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View Full Version : first mead in secondary fermenter need help.



Krisfx4
07-02-2013, 08:19 PM
Hello all,
I made my first mead on June the 12th. The recipe was as follows, 1.5 gal of honey (15 lbs) to 3.5 gal of water. I did not take an initial specific gravity. I added yeast nutrient and white labs WLP720 yeast. Exactly 1 week after mixing up the must I transferred to a glass carboy secondary from a plastic bucket primary. I was advised to do this by a local homebrew shop. I took a SG on 6/25/13 which was 1.030. Today July the second I have a SG of 1.010. I am kinda lost if everything going as it should or not. I have used the calculator here but dont really know what Im looking at. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. If you need more info to help me please ask.
Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can bestow upon me.

Bottoms up,

Kris

akueck
07-02-2013, 08:59 PM
Sounds like things are moving along, so all is well!

Generally there is not much need to move mead into another container before fermentation is complete. In the future, leave the mead in the bucket a bit longer. Early transfer poses a risk of a stalled fermentation.

Chances are your OG was near 1.110. You might get down to 1.000, or maybe not. WLP720 can be difficult to work with. Once your SG stabilizes and the mead starts to clear, you should be more or less done with fermentation.

Krisfx4
07-02-2013, 09:06 PM
Thanks for the encouraging info. I'm trying to make a sweeter mead would I be ok back sweetening. It has a slight dryness as I taste the samples I've taken.
Thanks,
Kris

B. Goldwater
07-03-2013, 10:45 AM
Backsweetening would be fine once fermentation is complete if your yeast take the mead too dry for your liking. Just remember to sulfite and sorbate the mead before adding more sugars. You dont want to restart the ferment when you are trying to backsweeten.

Krisfx4
07-03-2013, 04:37 PM
My only concern at this point is that i have noticed alot of sediment it the bottom of the carboy and the bubbling in the airlock is slowing. If my SG previously listed is correct and the calculator is also correct with that reading, the mead is only 1% alcohol. is something going wrong? should I sample again?

B. Goldwater
07-03-2013, 05:56 PM
Where did you get the 1% alcohol calculation from? I dont see where you stated what your O.G. was...

Going off of akueck's estimate of your O.G. reading @ 1.110~ and your last reading of 1.010 you should be in the 13% alcohol range if it goes dry (1.000 or below).

Things should be slowing down since you are nearing the bottom of your sugars available (based off your reading of 1.010).

According to your first post you started this batch on 6/12/13 and racked to secondary on 6/19/13. That was prolly a few weeks earlier then you really needed to rack it the first time. The object is to rack as few times as possible. I "generally" dont rack from primary until weeks 3-4, this way it allows time for more lees to settle out before racking to secondary and a majority of the ferment is done by then. There is a lot of sediment in your secondary since you racked after only a week. Mead making is a game of PATIENCE. It is going to go at its own pace whether you like it or not, you just have to keep tabs on the progress and decide when to do certain things in the process.

I would suggest racking it off the bulk of lees soon and then letting it be, "to do what it do". Again have some patience, time is your friend...

Krisfx4
07-04-2013, 02:15 PM
Thanks for your help. Sounds like I was given some off advise from the local shop. Ill probably rack it of today and see what happens. Should I leave it in a carboy for awhile prior to bottling?
Thanks,
Kris

akueck
07-04-2013, 04:09 PM
Personally I wouldn't rack it just yet. Let it finish completely and start to clear, then you can rack it and leave more solids behind.

As long as it's totally done fermenting, you can bottle it any time you like. That said, it's best to leave it in the carboy for as long as you can stand it. Typically mead won't be great for at least 6 months anyway. The extra time under airlock gives it a chance to really finish and clear. Even when it looks clear, there is usually more clearing that can be done.

Krisfx4
07-18-2013, 09:47 PM
Well it has been 16 days since my last specific gravity reading. It appears that all of the solids have dropped and started to clear up nicely. My current reading is 1.006. Am I still in the clear? What percent alcohol am I currently sitting at?

Thanks,
Kris

B. Goldwater
07-19-2013, 11:17 AM
Well it has been 16 days since my last specific gravity reading. It appears that all of the solids have dropped and started to clear up nicely. My current reading is 1.006. Am I still in the clear? What percent alcohol am I currently sitting at?

Thanks,
Kris

Since you didnt take a OG reading, we are going off of you having an OG around 1.110 based off of the calculations. That being said you are in somewhere in the 14% ABV which WLP720 I believe has a tolerance of 15% which they may or may not get you too. You have a few options:

A) Continue to monitor the SG every few days and if you have no change of gravity, fermentation "might" be done and you can bottle. I would still recommend dosing with Kmeta and Ksorbate if it stays at 1.006 as there is still sugar in the mead that can kickstart fermantation off at somepoint down the road, which can be bad if you have bottled.

B) Stabilize now with kmeta and ksorbate, backsweeten if you want. Wait a few weeks and bottle. I would recommend bulk aging as long as you can possibly stand it, then bottling and aging for another month or two.

C) Add your choice of liqour to increase your ABV% high enough to kill off yeast. Keep in mind the higher the ABV, usually the longer it takes to mellow with age...

There are prolly some other options as well. The best thing you can do is have some patience and let the yeast do what they do, let the mead bulk age a bit, and bottle sometime in the future. This mead is only a little over a month old, that is quite young to bottle in my book...