View Full Version : Is my Primary Fermentation Complete?

11-14-2013, 02:34 PM
So, I read through the site and the forums, and finally made my first batch of mead. I did three 1-gallon jugs so I could try out some different stuff and see how it all turned out. I am just a mad scientist at heart. And I know how you guys are about good notes, so I took lots of notes, anticipating I might have some questions on these forums (and for my own reference!).

My question is simple (though the answer may not be): Is my primary fermentation complete? Am I ready to siphon it into my secondary fermentation and hide it away in my basement for a few months?

My notes are linked below:

Schedule Overview and Bubble Chart (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmlpkG0FFaQ3dGVmMV9pamVMamV2U2M3MjBZN0w3M FE&usp=sharing)
Mead of a Westardly Breeze Notes (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OlE8qw2oobMTb3NmXYVBYE-7Rdo8c3LSiyrzLTaqaQI/edit?usp=sharing)
Orange-Heart Mead Notes (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G7fBk8ZqKIqhuClGN11LbcMXb_STGG8pHVZyspTcX4U/edit?usp=sharing)
Ishtar's Mead Notes (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CM-HZHY9Qp_ez6cjcJX4UaNl_fUlJbV-KIwyw2Ws-14/edit?usp=sharing) (This was my wife's batch, so there is a bit of info missing in the notes... sorry)

It is also important to note that I updated the "Process" section in these notes after I started this batch, refining the process with what I learned. Scroll down to the "Batch 1" section to see what I actually did for this batch, as it differs slightly from the "Process" section.

Thanks in advance! And let the mead flow!

11-14-2013, 03:00 PM
The quick answer is don't rely on airlock activity, get a hydrometer. If there's only one tool in your "fermentation kit", this should be it. Its really the only reliable way of tracking fermentation progress. Activity in the airlock can be deceiving.

With that said, give it a taste. If its too sweet, it might be stuck and need some work. If the sweetness is what you were expecting, there's no harm in racking and beginning the aging process.

11-14-2013, 03:20 PM
Thanks for the reply!

Ya, I just never got around to ordering a Hydrometer, so obviously I have no Hydrometer readings.

I was planning on giving it a taste, but honestly, while I think I could identify if it was dry (and therefore definitely done), I would have a hard time knowing the difference between "as sweet as it should be" and "too sweet". But I can certainly try!

Marshmallow Blue
11-14-2013, 03:21 PM
Gravity will indicate the end of fermentation and if it is stuck too high or not. Like Brian says, it's time for a hydrometer.

Edit: and like you say, it's on its way. So when you get it, post those readings.

Vance G
11-14-2013, 10:57 PM
The hydrometer will still help to find out if the mead is done working. Take a careful reading and either note the temperature or adjust for it. Take another reading in a couple weeks. At the same temperature, if the readings are the same, your mead has stopped working. Wait a couple more weeks and verify that it has stopped. If your mead is 1.030 or up after declared finished, it is a verysweet mead. If your mead is .995 or below, it is a very dry mead.

11-14-2013, 11:42 PM
Ok, I took the SG measurements (went to the store and bought one... I just couldn't wait!) and put them into my notes. I also tasted them all (and it was awesome!). But now I don't really know what they mean. Two of them do seem lower than I expected though (and they tasted very alcoholic-ey). So now the only thing I can do is just wait and measure it again?