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View Full Version : I think fermentation has stopped early don't know what to do



Elgato67
10-20-2014, 04:11 PM
I think fermentation has stopped, this was my recipe:

~13lbs honey
~41/2 gallons of water
Red Star champagne yeast (1 packet)
1/4 cup sugar

I boiled the honey and water together with some herbs (anise, hibiscus, cloves) This was a real nightmare as I had to run to the store to get larger boiling pots mid process. Transferred the must to my 6 gallon plastic bucket fermenter, which I had in a sink full of ice. When it cooled to 125 or so, I pitched my yeast (which I had started in some warm water and sugar) into the must. I then let it sit for a couple days, bubbling lock indicated fermentation was going. I then transferred it to a carboy, running tube from the fermenter nozzle into the carboy's neck. Again, bubbling soon indicated active fermentation. I waited over a month, by which time fermentation had ceased. I then racked the mead, transferring it back to a fermenter; waited couple of days, no bubbles. At the time of racking, the liquid was very clear with maybe an inch of sediment at the bottom of the carboy. Tasted the stuff yesterday: very boozy taste, seems pretty alcoholic. I don't have any measuring equipment. Should Put it back in the Carboy, try to re-start fermentation or what?

Chevette Girl
10-20-2014, 10:41 PM
The important variable in "should I restart it" is actually "Is there any sugar left?" If yes, then it's stppped early and if it's too sweet, go ahead and initiate restart protocols... if no, then the yeast have eaten all the honey and your fermentation is finished.

For the next batch you make, I'd seriously consider getting a hydrometer so you can measure how much sugar you've got in your must.

Also, you really don't need to boil the honey, if you want to boil the herbs, just use water. Honey's pretty sanitary as it is and boiling can drive off a lot of the more delicate flavours and odours. (think about cooked fruit versus fresh, apply that to honey). Saves a lot of time and fuss and mess (as you apparently discovered! :p)

Again, for next batch, you probably don't want to rack it until the airlock stops, sometimes racking it off the lees can cause it to stall out early. It looks like yours didn't, because it kept bubbling for a while in the carboy.

Fermentation happens until one of two conditions are met: the yeast eat all the sugar, or the environment becomes unfavourable to the yeast (either too much alcohol, too much acidity, not enough nutrients, etc). I'm betting that after a month, there's no sugar left with the amount of honey in this batch, especially if you used a champagne yeast (they usually have a pretty high alcohol tolerance).

If you're happy with its taste and it's not at all sweet, you could probably bottle it soon if it's that clear. If there's any sweetness to it at all, or if you want to add more honey to sweeten it, you should really use some stabilizing chemicals before you bottle it or you risk exploding your bottles.

Elgato67
10-27-2014, 06:49 PM
Taste wise, it is pretty dry. I am happy with the taste, I guess a just got scared becouse it finished so much earlier than I had expected. Thanks for the advice.

Chevette Girl
10-31-2014, 06:28 PM
Fermentations can be really fast or really slow or somewhere in the middle, looks like yours was fast!

chams
11-01-2014, 02:18 PM
Taste wise, it is pretty dry. I am happy with the taste, I guess a just got scared becouse it finished so much earlier than I had expected. Thanks for the advice.

Finished or not, you still may want to age it in the carboy for a while before bottling as it will get better with age. I find even if it's gone dry (which I prefer) aging will bring back a sense of sweetness to the dry mead and round the flavours.

Steve Works
11-02-2014, 07:27 AM
Finished or not, you still may want to age it in the carboy for a while before bottling as it will get better with age. I find even if it's gone dry (which I prefer) aging will bring back a sense of sweetness to the dry mead and round the flavours.

I agree. Aging is the key. Have patience and it will most likely pay off.
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Steve Works
demi sec champagne (http://www.canard-duchene.fr/en/champagne-authentic/authentic-demisec)