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View Full Version : Honey re-crystalized in Primary - Now What?



Dracus
09-25-2006, 01:55 PM
Greetings, all...

I just made 2 batches of mead, and put them into primary. The first was a 3 gal batch of raspberry and tea mead, and second, a 1 gal batch of straight mead. Both had the same honey stock, which is a mystery honey acquired from friends when they moved to CA. It was partially crystaliized, and as I have done with previous honeys, I heated it to melt the crystals, mixed with the water called for in the recipe, and boiled to remove impurities. However, something has happened this time which I have not seen before. The honey re-crystalized in the primary fermenter once the must started to cool. There is now a thick layer of honey crystals at the bottom of the primary, which I did not notice until after I added the yeast. It happily started fermenting away, and is going strong. So.... How do I redisolve the honey crystals? Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for any pointers.
Dracus

Lugh
09-25-2006, 04:21 PM
Ever make rock candy? You mix lots of sugar into water making a super-saturated solution. You then put a seed crystal on a sting or something else on which the sugar crystals can grow.

That sounds like what has happened to you - the honey didn't get into solution enough, boiling caused a chemical reaction, or sugars separated and formed crystals. You can't get the crystals in the current solution to re-mix without heating again, which of course is bad. Stirring gently might work, but you'll probably need to do it for hours and hours.

Adding more honey - something newer than the crystalized stuff you have - is the probably the best way to increase levels.

Pewter_of_Deodar
09-25-2006, 05:07 PM
Stir gently a couple times a day (until the fermentation begins to slow) to bring the honey crystals back into suspension. The yeast will still chow down on them and they should get smaller and less obvious as time passes. If the yeast are active enough and producing enough gas due to fermentation, the crystals may begin to stay suspended by themselves.

How is the fermentation going?

Dracus
09-25-2006, 05:29 PM
The fermentation is going well. I have not seen a kraussen this large on a mead before, and I've only seen a kraussen on mead a couple times. Very obvious signs of fermentation in under 24 hours of pitching yeast. And since I was not expecting one, I did not give the mead enough head room, so I'm rinsing my airlocks a couple times a day. *SIGH* But that is better then worrying about dead yeast or a stuck fermentation....

I will try mixing it a couple times a day and see if that helps. Though I am surprised that the honey crystals did not completely disolve in the boil. I left the thing to boil for 20 min. Perhaps it was seed crystals.

Dracus

PS. No, I have never made rock candy. Perhaps I should....

Dracus
10-13-2006, 04:02 PM
Greetings,

Just a further update for those interested. The mixing seemed to help just a little bit, as the sugars would quickly settle to the bottom again. However, the yeast (a Belgian Ale yeast) also settled to the bottom and appears quite content to be fermenting the sugar crystals in the bottom layer. The texture of the crystals seems to have changed greatly from just letting the yeast work on them undisturbed for a weekend (that I spent away with friends). It has gone from that kinda crunchy, spikey type you see in, well, crystalized honey, to being a soft fluffy layer on the bottom with strong streams of bubbles coming directly from it. Of course, that might also be settled yeast (actually, is settled yeast mixed with the sugars), but is also the place where most of the fermentation seems to be occuring.

Thanks, all....

Dracus