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Thread: This has never happened before

  1. Default This has never happened before

    Hey new guy here. Hello to all. So I've been making mead for a while now, and I've run into something thats never happened before. I've searched online but cant find an answer, so I joined here hoping for an answer.

    I made a batch of apple cinnamon mead. It smells absolutely fantastic. Very nice aroma with both the fruit and the alcohol cent. When I tested with my hydrometer, it came back at around 8-10% potiental in the beginning. I let it ferment for about 2 weeks, then siphoned it once. Let it go two more weeks then siphoned it again.

    During the second siphon I did a taste and hydrometer test. The hydrometer sunk to the bottom and did not float at all. So I did a taste test and the flavor was fantastic, but it burned like whisky going down.

    Why does my hydrometer not float at all, and why is it so harsh?

    My ingredients where pretty basic. 1 gallon mix. 3 lbs of honey. 1 apple chopped, 2 cinnamon sticks, and a package of red star bread yeast (wanted to try something different). Do you think the bread yeast is causing the harshness?

  2. #2

    Default

    I doubt it's the yeast fault. You need to tell us more. How did you rehydrate your yeast, temps, starting OG, feeding schedule ect. You probably have pissed off your yeast and they are making you pay. Sounds to me like your yeast eat up all the sugar. Try adding a little more honey and you'll see that your hydrometer will rise again. I have never heard of a hydrometer sinking completely under, but I'm pretty new at this.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3

    Default

    According to the mead calculator 3 pounds of honey for a 1 gallon batch will be 14%... With bread yeast, it could definitely get it to 12%, and maybe with the apple as extra nutrients it may have been very happy and just ripped through all sugars.

    What was your OG?


    -- Steve

  4. Default

    Ill be honest I've never taken down the OG numbers because my hydrometer lists pot. alcohol next to the OG readings. It could be that my measuring vile is about as long as my hydrometer, but it does drop to the bottom like a rock in water. Normally it floats. My black raspberry gave me a reading of 15 and should be ready for first rack in a week so ill see what happens with that one. Its very strange to me as well.

    My yeast was rehydrated in filter water brought to 105 degrees for 15 minutes. The first two weeks of fermenting my yeast bubbled like crazy. Literally a bubble or two every second. Now after 4 weeks I'm getting about a bubble every 45 seconds. Maybe the outside environment affected it. I know I had a heater problem the first week of the brew. My house heater was kicking off too often and may have brought my brew up above 75 degrees. I normally keep around 68.

    The strange part is my mead isn't dry. Its actually sweet. Not extremely sweet but somewhat sweet. It doesn't taste bad, though my wife straight up turned her nose to it and had to spit it out, she said it was repulsive lol, but not so much the taste but she hates whisky and it reminded her of having whisky in her mouth.

    Thos batch I was doing very basic. No energizer, no nutrients, nothing added but the ingrediants. Maybe its just the ingrediants ans it needs to age to tone down on the harshness of it? Its also still very cloudy, i usually dont sample until after i clarify because i never cared to drink it cloudy. Maybe the taste is normal?

  5. #5

    Default

    your hydrometer is probably broke, even in pure alc it should not drop to the bottom, test it in something else
    -my drinking team has a hockey problem

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,090

    Default

    Hi pghmeadman, um...when a hydrometer sits very low in a tube of liquid it suggests that all the sugars have been fermented and so if pure water will give you a reading of 1.000 (check your hydrometer with the measuring cylinder filled with tap water) then a mix of water and alcohol (what your mead or cyser is) should have a reading below 1.000 (because alcohol is less dense than water and a hydrometer basically measures the density of a liquid - which is why hydrometers are calibrated to take readings at specific temepratures - the hotter the liquid the less dense it is , the colder a liquid the more dense it is - think water vapor vs ice)...
    Now most (all? ) hydrometers that give have a series of figures that give you potential alcohol (that is just a different way of talking about the amount of sugar in a liquid) will also give you the specific gravity of the liquid which is also a way of talking about the amount of sugar in a liquid so, for example, a gravity reading of 1.080 tells me that there is about 2 lbs of sugar in each gallon and also tells me that the potential ABV (alcohol by volume) is about 10.5%. (your hydrometer won't have a set of figures that tell you how much sugar is in the liquid but Brix or Plato (different scales found on hydrometers - wine makers tend to use Brix (pronounced "bricks") and brewers tend to use degrees Plato) and the Specific Gravity are easily convertable to the weight of sugar in your liquor - and you would expect and hope that that number approaches zero and then falls below it as your fermentation proceeds - That is a good thing. That is something that you want to see: it means that the yeast is doing its job). Does that answer your concern?
    Last edited by bernardsmith; 01-23-2015 at 04:46 PM.

  7. Default

    Ill testing it again in something different. Maybe I did that one wrong. Idk. That does answer thebhydrometer question. Ill see if I can get my readings to see if that helps.

    I guess my main concern was why the mead was so harsh going down. But well see what my reading says tonight.

  8. #8

    Default

    Is your hydrometer tube long enough to allow you to actually fully float your hydrometer? If it was broke you would see fluid in it, if it sinks to the bottom of your jug then it needs more room to get an accurate reading. Basically you did a good job fermenting it by keeping the yeast happy and they gave you lots of alcohol. Let it age a while to see if it rounds out. Welcome to GM. WVMJ

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,309

    Default

    How low is the reading when your hydrometer's at the bottom?

    The fact that you say it tastes sweet supports the thought that your hydrometer is out of whack... and 8-10% potential alcohol if you've used 3 lb honey in a gallon is also suspect.

    I'd suggest you test yours out with water, if the SG reads anything other than 1.000 in room-temperature water (+/- 0.002), then your hydrometer should be replaced. Presuming of course that there's enough depth of water in the test tube to allow the hydrometer to read 1.000. I have one short hydrometer tube and one long hydrometer and a very dry batch will have my long hydrometer hit bottom if I don't put enough sample in... but if you've used yours before and it has ever successfully read 1.000 or lower (0% potential) in the past, then that's unlikely to be your problem. The lowest SG reading I've ever had is 0.980 for a finished wine.

    And new meads can be pretty harsh, give it time...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "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
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    34

    Default

    I agree with testing your hydrometer, but I suspect your cyser actually has a higher alcohol content than you think. It may taste a bit sweet, but the acid contributed by the apple juice could've balanced the dryness to create some perceived sweetness. Do you have another hydrometer? Always have a backup of everything, i.e. hydrometer, hydrometer jar, airlock, etc because you never know when that bastard Murphy is going to show up to the party.

    David

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