View Full Version : First Batch - Racking and Sweetening

07-08-2017, 03:21 PM
Hi there,
I've tried to read up on this independently and keep getting lost, so I thought it would be best to ask.

I've just racked my first batch of mead to secondary fermentation. It's a 2 gallon batch, and is currently sitting in two 1 gallon carboys (with some additional basil).
Here's the recipe I used:

6lbs Honey
3lbs strawberries
Basil (unsure how much)
Yeast was a Lavlin recommended by the person at the Homebrew supplier. He said it was a good on for what I was trying and that the amount was right for my volume, but I can't remember the exact type. Fail.

The initial hydrometer reading was 1.11, and it was stable at 1.0 when I moved it to secondary. (So, about 14.4 ABV, if I'm not mistaken).

This was a lot stronger and drier than I'd anticipated, and at some point I'll want to back sweeten it. I know I'll need to ensure that the fermentation is halted before adding any sugars.

So here are my questions:

Should I let it hang out in the secondary for a while before I sweeten it, or should that be done now? (I was planning on about 2 months in secondary)
If I wait, will I be able to bottle soon afterward, or am I looking at a longer time before it's ready to go into the bottles? And, if so, how long?
If it needs to mature after being sweetened, what should that be in? Obviously, I can't use the gallon carboys, because I'll be gaining volume. The next size up I have is 5 gallons, though, and I'm worried about leaving it in something with that much headroom for any length of time. I could buy a three gallon carboy (and probably will eventually), but would rather not have to do that at this point. Even less, though, do I want to screw up the mead. Do you think that 5 gallons would be okay?
Any rules of thumb on how much honey I'll want to add? I don't know the conventional wisdom is "to taste," but I'd like to have a ballpark range for getting started.