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beeboy
08-31-2004, 07:53 AM
I've got a couple of questions about my first batch of mead and could use some advice from all the more experienced brewers out there(That's everybody since I'm on my first batch). about two weeks ago I mixed up 5 gallons of must using 1/2 gallon of honey, about 5 lbs of sugar a mead starter kit from the local home brew store and a pack of gold star champane yeast. the specific gravity was at 1.15 to begin with( I'm hoping for a abv of around 14% when done). I cleaned all the equipment, mixed up the must and added the yeast. Within 24 hours frementation had started and by 48 hours the bubbler was going at a rate of 45/min. Now the bubbler has slowed down to around 8 per min and the specific gravity is at 1.10. Does it sound like every is working right? I'm planning to transfer the mead to a secondary frementation container this weekend and letting it do it's thing for at least another six weeks. How will I know when fermentation is over, I've tasted it already, sweet and it has quite a kick, can't wait till it is finished. What should I watch for during the next few weeks. Any tips would be helpfull. Thanks,
Life is Short, Drink hearty and have no regrets!!
Beeboy and his bees

lbaker
08-31-2004, 05:55 PM
Well, first off, I don't have a whole lot more experience than you, but I'll give you my comments anyway :)

An OG of 1.15 should give you a potential alcohol of ~20%. I don't know about Gold Star yeast, but most Champagne yeasts I've read about are good for ~18% alcohol. So if you allow things to ferment to completion, your final SG should be around 1.020. Since your only at 1.100, it has a ways to go yet. It sounds like the fermentation has settled down so I'd go ahead and rack it to a carboy and get it under an airlock. Then, patience is the key. If you want to stop it at ~14% then you need to keep monitoring the SG and stabalize when it gets to an SG of ~1.045. (This will be quite sweet!).

Hope this helps.

Lyle Baker
http://www.moremead.com

Jmattioli
08-31-2004, 06:14 PM
Good Morning Beeboy,
First are you certain about the starting SG. of 1.150? 1/2 gal of honey is approximately 6 lbs and with the 5lbs of sugar that makes 11 lbs total. That should give you a starting gravity for 5 gallons of less than 1.100 unless you added some other fruit or sugar mixture which I missed in your post.
Also I am confused because you said it had quite a kick and only show 40 points of gravity drop. From your bubble input and time period I would say all is going well but not according to your SG reading. Could you provide any other data like all exact mead ingredients in kit and type of honey?
Joe

P.S. Could you have possibly been reading the balling scale on your hydrometer instead of specific gravity?

Norskersword
09-01-2004, 12:05 AM
Hey Lyle, although you say you are new, I have little doubt you are more experienced then I.

On the subject of racking, it takes about 8 weeks or so for the lees to actually effect the taste of your mead. If you rack too often, and every 2 weeks, you will loose alot of mead since every time you rack you loose some.

If his batch is only 2 weeks old, he should wait another 4 weeks or so before he troubles himself with racking. Many meadmakers believe in 6 weeks as a rule of thumb.

lbaker
09-01-2004, 02:00 AM
I was assuming he was using a plastic bucket (with or withour airlock) for the primary and I didn't think leaving it for more than 2 weeks in the bucket was a good idea (but I could be wrong...) I thought once the initial, vigorous, blowing the stopper type fermentation was over, you should move it into a glass carboy. Of course, racking may be the wrong term here cause your not really trying to get rid of the lees at this point, just get it into a better container. Although, if it's still fermenting, it probably doesn't matter very much.

... and believe me Norskersword, I have very little experience. At this time, I have exactly 1 batch bottled, a Cinnamon/Vanilla Cyser (which is getting rave reviews from my friends!). I have a peach melomel and a Ice Pyment in the works. From the taste, it will be a (long) while before the peach is drinkable, and I just started the Ice Pyment. As soon as the primary frees up, I'm thinking of starting a batch of Joe's Ancient Orange / Cinnamon / Clove Mead. It sounds absolutely wonderful!

Lyle

Jmattioli
09-01-2004, 06:00 AM
Just to offer a different perspective for thought.
I now always ferment in Glass Carboys if available. I use my plastic primary for sanitizing bottles and stuff. I leave it in the primary til its almost done and when I rack, I never take the lees with me although I know others do. I let it sit in the secondary glass carboy until it is finished and clear. Then I rack it off the secondary lees and bottle or bulk age or drink.
Joe

beeboy
09-01-2004, 06:17 AM
Thanks for all the replies, I'm using the standard plastic bucket with an air trap and amhoping for a high alcohol content. JMattioli hit it on the head with the beginning specific gravity, I washed down my honey extractor and added the honey water to the must which brought up the specific gravity to 1.15. I'm a hobby bee keeper and have a bit of a sweet tooth so a sweet mead is fine by me. The hydrometer that I'm using came from work and is used to check different salt solutions, it doesn't have any other calibrations on it. You use what fortune gives you and make the best of it. I'll rack the mead this weekend and leave it alone for three or four months. Drink, Laugh, Love and enjoy
Beeboy

Oskaar
09-02-2004, 08:08 PM
I used to use corny kegs but have made the switch to glass carboys. Most of the carboys I have are the 7 gallon size. I also use a blowoff tube rather than an airlock in most cases.

The last two batches have been large, so I have found the airlocks to be a bit more convinient, and I'm finally putting the cheap bottle of Smirnoff's I keep in the freezer to good use as the filler for the airlocks.

Oskaar