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beowulf
03-05-2005, 02:15 PM
OK. SO my first batch of mead has been brewing for about 2.5 weeks. THe gravity is at 2.5 wich says it should be about 15 percent. Now i tasted it and it seemed a little bit carbonated almost. My recipe says it will only take 3-4 weeks. How do i know when its done? I am going to see my sister and rother in law on thursday and id really like to bring them a bottle, is there a way of knowing what the alcohal conent right now really is?
thanx all

jab
03-05-2005, 05:58 PM
Ok, well in order to answer your question we need some information.

What is your recipe?

You say your gravity is 2.5 but that makes no sense. Gravities are measured on a scale that usually goes from 1.0000 (water), to upwards of 1.140 (ton of honey to water ration). Although I don't use Balling/Brix from a quick glance at my triple scale that doesn't seem to be a measurement of that either. Can you explain how you measured gravity and what you used to measure it?

Generally you can be sure your mead is done fermenting (notice I said 'done fermenting' not necessarily done) if you take several gravity readings over a 3-7 day period and they don't change.

If after fermentation is complete you can drink it with a straight face, well then I suppose you can call it done. Just one thing to note though, even if it tastes OK right then and there most if not all meads will get better with age. Most, but certainly not all, meads cant take anywhere from 6 months to 1, 2, 3, 4, or more years to age properly.

I realize your recipe says 3-4 weeks, and that is certainly possible, but without the recipe and your procedure there isn't going to be much we can do for you.

For the question about the alcohol content, that goes back to your gravity readings. If they haven't been done or haven't been done correctly then there is no way to tell without spending a lot of cash for lab tests. That's why if you really want to know the ABV you need to be good about taking readings and taking them accurately.

beowulf
03-06-2005, 06:38 PM
Hello. First of all thank you for the assistance. Upon reazming my hydrometer my gravity was 1.14 however i didn't know i was suppose to take an inital gravity. I will take another reading tomarrow so i can see if theres any change. I can indeed drink it with a straight face. I am aware that meads can take a long long time to age. However, as i am young and this is my first batch i wanted the first few to be quicker ones. After i feel i have the hang of things i am planning on getting another carboy so i can have one aging mead and another shorter one going, does that sound like a good plan?
AS for the recipe it is
12lbs honey
1.5 liters white grape concentrate
4.5 red grape concentrate
1 lemons lemon juice
1 lemons lemon zest
1 cup raising
2.5 gallons water
yeast, dunno what kind *duck*

i raised the temp of the water and juice concentrate to 200 degrees then added the honey. let it sit for about 10 mins and took it off the heat to let it cool. When it got down to about 83 i added the yeast culture, and shook vigerously for several minutes. Since then it has been in a sealed container until i took gravity reading and tasted it.

jab
03-06-2005, 07:05 PM
Looks like an OK recipe. Without knowing the yeast type I can't tell you much in the way of how long it will ferment. Your best bet at this point is it keep taking gravity readings until they stop moving.

There is no reason, even if it isn't done, you can't take some to the in-laws for a taste if you really want to. I don't suggest that but you aren't going to harm anyone. If you do before fermentation is complete I only caution you on the packaging. If it's not done fermenting and you bottle it you have made a bomb. It will keep fermenting in the bottle and pressure will build up until POP!

Glad to hear you have joined the club. Young or old makes no difference, here we are all equals. Read the forums, learn and make great mead.

beowulf
03-09-2005, 04:00 AM
Hey Jab.
Ok well four days 2 days ago or so my measure was 1.14 it is currently 1.099, so its definitly not done fermenting. However, is there a way to take out a bottle, about a liter and kill the yest so it wont explode? I am aslo considering using a plastic bottle which i know is a lil uncuth but hey im a newbee right.

David Baldwin
03-09-2005, 08:16 AM
Well, after 2.5 weeks of fermenting, and you are down to an SG of 1.14 you had to have a very high starting gravity. Most of my meads have started out around 1.14.

What yeast strain you used will make a huge difference in the final product. I would be very surprised if that mead finished iin 3-4 weeks.

If you are using a yeast like Lalvin EC-1118 you can expect the alcohol content to reach nearly 20% - maybe a bit more. I think you'll have quite a lot of residual sugars left after fermentation is finished.

Your hydrometer is your best friend in knowing when it's really done - and knowing your yeast tolerances will help immensely. For example, I had a mead that bubbled along nicely for a while and then stopped and cleared - perfect - NOT! I checked the SG to find that it was WAY too high for the yeast to have reached its alcohol tolerance. I had a stuck fermentation that I had to kick start back into action. It's back on track now, but without knowing the original gravity, I would have been shooting in the dark.


Be patient. You've put a lot of work into it so far, and it may take quite a while for it to really mature.


Good luck and enjoy!

David

beowulf
03-09-2005, 07:51 PM
is there ne way to kill the yeast if i make a botttle early? so it wont explode? maybe put inn the fridge?

jab
03-09-2005, 09:07 PM
Yeah, if you are using a plastic bottle (like a 2-liter pop bottle?) I would put some in there, leave about 1 inch of head space below the neck (note the neck not the top of the bottle) and put a balloon on the top and put it in the fridge.

The fridge will make the yeast go dormant after a while. After that you will want to keep it cool. If you don't the yeast will likely wake up and start going again. The balloon is a good way to seal the bottle while allowing the pressure to 'escape' by filling the balloon. You can then let the pressure out of the balloon when you feel it's necessary.

If at all possible I would transport it in a cooler of some sort so that you can continue to keep it cool enough the yeast stay sleeping. And I would, again if you can manage it, transport it with the balloon on just in case the yeast do wake up.

On a side note, does anyone have any figures about how long on average it takes in the fridge to get the beasties to take a nap? I am sure it will take a while depending on size. In general are we talking a day, 2 days for a 5 gallon carboy?

beowulf
03-10-2005, 02:52 AM
hey jab.
weell looks like it wont work really. im goins on a plane so can't keep it cool or a baloon on it and fresh outa balloons but its good info 4 me 4 next time
night

David Baldwin
03-10-2005, 08:26 AM
Jab,

I set two batches into my "carboy chiller" together. One was using the Fleishman's bread yeast, and the other was using K1v-1116.

My water bath chiller takes temps down to somewhere between 38 and 40. The Fleishman's quit and dropped clear in about 4 days. The KIV rocked on for about a week+ a couple days before it quit.


When the mead drops clear, you should be able to carefully rack it off the yeast.
A word of caution though. I still had fermentation kick back up after I racked even adding sulphite and sorbate. That K1V is one tough yeast.