View Full Version : Metheglin stuck after transfer

10-08-2010, 08:31 PM
This is my first try at mead-making. Started and followed a 3 gal. recipe to the letter for sweet Metheglin in 5 gal. pail on October 3, 2010. Started my yeast starter the day before (very active). Yeast used is EC-1118. ( Dried raisins, yeast nutrient, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, ginger root, etc.) My S.G. was over my hydrometer scale so not sure what it was: recipe called for 12 lbs. honey. T.A. was 0.45% so added acid blend to bring it up to 0.65%, I had 3 sliced oranges still in there so I figured they would do the rest. Temp.=70F. Was fermenting beautifully. Smells and tastes good. Still sweet with nice acidy orange taste.
Today, October 8, 2010. Transfer day. S.G.=1.062 T.A.=0.75%. Is that too high?. Wasn't sure so I added 2 cups water to the must.
I now have 4 gallons of must. ?? So I transfer into sanitized 3 gal. and 1gal. and some over which I threw away. Added 3 dissolved Campen tablets to the 3 gal. and 1 tablet in the other. Now the problem is the 3 gal. carboy has no activity in the must or the airlock. The 1 gal. is doing fine. ????? What is the problem? Is the T.A. still too high? Did I dilute it too much.?? I know that in the beginning the alcohol is low while the sugar content is high; that this can cause the yeast to get sluggish or die... What did I do wrong and should I restart the fermentation?

10-08-2010, 08:37 PM

Welcome to Got Mead?

I think this may me your problem.

From Wikipedia,
Campden tablets are also used towards the end of the fermentation process to halt the ferment before all the available sugars are converted by the yeast, hence controlling the amount of residual sweetness in the final product. This balancing between sweet, dry and tart flavors is part of the artistry of wine and cider making.

10-09-2010, 11:25 AM
Thank you for your reply. But still have a question.
I am also making Elderberry wine which is in it's 2nd month of aging on oak chips. Recipe from Winemaking.Jack Keller.net which states to add 1 Campden/gal. when you prepare the must, again add the Campden when you transfer to carboy and then at every 2 rackings. Why isn't it the same procedure for Mead?

10-09-2010, 12:46 PM
I'm not sure about Jack Kellers techniques. Potassium or sodium metabisulfite is used at the end of fermentaion to help stabilize the end product before bottling. If any yeast survives and there is any residual sugar, you may end up with popped corks or bottle bombs if capped.

To recap... use campden tablets at the beginning to kill wild yeast (wine or fresh fruit, not needed with honey must) and at the end to kill your fermentaion.

Good idea to check with hydrometer before bottling.

10-09-2010, 02:20 PM
I think the issue is with timing. It's fine to add sulphites every time you rack if you want, but if you're racking before the fermentation is done then you do run the chance of messing with your yeast.

Easy to fix, do not rack into secondary until primary is done.

Dan McFeeley
10-09-2010, 02:41 PM
Welcome to the forums!

A couple of things -- what kind of hydrometer are you using? Is it a brewing hydrometer with a lower range scale than that used in winemaking? Having an SG off the scale on a winemaker's hydrometer would choke off any fermentation.

Try using the mead calculator on the left, yellow sidebar, to get an idea of what your SG might be.

Acid additions in meadmaking are different compared to winemaking. Honey musts generally have a pH right about where you need it. Adding more acid will combine with the organic acids secreted by the yeasts during the fermentation and raise the pH even higher, which will stall the fermentation.

The acid testing kits used in winemaking give inaccurate results when used in meadmaking. The reason for this is a pH dependent reaction that occurs when you use standard titration methods to measure TA that throws your readings off. Do a search on this site for gluconolactone and my name, McFeeley, and you'll find my posts on this subject that give more details.

Hope this is helpful!


10-10-2010, 01:23 AM
Hello everyone and thank you all for your input.
Good news. My Mead has come back to life, slowly at first but now it's going at it. Did read up a lot on Ph, the acidity of mead, the nutrient needed for mead, staggering the Nutrient addition(SNA), etc.. Being a newbee all these terms are difficult to understand and to remember. So I had to go back often to make sure. But it will sink in with time. I hope. Mead sure is different from wine.
As for my Hydrometer; it's a Wine and Beer triple scale hydrometer. The highest reading on it is 1.120. The Hydrometer was floating over that mark when I tried to take the initial S.G.

Chevette Girl
10-10-2010, 05:36 PM
Hi Chouettes! Nice to see another Canadian on here.

Typically when you use campden tablets before a fermentation, you want to wait 24 hours before you pitch your yeast, and then you don't want to add them again until after your fermentaion has died down on its own or it has reached a sweetness level you want to keep it at, at which point you give it some potassium sorbate too.

Some of us rarely ever use the chemicals as our secondary fermentations are prolonged and the fermentation is definitely done... Some (like Jack Keller) always do... It's up to you, really, as long as you understand the risks of bottling something that's not finished fermenting (do a search on "bottle bomb").

Further to AToE's comment about it being an easy problem to fix, since you had already racked it onto sulphites before fermentation was done, I'd have recommended pitching another packet of the same yeast (another starter wouldn't have been a bad plan), but your yeast seems to have come back... Yay, yeast!

You might want to consider getting one of the hydrometers that goes up a little higher if you like starting out with a high gravity must for a sweet mead, I know 3-1/2 lbs in just under a gallon (for a Joe's Ancient Orange recipe) gives me around 1.125 which is off the scale on two of my 3 hydrometers. I'd suspect your hydrometer wasn't floating TOO much higher than 1.120?

Regarding acidity, I've had success adding it up front, but the folks around here tend to wait until fermentation is done before messing with the pH. And pH test strips are what everyone suggests. I haven't been able to find any yet myself.

10-10-2010, 06:37 PM
I have yet to make a mead that wasn't plenty acidic, so even though I have an acid blend, I've never had to use it.

10-11-2010, 02:04 PM
Hello to everyone. Thank you Chevette Girl for speaking in lay-woman's terms. Makes it easier for me to understand. Greatly appreciated. I waited 48 hrs. after the Campden before adding my yeast starter. Will NOT add any more until it is finished. Will try to get a higher scale hydrometer. Never bought PH strips before (except for my saltwater aquarium; but that's another story....)because all I've made so far is Elderberry Wine. So I'd bought the Titration kit instead. Did do research on the PH and acidity of Honey. Did so many things wrong,it's unbelievable; added 11 1/2tsp. of Acid blend at the beginning because my T.A. test told me it was at 4.0; raised it to 7.0; I forgot to stir up the yeast when I transferred/strained from the pail to the carboy ( that' s why the 1gal. was so active since I strained the last of the must into it after I had filled the 3gal.); Adding 3 Campden to it again on transfer to carboy with airlock (that's 7 days later) Ignorance, Ignorance,,, Everything I was doing was making it inhospitable for the yeast to survive and thrive. But they did. Beautiful little creatures. I learned a lot.
Amazing to me is the complexity of honey. Will get the PH strips.

By the way, I was born in Ottawa and grew up there. My family still live near there.
May the Sun's rays shine always on you and warm your heart...........

Chevette Girl
10-11-2010, 02:54 PM
Life has a way of persevering... although this is a good lesson to you that sulphites DOESN'T always kill yeast dead :)

Don't worry about making mistakes, we all have and a lot of us still do, and we still manage to turn out some decent products, I brewed wine for a couple years before I tried mead but these folks at GotMead have been a bad influence on me and a lot of what I've been up to lately has been mead :)