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Kiba
03-25-2014, 03:21 PM
My gallon of Joe's Ancient Orange mead seems to have stopped fermenting completely as of last week. No bubbling, no more gases, nothing. Currently the batch in question tastes like an in-progress mead would--meaning bitter, unpleasantly tart, and just weird in general. It leaves a film in my mouth, ugh.

Ingredients:
-1 navel orange
-22-23 raisins
-2lbs of Rita Miller Wildflower Honey
-1.5lbs of Busy Bee Clover Honey.

Last Friday I got bothered enough at the lack of fermentation to rack it off and clean out the jug, to avoid having the fruit rot or something. As I expected, there's still nothing at all happening in the jug. No bubbling or gases, just a very stubborn half-finished mead.

The weird part is, it doesn't seem like anything's actually gone wrong--nothing tastes or smells spoiled, it just seems frozen in time at the halfway point. Should I pitch in more yeast, raisins, and fruit and hope that it gets back on track? This just feels strange, since both of my reduced half-gallon JOA batches finished in a month without a problem.

SilentJimbo
03-25-2014, 04:04 PM
Do you have a hydrometer? It might actually be finished...

mannye
03-25-2014, 08:45 PM
Fruit is floating? Lava lamping? How long has it been? A gallon typically takes 8 weeks to finish. Have you looked very closely to see if tiny bubbles are still rising? Have you checked the seal on your airlock?


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now. G

Kiba
03-26-2014, 01:22 PM
It's been forty-seven days since starting the gallon, so it's around two-thirds finished. The fruit was still floating, and even the tiny bubbles stopped at least a few days ago. No hydrometer, since I mainly go by taste/smell, and I don't know what lava lamping is. The Saran Wrap I'd tied over the top as a jury-rigged airlock was doing just fine, and after I racked it off, I replaced it with a new piece. In fact, during my weekly taste checks, I replaced the plastic wrap each time, so it couldn't be stretched too much or degrading.

Marshmallow Blue
03-26-2014, 02:04 PM
I think lava lamping is when it floats up and down, but I think that only has to do with CO2 binding to your fruit, floating it up, releasing and repeating. You really need a hydrometer, A mead is always going to smell like CO2 burn in a carboy and minor airlock activity could be degassing.

Kiba
03-26-2014, 05:16 PM
Thanks for the advice; I'll spring for an airlock and hydrometer once I manage to stock up on more honey. Weirdly enough, there's a very tiny rim of bubbles in the mead as of this morning--after I already racked it off the sediment and oranges for a few days. I couldn't tell if it was ongoing, though; no visible bubbling, so it's either too slow or too minute to see normally.

SilentJimbo
03-26-2014, 07:48 PM
Fermentation times can vary greatly (I've had one batch ferment dry in two days!), so 47 days doesn't mean it should only be two-thirds done. I notice your description didn't say it tasted sweet - if it was stalled half-way through, it would probably taste very sweet. No way of being certain though until you get yourself a hydrometer (the single most important piece of brewing equipment).

Kiba
03-28-2014, 04:25 PM
Thanks for the response about what mead generally tastes like. It spurred me to check my mead log again: I noticed at around the halfway mark, all three of my mead batches tasted horrible between the end of fermentation and mellowing out.

My approximated finish date for the "problem" batch was the month of April, so I'm thinking it might have finished ahead of schedule (one month as opposed to JAO's usual two months) like you mentioned. According to my mead log, I wrote that it tasted like soap at the halfway point, and my more recent tasting last week was actually described as "somewhat more bearable." I really hope it's finished and just needs to mellow out, because that means nearly a gallon of mead ahead of schedule.

Also, I dearly hope that I end up with a two-day mead someday. XD

Edit: So I ventured into tasting a few drops again, and it's... continuing to lose its bitterness, I suppose. Still doesn't taste like mead, but it's not pucker/gag-inducing and it doesn't leave a film anymore. Definitely seems like it's mellowing out.

mannye
03-29-2014, 02:41 AM
One bit of advice I don't think you have gotten yet. You seem to be "fussing" with it a bit. JAOM is generally, no wait, ALWAYS supposed to be left alone until the mead is crystal clear and the fruit has fallen or at the very least started doing the up and down lava lamp thing. No hydrometer, no tasting, no anything! Just wait.

I admit it was hard for me the first time and as soon as it was clear I stuck a thief in there and pulled out a small cordial glass full to taste it. But it takes at least 8 weeks generally to reach drinkable.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now. G

Kiba
03-29-2014, 05:25 PM
Yeah, I broke the rule about not racking it because I worried just enough to get stir-crazy. Now I won't have any fruit to help me out when I cold crash it, like I did with my reduced batches. Still, I AM making sure not to fuss with it anymore than I have. (Aside from very minuscule weekly taste checks.)

At the very least, I'll be a lot more confident about leaving my future batches of mead alone since I've gotten my tinkering urges out with these three batches.