View Full Version : When to rack to secondary

03-31-2006, 12:30 AM
Hello My name is Jared

I made a few beers in the last month or so with great success. I thought I'd try my hand at some mead. err melomel Here's the recipie more or less

11 pounds local clover honey
12 pounds ripe mangos
3 oz. fresh ginger root
2 tsp irish moss
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
2 packs of lalvin 71B-1122
5 gallons softwater
O.G. 1.062

I steeped the honey and fruit instead of boiling.
Made a 24 hour yeast starter with some honey and corn sugar.
pitched at 80 deggrees
had active fermentation whithin hours.

I'm realy just winging this mead thing and would like some educated guesses when I should rack this fruit cocktail to secondary. it's still going strong after 6 days.

also how much attenuiation can I expect from this yeast? is it going to be dry or sweet? I would like to know because I plan on making it sparkling mead.

03-31-2006, 01:49 AM
Howdy Jared,

Welcome to gotmead.com!

OK First this should end up a nice sweet mead. Your gravity is probably closer to 1.127-1.130 based on the sugar content and amount of mango you added. Attenuation is not really a term we use a lot in meadmaking or winemaking because the yeasts are made to reduce the residual sugar to zero and are designed to ferment to complete dryness.

Anyhow, your total volume is six gallons plus as I see it. 5 of H20 and about 1 of honey plus the mangos. 71B will ferment to about 14% ABV or a bit higher so you'll have a sweet mead with some residual sugar. The sweeter the mead the more difficult it will be to sparkle it.

For the future. I'd recommend not boiling or heating your honey or fruit. In this case if your mead is still in primary I'd suggest adding some pectinase. Since you heated your fruit you probably set the pectin and it will be in need of the pectinase to help clear the haze from the heated fruit pectin. Also you don't need Irish Moss in your mead when you're making mead, even when you heat it. I'd suggest that you add some DAP at the end of the lag phase and aerate during the aerobit phase of fermentation.

Hope that helps,


03-31-2006, 10:19 PM
Thanks Oskaar,

I figured the O.G. would be a bit higher because of the trapped sugar in the fruit. but did'nt have any guesses as to how much higher. Using bear Smith software I get an estimated 10% ABV figuring the mangoes have a 7% fermentable sugar content. So Maybe 71B will dry this one out completly? Again I don't know much about these things and I much apreciate your help! ;D

Does two weeks sound good for racking to secondary?

03-31-2006, 10:37 PM
I'm not familiar with the Bear Smith software, but if you plug your numbers into the mead calcualtor:


Brew calculators tend not to be as accurate with honey as they are with malt extracts fermentable sugars.

71B as mentioned below will leave you with some residual sugar and have an ABV of 14-16%.



Freedom Foundry
03-31-2006, 11:13 PM
Attenuation is not really a term we use a lot in meadmaking or winemaking because the yeasts are made to reduce the residual sugar to zero and are designed to ferment to complete dryness.


I'm curious about this. I've only filled five or so carboys with mead, but from tasting my young beverages, I prefer some sweetness.

The literature I've read describes recipes for meads from dry to 'dessert.' This is the first I've heard about dryness being the goal of mead. Are all your barrels full of bone-dry beverages?

04-01-2006, 12:10 AM
I have a number of bone dry meads aging as we speak, along with a number of sweet meads and cysers.

What I was referring to is that wine yeasts that I use are designed to leave no residual sugar when they ferment because the end product desired is a dry wine. There are exceptions as in certain RS white wines and late harvest wines.

In the case of mead, if you frontload the fermentable sugars in the form of honey and fruit to a high enough level, the yeasts will reach their ABV and then die off leaving you with a certain amount of RS based on what brix you started with. Some yeasts like K1-V1116, EC-1118 and other killer strains will keep going, or can be step fed past 20%. Bear in mind that when you do so you get rocket fuel that will take a long time to age, if they ever really do age gracefully.

Ultimately the goal of your mead making will be to design your must so that the yeast you use will either ferment to complete dryness, or to some level of sweetness based on your taste buds. But that is a function of what your starting brix/gravity is, or if you backsweeten as many people do. In the case of backsweetening they will ferment to complete dryness stabilize, backsweeten to the level of sweetness they desire, and then bottle.

Hope that helps,


richard lambert
04-05-2006, 12:26 PM
So can you tell us how you so quick can come up with the ratio of honey to liquid in relation to the abv. and the yeast strain. You are fairly amazing in your calculations. please impart to us young neophytes. The sweat dry ratio is fasinating. thanks richard 8)

04-05-2006, 01:34 PM
LOL you crack me up!

No, I'm pretty simple when it comes to numbers and calculations. I do read a lot about yeast, so I know a number of yeasts ABV tolerance off the top of my head. I receive publications from Scott Laboratories and Vinquiry at home, and I read up on information releases from the various yeast manufacturers as well as other international publications.

To calculate the PABV from my must in my head I just multiply 0.6 times the initial brix to get the PABV (potential alcohol by volume) so if my must has an initial brix of 30o then I multiply that by .6 and come up with 18 as the PABV. From there I know that yeasts like 43, K1-V, EC-1118, DV10, L226, Premier Cuvee, Flor Sherry and a few other not so well knowns will be able to take that must dry because they all will reach 18% ABV.

Likewise I know that D47, 71B, RC212, Pasteur Red, Montrachet, etc. will ferment to about 14-16% ABV and leave some sweetness in the mead. See here (http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php) for a link to Lallemand's yeast chart and see here (http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_strains.php) for information on the yeast themselves. Each page has very good information on the different yeast strains along with ABV Tolerance, nutrition needs, and what kind of wine they are generally used to make. I kind of bounce that off of what kind of honey and other ingredients I'm going to be using and then determine what yeast to use in my must, and then mix it up to the appropriate intial brix level.

I'd suggest that you try out the mead calculator here (http://www.gotmead.com/making-mead/mead-calculator.shtml), and this excellent SG, Brix, Sugar and ABV table here (http://www.brsquared.org/wine/CalcInfo/HydSugAl.htm) to help you figure out where you want your must, RS (residual sugar) and ABV to be. Them's the basic tools I use to figure out ABV, RS and what kind of yeast I'm going to use. Then there's the X factor which is . . . hmmm I wonder how this will work, it tasted good last time so what the Hell, I'll give it a whirl this time.



05-25-2006, 08:04 PM

It's been two months now IN secondary and is still blipping every 30 seconds or so. it's relitivly clear and tastes of booze.

What should I do t with this stuff? I could rack again to get it off of it's yeast cake. Or could bottle it. Or could put some straw berries in there.
Honestly I'm lost I've had several batches of beer since this mead batch but I am unsure of what to do next.

05-25-2006, 08:41 PM

I wouldn't bottle until fermentation has come to completion. I'd rack now and let bulk age for a minimum of six months before bottling. You'll want to keep the airlock on until your gravity readings stabilize over a period of weeks. Hope that Helps.


05-26-2006, 12:49 AM

I will disagree a little bit and recommend a different path. Take an SG and see where the batch is with regards to where you want it to be. Is it too sweet still?

I noticed that you used 71B and it is not a good yeast to leave batches age on. So if you have significant lees (my measure is 1/2 an inch or more) built up on the bottom of the carboy, then I'd rack. Take a little bit of the lees with the racking if you want to continue the fermentation after racking. If you want to stop it where it is, rack and then store it in a cold place.

If you leave it on the lees, stir the batch gently so as not to aerate it but to merely raise the yeast off of the bottom of the container.

Good luck,