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View Full Version : Super-stoked newb with potentially stuck mead?



MeadCrazyCA
02-08-2007, 01:59 PM
Well first off I would like to say hello to everyone as I just joined the forums. After lurking around the website for a few months I finally decided to get my equipment together and try a go at mead making.
After a recent trip to a brew supply store about 45 minutes from my home (The Beverage People) I came back with all the basic mead making equipment and for my first time try decided to buy a sparkling mead kit with directions and some more honey/ingredients to try another batch later. On a side note I should have started off with the Ancient Orange recipe but I actually didnít stumble upon it until Monday (doh!) Anyways, I digress.


I started around 3pm on Sunday the 4th

5 gallons water
9 lbs. Clover Honey
2 oz Beverage People yeast nutrient
4 Tablespoons Tartaric Acid
2 Tablespoons Malic Acid
Ĺ Teaspoon Irish moss
10 grams Prise de Mousse- (Epernay) low foaming yeast

Unknown SG (didnít have a hydrometer until yesterday) Though original Brix is supposed to be 18-21.

I sanitized everything like mad before bringing the five gallons to about 185F and then poured in the 9 lbs of honey. From there I brought it to a boil adding the Irish moss and continuing the boil for 15 minutes removing the scum from the top.
I turned off the heat and moved the pot (non-reactive steel of course) to the counter where I let it cool. The directions on my kit said to add the acids and nutrients while cooling so I added them while it was around 90F a few hours after I removed it from the burners. After it cooled to 75F I emptied it into a sterile 5 gallon bucket with a sterile air lock, dehydrated the yeast in 80F warmish water and poured it into the bucket and then eight hours later stirred it with a sanitized spoon. Upon first putting the yeast in I noticed no reaction and there was none when I stirred eight hours later. So last night (the 6th) I added another rehydrated 10 grams of the yeast and noticed an instant bubbling that lead to me not worrying about my possible meadÖ.until 10 minutes later when I noticed it was again doing nothing. Yesterday my Complete Meadmaker by Ken Schramm arrived in the mail and after blazing through it I decided to try and get some more oxygen to it by giving it a nice long stir with a sanitized spoon which seemed to have done it a little good at the time
Now four days later I donít see a thing going on with the airlock, in fact the airlock hasnít budged.
Am I doomed? Anyway to save it? Should I not be worried at all?

Sorry if this could simply be dealt with or I left any knowledge you might require out. I did a long search on the site and couldnít quite find an answer so I decided to post

Happy to be a part of the forums!
~Carole

WRATHWILDE
02-08-2007, 02:54 PM
MeadCrazy, Welcome to the Forums!!!
Buckets are notorious for not having air tight seals, take a gravity reading and take another in a couple of days (you should see a drop in the gravity/Brix), chances are you are fermenting but that the CO2 is taking the path of least resistance, I strongly suggest getting a glass carboy.
Also in the future you don't need to boil the honey or Skim... you're just destroying a lot of what gives honey its character. Also, the acid additions are not needed when brewing mead, and if you're definitely not fermenting... then it's probably the acid additions that are causing the problems. You may need to pick up a pH kit, and you may need to add CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) to raise the pH. A pH between 3.7 and 4.0 is ideal for fermenting honey musts.
One more thing, you can skip the irish moss as well, the additions of acid and moss are relics of older recipes from brewers coming from a beer background, they aren't needed for mead.

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

MeadCrazyCA
02-08-2007, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the info Wrathwilde, I just took a gravity reading and it came to 1.080 and I can see bubbles rising all through it. The lid seemed a bit loose when I got the bucket home but the bucket seemed to be the favored standard for primary fermentation so I got it, but I do have a five gallon glass as a secondary after the first few weeks.
I measured out the 5 gallons of water when I made my must and either I did my calculations wrong or boiled off two whole gallons of water!? I noticed when I first transferred it to my primary bucket it only went up to 3 gallons so I was wondering what I should top it off with when I am ready to transfer to my secondary. Actually I wouldn't mind feeding my mead some more honey to bring the FG up a bit. Could that be a job for a few more pounds of honey dissolved in hot water? Or even a combination of fruit juice in Honey?
While plaguing you on the subject of feeding honey can it be done anytime or is it better done in primary or secondary?
~Carole