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Bluedog
10-07-2010, 07:09 PM
Hi guys, my first post and first batch of mead, I made it on 10/2/10, didn't get any bubbles from airlock for about 24 hours after pitching, now it's pretty consistant at one or two bubbles every 4-5 seconds, does this sound about right? Thanks for your help.:)

AToE
10-07-2010, 07:21 PM
That sounds like a healthy fermentation is taking place, bubbles per minute really means next to nothing though. The only way to really know how fast or slow fermentation is progressing is by taking hydrometre readings.

Welcome to the forum!

Bluedog
10-07-2010, 10:59 PM
Thanks for your help pardner, I was also wondering how long I should leave it in the primary fermenter? I've been told one week, two weeks and until no airlock activity. Is it adventageous to stir the must from time to time? Also should raisins be ok to leave in the must for the full length of fermentation or will they spoil?

d.j.patterson
10-07-2010, 11:14 PM
If you post your entire recipe and method, it will give people a better chance to help. Did you take SG readings with a hydrometer? You should go by hydrometer readings rather than time when it comes to when it is time to rack.

Bluedog
10-08-2010, 08:26 AM
Thanks DJ, I forgot to take SG reading, but it's a two gallon batch with 10lbs local honey, 2lbs extra light DME, 1/4 cup red raisins, 1 tsp energizer, 1 tsp nutrient, 2 whole cloves, 2 whole allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and one package Belgian Red Star champagne yeast. I simmered 2 lemon slices with the must, but discarded them before adding it to the fermenter. Thanks a bunch for your advice guys(and gals).:)

d.j.patterson
10-08-2010, 09:10 AM
I kind of took a double take when I saw your ingredient list. I plugged the honey and the extra sugar from the DME into the mead calculator for a 2 gallon batch and got an OG of about 1.220. :eek:

I think it is safe to say this will end up on the sweet side. So to answer a few of your questions: The raisins will be fine to leave in through primary fermentation. As for stirring, it won't hurt anything to stir occasional to resuspend the yeast during primary fermentation. Vigorous stirring to introduce oxygen is recommended until the 1/3 sugar break. Of course there are others who would simply throw everything in the primary a just leave it alone so, YMMV.

Medsen Fey
10-08-2010, 09:48 AM
Welcome to GotMead Bluedog!

Unfortunately this fermentation is going to have problems. You've started with such a high gravity that the yeast are severely stressed by the osmotic pressure. They will be sluggish, and you will be lucky it they can get the ABV above 10% before they stall.

If it sticks syrupy sweet (and you don't want to drink it syrupy sweet), you can save it for blending with other batches, or you can dilute it and try pitching other yeast. If you dilute the must now, you may be able to ensure that you get a complete fermentation.

You might want to check the gravity, though it may be off the scale of a typical hydrometer which only goes up to about 1.170. You can take your sample and dilute it by 50% then get a reading and that will give you a number you can convert.

Endeavor to persevere!
Medsen

Chevette Girl
10-08-2010, 03:10 PM
Further to Medsen's comment, I would suggest bringing this up to at least 3 gallons total, and even that might still be a bit much for the yeasties to handle.

Also since this is such a high gravity endeavour, I'd be aerating the absolute heck out of it till it's eaten a third of the honey.

Bluedog
10-08-2010, 05:58 PM
Thanks everybody for your welcome and help, I was shooting for 18-20% with this batch and was hoping the champagne yeast could handle it, once fermentation stops, if it's too sweet can I rack it to a clean carboy and add more yeast to complete fermentation?

AToE
10-08-2010, 08:29 PM
It's unlikely that any new yeast will finish what the first couldn't, especially since that's way too much sugar for a healthy fermentation and you've already used a high ABV yeast. The yeast will take it as far as it can go, and will be acclimatized to the high ABV and sugar, any new yeast you add will not be acclimatized and will probably just die.

That's enough sugar to theoretically go to 26% ABV (you won't find a yeast that can eat it all though), so even a champagne yeast that can sometimes go to 18% or 19% is going to be drowning in sugar. It'll be crazy sweet no matter what unless it's diluted.

Bluedog
10-08-2010, 08:56 PM
Thanks AToE, If I dilute the batch to 5 gallons now, I wonder how stout it would be?(I want high ABV) Or, maybe I could dilute to 3-4 gallons and feed it up to 5? I was loosely basing this batch off a recipe I saw on another site for Braggot that called for 15lbs of honey and 15lbs of DME per 5-6 gallons using dry mead yeast.

AToE
10-09-2010, 02:29 PM
Well, if you double the volume you should end up with something around 14 percent, so you can kinda extrapolate that number into other amounts, such as if you went to 3 gallons (which would leave you with enough sugar to see how high ABV the yeast can go, and then have some sweetness left over. Impossible to say how far the yeast will make it, but at least it would have a reasonable chance).

Can I ask why you want higher? It's not an issue, it just isn't going to taste good for a very long time.

Bluedog
10-09-2010, 08:15 PM
Well, if you double the volume you should end up with something around 14 percent, so you can kinda extrapolate that number into other amounts, such as if you went to 3 gallons (which would leave you with enough sugar to see how high ABV the yeast can go, and then have some sweetness left over. Impossible to say how far the yeast will make it, but at least it would have a reasonable chance).

Can I ask why you want higher? It's not an issue, it just isn't going to taste good for a very long time.

Hey pard, I tranfered the must to my 6.5 gal. fermenter and added another 3 liters of spring water and 1 tsp nutrient and stirred the heck out of it. I have another 3 liters of water, but I don't want to water it down too much(?). As far as high ABV goes, I like the taste of stronger liquors.....and if I go through all this, I'd like to be able to get a swerve on if needed.;) Thanks for your help, I'm open for any more advice.

AToE
10-09-2010, 08:45 PM
3 litres will probably still leave you a little on the high side (remember that in this case higher actually means lower ABV because it will stress your yeast out). It might work though, did you measure SG before and after by any chance? Knowing where it's at now would help decide what to do.

Bluedog
10-09-2010, 09:28 PM
Perhaps add another 3 liter bottle, let ferment another week or so, then feed in another 5 lbs honey with a couple qts. water? What say you? I didn't measure SG.

Medsen Fey
10-09-2010, 10:03 PM
If you give it another liter you'll be at 3 gallons and that will have the effective gravity down to about 1.150. The yeast should be able to handle that, though you've certainly smacked them pretty hard already. You'll probably need some more energizer too (2-3 tsp).

Bluedog
10-10-2010, 09:27 AM
Thanks Medsen, and thanks to everyone else for the great advice, I checked it this morning and she's still truckin'. Since I added the three liters, I'm getting a burst of bubbles(5-6) every 5-6 seconds, which is the most activity I've seen yet. I must admit I a bit confused about the osmotic pressure as I've seen Braggot recipes that call for crazy amounts of fermentables.(?)