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kudapucat
12-05-2010, 06:51 PM
Batch No 1011210
Prepared: 21/11/10
Volume: 1 gal
Style: Dry Show Mead
Yeast EC-1118
Honey: CB10 - mountain honey with gum, teatree, lavender and orchard influence.
Nutrient: 1 tsp DAP - added on day 4
OG: 1.085
CG: 1.000
ABV: 12% --not too sure on this calc.

Wine like bouquet.
Rather dry, but not offensive.
Nasty twang of some sort - hopefully time will fix this
Definite hint of Lemon.
Edit: Watery

Racked into 2 secondaries

Batch one, bubbling very slow, but bubbling. Some more years has precipitated out.

Batch 2 was racked onto 200g of boysenberries.
This bubbles a tiny bit immediately, thenthe pressure equalised, and there has been little action at all.
The fruit sunk, then floated to the top.
Could my pH be too low?
Is this even a problem if it has?
The colour of the mead is very pretty, a nice golden red.

What (if anything) should I do?

AToE
12-05-2010, 07:17 PM
Just because it looks like it's not fermenting doesn't mean it isn't, even if you're pretty sure the airlock has a good seal around it, a leak is generally the cause of a lack of bubbling.

EC1118 should be more than happy to eat new sugars thrown at it after only fermenting from 1.085, extreme acidity might cause a stall, but it seems unlikely from my experience.

Have you taken an SG from the batch you suspect is stalled? Another possibility is that there was simply very little sugar added, 200g of berries isn't very much. It might have chewed through that and then finished before you even had a chance to notice.

kudapucat
12-05-2010, 07:32 PM
200g in 1.5 litres... I had thought that a bit.
Boyesenberries can be VERY tart.
I reduced the racking from 2l to 1.5l so as to bring the qty of fruit more in line with 'meadium flavour' for raspberries as found in Ken Schramm's book: The Compleat Meadmaker

Boysenberries can be quite tart, like raspberries.
I have not taken an SG of the melomel since racking it onto the boysenberries,
It was below 1.000 when racked. I think it was 0.990

In comparison, the 2l show mead racked on the same day, from the same primary, is bubbling, albeit slowly.

AToE
12-05-2010, 07:54 PM
Sorry, hadn't caught how small a batch this was, thought it was a gallon (need to read more carefully!).

I do think that you're probably still good, probably not stalled. Bubbling is a very finicky thing, sometimes it just doesn't do what you think it should.

Any way to test pH? I'm bad, never have pH gear for testing my own, but if you can measure that might help you figure out whether it's too low. SG is really the only reliable measure of whether or not it's fermenting.

akueck
12-05-2010, 08:47 PM
The fruit might be floating due to trapped CO2. I wouldn't worry too much. Fruit it mostly water, so the amount of sugar you added isn't much. The yeast will eat it as it comes into solution, which might be slow enough for you to not notice, or might have already finished if the sugar leached immediately.

Keep the fruit wet to prevent anything funny from happening. Rack off the fruit when it loses its color (should be a few days to a week or so).

kudapucat
12-05-2010, 08:50 PM
qty of boysenberries was limited by the number ripe on my bramble. I wish I had more. The plums I was thinking of, I certainly had more, they're all over my brand new car now :-( bloody possums! - (for the US viewers, I don't mean Opossums, our possums are cute and furry, but they're a nuisance)

SG value before I added fruit I have. That's easy.
But if you're not juicing your fruit, how would you determin the SG - being that it's tied up in the flesh?

perhance the pH is too low, or something else has stalled fermentation:
Is this a problem? It's 12% already, and dry.
Will it just become a sweet 12% fruity melomel?

kudapucat
12-05-2010, 08:53 PM
The fruit might be floating due to trapped CO2. I wouldn't worry too much. Fruit it mostly water, so the amount of sugar you added isn't much. The yeast will eat it as it comes into solution, which might be slow enough for you to not notice, or might have already finished if the sugar leached immediately.

Keep the fruit wet to prevent anything funny from happening. Rack off the fruit when it loses its color (should be a few days to a week or so).

Thanks, that's good advice.
Do you mean I should stir the fruit to keep it in contact with the alcohol?
When I gave it a bit of a shake, much of the fruit fell again, only to rise later, so I think you may be right about the bubbles.
Stirring/shaking the must wont upset it at all?
Are there dangers in keeping the must on such a fruit for too long a time?

AToE
12-05-2010, 09:06 PM
Stirring/swirling the must is a good idea from the beginning of fermentation at least until the finish (sometimes long, and definitely longer if there's fruit in there). It has a variety of good things it does for your mead. Shaking isn't so good once you're past the 1/2 mark in your ferment, as you don't want to be mixing in oxygen much after that point.

mmclean
12-05-2010, 09:42 PM
[QUOTE=kudapucat;153920] The plums I was thinking of, I certainly had more, they're all over my brand new car now :-( bloody possums! - (for the US viewers, I don't mean Opossums, our possums are cute and furry, but they're a nuisance)
QUOTE]

I've had some possums from South America, are yours anything like them.

I know, off topic. Had to ask though.

kudapucat
12-05-2010, 10:38 PM
[QUOTE=kudapucat;153920] The plums I was thinking of, I certainly had more, they're all over my brand new car now :-( bloody possums! - (for the US viewers, I don't mean Opossums, our possums are cute and furry, but they're a nuisance)
QUOTE]

I've had some possums from South America, are yours anything like them.

I know, off topic. Had to ask though.

No, not really, different genus.
They're marsupials, but vegetarians, fruit mostly. They love roses, your favourite fruit tree, making filthy nests in your roof, scampering over your ceilings when you're trying to sleep. Fighting, growling loudly and giving a large cat or fox a run for it's money when tangling.

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:Kj_Pc0H0BQigsM:http://www.animecutie.com/gg_data/images/4/icons/smiley-sign-off-topic-5030.gif
Here's a pic...
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTX1LSkWqVhhkuWKC1B0rLLpSSxBJEjS 6x-8Oiagf4Z8rTX5uZGiQ
There are two basic varieties, the small ringtail - featured here and the large catsized brushtail.
Many less common (in cities anyhow) varieties exist.

wildoates
12-05-2010, 10:59 PM
Ah, they're frugivores, eh?

/gratuitously showing off my expensive edumacation, which, for the most part, is not all that useful otherwise. :rolleyes:


And ON topic, for what it's worth, I have a couple of buckets that, even when they were new, leaked gas to the point where the airlock doesn't even bubble at all. I happen to like the bubbling airlock, so those ones are used last, but the mead is still doing its thing when it's not making me happy. 8)

kudapucat
12-06-2010, 12:26 AM
I'm mildly concerned that people think my glass bottle may be leaking sufficiently... rubber onto glass tends to work pretty well usually. :-(

wildoates
12-06-2010, 12:41 AM
Well, you'll know for sure when the gravity drops...or doesn't. :)

kudapucat
12-06-2010, 12:45 AM
Well, you'll know for sure when the gravity drops...or doesn't. :)

Again I ask: I added sugars in the for of fruit. I am no able to measure the SG of the water with these sugars mixed (I think)
Howe would one determine the SG of a melomel?
and from that, how will I be able to tell if it drops?

Perhaps if the FG is the same as the SG (without fruit) then I can say it fermented, if the FG is higher, I have to assume it stalled?

One other question that seems to have been missed: Will it matter either way?
If it doesn't ferment. Does it matter?

akueck
12-06-2010, 12:59 AM
If it doesn't ferment (and I really think it probably is, just slowly), you'd want to be sure to stabilize it before bottling to make sure the yeast doesn't wake up unexpectedly.

We have a NZ possum-fur blanket on our couch, very fuzzy and warm. :)

AToE
12-06-2010, 01:55 PM
Again I ask: I added sugars in the for of fruit. I am no able to measure the SG of the water with these sugars mixed (I think)
Howe would one determine the SG of a melomel?
and from that, how will I be able to tell if it drops?

The sugars will largely leach out of the fruit, or the yeast will get in there and eat it anyways. Usually fruit is smashed up some before being fermented so that the juice can be measured, or can mix into the main must more easily.


Perhaps if the FG is the same as the SG (without fruit) then I can say it fermented, if the FG is higher, I have to assume it stalled?

Pretty much, but all the water content in the fruit really messes with it, because you didn't just add sugar, you also diluted the whole thing with water, so it's tough to say what SG changes will look like.


One other question that seems to have been missed: Will it matter either way?
If it doesn't ferment. Does it matter?

Akueck pretty much covered this one. Once you're done with the fruit and have racked off the fruit and pressed (or not pressed, your call) the fruit into the mead, then measure your SG and we can go from there with advice.

And yes, rubber on glass is usually a pretty darned good seal, but leaks happen. Also, like we said, this may simply be a case where the sugar was fermented and whatever bubbles were formed were formed while you were sleeping or not watching. We're talking about a very small sugar addition, those berries are mostly water, the yeast could have eaten through it in an hour or two.


How long are you planning on leaving it in with the fruit?

kudapucat
12-06-2010, 05:17 PM
<snip>
And yes, rubber on glass is usually a pretty darned good seal, but leaks happen. Also, like we said, this may simply be a case where the sugar was fermented and whatever bubbles were formed were formed while you were sleeping or not watching. We're talking about a very small sugar addition, those berries are mostly water, the yeast could have eaten through it in an hour or two.


How long are you planning on leaving it in with the fruit?

What concerned me, is I split the must when racking. The half that remained show mead is still bubbling. The half on the boysenberries did nothing.
I gave it a swirl and found that there was some dissolved gas, but not much.
about 50% of the fruit is leached of all colour now.

I was thinking no longer than 2 weeks, but am watching for colour leaching.
I think Ken Schramm said in his book that raspberries shouldn't be left on too long. so I was thinking the same with boysenberries.

You mention pressing. How would one press fruit, and do this effectively in an oxygen deprived environment?
I fear it would be terrribly difficult.

AToE
12-06-2010, 05:30 PM
What concerned me, is I split the must when racking. The half that remained show mead is still bubbling. The half on the boysenberries did nothing.
I gave it a swirl and found that there was some dissolved gas, but not much.
about 50% of the fruit is leached of all colour now.

I was thinking no longer than 2 weeks, but am watching for colour leaching.
I think Ken Schramm said in his book that raspberries shouldn't be left on too long. so I was thinking the same with boysenberries.

You mention pressing. How would one press fruit, and do this effectively in an oxygen deprived environment?
I fear it would be terrribly difficult.

I press smaller amounts of fruit by putting them into a brewing hop bag (nylon I think), sanitized, and squeezing. As long as the juice doesn't have a terribly long drop down to whatever container it's going into oxidization isn't a problem. But, depending on how tart the mead ends up being, you might not want to press the fruit at all.

I know splitting a batch and seeing half bubble and half not will drive you nuts, but in all honesty nothing other than SG can really tell you if something is fermenting accurately.

Once you've racked it off the fruit take an SG and post what you find out, untill then there's really no way to know what's going on, and adjusting your pH blindly now without even knowing if it needs it is probably a bad idea.

Wait and see is your best course of action right now.

kudapucat
12-06-2010, 06:04 PM
Yeah: Wait, discuss, fret, rant
These were my plan of action ;-)
When the fruit's pale in another few days I'll do some tests.
swirling this morning induced 2 or 3 bubbles, so there's some disolved gas...

I'm just hoping to understand the process better, so I don't worry so next time...

AToE
12-06-2010, 09:16 PM
You'll probably have dissolved CO2 in there for months, I had a maple wine that I just finally gave up and manually de-gassed (by putting some glass beads in the bottom and swirling it multiple times a day) because it was getting fairly aged and still had enough CO2 dissolved to effect the taste.

No worries with asking lots of questions, it's definitely the best way to learn. I really suspect that what's happened in this case is that there was simply a very small amount of sugar in those berries and it was eaten very quickly, so you missed the gas release, or it was eaten very slowly, so slowly that the airlock was only bubbling once a hour maybe (if at all). I doubt very much that it would have had a problem with those berries effecting pH enough to make it stop fermenting.

We'll find out soon I guess!

wildoates
12-07-2010, 01:03 AM
I fret too, if it's any consolation. It seems as if an excessive number of us are scientist/engineer types, and we can't help but be both insanely curious and interested in the process in all its iterations AND want to be control of as many variables as we can. If you do your sums correctly, it always has the same result...except when it doesn't. :)

Golddiggie
12-07-2010, 01:27 AM
I fret too, if it's any consolation. It seems as if an excessive number of us are scientist/engineer types, and we can't help but be both insanely curious and interested in the process in all its iterations AND want to be control of as many variables as we can. If you do your sums correctly, it always has the same result...except when it doesn't. :)

I think that even if you have your measurements exactly the same down to the gram/ounce/etc, things will be at least slightly different between each batch until you have 100% control over every possible variable, including atmospheric... For home brewers, that's usually not viable... Personally, I don't mind a little variation between batches. As long as the end product comes out close to what I want (or my 'close enough' range) I'll be happy. Honestly, I don't really expect to be able to replicate (exactly) the same item from batch to batch, year over year. With using a naturally produced base element, like honey, you'll never really know how different each year is going to be until you get that batch of honey... Unless you plan to purchase a pallet load at a time, to cover X years (you will take years to go through it... right? :o)... Oh how I dream of having a place to devote to fermenting... That reminds me, I need to figure out a recipe for the HHoA... :eek:;D

kudapucat
12-07-2010, 04:36 AM
<snip>
Oh how I dream of having a place to devote to fermenting...
<snip>

If my basement is ever finished, there will be a temperature controlled brewroom with sink and running water.
I also plan to have a cellar below that to store my finished product.

That begs a question: At what temperature should you 'age' your mead?

Golddiggie
12-07-2010, 11:27 AM
If my basement is ever finished, there will be a temperature controlled brewroom with sink and running water.
I also plan to have a cellar below that to store my finished product.

So a sub-basement?? Access via a trap-door in the basement floor? Going all medieval from the sounds of it... :eek:


That begs a question: At what temperature should you 'age' your mead?

I'm pretty sure it would be the same as wine... 50-55F, depending on what type... I might be able to use the basement where I live come summer time... IF my landlord can clear out some of his CRAP!! Went down the other day and he has even more stuff down there... :rolleyes:

kudapucat
12-12-2010, 05:05 PM
<snip> Going all medieval from the sounds of it... :eek:
<snip>

Yup, just installed a murder hole over the atrium!

But seriously I get some odd looks, basements are almost unheard of in this country. As we never really have cyclones or hurricanes, they're not a standard anywhere here, and nowhere near as prolific as in some areas in the US.

I'm still a little concerned about my mel.
I just prepped a mango mel, that clogged the lock with mango fibres and popped the cork before spewing mango mush all over my meadery.

The boysenberry mel never did anything like this.

Could it possibly be because I washed the berries in sodium metabisulphate? Maybe I nuked the few remaining yeasties?
I don't care if it ends up a sack mead... just interested in understanding everything