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Relic ranger
05-01-2013, 06:14 AM
hey everyone ,
so my first batch is brewing (3 weeks) and im already looking up more honeys,spices,recipes,etc.The more i read the measurement of the recipes they don't make sense. Let's say for a three gallon batch,how can someone use three gallons of water with 6 1/2 -10 pounds of honey and all ingredients and what not and fit into a three gallon carboy?????????impossible

I personally use a food grade bucket for primary and then rack into the carboy what is ever left i toss it .i know this is not how the more seasoned brewers do it. As i am still just a total newb i dont understand !


If i use a larger carboy then what is needed then i will have a huge surface area and large head space.... this is bad no? :confused:

fatbloke
05-01-2013, 07:23 AM
hey everyone ,
so my first batch is brewing (3 weeks) and im already looking up more honeys,spices,recipes,etc.The more i read the measurement of the recipes they don't make sense. Let's say for a three gallon batch,how can someone use three gallons of water with 6 1/2 -10 pounds of honey and all ingredients and what not and fit into a three gallon carboy?????????impossible
So you start with the honey, then make it up to 3 gallons in a bucket. Take a gravity reading to make sure it's not stupidly high and likely to cause fermentation issues/difficulties (I like to start my batches at no higher than 1.120 - sometimes it maybe a little higher but usually about there)


I personally use a food grade bucket for primary and then rack into the carboy what is ever left i toss it .i know this is not how the more seasoned brewers do it. As i am still just a total newb i dont understand !
A good practice to get into.....buckets usually give more flexibility in modifying ferments, as well as aeration and other things that may cause issues.

Once the ferment is in a carboy, I certainly don't dump any excess. I put that into an appropriately sized pop/soda bottle and keep it in a fridge, it makes for excellent topping up material once the ferment had dropped a sediment and been racked.

Don't sweat on being new at this, there's a lot to learn/know to get good results and to prevent making batches that end up going down the drain. The hardest thing to learn IMO, is the patience required.

There's plenty here who are happy to advise/guide or suggest other methods to achieve a drinkable result.



If i use a larger carboy then what is needed then i will have a huge surface area and large head space.... this is bad no? :confused:
Head space is less of an issue with primary fermentation as any air/O2 will get forced out by the CO2 produced by the ferment.

Secondary is where it's best to keep head space limited as much as possible as that's where a batch could be damaged by air/O2 contact. You end up by making a bit of a collection of different sized fermenters/carboys etc, as well as making sure the batches you make will fit into the sizes of container you have available to you......

Relic ranger
05-01-2013, 07:34 PM
so the more i read i'm sill confused. it sounds like the second ferment is just the fancy way of saying aging. so you make the must in a five gallon bucket and start the ferment process but how long do you leave it in there ..????

i didn't want to keep it in the plastic for that long so i gave it two weeks or so then i skimmed off the fruit and racked it into the carboy but i believe it was still in its primary ferment .

so when people say they leave it till its done fermenting thats like months then rack it to various carboy sizes then leave it for second ferment (age)

SO basically no need to worry about oxidation as long as in the secondary container there is a small head space?

akueck
05-01-2013, 08:48 PM
Actively fermenting mead is pretty darn resistant to oxidation. The yeast will consume any oxygen in solution. So the small amount of transfer through the plastic bucket is not really a problem until the mead is done fermenting.

Usually fermentation is done within a month. If it's stretching into months and that's not intentional, then you probably have some issues to work out e.g. nutrition, pH, whatnot.

Chevette Girl
05-02-2013, 08:31 PM
Yeah, "Secondary fermentation" is kind of arbitrary. Usually it's what you call it when your yeast have done about as much as they're going to do and you have racked it off the gross lees and most of the yeast so what's left can finish up the last little bits of remaining sugar.

WVMJack
05-03-2013, 02:39 AM
You can get tangled up in terms easily around here and that can cause a little confusion. When you add the yeast to your must you have started your primary fermentation in a primary vessel, whatever it is. If it is a bucket then you Transfer your wine into a Secondary fermentor to continue the primary fermentation. If you add Malolactic acid bacteria, or if they are just naturally there in your wine, you can get a Secondary fermentation that can occur in either your primary or secondary vessel. After your wine has dropped a lot of sediment in its first secondary container you then Rack into another secondary container, winemakers dont use the term tertiary because sometimes we rack several times and it would be silly to keep trying to name the number of times something has been racked. WVMJ

WVMJack
05-03-2013, 02:45 AM
As you get a little more experience you will use recipes as just guides. You have a hydrometer to tell you exactly how much honey is in your must, you will figure out how much per gallon that usually is with your own honey and use the hydrometer to accurately get there. Always make a little extra must because you are going to loose some when you transfer to your secondary vessel, fruit takes up space so that has to be accounted for, and as Bloke says you can save the extra if its enough to bother with to top off with. I usually dont bother saving a little bit extra as I like to top off with more honey or another wine as needed. So use the recipes now as a guide and learn to rely on your hydrometer to refine your must and that should help out a lot. WVMJ

ox45
05-03-2013, 11:43 AM
Also the Mead Calculator on this site is a great tool to get estimates of what you will need. I use a 6.5 gallon bucket as my primary and 5 gallon carboys for secondary/aging. I will use the calculator to give me an approximate amount of honey needed for 5.25 gallons to account for loss in racking. Then I use the hydrometer to fine tune the measurements.