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kipgunter
09-18-2011, 05:05 PM
I just started my first batch about 11 days ago, it began fermentation after 24 hrs. The trap bubbled about once a second for about 7 days and has slowed to about every 3 seconds, the must doesn't appear to be clearing. using a traditional mead recipe from the book The complete mead, does it sound on track?

AToE
09-18-2011, 05:10 PM
Yes, but in all honesty the bubble rate is almost entirely meaningless other than that if it bubbles it tells you at least something is happening (doesn't work in reverse though, no bubbles doesn't mean no ferment).

Do you have a hydrometer? If so what was the original SG and what is it now? Those are the numbers that will actually tell you what is happening, anything other than knowing the SG is basically meaningless!

Also, if you have those numbers, if you could also post the recipe and process that'd be great, would let us help you figure out if everything is going well.

Chevette Girl
09-18-2011, 06:34 PM
For a typical fermentation (no, none of them are ever truly typical), you expect vigorous activity for a few days to a week, then it will start to run out of food and taper off for a week to a month as the yeast finishes up the last little bits of sugar. Somewhere in this time is when you'd generally want to rack it off the lees so it can start clearing. Only after all the yeast are done their thing will it really start to clear, active yeast tend to stay suspended as they do their thing.

So, at a glance, assuming you're not using more than 3 lb per gallon and used nutrients and energizer and aerated it, you're probably on track, but as AToE said, we'd need to see your ingredients and procedures and you'd need hydrometer readings to confirm it for sure.

kipgunter
09-19-2011, 06:29 AM
Thanks for the replies, I'm sorry, I realize it is more complicated than just the activity in the trap. The SG 1.02, close as I could tell, I have ordered a new one, the PH was just below 4, I used 15# honey, water to five gallon, nutrient and additive from labelpeeler, (don't have the packets in front of me at the moment) I boiled water, let cool to 160 added the honey, let cool to 80, activated the yeast lavlin 1118 according to package, added the mixture to 3 gal of water already in carboy, added nutrient, shook the AAA out of it, waited til it was 75 F pitched the yeast.

I think thats all of it, I was waiting for at least 2 weeks to pass before I checked the SG, and my new hydrometer isn't in yet.

Loadnabox
09-19-2011, 08:22 AM
EC-1118 is a very vigorous fermenter, it would not be unheard of it to have finished up by now with how low your OG was based on the amount of honey in batch. Chances are this has fermented bone dry.

Chevette Girl
09-19-2011, 12:22 PM
Sounds like you're on track then... and welcome to the addiction-er, hobby!

kipgunter
09-19-2011, 03:40 PM
I will be testing in a couple of days and let you know what I find out, I was just not sure how to spot a slow or failing fermentation, and most of what I read say's "leave it alone"

AToE
09-19-2011, 04:30 PM
"Leave it alone" is usually pretty bad advice (works for some people/recipes though)! You want to be stirring it all throughout fermentation, and aerating it for the first 1/3 of fermentation for a really healthy ferment!

You can spot a slow/stopped ferment by taking SG readings, that's really about the only way.

Loadnabox
09-19-2011, 04:33 PM
"Leave it alone" is usually pretty bad advice (works for some people/recipes though)! You want to be stirring it all throughout fermentation, and aerating it for the first 1/3 of fermentation for a really healthy ferment!

You can spot a slow/stopped ferment by taking SG readings, that's really about the only way.

I would clarify by saying that "Leave it Alone" or "Benign Neglect" are key components to aging once the primary ferment is pretty much done. :)

kipgunter
09-19-2011, 06:46 PM
I thought that was bad for mead, good for wine?

AToE
09-19-2011, 06:49 PM
I thought that was bad for mead, good for wine?

Not at all, during the first 1/3 - 1/2 of fermentation stirring agressively introduces O2 that the yeast need, and after that it keeps the yeast in suspension, evens out temp variances, breaks up any possible colonies of spoilage organisms... even for the first while after fermentation it's good to very gently swirl or stir, because getting the lees back up into suspension will actually help drag down the ones still up, and it will help it clear faster.

AngryNord
09-19-2011, 08:04 PM
AToE is quit right. I remember my first batch I made was doing gangbusters for a couple days and slowed, I gave it a good aeration and it woke everything back up. I had good fermentation going for a few weeks instead of (apparently at least) a little more than a week. But if I had not aerated it, when I moved it from the primary it probably given me quite a surprise.

Good luck, just remember this is habit-forming!

kipgunter
09-20-2011, 05:48 PM
I have read so much, it is confusing, I got a SG of .986, racked it out, it isn't bad the way it is, maybe too strong, checked my notes, original was 1.07, may try a different yeast.

AToE
09-20-2011, 05:58 PM
1.070 is a pretty low starting gravity, so this will be a very dry lower alcohol mead.

EDIT: and never judge a mead before it ages! I've had ones that were worse than garbage after 1 month that turned out awesome after 12.

AngryNord
09-20-2011, 06:41 PM
Very true. That reminds me of a beer experiment making a kilt tilter (lifter? I forget.) about ten years ago. It tasted like beer poured out of and ashtray when I thought it should be done, so I put it back in a closet to age more. Two months later it was a lot better, and didn't make it another month before it was gone.

kipgunter
09-21-2011, 06:12 PM
got the new hydrometer, it worked out to 5%, trust me , that is incorrect, been a fan for many years, I know what is what, so trying to figure out what it is, it is good , by h=no doubt, but it isn't 5 %, that is a refresher when I mow grass

AToE
09-21-2011, 07:48 PM
What was the gravity it's reading now?

Loadnabox
09-22-2011, 09:11 AM
got the new hydrometer, it worked out to 5%, trust me , that is incorrect, been a fan for many years, I know what is what, so trying to figure out what it is, it is good , by h=no doubt, but it isn't 5 %, that is a refresher when I mow grass

Two things to rember:

First, if it's a triple scale hydrometer, don't look at the ABV scale, that's only an estimated ABV when taking a reading before fermentation begins. If fermentation has started it means nothing

Instead, you need to have the Original SG (often abbreviated OG) and the current SG. Use the mead calculator on this site to give you what the current ABV is.

Second, is that fresh booze tastes very different. You can have something that's only 8% ABV that will taste as harsh as a bottle of gin. Don't make any decisions about the booze until it's at least 6 months, if not 12 months old. During this time, the higher alcohols that create the harsh taste, evaporate (They have a lower evaporation point so they go away and the good alcohols stay behind). Once gone the taste is greatly improved :)

kipgunter
09-22-2011, 05:27 PM
when I checked the reading with the new scale, it was .986, it was about 70 F so the correction was to add .002, so about .988

kipgunter
09-22-2011, 05:33 PM
yea, my original SG isn't a reliable, it was done with a device intended for brine I have had for many years, I couldn't remember exactly how to calibrate it. The batch I just started is 1.09