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willowhix
11-11-2015, 06:08 PM
Heya. I'm currently in the primary of my first go at making mead. It's a 3 gallon batch of traditional orange blossom mead. The yeast I'm using is Lalvin D47. Now, I started the ferment just about 3 weeks ago and it's since started bubbling, got a bit faster and got a bit slower again. It's been sitting pretty consistently at 65 Farenheit or a little lower and It's seems to smell a lot like mead now as well, though it is still bubbling. I've heard a lot of people talk about getting the mead "off the lees" before it puts bad flavours into your batch.

So, when exactly should I rack it into secondary? When the ferment is completely finished, or before that?

bmwr75
11-11-2015, 07:09 PM
There is no exact time to rack to secondary. My ferments are usually done in 1 month or less, which means I rack the mead off the lees at about 1 month, regardless of the yeast being used.

When your mead hits 1.03 S.G. you need to put it under an air lock and allow it to continue to ferment to <=1.000. If making a melomel with fruit in the primary, hitting 1.03 might be a good time to rack and remove the fruit. That is what I do when making grape wines.

storm1969
11-11-2015, 07:21 PM
Many different opinions about this one.... I have no hard and fast rule. Depends on the mead/wine, and what I am doing with it.

Squatchy
11-11-2015, 09:11 PM
You would get a better response perhaps if you gave us more info on your specific batch. Also what are you dioing with it at this stage? Stirring, letting it sit under lock and key? Whats your OG , current g and so forth.

mannye
11-11-2015, 09:20 PM
Doesn't sound like you are using a hydrometer. That, more than anything else will tell you when it's time to rack. You start at a certain gravity and when it gets to zero, you're done. Usually that happens within a month but can take longer. In the absence of a hydrometer, you're best bet will be to wait until activity is done and sometimes, when the must goes clear. The latter may not happen, so it's hit and miss, BUT if you do have clear mead after 30-40 days, rack it. If not, just wait until you see a lot of lees on the bottom and sit there for 5 minutes and don't get a "bloop" from the airlock.

That doesn't mean you're done, just that you are ready to rack into secondary. Now you can leave it for 3 to 6 to "who knows" months and safely wait for all the yeast to fall out (or at least a significant amount where the mead looks clear...it's not as you will find out) THEN you can rack again into a clean carboy and bulk age. Or, and I hope you do regular tastings once a month or so, you stabilize, bottle and drink.

willowhix
11-11-2015, 11:48 PM
Doesn't sound like you are using a hydrometer. That, more than anything else will tell you when it's time to rack. You start at a certain gravity and when it gets to zero, you're done. Usually that happens within a month but can take longer. In the absence of a hydrometer, you're best bet will be to wait until activity is done and sometimes, when the must goes clear. The latter may not happen, so it's hit and miss, BUT if you do have clear mead after 30-40 days, rack it. If not, just wait until you see a lot of lees on the bottom and sit there for 5 minutes and don't get a "bloop" from the airlock.

That doesn't mean you're done, just that you are ready to rack into secondary. Now you can leave it for 3 to 6 to "who knows" months and safely wait for all the yeast to fall out (or at least a significant amount where the mead looks clear...it's not as you will find out) THEN you can rack again into a clean carboy and bulk age. Or, and I hope you do regular tastings once a month or so, you stabilize, bottle and drink.


You would get a better response perhaps if you gave us more info on your specific batch. Also what are you dioing with it at this stage? Stirring, letting it sit under lock and key? Whats your OG , current g and so forth.

Oop sorry. I should have provided this link here. This is the post I made when I first began fermentation.

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/25101-Just-started-my-first-batch-Do-I-have-any-problems

Specific gravity at start = 1.12

I have yet to take the SG again since starting fermentation. In fact, I have been keeping the bucket closed quite "lock and key" as you mentioned, though that's mostly because I haven't had any reason to open it. I spent a good amount of time stirring to aerate the must before primary, but I haven't touched it since. I'll check the SG again soon to see what sort of change I've got. Is there a particular value I'm looking for? I'm not exactly sure what information can be derived from the SG other than the alcohol content and a rough estimation of how far along you in fermentation you are.

Farmboyc
11-12-2015, 12:07 AM
If the SG is near or lower than 1.00 it is a good time to transfer to secondary. Means almost all sugar is gone and fermentation has slowed to a crawl.

mannye
11-12-2015, 01:34 AM
If the SG is near or lower than 1.00 it is a good time to transfer to secondary. Means almost all sugar is gone and fermentation has slowed to a crawl.

Yep. That's pretty much it right there.

Ooga Booga
11-12-2015, 01:48 PM
I have heard of some folks racking earlier on to get the must off the yeast cake. The idea is that less yeast means less sugar consumption and fermentation finishing before the must is dried out. Not sure if that's what you're thinking about. Unfortunately, I haven't tried this or heard much about it, so that's all I have on this method. Maybe someone else here has tried this?

willowhix
11-12-2015, 02:15 PM
Hey guys, so I opened up the bucket and checked it again for specific gravity and pH. This time I used better pH paper so I think it's accurate this time around.

Before opening it up, it was bubbling once every 4 minutes 52 seconds on average. Though it's worth noting that it tends to bubble in bursts instead of one bubble at a time. Once it got going in the first place, it was bubbling a bit more at once, roughly every 2 minutes.

SG = 1.054
pH (using pH paper) = 3.2

I tasted it as well. It seems really quite sweet, and the taste of alcohol is very subtle. I can still taste the flavours of the original honey too, though it is subtler. It's a pale straw yellow in colour and still very cloudly. Seems to be quite bubbly too from the carbon dioxide, though not so much to be at all noticable in the taste. Because the fermenting bucket isn't transparent, I'm unable to see if it's sitting on any lees or how much of it there is.

So, I suppose it's still got a good bit to go before secondary, right?

mannye
11-12-2015, 06:28 PM
Yep. How many days has it been fermenting? It should be finished at about 30 - 40 days.


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

willowhix
11-12-2015, 06:33 PM
Yep. How many days has it been fermenting? It should be finished at about 30 - 40 days.


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

21 days today. That seems just about right then. Cheers! :)

mannye
11-12-2015, 08:10 PM
Yep. Just relax and have a homebrew.


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

Mazer828
11-15-2015, 11:11 AM
Couple of thoughts. Some wait until the yeast is done and drops out, to rack. Others recommend that you rack at a certain SG to stop the fermentation at a certain point. With some yeasts (Lalvin 71B-1122 for instance) if you rack near the end of fermentation your mead should pretty reliably finish about 10-15 points lower than when you rack. For example if you rack when you reach 1.030, you can almost always count on a final gravity of about 1.015-1.020. This would be an advantage over letting the yeast ferment out completely if you wanted some residual sweetness.

You did mention that you used D47 though, which I note that a lot of people have good results with. I have not. Despite my best efforts it does the same for me as it appears to have done for you, quitting well before the destination FG I had in mind. I had to actually repitch a second yeast to complete my mead.

Anyway that's more than you asked for, but there it is. Best of luck.

willowhix
11-15-2015, 02:09 PM
Couple of thoughts. Some wait until the yeast is done and drops out, to rack. Others recommend that you rack at a certain SG to stop the fermentation at a certain point. With some yeasts (Lalvin 71B-1122 for instance) if you rack near the end of fermentation your mead should pretty reliably finish about 10-15 points lower than when you rack. For example if you rack when you reach 1.030, you can almost always count on a final gravity of about 1.015-1.020. This would be an advantage over letting the yeast ferment out completely if you wanted some residual sweetness.

You did mention that you used D47 though, which I note that a lot of people have good results with. I have not. Despite my best efforts it does the same for me as it appears to have done for you, quitting well before the destination FG I had in mind. I had to actually repitch a second yeast to complete my mead.

Anyway that's more than you asked for, but there it is. Best of luck.

Well actually, since I last took a reading of the specific gravity, fermentation does seem to have stopped completely. I suppose that means it's stalled. :/ A few notes on factors that might have contributed are:

- The temperature in Glasgow dropped a lot in the past few days. Since I'm brewing in my eaves (which previously was a good consistent temperature), I believe it's dropped lower than it really should be.
- My initial measurement of fermaid wasn't as accurate as I'd have liked. It's possible I've added a little too much or too little. If it's the latter, I guess it could be affecting the yeast in this later stage of primary.
- Although the fermentation did seem to slow down over time (as opposed to stopping within one day), it wasn't until I had opened the fermenting bucket for the first time since pitching that it actually stopped. I don't see how this could have caused it to stall, but it does seem worth mentioning.

So, assuming that it has stalled, what do I do now? Should I try to restart fermentation, and how can I do that? Should I rack beforehand just to get it off the lees?