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View Full Version : Probably a mistake on my first batch ever. Help?



justin.chiang
03-14-2017, 02:54 AM
Hello there everyone,

I started a 1-gallon batch of mead and racked it yesterday. Now, I haven't seen any bubbling from second fermentation, which the guy at the homebrew store says is perfectly normal, but I'm still worried that I may have killed everything in the must. The real concerns, however, are the following:

1. I forgot to buy a hydrometer before I started making this, so I don't have a precise starting SG. Mea culpa, my formal science education was forgotten for a moment. I did manage to calculate a pretty good guestimate of 1.1282 based on some known quantities, however.

2. When I racked, I realized that I had lost considerable volume, and the 1gal carboy I was using as a secondary would probably have too much headspace, and the must might start oxidizing too fast. So.... I added water until I went from a 3/4 full carboy to just short of the bottleneck. I realize this is going to vastly water down the alcohol content, but I didn't even read about the marble filling trick till after this was done. Whoops. Anyway, recipe is as follows:

Justin's First Batch
Yield: Starting volume 1 gallon. Racked approximately 3 quarts, filled secondary carboy to 1 gallon.
Ingredients:
A. Trader Joe's Mesquite Honey, 3lb (roughly 1 quart)
B. 1 Orange, sliced
C. Water, to fill 1 gallon carboy
Yeast: Lalvin's 71B-1122, approximately 1/5 of the pouch
Yeast Rehydration: Approximately 20 minutes in room temperature water, no nutrient added.
Ingredient Special Handling: Orange was sanitized and then rinsed prior to slicing and placement in carboy.
Must Preparation: Mixed 3lb honey with 1 quart water and simmered/stirred over low heat for 30min.
Fermentation Management: Forgot to take starting SG (oops). Must was kept at room temperature (A/C'ed room) in a solid chest. Must racked after 25 days of fermentation. Air bubbles in the blowoff tube had slowed to 1 bubble every 40 seconds. I will take the ending SG after the must has clarified. Preliminary calculations should put me at around 5% alcohol after the watering down of the must. But we'll see.
Aging: None yet

Storage space is at something of a premium where I am right now, so I won't be using a full-on bucket or have a collection of various-sized carboys for the near future. In the next few batches, I'd like to start producing controlled volumes of mead at small batch sizes. The big question I have is, can I mix a more concentrated must (4lb honey compared to 3 for a 1-gallon batch), let the fermentation go a little longer, and then add water to replace lost volume after racking? My thought process is that by starting out with a higher concentration of sugar, I can get more alcohol in the primary fermentation, and if I have to water it down, maybe the dilution effect isn't quite as bad.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me out.