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Thread: Gravity is increasing?

  1. #1

    Default Gravity is increasing?

    So I started a traditional with tiny twist last week. It started at 1.130, which was after I did a 50/50 mix of water and honey. When I first measured the density, the hydrometer was floating almost to the neck of the thick part and completely off the measurements. I added water until it was sitting at 1.130.

    Anyway, after a few days of stirring and stuff with the yeasties happily eating away I dropped the hydrometer back in to see how far it had gone. Now I've known slow ferments but...it actually increased to almost 1.140. Now unless I'm mistaken this should be impossible.

    My first theory is that the stirred lees and other sediment (I also pitched some raisins) might be artificially increasing the gravity. I'll have a look again later but if it's something serious which requires my immediate attention I'd better know of it as soon as possible as well; hence my visit

    Here's my recipe (metrics);

    7500ml of flower honey
    7500ml of water
    125gr. of raisins

    I washed the raisins to get rid of the oil they put on it. I also simmered the must for 5 minutes on 80 degrees Celsius. This obviously evaporated some of the water. When I put it in the bucket, the hydrometer was off the scaled, so I added 2 liters of water additionally to bring it down to 1.130 (which is ridiculously high for me).

    I added 10gr. of tannin, 10gr. of nutrients, 10gr. of yeast activators. These were all according to the packages specifications for the amount of must I have.

    Yeast used is Kitzinger trocken.

    We're now at day 3.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  2. #2

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    Readings could vary depending on the temperature of the must. Dropping the hydrometer in the must could be a bad idea since the active yeast produce Co2. The Co2 bubbles attach to the hydrometer and lift it up, creating a false hydrometer reading. I usually take a sample, swirl the hydrometer to release as much co2, then let go while spinning the hydrometer with my fingertips so no Co2 attaches to it. Another factor could be that initially the honey wasn't fully dissolved which resulted in a lower initial reading. The raisins also provide some sugars which are not counted at the start, although this amount is usually very small
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  3. #3
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    I have found the same thing happening to me on nearly every batch, although it's not quite that high of a swing, usually about +.005 from first reading. I attribute it to the same reasons Stasis mentioned. I believe it is mostly from the dissolving of the honey. I am one day going to test the theory and let some must just sit for a day and see if I can repeat the experience, but when I have that yeast starter in hand, I just shrug and pitch. To determine ABV, I do always use the higher starting gravity, but again, I do as Stasis mentions, I stir a sample and let it sit in the test tube to make sure I'm not getting a higher reading from CO2 when using the hydrometer.
    “Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan!”

  4. #4
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    I usually give the hydrometer a quick spin to dislodge any bubbles adhering to the surface.

  5. #5

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    I took a sample yesterday and degassed it. The gravity has dropped to 1.120. This is a drop of only 0.010 though in 5 days time. I'm not used to fermentation this slow and I'm wondering now if its stuck. I'm using a yeast I've never used before (Kitzinger trockenhefe) so it might just be a slow fermenting yeast anyway. It is supposed to be ideal for mead though.

    I keep the temperature in the white wine range (constant 18 degrees Celsius) which is relatively cool on an absolute scale so that might contribute to the slow fermentation. Of course the (unexpected!! I thought it would be around 1.100 at best) starting gravity of 1.130 is high so they might be sugar shocked too.

    Anyway, I'll keep you informed to the progress. I'm not personally too adverse to slow ferments since they do have their merits potentially. Any comments/wisdom on this though?
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  6. #6
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    Nope. Maybe the company that makes the yeast can help out. I found that they often respond to an email with lots of good info.


    Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

  7. #7
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    Why would one bother taking a gravity reading after only "a few days of stirring and stuff with the yeasties happily eating away" Waste of time, as it has a good long ways to go....this ain't like fermenting beer. Let it be, rack when ferment slows...not at a few days, so...why bother it?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuelish View Post
    Why would one bother taking a gravity reading after only "a few days of stirring and stuff with the yeasties happily eating away" Waste of time, as it has a good long ways to go....this ain't like fermenting beer. Let it be, rack when ferment slows...not at a few days, so...why bother it?
    This is a first for me with this yeast and it is very quiet. I wanted to get a gravity reading to see how fast it was going after nearly a week. I guess it was out of paranoia from my part but as I said, I'd rather know if something is wrong in an early stage so I can fix it, pitch a new yeast before acetobacter kicks in, etc.
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuelish View Post
    Why would one bother taking a gravity reading after only "a few days of stirring and stuff with the yeasties happily eating away" Waste of time, as it has a good long ways to go....this ain't like fermenting beer. Let it be, rack when ferment slows...not at a few days, so...why bother it?
    If one is trying to time the 1/3 and 2/3 sugar break to add nutrients you have to check practically every day. I've had some go past 2/3 in the blink of an eye!

    If it's a JAOM, then yeah. Leave it alone.


    Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

  10. #10

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    I added a tbsp of food stuffs for the yeasties on day 5 and then it really sprung into action. It averaged 6 points drop per day the week after that which is normal for a slow ferment I guess. I did the usual 2nd break feeding after that. It was just getting to the first 1/3 that was slower than anticipated.

    1.130 on May 13th
    1.050 on May 27th

    It was slowing down towards the last feeding, averaging only 2 points drop before 1.050. I decided to feed it the last time and siphon it to a carboy (in reverse order). Put on the airlock and I'll just let it do it's stuff from here on out. I topped off with water and noted a new S.G. of 1.044. Kept a record of this for future adjustment in ABV.

    Also added cinnamon sticks, a vanilla bean, two cloves and an orange peel so I'm guessing its a metheglin now :3
    Sec.: Nefu 1/1 Meth. (2016)

  11. #11
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    As long as it tastes good who cares??


    Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mannye View Post
    If one is trying to time the 1/3 and 2/3 sugar break to add nutrients you have to check practically every day. I've had some go past 2/3 in the blink of an eye!
    OK, makes sense....wasn't taking the possibility of SNA into account - I'm typically too lazy and just add my nutrients up front...so far, so good, anyways

  13. #13
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    Ha! That works too. Medsen did some "lazy mead" that came out very well by adding everything up front.


    Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

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