View Full Version : AM I STUCK??

06-15-2007, 05:19 PM
started two meads in 3 days. The recipe for the first mead is as follows: 12.5 lbs of wildflower honey, 6lbs of strawberries, 18 cups water, Lalvin 71B-222 yeast. I heated the water and dissolved honey at 160 degress, did not boil. I added all this into the carboy with the strawberries, pitched the yeast at proper temp, and followed up with fermaid k and go-firm for a couple of days. I transferred to secondary after about a month when I had no airlock activity. My first gravity was over 1090, and my second reading a month later was 1054. My second batch was identical except that I used Lalvin's EC-1118 champagne yeast. Gravity on this batch was 2010 and after 3 weeks was 1052. So, does this sound OK? Did my mead, or melomel, ferment out properly? Thanks for any help you guys can give me.

06-15-2007, 06:15 PM
??? Something doesn't sound quite right here. Your gravity readings don't make sense. How about giving us a more complete picture of the steps you used to put this all together. For example, are these SG measurements dropping the leading 1., or are they dropping the decimal point? (i.e. is the starting gravity for batch 1 really 1.090, or is it 1.1090)? What kind of hydrometer are you using? Did you crush the berries and make any attempt to blend the berry slurry with the honey-water before taking SG measurements, or did you add the honey-water to whole berries and immediately thereafter take your first gravity reading?

If, as I suspect, your initial SG readings were in the 1.190 to 1.201 range, then you pitched your yeast into a must so concentrated with sugar that you just sucked all the water out of every yeast cell, causing them great stress and resulting in a compromised fermentation. Did it ferment out properly? Well, under those circumstances I think you did quite well to get the fermentation to proceed as far as it did. With final gravities around 1.105 (again, this is if I'm interpreting your reported measurements correctly), you ended up with 12 to 13% ABV, in a syrupy sweet base. It's remarkable that 71B did that well with such high starting gravities.

06-15-2007, 10:37 PM
Hi, thanks for the reply. Yep, I looked at my hydrometer (triple scale beer & wine hydrometer?) and did indeed give you an incorrect measurement. My starting gravity was 1.201 and my final was 1050ish. I did not crush the berries I simply added them to the honey water. Should I have crushed them? I've gone from 1201 to 1050, can I go any further? I'm used to beer and have always started around 1056 and ended up about 1010. New territory. Thanks again for the help!

06-16-2007, 11:07 AM
I think you're still reading your triple scale hydrometer incorrectly since most triple scale hydrometers only go up to 1.170.

See here (http://www.ertco.com/how_to_read_a_hydrometer.html) for some information on how to properly read the hydrometer, and here (http://www.fallbright.com/HYDRO_INST.htm) on how to read the scale.

Hope that helps,


06-16-2007, 01:16 PM
Correct, my triple scale only goes up to 1170, but during my first reading the "bulb" end of the hydrometer barely went in. I guessed at 1200 because the level of must was nearly an inch below 1170. Looking at the hydrometer, this mead has shifted gravity more than anything I've ever brewed, I'm just used to something finishing around 1. What do you guys think? Thanks again

06-16-2007, 01:58 PM
OK, I need to see exact recipes for both batches along with the actual starting volume of each batch. I'm only seeing 18 cups of water total (1.125 gallons). If that's the case your starting gravity was about 1.4xxx and I doubt that the yeast would ever have taken off.

How much more water did you add?

Please put your recipes in the following format:

xx gal water
xx lbs honey
xx lbs fruit
xx gm yeast
xx gm Go-Ferm and when added
xx gm Fermaid-K and when added

Process here (i.e. Mixed everything together....)

Current gravity



06-16-2007, 02:00 PM
I added all this into the carboy with the strawberries, pitched the yeast at proper temp, and followed up with fermaid k and go-firm for a couple of days.


One detail here - GoFerm is used during the yeast hydration period. You mix the GF into water and then the yeast to encourge healthy yeasts to pitch into your must. Read elsewhere for the proper way to do this, Oskaar has written reams on it!

I have NO idea what the results of pitching it in with the neutrient during the early days of fermenation would be.

If I am going to make a high starting gravity mead, I will make a starter for my yeast where over a couple of days I will feed them a bit of honey+water to get them accimated to their new home. (Like putting the bag of goldfish into the aquarium)

BTW, did you aerate at all? I find that some sort of whisking or shaking the first few days makes a big difference in how my mead ferments.

Another quick comment, I like a semi-sweet to sweet mead and 1.050 is certainly drinkable by someone who isn't interested in bone dry!

Have you tasted your mead? I have often found young meads to be really good. No way as good and mellow as aged meads, but I have certainly enjoyed a glass or two of raw young mead in my day!