PDA

View Full Version : Honey Booster



MondayHopscotch
01-31-2011, 08:45 PM
So I started another batch of mead because my roommate wanted to give it a try.

Before I ask my question, here's the batch:

3 pounds honey
enough water to make ~ gallon
EC - 1118
rehydrated with goferm

I also added some fermaid k and energizer over the first couple days.



Anyhow -- I started this batch on the 25th and it had an O.G. of 1.119.

Today, the gravity had dropped to right around 1.068 or so (I had last checked it yesterday evening and it was at 1.072), which is just passed the 1/3 break. I wanted to hit the 18% ABV or approximately along with a decent amount of residual sweetness once the ferment was done -- so I added another pound of honey.

Ultimately, this is all leading to my question:

Things have slowed down significantly since adding the honey (about 2 hours ago), my guess is that the yeast were a bit shocked by the sudden jump in sugar and are just getting used to the environment before they keep going. Is this a reasonable assumption? Should I expect them to resume normal activity here shortly? Is there a better way to add extra honey in mid-ferment?

After adding the honey, the new S.G. was 1.095, which if the calculations come out correct, means that the S.G. of my mead was right somewhere right around 1.055 before I added the honey. (this is assuming that if 3 pounds of honey yielded a S.G. of 1.119, then 1 pound should raise it approx .039 -- Please, somebody tell me if this is a reasonable claim to make)

kudapucat
01-31-2011, 09:18 PM
OK so you added 3lb of honey and got an SG of 1.119

1.119 / 3.8 = 4.25

that means you had a must weighing 4.25 kg (sorry but metric works better) if the volume was 1 gal (3.8L)

3lb = 1.36kg so that means you had 2.89 kilos of water = 2.89 litres.

so when you add your extra pound you're getting 1.8kg honey onto 2.89 kg water totalling 4.69kg adding another 300ml
so 4.69/4.10 = 1.14

so your new SG would have been 1.14, which is 20 points higher.

That being the case, you have a maximum ABV possible of 0.160*135 = 21.6%
So now it might ferment all the way out and have some residual too.

I wouldn't have thought the 20 points on 1.068 would have been all too much, but you could have waited much longer. 1.068 is still a hell of a lot of sugar.

Check your ph and make sure you feed it. EC-1118 is pretty much indestructible, but you could be having a problem.

All that aside though, you added honey and stirred it in yes? You agitated your must and probably degassed it right?
It will take a faily long time to build up enough CO2 to start overcoming the airlock. I'd wait a bit first eh?

How vigorous was the ferment before you added the honey?

MondayHopscotch
01-31-2011, 09:28 PM
where did that original 3.8 come from?

And the volume was APPROX. 1 gallon. Not that a few ounces would throw off the numbers all that much anyhow.

But I expected a S.G. of around 1.115 or so after adding the honey (I forgot to check the S.G. before I added the honey, foolish me) as well.

The ferment was going quite quickly for the first 3 days (bubbling about once a second), then it slowed down a bit to around a bubble every 4 seconds or so.

I have been waiting for my local brew shop to get some ph test strips in that I can use (they currently only have strips for the 4-7 range), so I still can't figure out my pH.

I added the honey, mixed it until there was no dark honey blob sitting on the bottom. To my surprise, there wasn't all that much gas in it that came out durring the whole process. Nowhere close to as much CO2 was released as when I was aerating it the first few days.

kudapucat
01-31-2011, 10:43 PM
where did that original 3.8 come from?

3.8 is the number of litres in a gallon


And the volume was APPROX. 1 gallon. Not that a few ounces would throw off the numbers all that much anyhow.

so approx 3.8


But I expected a S.G. of around 1.115 or so after adding the honey (I forgot to check the S.G. before I added the honey, foolish me) as well.

The ferment was going quite quickly for the first 3 days (bubbling about once a second), then it slowed down a bit to around a bubble every 4 seconds or so.

1 bubble every 4 seconds is well within the WIDE band of bubbles to be expected from a good ferment.
Bubbles are terribly fickle thing, as their size is dictated by the airlock, the amount of water in the airlock, and the density of the water in the airlock. so smaller bubbles = quicker bubbling.
The speed of bubbles is further effected directly by the amount of dissolved CO2 in the must, the temperature, the amount of headspace in the vessel, etc...


I have been waiting for my local brew shop to get some ph test strips in that I can use (they currently only have strips for the 4-7 range), so I still can't figure out my pH.

I added the honey, mixed it until there was no dark honey blob sitting on the bottom. To my surprise, there wasn't all that much gas in it that came out durring the whole process. Nowhere close to as much CO2 was released as when I was aerating it the first few days.

OK, well EC118 on a heavy must has taken a well over a month to ferment out for me before. So I'd say you're OK.
Take a gravity reading today, then every day for 4 days and plot the trend.

If it's stuck, it can stay stuck indefinitely, so a few days wont hurt.
Alternatively you can weigh the jug and see how its total weight changes.

I think you'll find that you're cruising just fine, you're just a little over protective of your little baby.

kudapucat
01-31-2011, 10:50 PM
<snip>
so when you add your extra pound you're getting 1.8kg honey onto 2.89 kg water totalling 4.69kg adding another 300ml
so 4.69/4.10 = 1.14

so your new SG would have been 1.14, which is 20 points higher.
<snip>

What I meant here was: if you'd added the 2lb of honey at the start, then at the start your OG would have been 1.14 This is useful for calculating total sugars and maximum ABV.

Your SG at the time of adding the honey is calculable.
total weight = 3.8L @ (sg before addition*3.8 )kg + 300ml @ 0.45kg
new gravity = total weight / total volume (4.1)



this is all based on SG = kg/litres
or SG = lb/gal * 8.345

(see why I like metric? ;) )

MondayHopscotch
01-31-2011, 11:27 PM
just got back from grocery shopping to find it has picked up a little, so I can only assume I was right to guess that they just had to acclimate to the new, higher sugar must.

Hopefully things continue going in a good direction. I see no reason as of now that they wouldn't.

Thanks for the help.


Also -- as far as adding honey in a second feeding, do you have any pointers on quote-unquote "proper procedure?" So far it sounds like it's better to add extra honey later rather than earlier.

kudapucat
01-31-2011, 11:45 PM
<snip>


Also -- as far as adding honey in a second feeding, do you have any pointers on quote-unquote "proper procedure?" So far it sounds like it's better to add extra honey later rather than earlier.

Not with any authority no. All my meads so far have been added up front. I can just do the math ;-)
One of the mentors may choose to comment, but I fear that's a job for the search engine.

MondayHopscotch
02-01-2011, 12:38 AM
i had searched quite a bit before starting this thread. I couldn't find anything that answered my questions quite as i was wanting.

But I think I have what I need for now.

I'm just going to calculate my ABV based on the math we have already discussed. I'm not after perfect numbers, so they will do fine.

Thanks again

Edit: And I am going to contribute the off-numbers to the fact that my mead was fermenting faster than I thought it was prior to adding the extra pound of honey

fong song
02-01-2011, 01:23 PM
My friend who was a professional winemaker for years suggested a staggered honey addition even at 24% sugar (13% alc). Even though this is well within the range for ec-1118, he thought the yeast would work better in a lower gravity must. This is what I've done in a current brew: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17233

Medsen Fey
02-01-2011, 04:08 PM
Is there a better way to add extra honey in mid-ferment?

(this is assuming that if 3 pounds of honey yielded a S.G. of 1.119, then 1 pound should raise it approx .039 -- Please, somebody tell me if this is a reasonable claim to make)

I typically expect 1 pound in 1 gallon to bring the gravity up by about 0.36, but it will vary from honey to honey. I think your numbers are within the realm of possibility.

Adding honey is probably best done at about the time you did it - at the end of exponential growth. In winemaking that is considered the optimal time for Chapatalization (which is what you are sort of doing). If you wait until the end of fermentation, the yeast are in a much higher concentration of alcohol and the osmotic stress created seems to be more harmful, sometimes causing significant yeast stress and possibly off odors and/or harsh flavors.

Another interesting way to add honey is using BDC DYF (Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding). If you search the term "bottom dwelling" with the parenthesis, you'll find several threads discussing it though many are in the Patrons area.

To get to 18% ABV, you need to aerate well, and you need to provide plenty of nutrients. How much did you add? Using some yeast hulls (1 gram per gallon) may also help.

MondayHopscotch
02-01-2011, 11:10 PM
I typically expect 1 pound in 1 gallon to bring the gravity up by about 0.36, but it will vary from honey to honey. I think your numbers are within the realm of possibility.

Like I had said, I expected 1 pound of the honey I was using to raise the S.G. by appox. .039, the only reason my numbers were off is because I overestimated what my gravity was at before adding the honey.


Adding honey is probably best done at about the time you did it - at the end of exponential growth. In winemaking that is considered the optimal time for Chapatalization (which is what you are sort of doing). If you wait until the end of fermentation, the yeast are in a much higher concentration of alcohol and the osmotic stress created seems to be more harmful, sometimes causing significant yeast stress and possibly off odors and/or harsh flavors.

I love happy accidents such as this. I'll keep this in mind if I work with step-feeding in future batches


Another interesting way to add honey is using BDC DYF (Bottom Dwelling Continuous Diffusion Yeast Feeding). If you search the term "bottom dwelling" with the parenthesis, you'll find several threads discussing it though many are in the Patrons area.

I did run across a few of these threads the other day, one question I had was how fast is the overall ferment when using this method as compared to mixing it all into suspension and step-feeding?


To get to 18% ABV, you need to aerate well, and you need to provide plenty of nutrients. How much did you add? Using some yeast hulls (1 gram per gallon) may also help.

I aerated it for about 2 minutes 2-3 times a day for the first 3 or 4 days. I added somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-5 tsp each of fermaid K and energizer over about 4 intervals. I couldn't find any solid numbers concerning how much to add, so I just kinda made it up

Medsen Fey
02-02-2011, 04:03 PM
...how fast is the overall ferment when using this method as compared to mixing it all into suspension and step-feeding?

It is about the same.




I aerated it for about 2 minutes 2-3 times a day for the first 3 or 4 days. I added somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-5 tsp each of fermaid K and energizer over about 4 intervals.

That's probably a good bit more than needed for a one gallon batch, but your yeast certainly won't be hungry. :)

MondayHopscotch
02-02-2011, 06:23 PM
That's probably a good bit more than needed for a one gallon batch, but your yeast certainly won't be hungry. :)

Like I said, I couldn't find any solid numbers -- at least not any outside of grams. Being as I don't have a scale, I just work in tsp and Tsp.

For future reference, what is a good estimate for how much to add per-gallon? (Not all packages are nice like Go-Ferm)

(and in case i wrote that last post out strangely, I used 3-5 tsp TOTAL split up over 4 or 5 additions)

MondayHopscotch
02-02-2011, 11:18 PM
Update: I just checked the S.G. again and it read 1.100, so something happened when I ended up getting a 1.095. Maybe the honey was more oriented towards the bottom of the jug?