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View Full Version : First timer, forgot to take initial measurement!



BloodBlight
08-13-2014, 10:52 PM
So, first time brewer, hello everyone! :)

I forgot to take my initial gravity measurement. So I took one today (about 72 hours in) and I am reading 10% (1.073?).

I used 144 oz (3 x 3 48 ounce) jars in 3 gallons of water. I also added three oranges and a handful of raisin (Thinking I should have added more? There was MAYBE 20.) and used D47 I think.

How much would you expect it to change over the first three days? I started getting fermentation within 12 hours or so.

I gave it a good stir before I took the measurement, but there was still a good amount of honey that had settled.

Your thoughts?

mannye
08-13-2014, 11:03 PM
That's hard to say, but if you go to the mead calculator, it should be able to figure out your starting gravity.

http://www.gotmead.com/2014-04-16-20-10-09/mead-calculator.html

BloodBlight
08-13-2014, 11:13 PM
Yep, it says 14.13%, that is what I thought it should be. I'm not really sure how the hydrometer works. I would THINK it needs to be well mixed for it to work, and it just wasn't.

Part of the reason I am second guessing it that two of the jars were a lot thinner than the other. I am assuming that means the honey had a higher water content.

What do you think about the additives? I didn't put in any yeast food. I got a bit frustrated with all of the options when I started and kinda just said F' it. Having seconds thoughts on that line of thought now...

On a side question/idea. I am storing this in the guest room for now because of the hot weather, but I worries that the yeast smell may build up. I was thinking of adding a trash bag on top of the airlock with a rubber band. Any issues with doing that?

mannye
08-13-2014, 11:37 PM
First, don't worry about the smell. It usually smells pleasantly sweet not yeasty. I doubt it will be an issue. Second, yes, get some nutrient. Fermaid O would be the better choice if you are going in late with them. Fermaid K is OK as well if its easier to obtain. Just be aware that K is not recommended later in the ferment (after the 2\3 sugar break). Your hydrometer should have a percent scale on it in addition to the other numbers so you can use those to figure out 1/3 (roughly 10%) and 2/3 (5%). You want to add a tablespoon of Fermaid K or 20 grams of O if you get that.

BloodBlight
08-14-2014, 12:50 AM
K, I'll stop my the brew shop tomorrow.

So, what happens if there isn't enough? Does it just stop fermenting at some point?

In some cases, would you want that for a sweeter mead?

Chevette Girl
08-14-2014, 01:25 AM
Yep, it says 14.13%, that is what I thought it should be. I'm not really sure how the hydrometer works. I would THINK it needs to be well mixed for it to work, and it just wasn't.

Part of the reason I am second guessing it that two of the jars were a lot thinner than the other. I am assuming that means the honey had a higher water content.

What do you think about the additives? I didn't put in any yeast food. I got a bit frustrated with all of the options when I started and kinda just said F' it. Having seconds thoughts on that line of thought now...

On a side question/idea. I am storing this in the guest room for now because of the hot weather, but I worries that the yeast smell may build up. I was thinking of adding a trash bag on top of the airlock with a rubber band. Any issues with doing that?

If you used D47 and it's warm in your house, get the carboy/bucket into a tub of water with a wet t-shirt over it to cool and maybe aim a fan at it, it'll throw off all kinds of fusels if it gets too warm. There shouldn't be a problem if you're trying to catch the offgas in a trash bag, but most of the rest of us have come to love that smell, it's really only pungent for a week or two when the bulk of the fermentation is happening. It certainly can't hurt you.

The hydrometer? Pretty simple - it floats higher the more sugar (honey) there is in the water, so it drops gradually as the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol. The way you tell how much alcohol you've made is by the difference between the initial specific gravity and the final specific gravity, there's a bit of math that the online calculators can do for you to tell you how much alcohol you've made by how much sugar was used.

As for nutrients, it's getting a bit late for that, you want to give your yeast the nutrients while they're replicating which is usually the first third of the fermentation which I think you're past by now. But Manny has it right, if you're going to do a late addition, Fermaid-O is the one to use. Or if you can't find any, get some bread yeast at the bulk store or a jar at the grocery store and put a few teaspoons in half a cup of water and microwave it till it gets thick and smelly... then let it cool, add enough water to thin it out, then pour it in.

BloodBlight
08-14-2014, 11:26 PM
Well, that kicked it up a notch!

It had already started to slow a bit, but now it is faster than ever.

I added the nutrient about two hours ago and I am getting a good glug ever 6-7 seconds now.

When I rack it, should I put it in a smaller carboy? I have 3 gallons in a 5 gallon (and have a second 5 gallon). In other words, should I be worried about oxidation once the fermentation slows?

You guys rock by the way! ;)

Oh, final thought. I kept my last sample (also added a tiny amount to it as well, no water though), and am watching it with the hydrometer. I have no idea if it will an accurate representation of what is going on inside or not. I did notice that it has already dropped to 9% (from 10% when I first looked at it).