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jacksonfurlong
06-14-2014, 04:35 PM
So this was my first attempt at making mead. Used the 1 gallon recipe:
1 Gallon Spring Water
3.25 lbs Honey
1 Packet Lalvin EC 1118
1tsp Yeast Nutrient
1 tsp Yeast Energizer
I activated the yeast and stirred it into the must at about room temp and then put the airlock on it. Now it came with a cap so I put it on there, since there were holes in it I figured that the air would get out well enough.
Here's my problem, I checked on it after a week and it wasn't bubbling. I was/am worried the yeast didn't do its job and that I may have accidentally prevented it from getting enough air. Decided to wait until I got a new hydrometer to test it further, the one that came with my kit broke during shipping. Cut to today, used the wine thief to siphon out a bit of the mead to test. Dropped the hydrometer into the test tube and it sank. I guess that means that the yeast ate the sugars so, hopeful hooray, not sure though. Gave the sample a taste, definitely some alcohol there. A little more bitter than I had intended it to be though.
My question is where do I go from here?
Do I wait another 4 to 11 days as the recipe states and then transfer to glass carboy?
Do I transfer immediately to prevent sediment fro giving it a bad flavor?
Do I repitch the yeast and leave the cap off the airlock?
Should I add some more honey to the mead upon transfer to the new carboy to sweeten up what seems to be a fairly bitter batch?
Or should I toss everything and try again?
Please help, I love mead and I really want to get into the finer points of this hobby, if only to get the most out of the awesome brew.
Thanks in advance. :)

danr
06-14-2014, 05:02 PM
Putting the cap on the airlock was fine; it helps keep bugs out of the airlock and the holes allow CO2 to outgas. I assume that you put water in the airlock? If so, and there was not bubbling, then the lid on on your fermenter may not have been completely sealed, allowing the CO2 to escape without causing bubbles in the airlock.

What was the reading on your hydrometer? Unfortunately, "it sank" is not enough information for us to provide a helpful answer. If all the sugar has been converted to alcohol, your reading should be below 1.000. Did the hydrometer sink almost completely? If so, it would be a good time to transfer to your glass carboy. You definitely could also backsweeten, although you might want to stabilize with sulfite and sorbate first. Either way, you will want to let it age for several months before you drink it.

Definitely do not "toss everything." Do "try again" though. Once this batch starts tasting good you are going to want more to drink right away.

jacksonfurlong
06-14-2014, 05:28 PM
By "it sank" I mean to say that there was no floating whatsoever.
I'll try stabilizing and transfer straight away, thanks.

loveofrose
06-14-2014, 06:50 PM
By "it sank" I mean to say that there was no floating whatsoever.
I'll try stabilizing and transfer straight away, thanks.

Wait a minute. Do you mean the hydrometer totally sank? That means it broke and you have no idea what the gravity is.


Better brewing through science!

jacksonfurlong
06-14-2014, 08:00 PM
As the initial post suggests I am new at this, so new that I went ahead without a hydrometer at first and therefore have no initial reading. However, I have tested it on water where it certainly floats at a 1.0000. Then I tested it with a wine which floated it to around the 10% alcohol mark. What does this mean? Aside from the fact that my batch is denser than water, that is.

Wait a minute. Do you mean the hydrometer totally sank? That means it broke and you have no idea what the gravity is.


Better brewing through science!

fatbloke
06-14-2014, 08:29 PM
The ones with just the gravity numbers on the scale are marked from something like 0.990 at the top and maybe 1.150 or more toward the bottom. The idea being that the higher the scale stays above the liquid, the more supported it is by the difference in density, when compared with water (distilled water at a specific temperature - which is usually on the scale somewhere too)

Ok, so the ones with % alcohol marked on them as well, will invariably be marked like that to suggest a potential strength of alcohol for the corresponding gravity number i.e. when compared to the 1.000 for water, if the top of the hydrometer was sticking out of the liquid at 1.133, it would be saying 18% alcohol - that's not to say that a mix of sugar or honey and water with a reading of 1.133 DOES contain that much alcohol, just that it's telling you that if you fermented it down to 1.000, then it would contain that much alcohol.

So if the hydrometer was sitting at the 10% mark, then when you saw that it had a gravity of about 1.074 - not knowing the starting gravity means that if this batch then ferments down to 1.000 then you will have 10% ABV - but as it's already done some of the fermentation, there will obviously be a higher strength.

While it may seem a bit pointless still measuring gravity if you don't have the start figure, what it's telling you is that the ferment is still progressing all the time that the numbers drop toward the 1.000 of water, the rate at which the ferment is progressing (more than one measurement needed obviously - frequent measurements help but that means you need to be strict with your hygiene regime as the more times you measure the greater the chance of contamination by spoilage organisms), whether the ferment has stopped or stuck, plus there's a few other conclusions you can get just from taking the readings, etc etc.

Stasis
06-14-2014, 08:49 PM
A hydrometer would only sink if you have very high alcohol level. But you'd surely need to fortify a mead for that to happen. My hydrometer does not go below 0 (It also measures in Babo... It still floats in wine though) Maybe there is some specific type of hydrometer not used for wine which assumes that any liquid will not be that undense. If this is the case you'd better buy a wine hydrometer

danr
06-14-2014, 08:56 PM
HERE (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/23203-How-to-use-a-hydrometer?highlight=hydrometer) is a recent post from GntlKnigt1 about using a hydrometer. I haven't actually viewed the linked video, but maybe it will help you.

jacksonfurlong
06-14-2014, 11:44 PM
Whoops, meant to say less dense there. Thanks for all the pointers guys, knew I was missing a step when I skipped the hydrometer, but hey first batch ever.

Dunn1994
06-16-2014, 05:47 AM
This might sound stupid, but how much mead did you float it in? If you haven't took enough of a sample to to take a reading, it will just sink to the bottom...

Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk

danr
06-16-2014, 10:04 PM
This might sound stupid, but how much mead did you float it in? If you haven't took enough of a sample to to take a reading, it will just sink to the bottom...

Good observation Dunn1994, yes you need at least enough mead to allow the hydrometer to submerge to the SG level without touching the bottom of your test jar.

jacksonfurlong - was the hydrometer touching the bottom of the test jar with the top of the hydrometer exposed above the top of the mead, or was it completely submerged in the mead? As others have stated, I have never seen a mead dry enough to allow a hydrometer to sink to the bottom of the test jar and be completely submerged.