View Full Version : dry mead fermention whats NORMAL?

richard lambert
05-02-2006, 10:31 PM
Ater reading "The complete Book of Mead" I am feeling fairly confident about my mead! But what most the info. fails to tell you, is what is normal fermentation rate, how long should it take,what should I be observing,does it start fast and end up slow,does it start slow and end up fast.I used kv1 1116, must temp. 72,sg 1.100,bailing 23, pvba 13.2 ph 3.6 on 5 gal. Am I impatient yes! It has been one week and am planning a trip for 3 weeks what should/could I do. It is not like cooking a turkey where the red botton pops up. How do I know that I have reached the proper alcohol levels I've read quite abit and am afraid I will contaminate the must if I do to much probing. I got the second batch gitters and fermentation blues. You mead warlords have all this experiance in your blood, teach us to do battle and to be victors of the realm( mead realm).
Pease answer quickly

05-03-2006, 12:15 AM
In the words of Charlie Papazian, "Relax . . . have a homebrew."

Dude, you need to take a chill pill and plan your vacations and fermentations a bit better so you don't overlap them. Normal fermentation rate is going to depend on the environment that you set up for your yeast. That depends on the recipe, so we'll need to see it . . . the recipe that is. Please post up the recipe and we'll take a whack at some advice.

Also, remember that the folks here who contribute to the forums are not compensated in any way, shape or form so answers will come when people have time. I realize you're anxious, but you'll need to be patient and allow for people to answer in their own good time.

In general mead fermentations can range anywhere from 5 to 21 days in what I consider to be a healthy fermentation. That length ranges based on what people have been taught, and how they mix their musts and feed their yeasts. Personally I don't like my fermentations to last longer than 10 - 21 days max. I consider longer ferments to put my mead at risk from yeast stress off flavors.

Post your exact recipe and we'll take a look.

BTW, Is the book you're referring to "The complete Book of Mead" perhaps "The Compleat Meadmaker?" If not, I'd like to check it out and add it to my library.



05-03-2006, 04:28 AM
If theres one thing i've learned, its that mead takes time. And really good mead takes even more time. So relax, have patients, and you shal be rewarded. In general its hard to say exactly how long a fermentation will take. There are a lot of variables involved, and lets not forget that we are dealing with a living organism that doesnt always read all the text books. In my experience an average mead fermentation can take anywhere from about 2 to 5 weeks. Usually recipes that include fruit or cider tend to ferment out faster, but still its difficult to predict which batches will do what with any great accuracy.

And how will you know when its done? Well as we say, "The yeast will speak to you." The mead will tell you when its done. When fermentation and airlock activity have slowed considerably and a compact sediment has started to form, then its time to rack. I wish i could give you a more precise answer, but there isnt one to give. Mead is a natural product and it doesnt always follow a strict timeline and if you try to force it into one you will be doing yourself, and your mead, a disservice.

05-03-2006, 07:58 AM

Isn't K1V one of the yeasts good for lees aging? If so... shouldn't he be good just leaving it until he returns, it may not be ideal but it shouldn't hurt, should it, if he's making a straight mead? Of course all bets are off if there are ingredients other than just honey, water and yeast.


05-03-2006, 08:10 PM
I'm sure he'll be fine, it's like you said, dunno what the rest of the ingredients are so at this point caution is indicated. Last thing we want is another guppy-mel gone bad! :o

richard lambert
05-03-2006, 10:42 PM
Hears is the recipe gang.
13 lbs honey wild fower/orange/palm
4 gal spring water
3 tbsp. energizer/nutrients
1 tbsp. tannin
3 tbsp acid mixture to balance ph to 3.6
1 packaage of kv1 1116 rehydrated
good sanitation
Can't do anything without jumping in head over heels, but am enjoying the learning experiance. Learned alot about fermenting and would like to do more but not recognizing what is going on is unnerving. So I'll relax a little.

05-03-2006, 11:18 PM

A couple of questions for you... Were you shooting for a very dry mead? If not you may want to add 7 to 9 pounds more honey up front to bring it to an off dry to semisweet... this is a 6 gallon batch, right? As the recipe stands that's going to be one dry mead, it will also probably be a little on the thin side as well.

If it is a 6 gallon batch you have enough sugars for 11% alcohol potential, your yeast can hit 18%+. In order to bring it to a off dry to semi-sweet mead you'll need to add 7 to 9 pounds of honey, 9 to 11 pounds for a sweet mead. This will take the alcohol content up to the 18% range with some sugars left over.

If you're looking for a low alcohol semi-sweet mead you'll need to let the fermentation complete as the recipe stands and then sorbate/sulfite the batch before backsweetening. You'll need less honey this way, 1 to 3 pounds depending on where you want to finish.

Also, in the future you can omit the acid, it's usually not needed.

Hope this helps.