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Thread: Adding Honey to the Must after 1 week of Primary Fermentation

  1. Default Adding Honey to the Must after 1 week of Primary Fermentation

    So...

    I thought I started with a gallon of honey, but it turns out it was only 10 lbs, and not the typical 12 lbs for a gallon.

    On top of that, it was my first batch and I was ignorant, so I pasteurized the honey/water at the beginning, which I now know probably burned off a certain amount of flavor and aroma.

    It's only been in the primary for a week, and it is still bubbling actively (once per second) in the airlock, and sounds kind of like lightly boiling water when I press my ear up to the bucket.

    Would there be something wrong with opening the lid and pouring in another 5 gallons of honey at this stage, stirring, closing the lid, and giving it another couple of weeks before racking to the carboy for secondary fermentation? I don't want my mead too dry, but I don't want it syrupy or overly sweet either. I also want it to be fairly strong, which I doubt it will be if I don't add this 5 lbs.

    Thoughts?
    Winter is coming...

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    Oh, and if I do this, should I toss in a few ground up campden tablets, which I never added at the initial stage?
    Winter is coming...

  3. #3

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    Just a little confused over how much you are trying to make. How big is your container and about how much mead are you trying to make?

  4. #4

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    Please provide us with the recipe as it sits now. Honey, yeast selection, nutrients, fruits or spices, size of the batch. This will help us better give advice since we are flying blind right now.

    Also what ABV are you trying to hit? If you add too much honey you may overwhelm your yeast and stall early leaving you with a cloyingly sweet mead.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  5. Default

    Sorry, here's what I did.

    10 lbs of Honey
    4 gallons of water
    Don't remember the exact yeast, but the guy at De Falco's said it was a mead yeast that was somewhere in between dry and sweet. No fruit or anything. Just water, honey, yeast nutrition, and yeast.

    Pasteurized the honey with about a gallon of water (yeah, I now know I shouldn't have done this),
    Re-hydrated yeast and set aside
    Dumped must into Primary Fermentation bucket,
    Added remaining 3 gallons of cold water,
    Added yeast nutrition,
    Stirred, swirled, aerated,
    Pitched the yeast,
    Closed the lid and stuck in the airlock.


    This was eight days ago. I didn't catch the original gravity, as I didn't have a hydrometer until day before yesterday.

    I have only had two types of mead before, one that (according to the label) was 11% alcohol per volume, and the other was 14%. I preferred the 14% mead. I'd like mine to be on the stronger side. I'm a scotch drinker, so I don't mind a good, hearty, alcohol taste.

    It's only been fermenting for a week, and it's still going pretty active. If I added another 2.5 lbs of honey do you think it would overwhelm the yeast and stall, or would that probably be fine?
    Winter is coming...

  6. #6

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    Adding 2.5 pounds should be fine. At 12.5 pounds for a five gallon batch, your mead is going to be pretty dry when its done, so I don't think you run any risk of smothering your yeast. You could even add more honey depending on how sweet you want it to be. I'd give it a good shake to aerate it though afterwards.

  7. #7

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    From what I'm seeing I think you'd be fine adding another 2 1/2 lbs of honey. Not knowing the yeast it is hard to say where you will end up alcohol wise or where it will fall on the dry to sweet scale, but if it ends up too dry you can always back-sweeten later.

    from my experience most brew shops aren't the most reliable when it comes to meads (most not all) so who knows what yeast they gave you. Truthfully there is no such thing as a sweet or dry mead yeast no matter what the manufacturer of brew shop says. It all comes down to recipe formulation.

    But as I said you should be fine feeding the must more yeast. If it was me I wouldn't add it all at once though I would do a step-feeding 2 or 3 times until I got it all in.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dingurth View Post
    I'd give it a good shake to aerate it though afterwards.
    I'd skip aerating at this stage. You had a low gravity must that has been going for 8 days so I'd think that you were well below the 1/3 sugar break and below the 1/2 break so oxygen at this point would be a bad thing.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TAKeyser View Post
    I'd skip aerating at this stage. You had a low gravity must that has been going for 8 days so I'd think that you were well below the 1/3 sugar break and below the 1/2 break so oxygen at this point would be a bad thing.
    What about gently stirring it in with a big spoon?
    Winter is coming...

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by SandorClegane View Post
    What about gently stirring it in with a big spoon?
    that would be fine. It would degas the mead and get the excess CO2 out of suspension as well as mixing in the new honey.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TAKeyser View Post
    that would be fine. It would degas the mead and get the excess CO2 out of suspension as well as mixing in the new honey.
    Thanks.

    Man, this place is great. What the heck did people do before the internet? Unless they knew someone personally, or had a mentor, I guess they just relied on books, and were unable to ask questions.
    Winter is coming...

  12. #12

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    If you don't have it a great resource is The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm, the best mead book on the market though there have been some advances in meadmaking since it was published but it is still filled with invaluable information.
    " ...no sense hauling empty carboys around when full ones take up just as much space. " -TheFlyingBeer (on HomeBrewTalk)

  13. Default

    Adding upon the rest of these excellent replies I also recommend making sure the secondary is topped off....you don't want any oxidization going on.

    Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2

  14. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Valhalla Mead View Post
    Adding upon the rest of these excellent replies I also recommend making sure the secondary is topped off....you don't want any oxidization going on.

    Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2
    Will do.

    I was going to rack to the secondary, top off, leave for 2 months.
    Then rack to another carboy over medium toast oak cubes, add some campden tablets, leave for another 2 months.
    Then I was going to bottle and age most of it, drink some of it right away.
    Winter is coming...

  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SandorClegane View Post
    Man, this place is great. What the heck did people do before the internet? Unless they knew someone personally, or had a mentor, I guess they just relied on books, and were unable to ask questions.
    We did what we thought was best at the time and made a lot of mistakes, but usually drinkable

    Quote Originally Posted by SandorClegane View Post
    Oh, and if I do this, should I toss in a few ground up campden tablets, which I never added at the initial stage?
    The purpose of the campden tablets at the initial stage (24 hours before pitching) is to knock out any other organisms so your yeast have a good headstart on anything else in your must. Adding them at any point after the yeast has been pitched but before your fermentation is complete just risks having your yeast poop out early on you. You are correct in the most recent post, you want to save those until it's time to stabilize. And especially if this doesn't finish dry, you might want to get your hands on some potassium sorbate before then, it keeps any yeast that wake up after being knocked out by the cammpden tabs from breeding.

    Since you have a hydrometer now, you might want to check and see where your SG is. You'll want to check before and after adding you honey too so you have an idea how much sugar you're giving your yeasties.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014

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