help you guys have given me. Without this forum I would have never found the pleasure in brewing my own brew. I'm going to be starting another batch in the next couple of days....I still have 10lbs of Blackberry blossom honey. Any suggestions as to a recipe?

07-15-2006, 12:08 PM
Correction....it's about 13% alcohol with a starting Gravity of 1.095

07-15-2006, 12:13 PM
If you're not seeing airlock activity, and your gravity is 1.000 then it's fine to go ahead and rack.