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wiltshiremead
07-29-2012, 09:31 PM
So, I made a mistake No.1 (not too big deal though).
I didn't measure my OG right at the beginning so 12 hours later, my over 2 years old D-47 is bubbling away like a champagne and I decided to take a reading anyway but these damn bubbles! It was off the scale :o

So far I've used 2.195L water and 1585g honey (total of 3.78L, 1-gallon).

How do you measure the SG if your must is bubbling away?
I won't be able to find out when the must reaches 1/3 sugar break now :(

AlphaGenetics
07-29-2012, 10:11 PM
Did your hydrometer come with a measuring tube? Its a tall narrow cylindar, some 100 ml or so. Having one of these, you could take a sample of your brew and coax it to bubble out. Twisting around the hydrometer in the measuring tube I've found helps the brew degass a bit faster.

wiltshiremead
07-30-2012, 05:27 AM
Yes it did come with the tube and I tried to get rid of the bubbles but it's not just one or two but constant many tiny bubbles. This old yeast is very active now which is a good thing but I don't think I can get an accurate reading since it was off the scale last night.

akueck
07-30-2012, 08:21 AM
If you can degas the sample, then very quickly take a reading, it might work. If not, eh, no big deal.

wiltshiremead
07-30-2012, 01:02 PM
I did swirl with the hydrometer to get rid of the bubles but more kept coming.
I should have only added the 1/2 packet of yeast. But then again, I didn't know if the packet was even alive after 2.5 years after the expiration date so I added the whole packet. next time I will skimp on the yeast.

I would like to know the alcohol level that I would achieve in the end though.
Is there any way to find out without knowing OG?

fatbloke
07-30-2012, 03:02 PM
I did swirl with the hydrometer to get rid of the bubles but more kept coming.
I should have only added the 1/2 packet of yeast. But then again, I didn't know if the packet was even alive after 2.5 years after the expiration date so I added the whole packet. next time I will skimp on the yeast.
If the hydrometer came in a plastic sleeve tube, what you can do, is remove the hydrometer, sanitise the inside of the tube, then take a sample with a sanitised turkey baster, or wine thief, or similar, fill the tube about 2/3rds with the must, put the cap(s) back on the tube and shake the hell out of it. That should de-gas enough for you to get a reasonably accurate reading when you put the hydrometer into the tube. That's how the instructions for my hydrometer said to test. I don't, I use a 100ml graduated sample tube, but using the plastic tube that the hydrometer came in, would actually use smaller samples. I'd just have to make sure that the tube sits, well is held sitting, on a level surface.

As for skimping on the yeast ? Normal 5 gramme sized home brew packs of yeast contain enough for batches up to 5 gallons. There's nothing to be gained by skimping, as it's quite hard to keep a part pack sealed and dry enough not to get contaminated or otherwise spoiled, unless you intend using the rest within a day or two.

As for the pack being well out of date ? Use by and other date coding methods are just legal arse covering methods used by "food" manufacturers, to prevent themselves getting sued to hell and back. They know that the packaging will stay in good condition for X amount of months or years. Plus they know the chemical make up of the product and the likelihood of how long it should last. I often use packs of yeast out of date, but to confirm that they're still Ok, I just make a starter and if it does it's rehydration thing and shows some bubbling etc in the starter, I can then presume that it should be fine for fermenting the full batch of whatever.


I would like to know the alcohol level that I would achieve in the end though.
Is there any way to find out without knowing OG?
There are various lists, spread sheet tables, etc that float around (the one here is the mead calculator). You can input the values of the weight of honey, water volume, etc etc and they will chuck out an answer. The accuracy of the answer would still be subject to a tolerance i.e. when these type calculators were first produced, they had to make various assumptions about the materials used, like, for example, the sugar content of honey.

Now that's one big variable that can't be ignored. Which is why one of the easiest ways of working out the strength of a brew is the OG - FG = X gravity point drop. that gravity point drop will convert directly to a % ABV figure (I use the table that Bob, who runs Winesathome over here, produced (http://www.winesathome.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?912-Wine-Making-Calculators-and-factsheets) (it's the one listed as "Alcohol calculation chart" it's in .xls format, but I use open office to view it) - it seems that it's relatively accurate. which helps as most of us can't afford the kind of hardware that industry or more importantly, the local taxation authorities can muster.....)

wiltshiremead
07-30-2012, 05:47 PM
Many thanks fatbloke, heaps of good advice there.
Just managed to take a reading, shaken not stirred ;)
It was 1.150, awfully sweet but lovely. I like sweet drinks so I am not trying to make a dry mead or anything so that's good but still quite a long way to go till 1.000 :eek:

fatbloke
07-30-2012, 11:36 PM
Many thanks fatbloke, heaps of good advice there.
Just managed to take a reading, shaken not stirred ;)
It was 1.150, awfully sweet but lovely. I like sweet drinks so I am not trying to make a dry mead or anything so that's good but still quite a long way to go till 1.000 :eek:
1.150 ? Damn, that's rather high.

It's one thing to want a strong brew, but adding all the honey up front, can cause fermentation issues. It would have been considerably easier, to mix it to something like 1.100 or 1.110, get the ferment going, then add more honey later a.k.a. step feeding.

If that reading is correct, I suggest you check out the NewBee guide about staggered nutrient addition, and make sure you aerate at least once daily......

wiltshiremead
07-31-2012, 05:56 AM
arrrg i followed the JAO recipe but nothing about staggered honey. Dumped all in one go :o
I've been feeding 2 packets of boiled yeast, aerating daily, and no bad smell, yeast appears to be happy and bubbly. I planned to feed upto 7 packets (350ppm - 490 ppm pf nitrogen) but looks like I'm gonna have to continue feeding the boiled nutrients till it goes down to 1/3 sugar.
Oh well, at least I know the SG now.

Chevette Girl
08-05-2012, 10:51 PM
I usually get a SG around 1.125 with a standard JAO proportion of honey and water, 3.5 lb in a 4 litre jar with headspace (which works out to approximately an American gallon). You might want to double check using the mead calculator just for a second (approximate) opinion.

If you were using a British gallon and 3.5 lb honey, I suspect you might have gotten an artificially high reading from bubbles adhering to the hydrometer too, I like to tap the top of my hydrometer to bounce it off the plastic bottom of the test tube to knock the bubbles off. Gently. Then take the reading quick before it rises again :)

Sounds like you're doing something along the lines of staggered nutrient feeding if you're adding a bit of boiled yeast at each aeration.

But yeah, if you actually meant to make a mead that strong, a better approach is to start it somewhere more reasonable (I don't usually start higher than 1.125) and then every time it finishes its honey and drops the SG below your lower threshhold, feed it more honey to your upper threshhold.