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gryphon
02-06-2006, 09:46 PM
Being new to brewing mead I'm a bit concerned with my 5 gal batch right now. It is fermenting quite slowly, a little under a minute a bubble from the airlock. I did a check of the SG a bit ago and it has no yeast head at all and is at about 1.100 SG. I've brewed mostly ciders and a few wines so I would appreciate some feedback as I'm new to mead

Lugh
02-06-2006, 09:58 PM
Hi Gryphon, welcome to the boards.

Please provide as much info as you can: how long it's been fermenting, what type of yeast, what went into the mead and how much, what was the starting gravity, etc. The more info you provide, the more help we can provide.

Just a note - no yeast head/foam/krausen on mead is often typical for me. Mead just doesn't have the proteins and massive yeast builds that beers and ciders have. It also depends on the type of yeast you are using and other ingredients.

gryphon
02-06-2006, 10:14 PM
Ok, here is what I used...
15 lbs Honey
1 Tbsp Gypsum
4 tsp Acid Blend
3 tsp Yeast Nutrient
2 pk Red Star Champagne Yeast (made up into a starter)
Boiled for 15 min, straining off the foam and once cool enough transfered to the primary.
Then added cool purified water to make up 5 gal and added the yeast at 72F
OG 1.100 2/2/2006

There is some yeast activity, but it's a lot less than what I'm use to with ciders and wines so I'm a bit concerned. It has been going about the same rate (judging from the bubbles from the lock) I've heard mead is a slow fermenter but I'm still putting up the question so I can hopefully correct any problems early and not waste months of my larger primary's potential..

Oskaar
02-06-2006, 11:14 PM
OK,

Here's the deal. Welcome to the Forums!

Now, Let's look at the mix.

Next time skip the acid and gypsum, you don't generally need them up front. Also I recommend not boiling your must next time, it kills off the varietal aromas and flavor of the honey, and also denatures protiens and enzymes that the yeasties like and use for a healthy ferment.

Now, at 1.100 as your starting gravity you'll end up with a dry mead using the Red Star Champagne yeast. Also make sure to aerate your must twice a day for the first three to five days, or until your gravity drops to about 1.050 and then don't aerate any more.

So you're saying that you have not dropped at all from the original gravity? Can you please clarify that point because it is important.

thanks,

Oskaar

gryphon
02-06-2006, 11:33 PM
Well I'd never made Mead before so I was using the recipe that was given to me by my local brewing supply store, actually gave me some equipment as well. (free gear woo!)

Now that I think about it I may not have had an accurate first reading, but that is the current. I just aerated it and it released quite a bit of gas so it seems to be going.

Lugh
02-07-2006, 12:09 AM
Can't beat free gear! ;D

Sounds like it is doing ok. Like Oskaar said, make sure you aerate for the next few days, that was my biggest error starting out. Mead just doesn't have the massive nutrients like beer/cider does, so unless you have a low nitrogen, highly active yeast, you don't see a lot of fast activity.

15 pounds of honey in 5 gallons will give you a possible alcohol content of 14.8%, with Red Star Champagne Yeast maxing at 14 to 16%, so a dry mead it is.

Angus
02-07-2006, 09:22 AM
Hey Gryphon,

This recipe is almost identical to the Antipodal Mead from The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. The only difference from yours is the book's recipe called for Irish Moss during the boil. That was my first Mead started last September. My fermentation was not the most active (I did not aerate at all except when pouring Must into the carboy) and it pooped out completely at 12%. This left the Mead sweet, which is actually what I like, so I lucked out there. Follow the instructions of the more experienced and then let us know how it turns out. It will be a nice comparison to my inexperienced botch.

Angus

gryphon
02-07-2006, 04:14 PM
Well I had a long lunch today so I stopped by my appt and aerated the mead. I also did a SG check and found it at about 1.082 which confuses me as I got a 1.100 last night and there hasn't been that much visible activity from the airlock, unless it's playing with me and holding it's breath every time I check... sneaky yeast.

Update: Home from work, actually took some time to take a very careful reading of SG... I was right 1.082. I decided to aerate it using a mixer, sanatized it and whipped up the mead for a few minutes before closing it back up. It's doing something because it fizzes up nicely when I agitate it but the airlock bubbles are still greater than a min. Heres hoping getting whipped up gets the yeast in gear

gryphon
02-08-2006, 04:38 AM
Just an update. I aerated with a food mixer earlier today and when I checked it a few minutes ago I was getting bubbles at an interval of about 25 seconds so it seems aeration was at the heart of my problem, thanks for the help. As for the change in SG... I have no idea. I take graveties on batteries at work and on my ciders so I'm chalking it up to swamp gas during a strange planetary alignment and a butterfly flapping it's wings in china.

mouko_yamamoto
02-08-2006, 08:33 AM
Ah, that's the problem. It's always the butterfly flapping its wings that gets ya. ;D