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omadawn
12-24-2008, 02:30 PM
I'm pretty new to the forums and I'm trying to be a good citizen and search around for answers before I ask questions however. Some of the stuff that I'm looking for that people say 'there is a lot of good info on .... in the forums search around' I am unable to locate. There are just too many posts that match things like '1/3 sugar break' and 'Nutrient addition schedule' (though I found that one.)

So I'm hoping that a thread with this title will help future mead newbees answer this question without having to slog through as many of the posts as I've been trying to slog through. Can someone post very specific directions on how to calculate the 1/3 (and any other needed) sugar break(s)?

I'm sure it has something to do with figuring out he FG which will lead to digging around for directions on how to do that but this info would make a good start and a compliment to some of the very good meadmaking for beginners posts I've read.

Oskaar
12-24-2008, 02:37 PM
I'm pretty new to the forums and I'm trying to be a good citizen and search around for answers before I ask questions however. Some of the stuff that I'm looking for that people say 'there is a lot of good info on .... in the forums search around' I am unable to locate. There are just too many posts that match things like '1/3 sugar break' and 'Nutrient addition schedule' (though I found that one.)

So I'm hoping that a thread with this title will help future mead newbees answer this question without having to slog through as many of the posts as I've been trying to slog through. Can someone post very specific directions on how to calculate the 1/3 (and any other needed) sugar break(s)?

I'm sure it has something to do with figuring out he FG which will lead to digging around for directions on how to do that but this info would make a good start and a compliment to some of the very good meadmaking for beginners posts I've read.

See here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showpost.php?p=81771&postcount=2) for 1/3 sugar break calculation.

Let me know if that answers your question.

Cheers, Oskaar

omadawn
12-24-2008, 02:52 PM
That answers it, thank you. Now I have to go look up how to calculate Brix but that's what I expected. ^_^

it says 'calculate 1/3 sugar reduction' no wonder it didn't come up in my search.

osluder
12-24-2008, 04:14 PM
See here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showpost.php?p=81771&postcount=2) for 1/3 sugar break calculation.

This method assumes true Brix, correct? How does one adjust for the high reading of a refractometer in the presence of alcohol? I have been using ProMash (http://www.promash.com/) to take the apparent Brix reading and convert it to SG. Unfortunately, it bottoms out at a SG of 1.00000 or an apparent attenuation of 100%. Sort of to be expected for a tool designed more for beermaking, I guess.

-- Olen

EBCornell
12-24-2008, 05:56 PM
There are just too many posts that match things like '1/3 sugar break' and 'Nutrient addition schedule' (though I found that one.)

I hear ya. The glossary is a great resource, as are the search feature and the NewBee Guide, but some things just haven't made it there yet. Sugar breaks and nutrients key among them. I know that every time I start a new batch I try to figure out exactly how to determine the end of the lag phase. Luckily for us there are so many patient and knowledgeable Mead Mentors here at GM.
Good luck!

Oskaar
12-24-2008, 07:01 PM
If you use advanced search and enter the keywords "sugar-break +calculate" and "pbakulic" as the author (take off the double-quotes), then click radio button next to "posts" in the "show results as" selection toward the bottom of the advanced search window there will be two posts. This thread and the one I found with the search keywords I used above. How did I know to do this? I went to the FAQ and read up on the search tool and then fiddeled with it until it worked, it took about 2 minutes out of my life.

Using a refractometer to measure the progress of the fermentation is ok, but not great in my opinion specifically because you have to adjust the readings. Any triple scale hydrometer (about 3.95 at your LHBS) will have gravity and brix. No need to convert if you read brix and gravity conveniently located on the hydrometer. If you only have a brix hydrometer, go to the Got Mead Mead Calculator, read the help file and plug in your brix, then convert it to gravity. It works in the other direction as well if your hydrometer only has specific gravity.

As Olen mentioned beer tools aren't very good at dealing with mead which is expected.

osluder
12-24-2008, 11:02 PM
If you use advanced search and enter the keywords "sugar-break +calculate" and "pbakulic" as the author (take off the double-quotes), then click radio button next to "posts" in the "show results as" selection toward the bottom of the advanced search window there will be two posts. This thread and the one I found with the search keywords I used above. How did I know to do this? I went to the FAQ and read up on the search tool and then fiddeled with it until it worked, it took about 2 minutes out of my life.

This goes to the point of a thread in the Suggestions forum about canned searches. For you it was two minutes, but for us NewBees who really don't know the jargon nor necessarily the key authors on which to search it would be entirely trial and error and may result in never finding the answer. Then we post asking what in hindsight was obvious and risk the scorn of the search trolls. ;D


Using a refractometer to measure the progress of the fermentation is ok, but not great in my opinion specifically because you have to adjust the readings. Any triple scale hydrometer (about 3.95 at your LHBS) will have gravity and brix. No need to convert if you read brix and gravity conveniently located on the hydrometer. If you only have a brix hydrometer, go to the Got Mead Mead Calculator, read the help file and plug in your brix, then convert it to gravity. It works in the other direction as well if your hydrometer only has specific gravity.

I use a refractometer as I only need to thieve a small sample from the 3 gallon glass carboy I am using as my primary fermenter: a few drops for the refractometer and an ounce or two for, umm, quality assurance purposes. ;) Conservation is especially important when making small batches which us NewBees are want to do until we grow the cajones to commit to a big batch like the experienced boys and girls. I guess I need to search on hydrometer technique to see if someone has covered an efficient way to use a hydrometer short of leaving it in the primary.

-- Olen

Oskaar
12-25-2008, 01:27 AM
This goes to the point of a thread in the Suggestions forum about canned searches. For you it was two minutes, but for us NewBees who really don't know the jargon nor necessarily the key authors on which to search it would be entirely trial and error and may result in never finding the answer. Then we post asking what in hindsight was obvious and risk the scorn of the search trolls. ;D

FAQ will address the "canned search" thread as stated in a previous post on that subject.

As with driving, cooking, playing a musical instrument, and other learned skills there is a need to practice those skills that is incumbent upon the one learning that skill. Searching is no different and it is the expectation of the forum management and long time forum contributors that people asking the questions will practice on how to search. This is part of the Terms of use, Acceptable Usage Policy and Got Mead Forum Rules and Guidelines. We will include some basic help in the FAQ on how to search. The searching process is pretty much like Google, so you'll need to get used to playing around with your search terms and keywords to get a feel for the forums and posting styles of the Mead Mentors and active posters.

Vicky has made it clear in no uncertain terms that she expects people to learn how to use the search tool. I expect the same, the mead mentors expect it as well. We've spent hours and hours searching the internet, reading technical briefs, experimenting with recipes, techniques etc. and then spent additional hours in posting what we know in these forums for the benefit of anyone who is interested in what we found. Newbees, patrons, visitors and guests alike are expected to learn how to mine the very considerable mead information that has been collected into this repository with the tools provided within these forums. We are not paid to provide training or mead "technical" support upon request. We are all volunteers here at Got Mead and we do not derive any income whatsoever from this site. In fact we operate in the red. We all have professional, personal, familial and other pressing obligations in our lives just as you all do. We burned a hell of a lot of time learning and posting this information for the benefit of the people who have the desire to mine it and learn from it. It's not unreasonable to expect that you all spend some time learning how to search.

That said, in the short haul, when someone suggests that you do a search, it's generally a good idea to use them as the author and look at what it is you're searching for in "caveman" terms (want food, need to piss, fire hot, etc.). In the case of 1/3 sugar break and how to search for it. If you look at the actual phrase "1/3 sugar break" it becomes clear on first search that there have been a lot of recipes that state "add nutrient....at the 1/3 sugar break" but don't articulate how to actually "calculate" the 1/3 sugar break. So you narrow your search by adding another term. In this case "calculate" was pretty obvious to me because I wasn't looking for general 1/3 sugar break information, I'm actually wanting to know how to calculate the actual sugar break. That tells me that the basic search string is:

calculate sugar break

So I used "sugar-break +calculate" (minus double quotes) as the keywords. The hypen between sugar and break (as with Google) means I want the words sugar and break to appear next to one another, and I want break to follow sugar. Using the +calculate means I want calculate to appear in close proximity to sugar-break (also as with Google). I know that I've posted several times on how to calculate the 1/3 sugar break over the years so I used me as the author. It's usually a safe bet to start with me as an author in your search to help narrow because I've posted about a lot of different things in these forums. I don't think that's much of a surprise to anyone who's done a lot of reading of the forums. Not bragging, just stating the obvious.



I use a refractometer as I only need to thieve a small sample from the 3 gallon glass carboy I am using as my primary fermenter: a few drops for the refractometer and an ounce or two for, umm, quality assurance purposes. ;) Conservation is especially important when making small batches which us NewBees are want to do until we grow the cajones to commit to a big batch like the experienced boys and girls. I guess I need to search on hydrometer technique to see if someone has covered an efficient way to use a hydrometer short of leaving it in the primary.
-- Olen

You can use 1 gallon food grade buckets as fermenters as well and you can just float your hydrometer in the bucket and don't have to lose any mead at all for sampling. There are also 6, 8, 10 quart and larger sized food grade plastic buckets that facilitate fermenting testing, stirring, measuring, treating and generally futzing about with your mead without spillage. Once the ferment is done you can rack to a gallon glass carboy and get close to a full gallon of mead, rather than racking out of a carboy and losing a quart or so. I have six meads in buckets right now and I don't pull samples to do the brix/gravity readings. I pull samples so I can taste what's going on in the ferment . . . and catch a buzz.8)

osluder
12-25-2008, 03:43 AM
You can use 1 gallon food grade buckets as fermenters as well and you can just float your hydrometer in the bucket and don't have to lose any mead at all for sampling. There are also 6, 8, 10 quart and larger sized food grade plastic buckets that facilitate fermenting testing, stirring, measuring, treating and generally futzing about with your mead without spillage. Once the ferment is done you can rack to a gallon glass carboy and get close to a full gallon of mead, rather than racking out of a carboy and losing a quart or so. I have six meads in buckets right now and I don't pull samples to do the brix/gravity readings. I pull samples so I can taste what's going on in the ferment . . . and catch a buzz.8)

Please understand: I am coming at this as a beermaker making my first mead. That means until I gain confidence or otherwise decide if this is something I even want to continue to do, I will need to use what I have rather than buy more equipment. (The spouse is already close to mutiny: If I try to buy one more hydrometer--even a $4 one--the three I have will likely find use as anal probes.) Also, I evolved away from fermenting in plastic buckets, so it is a bit difficult to revert to that. I guess it's one more habit to overcome along with not heating the must, aerating in the first 1/3 of the fermentation, staggering nutrient additions, etc., etc. & etc. ;D

-- Olen

Oskaar
12-25-2008, 04:14 AM
Please understand: I am coming at this as a beermaker making my first mead. That means until I gain confidence or otherwise decide if this is something I even want to continue to do, I will need to use what I have rather than buy more equipment. (The spouse is already close to mutiny: If I try to buy one more hydrometer--even a $4 one--the three I have will likely find use as anal probes.) Also, I evolved away from fermenting in plastic buckets, so it is a bit difficult to revert to that. I guess it's one more habit to overcome along with not heating the must, aerating in the first 1/3 of the fermentation, staggering nutrient additions, etc., etc. & etc. ;D

Totally understand. I've moved around from glass to stainless, back to glass and to plastic again. The stuff piles up and takes over. It can be a pain in the ass. I think the mead calculator will be a good tool for you to help flip around between brix and gravity.

So once you have your must made if you take your refractometer reading before you pitch your yeast. You can use that as your total brix for figuring the 1/3 and 2/3 breaks. If you don't want to get that involved you can also just dose with smaller amounts of Fermaid-K every other day for about a week and stir/aerate daily during that time. Check your refracto-reading at the end of the week and see where you are. That'll work in the short haul so you won't have to stock up on new stuff and risk the wrath of SWMBO! :eek:

EBCornell
12-25-2008, 07:26 AM
I thought I recently heard or read somewhere that refractometers are great for OG, but the alcohol produced during fermentation screws with the readings for FG. Being a science geek and a NewBee who's gotten into the unfortunate habit of 1 gallon batches, I've been considering picking up a refractometer, but then I heard about this potential issue with readings after OG. Is this a true story or dirty, dirty lies?

Oskaar
12-25-2008, 12:16 PM
Right on the Button EB!

There are correction tables for the refractometers out there, but I figure if I have the hydrometer it's just easier for me to sanitize it and plop it right in the bucket, read it, pull it out, rinse it off and I'm done.

Cheers, Oskaar

Medsen Fey
12-25-2008, 06:41 PM
I happen to use a refractometer routinely. It helps me take a very fast reading without having to de-gas, without having to take out a large amount, even if it is full of pulp, and it is temperature adjusting. On the whole I find it very easy to get a reading, and it works great when trying to add small amounts of honey to a must to get the gravity number exactly where you want it - much faster than hydrometer readings because I use one with a digital display so it takes all of 1 second and no eye strain.

The downside is that alcohol throws the refractive index off once fermentation starts. The calculations to correct for this are somewhat involved, but there are calculators such as at onebeer.net (http://onebeer.net/refractometer.shtml)where you can punch in you original refractometer value, your current refractometer value and it will give you a corrected specific gravity and alcohol by volume. I still use hydrometers, especially my fine scale hydrometer to take a final gravity reading to ensure accuracy.

Just don't take a refractometer reading once fermentation has started and run it through the Brix conversion or you will have an inaccurate number.

As for the admonishments to use the search tool, I searched and read for several months as a lurker/member before I ever posted anything. There is a tremendous wealth of information here (and in the mead lovers digest on the main site) and if you narrow the searches you can find information quickly (better than most other sites I have visited). For example, if you search for refractometer with Medsen Fey as author, it comes up currently with 11 threads that deal with this subject which would answer a plethora of questions that someone might ask. If folks take the time to do their homework, they can find the information the majority of the time.

I do agree it is high time we start to develop some summary papers that can perhaps be incorporated into the newbee guide

Medsen