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View Full Version : Calculating sugar break with a 1 gallon batch



keith
04-13-2015, 10:23 AM
I'm new to mead and I have a couple 1 gallon jugs going now. The recipe I'm following wants me to add nutrients at 2/3 and 1/3 sugar break. I totally understand what this means but I don't know the best way to do this. I have a refractometer and a hydrometer.

From my understanding, the refractometer won't be correct after fermentation begins. The problem with the hydrometer is I will need to use quite a bit of my 1 gallon batch to get the gravity/brix.

Anyone know the best way to do this?

bernardsmith
04-13-2015, 11:11 AM
Hi Keith, If you use good sanitation practice and soak your hydrometer in a solution of 2 oz of K-meta dissolved in 1 gallon of warm water and you soak the hydrometer jar in the same solution then there is absolutely no problem in returning the sample back to the carboy - at worst all you will have have done is increased by a hair the amount of free SO2 in the wine (from the K-meta that will cling to the inside of the jar) and that is not a problem. Beer makers use other chemicals to sanitize their brews and so are fearfully neurotic about returning any samples they have measured... I don't think that this is luck but I have never had any problem after returning any sample of wine or mead or cider I have measured over the years.

keith
04-13-2015, 01:09 PM
Alright, sounds good. Thanks.

bmwr75
04-13-2015, 03:43 PM
When checking S.G. of fermenting mead, I use a turkey baster, hydrometer and 250 ml graduated cylinder. All are sanitized with a solution of Easy Clean (L D Carlson product) prior to use. Using the turkey baster allows you to remove your mead sample without upsetting the lees (settled out stuff) in the bottom of the 1 gallon carboy. I also rinse all the sanitized equipment in hot tap water prior to any of it touching the mead. The tested mead is then returned to the 1 gallon carboy. All the test equipment is then sanitized and rinsed again.

To minimized the amount of Easy Clean needed, I mix it up fresh each time in a 16 or 25 oz. plastic cup (not sure of the exact size) like you get at a fast food place. Also use hot tap water just to help the Easy Clean dissolve better.

bernardsmith
04-13-2015, 04:56 PM
When checking S.G. of fermenting mead, I use a turkey baster, hydrometer and 250 ml graduated cylinder. All are sanitized with a solution of Easy Clean (L D Carlson product) prior to use. Using the turkey baster allows you to remove your mead sample without upsetting the lees (settled out stuff) in the bottom of the 1 gallon carboy. I also rinse all the sanitized equipment in hot tap water prior to any of it touching the mead. The tested mead is then returned to the 1 gallon carboy. All the test equipment is then sanitized and rinsed again.

To minimized the amount of Easy Clean needed, I mix it up fresh each time in a 16 or 25 oz. plastic cup (not sure of the exact size) like you get at a fast food place. Also use hot tap water just to help the Easy Clean dissolve better.

Interesting idea to rinse the sanitized equipment in water (hot or cold). I would think that tap water contains all kinds of bacteria and other possible sources of contamination so the idea of washing off the sanitizer seems to me to be somewhat counter-intuitive. If the sanitizer is likely to cause a problem with the fermenting wine or mead then I would think a better solution is to change the sanitizer to one that does not need "rinsing"... I know that we are talking about sanitation and not sterilization but i would hope no doctor or surgeon would rinse their sterilized tools in tap water...
Me? I simply clean my tools and equipment after use and wash and sanitize before use...

bmwr75
04-13-2015, 09:50 PM
Rinsing in hot tap water has not caused me any issues. It is the same water we drink and the same water one could use to make mead (if I didn't use Ozarka bottled water). My thinking has been that I'd rather not have residual Easy Clean solution in the mead. Maybe have been concerned about nothing.

bernardsmith
04-13-2015, 10:31 PM
It's not that the drinking water would make you sick but that there could be contaminants in the water which is why you are sanitizing your equipment chemically... if water was perfectly free of spores, mold or bacteria then there would be no need to use sanitizers. That you might use your tap water to dilute the honey for mead does not itself challenge the idea that water itself may harbor some contaminants - When you pitch the yeast you add billions of yeast cells and those billions are certainly going to edge out the few cells that may be in the water. That yeast will produce an environment that will inhibit the growth of wild yeast through their production of acids that favor themselves and the CO2 that inhibits the growth of volunteer organisms that need O2...

kuri
04-14-2015, 07:13 AM
While I understand why people can be concerned with rinsing, ever since my first mead I've been using straight tap water for making the mead, with no sanitation of the water itself. I was horrified by the idea at first, sure that it would lead to ruined batch after ruined batch. As it turns out, I haven't had a single ruined batch yet. I do sanitize everything that touches that water and/or the honey, religiously so, but I don't boil or even heat the water or the honey. Coming from a beer making background this was a scary thing to do. It appears, though, that the sanitation level of the water coming from the tap is good enough that nothing other than the yeast I pitch gets a chance to establish itself. If this is so for the full 4 gallons or so of water, I can't imagine that the miniscule amount of water you have remaining after rinsing sanitizer off of your equipment would cause any problems at all.

For full disclosure, I use StarSan and don't rinse, so my comments are not based on experience with rinsing.

mannye
04-14-2015, 08:25 AM
Hi Keith, If you use good sanitation practice and soak your hydrometer in a solution of 2 oz of K-meta dissolved in 1 gallon of warm water and you soak the hydrometer jar in the same solution then there is absolutely no problem in returning the sample back to the carboy - at worst all you will have have done is increased by a hair the amount of free SO2 in the wine (from the K-meta that will cling to the inside of the jar) and that is not a problem. Beer makers use other chemicals to sanitize their brews and so are fearfully neurotic about returning any samples they have measured... I don't think that this is luck but I have never had any problem after returning any sample of wine or mead or cider I have measured over the years.

I retain that neuroses and typically never return samples to the main batch. I use the smallest measuring vessel I can to minimize losses. A benefit of this is that I am developing a palate for the must and I'm beginning to learn when all is well or when something is awry early on by the taste.

chezteth
05-06-2015, 01:19 PM
When checking S.G. of fermenting mead, I use a turkey baster, hydrometer and 250 ml graduated cylinder. All are sanitized with a solution of Easy Clean (L D Carlson product) prior to use. Using the turkey baster allows you to remove your mead sample without upsetting the lees (settled out stuff) in the bottom of the 1 gallon carboy. I also rinse all the sanitized equipment in hot tap water prior to any of it touching the mead. The tested mead is then returned to the 1 gallon carboy. All the test equipment is then sanitized and rinsed again.

To minimized the amount of Easy Clean needed, I mix it up fresh each time in a 16 or 25 oz. plastic cup (not sure of the exact size) like you get at a fast food place. Also use hot tap water just to help the Easy Clean dissolve better.
Just to clarify. Easy Clean is not a sanitizer. It is a cleanser. No rinse sanitizers such as Star San or Iodophor are meant to sanitize, no rinsing required. K-meta solution is also another good option.
To the OP. I agree with bmwr75 that properly sanitizing the hydrometer and other sampling tools will allow you to return the gravity sample to the fermenter.

Crowing
05-06-2015, 07:46 PM
I just tie a little thread to the hydrometer and plop it in, thread all the way at the top so it never even touches the mead

mannye
05-07-2015, 07:25 AM
I just tie a little thread to the hydrometer and plop it in, thread all the way at the top so it never even touches the mead

This

If you have a lot of foam it can make this difficult but I rarely run into that. In a larger 5 gallon ferment I simply put one in the bucket and it stays there throughout the ferment. Lift lid, check. No touching the must required. If you have only one hydrometer, it's not an option of course but the thread method works for a bucket too.


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