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proofman
09-13-2010, 11:31 AM
Hey all! I'm a long time homebrewer and new mead maker. it took me a while to dip my feet into because for a couple reasons. The first one is because my first experience with mead was bad. Some homebrew buddies gave me some bottles to try years ago and they were bad. Lighter fluid! But I tried some made by a buddy that works in my local homebrew shop and it was good. My severely bad back is making me decrease my beer making so I decided to try mead.

On labor day put together a must based on the orange blossom semi-sweet in Ken Schram's book. I used 16.5 lbs of honey (OG of 1.123) with two packets (rehydrated) of 71B and sequential nutrient additions.

I use a fridge with a Ranco temp controller (probe taped to bucket and covered with bubble wrap) to control fermentation temps. I set the ferm temp at 67F for fear of higher alcohols (well within the range of 71B).

Ferm seems to be slow, but I have no experience with mead:


1.123 09/07/10
1.115 09/08/10
1.109 09/09/10
1.101 09/10/10
1.089 09/13/10

Is this normal and/or is this a balancing act between ferm temp and ferm rate.

Thanks

chode720
09-13-2010, 12:15 PM
The staggered nutrients were a good idea. Without knowing your exact schedule for them its hard to tell if lack of nutrients could have been a factor.

That being said, most of my mead fermentations are in the upper 60's and are fine. As a well experienced beer brewer myself, I can say that meads will take longer to ferment. If I remember correctly, wine strains tend to ferment slower than beer strains and the increased gravity can both be contributing factors.

I did one mead with the 71B strain and if I remember correctly, it was on the slow side for me too.

You can expect a mead to take 10-14 days to ferment, on the fast side. Since you had an OG of 1.123, I wouldnt be surprised if it takes longer. I would think that if any mead fermentations take longer than about 3-4 weeks, then there may be an issue. But thats just opinion and I am a relative NeeBee as well

akueck
09-14-2010, 12:54 AM
Well it's not stuck, so that is good. Mine usually go slightly faster, however.

Have you been aerating? I know it's anathema in the beer world, but aerating during the fist 1/3 of fermentation helps build up the cell count and that will lead to faster, cleaner fermentations. If you haven't done it yet, I'd get in there with a whisk, giant spoon, drill, etc and whip some air into it.

proofman
09-14-2010, 06:56 AM
On 9/7, 9/8, 9/9, & 9/10 I added 1/2 tsp of DAP and 1/4 tsp of Fermaid K and stirred up the must (and created a foamy mess). the only thing I didn't add was Goferm during rehydration.

chode720
09-14-2010, 12:49 PM
Well it's not stuck, so that is good. Mine usually go slightly faster, however.

Have you been aerating? I know it's anathema in the beer world, but aerating during the fist 1/3 of fermentation helps build up the cell count and that will lead to faster, cleaner fermentations. If you haven't done it yet, I'd get in there with a whisk, giant spoon, drill, etc and whip some air into it.

Yes, I forgot to mention that I do that too. I have an aeration stone that I use for my beers and meads. I give it 1 minute of O2, twice a day, for the first 3 days, and that has seemed to help a lot

Medsen Fey
09-14-2010, 12:58 PM
While it is normal for meads to seem slower than beer fermentations (they don't get as foamy, and they take longer because of a starting gravity that is 2-3X higher), yours does seem a little slow.

Your nutrient amounts are a little low and I would think about adding some more Fermaid K (10-15 grams). Another major cause of slow fermentations with meads is low pH. If you can check the pH, and you find it is below 3.2, you may want to bring it up a little.

I hope that helps.

Medsen

epetkus
09-14-2010, 06:42 PM
As an additional reference point, I've attached a plot of your fermentation progress versus some of my batches. Your's is labeled "Extra" and is the bold, black line.

Hope this helps!

Eric

akueck
09-14-2010, 08:11 PM
Nice chart! Does the batch # correlate with time, temperature, and/or procedure? Looks like higher numbered batches are generally going faster.

epetkus
09-15-2010, 08:53 PM
Ha! Higher number batches represent more experience in mead making!! ;D

The one that went really quick was a blueberry melomel with RC212, so it is an anamoly in the plot. All the rest are traditionals with differing honeys and either K1-1116 or D-47.

Actually, optimizing the slope of the curve is what I've been focusing on. With varying levels of OG, it's interesting to note how these ferment out comparatively. Beginning with my next batch, I will be using pure O2 and a diffusion stone so I will be able to compare that method of oxygenation versus shaking/spashing.

Eric