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View Full Version : First Time Brewing - Confused about Fermentation (can it happen twice?)



MiPenga
09-11-2014, 07:01 PM
Hello Everyone,

This is my first time brewing anything, but I wanted to start with mead.

I started this project on 8/2/2014 and prior to that, spent a few hours watching different instructional videos about brewing mead, and scouring around reading different resources to give me an idea of what I was about to get into.

The part that I'm confused about right now is... to me, it seems like my mead fermented, cleared up, then began fermenting again and became cloudy for a second time. This doesn't make sense to me. I thought the best way I could show you what I mean is by posting some pictures I've taken at various intervals during this process.

Picture # 1 (http://i.imgur.com/3qKcfRD.jpg) - This is a picture of the mead on day 1.

Picture # 2 (http://i.imgur.com/fRn9gIh.jpg) - This picture was taken on 8/28/2014 and things were seemingly pretty clear at this point. I was able to see the bottoms of my oranges through the glass. At the time, fermentation appeared to have stopped, and no bubbles were coming up.

Picture # 3 - (http://i.imgur.com/BqOT09J.jpg) - This picture was taken today, 9/11/2014, for the purposes of posting what things currently look like. Things have been looking like this since about 9/4/2014.

Picture # 4 (http://i.imgur.com/Xqe7MQ8.jpg) - This is a close-up of the bubbles as they are currently.

Could someone tell me what's going on here please? Is something wrong with the mead? Did I screw something up somehow?

I used 15lbs of Orange Blossom Honey, 3.5 gallons of bottled spring water, Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead Yeast, 2.5 tsp. of yeast energizer, 5 oranges, and 3 handfuls of raisins. Fermentation temp is a 76 degrees Fahrenheit for lack of a better option - and done mostly in the dark, except for when the light is on in this room (which is not frequently). I'm not sure what the OG was as I did not have a hydrometer at the time.

Thank you in advance.

mannye
09-11-2014, 07:16 PM
Mi Penga. This is almost a very funny thing in Spanish.

MiPenga
09-12-2014, 01:03 AM
Hehe yea, unfortunately when I created this username on a different site umpteen years ago, pinga was not allowed. I decided to go with US phonetics instead.

bernardsmith
09-12-2014, 01:14 PM
Not sure I know what is going on but 4.2 lbs of honey /gallon is a lot of sugar. And if the carboy is in fact 3 gallons then you are talking about 5 lbs of honey in each gallon. I don't know what the calculator here would say but my rule of thumb suggests that 1 lb of honey raises the gravity of 1 gallon to about 1.040 so 5 lbs will raise it to 1.200 or potentially 26 percent ABV. You could use champagne yeast and it would still result in a sweet mead (I think what Wyeast means by a sweet mead yeast is that this strain cannot ferment above a low level of alcohol - it has no tolerance for high alcohol concentrations).

You write in your last sentence that when you pitched the yeast you did not have an hydrometer. Does that mean you have one now? If so, I would take a reading today and then another one say tomorrow and see if the density of the mead is dropping. If it is that means that something (almost certainly yeast) is converting the sugars in the honey to alcohol.

MiPenga
09-12-2014, 03:53 PM
Ah sorry, I should have been more specific. The carboy is a 5 gallon carboy. 3lbs of honey per gallon.

ostensibly
09-13-2014, 07:23 AM
I haven't used the Wyeast but yeah, it looks like it's still fermenting. Did anything change around the time it restarted - temp, nutrient additions, etc?

MiPenga
09-13-2014, 09:54 AM
Only my jerk friend coming by to take a look at it, and then tapping on the glass of the Carboy. Other than that, I haven't taken the airlock off (since adding the yeast energizer on the 4th day of stirring), have never moved it, and has been consistently at 76 degrees.

Stasis
09-13-2014, 11:09 AM
A bit unusual but I wouldn't be worried about it. If only you had a hydrometer you'd know how much sugar is getting eaten up. Perhaps it was too sweet and this is a good thing. Ferments restarting is very common but I never saw it so vigorously. Maybe the fruit is getting broken down and new sugars and nutrients are being introduced?

joemirando
09-13-2014, 03:29 PM
I had a cyser that did the same thing, but over about 6 months. It finished sweet, but did absolutely nothing for half a year. Then one day I noticed that it was again happily bubbling away. Luckily it was bulk aging and not sitting in corked bottles.

Joe

kudapucat
09-13-2014, 05:34 PM
It could be malo. Did it get warm before restarting?
It could be acetobacter too. What's it smell like?

(The first is good, will give a soft mouthfeel, the second is bad. Will give vinegar)

Take the airlock off, sanitise a tube and extract 1/4 glasses. Taste it.
And measure the gravity!

joemirando
09-13-2014, 07:27 PM
It could be malo. Did it get warm before restarting?
It could be acetobacter too. What's it smell like?

(The first is good, will give a soft mouthfeel, the second is bad. Will give vinegar)

Take the airlock off, sanitise a tube and extract 1/4 glasses. Taste it.
And measure the gravity!

Mine (since it was a cyser and you asked about malo) had been sitting at the same temp (within 2 degrees) for 6 months. It smells sour (dissolved CO2) but not vinegared. I haven't taken a gravity reading since. I just put it on the shelf to bulk age. If it wants to kick up fermentation yet again, its more than welcomed to. ;)

It had cleared the first time, and I was thinking of bottling it, but then it got its second wind and started fermenting and clouding up. Once fermentation stopped, it cleared again (slowly).

Joe

MiPenga
10-01-2014, 12:20 AM
Thanks for the insights on this. I did a reading last night and was sitting at a 1.021. It's still bubbling quite frequently, so I suppose I'll just let it keep going.