View Full Version : First timer- accidentally overfed, now what?!

11-28-2016, 09:41 PM
Well, I'm feeling like an idiot over here. I'm brewing my first batch using the BOMM method T'ej recipe. I started the batch yesterday and recorded a SG ~1.097. The recipe said the SG should have been ~1.135. I added the initial 1/4 tsp DAP and 1/2 tsp Ferm. K and let it sit overnight.

Today, I measured the SG again (too soon?), this time at 1.093. The recipe said to add DAP and Ferm. K again at 1.095. Without thinking it through, I added another 1/4 tsp DAP and 1/2 tsp Ferm K. Now that I have sat down to think about it, I realize how wrong that was and have calculated my 1/3 break at ~1.065, which is a far cry from my current 1.093! So, my question is what do I do now?! Leave it and add more at the 1/3 break? Leave it, but don't add more until the 2/3 break (1.033?).

Thanks for helping me out. I hope I haven't ruined this batch! ???

11-28-2016, 10:03 PM
Did you add honey by weight? Is there still undissolved honey?

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11-28-2016, 10:14 PM
Added honey by weight. 3.45lbs to my gallon. Honey fully dissolved.

11-29-2016, 12:01 AM
Your fine dude. I made a 5 gallon BOMM once with the recipe that was in Table spoons rater than Teaspoons. That is way more than doubling the food metrics. It finished in one week. It ended up tasting fine over time.

It's good to measure your gravity every day during active fermentation.

11-29-2016, 10:02 AM
If you added that much honey, your gravity should be much higher. My suspicion is that the first reading was erroneously low due to undissolved honey. The second reading was probably closer to correct.

Alternatively, you have watered down honey (find a new supplier) or your final volume was greater than 2 gallon.

Regardless of the cause, don't add any more nutrients until 1.060 and it will be fine.

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11-29-2016, 10:03 PM
I'm confident the honey was fully dissolved, as the water was freshly boiled and still hot. I cooled in the sink with in a pot of luke-warm water and took the first reading at 78F, which read 1.095. My hydrometer is calibrated at 60F, so that came out to an SG ~1.097.

Yesterday's reading was ~1.093; however, this reading was taken prior to degassing and I could tell by the movement of the hydrometer that the reading could be off a little.

Today, I degassed first, then took a new reading. The temp was 74F and my reading was 1.070, which I temp-adjusted to 1.071.

I am a beekeeper, so I'm using my own honey, which is raw. I'm brewing in a 1 gallon carboy. Given this is my first time, I could have goofed on something (maybe the weight of the honey?), though I made every effort to be as accurate as possible. This is now day three. Do you think my SG is on point? At this rate, I expect I will need to add more nutrient either tomorrow, or Thursday.

I also plan to start another batch tomorrow following the same recipe. I will weigh my honey again and pay special attention to what I am doing each step of the way. I'm thoroughly enjoying this, btw! Thanks for all the help.

11-30-2016, 10:07 PM
UPDATE!! 2nd attempt at "The Perfect T'ej BOMM (https://www.denardbrewing.com/blog/post/Perfect-tej/)"

Today I started a new batch in a 1 gallon glass carboy. Same recipe (minus the gesho). I weighed the honey again. I think I know one thing I am doing that is off from the recipe. The one gallon carboy measures 1 gallon to the rim! I obviously can't fill to the rim, so I am good 10-15 oz (maybe more??) shy of a gallon... Maybe this is the issue? Either way, after I got everything done, I took a reading and recorded the SG ~1.097 AGAIN! Same SG as before... So, at least I am consistent!

So, my question is: Since I am starting off at 1.097 with the 3.45 lbs of honey, what will my FG be? How will this affect the taste of the honey? Will it be sweeter? Dryer? Have more alcohol? or less?

Thank you for your help!

11-30-2016, 10:45 PM
That gravity reading is still suspect. Using less than a gallon of water should result in a *higher* original gravity (because you have the same amount of honey but it's dissolved in less water), not a lower O.G. That reading of 1.097 for 3.45 pounds of honey dissolved in only 3 1/2 quarts of water seems way too low -- almost too low to believe, unless the water content of your honey is unusually high.

The numbers that I've seen say that a pound of honey dissolved in a gallon of water should give you about 35 points of gravity, so 3.45 pounds would be 120.75 points or a hydrometer reading of about 1.121. If you're using 3 1/2 quarts of water instead of a gallon, then we'd expect it to be about 1.138 -- so you see that your 1.097 reading is *much* lower than expected.

Just as a sanity check -- what does your hydrometer read when you measure plain water? It should be 1.000 -- make sure that's really what it reads, just to be sure it's not lying to you.

11-30-2016, 10:49 PM
Plain water is reading exactly 1.00. I thought the same thing as you. I'm not sure what's going on. This honey is from my hives and has been stored for 5 months!

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11-30-2016, 11:15 PM
OK, so for whatever reason, 1.097 is where you're starting. That means that you'll get less alcohol than the recipe predicts, and fermentation probably won't take as long.

As for the flavor, I'm guessing that your result will be drier and less sweet. The recipe starts at 1.135 and that could theoretically produce 18% ABV, but the Wyeast 1388 (an ale yeast, albeit a "strong ale" yeast) can't tolerate that much alcohol, so presumably it would stop short of complete fermentation if you started at 1.135 as per the recipe, leaving some unfermented sugar in the finished product. But since you're starting at 1.097, the yeast may well chew through all of your sugar, leading to a dry mead with little residual sweetness. The recipe says you can expect to finish at 1.015 but I bet you'll end up lower than that, maybe much lower.

11-30-2016, 11:35 PM
Verdict is in! Bad scales. I had only a little over 2 lbs of honey! geesh!!! I've corrected this batch by adding some honey, though I probably lost a little yeast and nutrients. I'm reading 1.135 now, which is what the recipe calls for! I googled how much does a quart jar of honey weigh, which is around 3lbs. Mine wasn't even full! Still feeling like an idiot, but at least I'm set straight now. Thanks pdh for the post, you really helped point me to the problem.

11-30-2016, 11:53 PM
Ok, I've corrected the second batch, but at least I will know this for my first batch, which is at 1.050 today (day 3). How will I know when it is done and has reached fg?

12-01-2016, 09:37 AM
When the gravity stops changing...

12-01-2016, 05:56 PM
Ok, just checked my SG on the batch I corrected last night and it has not changed. Should I be more patient for the yeast to start working? There is some CO2 degassing upon agitation, but it is limited. The other batch started working quicker... overnight practically. Does it take longer for the yeast to get going when the sugar content is that high? Should I do something today to remedy this, or give it time and let it do its thing? Thanks for reading these posts and for your responsiveness to me, I'm learning a lot!

12-01-2016, 06:00 PM
I should mention that the smack pack that went into this one showed little to no activity when smacked. It was only a few days old, purchased from a local brew shop, where it was refrigerated. I brought it home and refrigerated it until yesterday. I gave it three hours prior to cutting it open. Is adding more yeast today an option, or would that mess up the recipe?

12-01-2016, 06:17 PM
> Is adding more yeast today an option, or would that mess up the recipe?

That's definitely an option if you think your yeast wasn't healthy when you pitched it. But I don't think it's uncommon for smack packs taken right from the fridge to start slowly -- it may be that you just didn't wait long enough.

You also asked if the higher gravity could affect the yeast's ability to start up, and the answer is that it can. But the gravity isn't all that high for this yeast -- I've never used it but it seems to be intended for ales that start at high gravity.

If it were me, I think I'd give it another day or so before deciding that the yeast isn't working -- you may be just fine, the yeast may be OK but just off to a slow start. But that's just my guess -- like I said you won't hurt anything if you decide to pitch more yeast right now.

12-04-2016, 08:00 PM

BOMM#1- Day 8 - This is the one I screwed up with only approx 2.4 lbs of honey. I was going for a T'ej. It is now at 1.002. So, I guess I wait until it gets to 1.00 and then cold crash it? Seems a little too soon, but I guess I did screw up the recipe! 72F. It's dry. tips for racking to improve the flavor? it's around 12.34 %ABV... needs a little something.

BOMM#2 - Day 4 - This one, I corrected and got it closer to the target 1.135 SG (I got it to 1.130). Today it is at 1.080 and it is 76F. Is this too high? It's right next to the other one, so I don't understand the big difference in temperature. It has also slowed WAY down (not nearly the carbonation). I added the air lock today with some vodka. Too soon? Yesterday, it was at 1.095, so I added DAP and FermK, as the recipe calls for. Why would it have slowed down so much with so much sugar left and me just having added those nutrients yesterday? I snuck a little taste and it was good! Still really sweet. I'm looking for semi-sweet at the end. Comments, answers and suggestions greatly appreciated!

12-05-2016, 07:09 AM
And one more: I can't seem to catch a break. We had no electricity this morning. Temp in the house is already at 60F. I expect it will be back on in 3 or 4 hours. Is that going to hurt anything?

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12-05-2016, 09:08 AM
Nope. No problem.

12-05-2016, 09:23 AM
Take a breath! :-) Don't be in such a hurry to rack. Let the yeast finish doing their thing. If it's dry, you may want to rack it, stabilize and then back sweeten. It's amazing how much flavor and mouth feel will come out if you bring the SG back up to 1.005 to 1.010. Oaking and vanilla bean(s) will give you "a little something" also.

When you said that the temp of BOMM #2 was 76F, I assume you meant the must temp and not the air temp. BOMM #2 is in a state of active fermentation and thus generating it's own heat. If everything goes as planned BOMM #2 should end up with an SG = 1.010. Of course yeast are unpredictable, so you may have to wait a little longer for it to hit that SG or you may want to cold crash it when it hits that point.

12-06-2016, 08:22 PM
So, if I cold crash at 1.010, how would I prevent the yeast from starting back up? Use an additive, or is there another way?

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12-06-2016, 10:17 PM
Well, hopefully the fermentation will stop at about 1.010. Cold crashing will pretty much assure that it will and, if you want to make sure that fermentation is done, you'll need to rack and then stabilize (k-meta k- sorbate). Else, wait until it stops fermenting and, if it's not where you want it, then back sweeten.

12-18-2016, 02:10 PM
BOMM#2- start @ 1.030, cold crashed at 1.011. Racked off into a 1 gal glass carboy. Still 1.011. Followed the T'ej recipe from Bray.

Can I bottle this now, or will it make bottle bombs? Do I need to bottle while it is cold, or bring to room temperature? Tastes good!

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12-19-2016, 07:31 PM
Just checking in to see if anyone has advise on my last post?

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12-19-2016, 11:49 PM
How long has it been sitting at 1.011? I mean, have you taken multiple measurements over a period of days, and seen no change in the specific gravity?

If it's 1.011 but still has live yeast and unfermented sugar, then you absolutely need to stabilize it (by adding sorbate and sulfite) before bottling, or else wait longer. I just asked about bottling a batch of traditional mead at 1.002 on another thread, and I was warned about bottle bombs -- and rightly so, I fear, because mine wasn't really done fermenting yet. If you're truly certain that fermentation has completely stopped, that's fine -- but how sure are you?

I don't think the temperature at bottling time matters -- if it's unsafe to bottle at room temperature, then in my opinion it's just plain unsafe to bottle. The question is, has fermentation really truly stopped?