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  1. Default 72 Hours Into My First Batch, and...

    My measurements are killing me. Years in labs to get my B.S. pretty much amounted to B.S.

    Anyway, here was my process:

    I'm making a simple (ha!), traditional mead with the following ingredients:

    15 lbs. of Wildflower Honey
    4 gal. jugs of spring water
    2 packs of Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast

    I added my honey to 3 gallons of room temperature water, 1/2 teaspoon of yeast nutrient and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast energizer. The remaining gallon I boiled and used to get the remaining honey out of my containers and added that as well.

    I had to stir it for a long time (10+ minutes) as I could not get some of the honey to decrystalize, even with the added hot water. Eventually everything liquified and mixed well.

    I rehydrated the yeast in 1/2 cup of 107 degree water and 12 oz. of Nutriferm Energy for 15 minutes and added it to the fermenter. The must was about 72 degrees when I added it, I'm sure the temp of the cup of water had come down near that by that point.

    Then I used a degasser wand & drill to oxygenate the mead thoroughly.

    My OG was ~1.109.

    24 hours after pitch I added another 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient and 1/4 tsp of energizer and gave it another degassing/aerating. Temp was ~65-66 F. My SG readings were wild that night. I'm using a hydrometer, and when I dropped it into the test tube I got a reading of about 1.112. It was foamy, so I spun it and it started rising, up to 1.116. I assumed this was due to the bubbles forming on the hydrometer, so I took it out, wiped it off and put it in again. 1.120. Moved it around, bobbed it up and down. 1.110. Took it out, cleaned it off and replaced it. 1.100. I don't know what the hell I was doing wrong, but looking at all of my measurements, only the 1.100 lines up with the other days trends.
    Airlock activity began later that night.
    48 hours after pitch I added the same dose of nutrients/energizer, as well as degassed & aerated. Temp was 66 degrees and I took two SG readings: 1.090 and 1.086.
    72 hours after pitch I added the last dose of nutrients/energizer and give it its final degassing/aeration. Temp was 66 degrees and SG was 1.068. I also tried getting an acidity reading, but it was tough, the color change was very difficult to perceive. I got .5%.

    Now, I'm new but those measurements seem out of wack, don't they? I mean, the SG is following a trend but it seems to be going very fast. Is that common, should I expect it to slow soon? I tried using a mead calculator and I think it told me to add 3 gallons of water to my batch. I'm lost!

    And the acidity seems very low too, but that was a tough measurement to take, I tried it twice and didn't feel like it was very accurate either time.

    I'd appreciate any help you can provide.

    Cheers all.

    j.

  2. #2

    Default

    If I understand you right you are measuring for TA rather than ph, correct? Your pH is what is important at this stage of the game. You need to keep it above 3.2 or there abouts. I am unfamiliar with Nutriferm as a rehydrating adjunct. If it contains DAP you have wounded your yeast and it may cause you fits later on. Depending on the temperature differences of your must and your yeast slurry at the time of pitch you may have wounded them then as well. Any more than 10 degrees difference in the temps will cause temperature shock and could kill a huge portion of your biomass. I doubt your temps of your slurry would have dropped that far to be within 10 degrees of your must in 15 minutes. It doesn't with the gear I use. Maybe it did with your I don't know.

    I'm not sure why your hydrometer readings are so whacked out. I degass before I take a reading so I don't have so many bubbles trying to attach themselves to my hydrometer.

    I wait to feed my first feeding until I have proof that lag is over so as to not feed unfriendlies if they should happen to be any. I also only use DAP in my first feeding. After that it's no more DAP for me.I also don't lock up my batch until the halfway mark, or sometimes even earlier. Your temps are good. I once had a batch that ate 100 points cleanly in 5 days. I over feed it but it didn't seem to cause any ill affect.

    I don't know what values your food contain in nitrogen so it's hard to know how many ppm your adding. 1068 is a good ways away from zero. I would be prepared to add yeast hulls if it starts to smell offish. New word LOL!

    Keep your yeast in suspension by stirring every day or 2 and keep your nose involved to check for stink. Things will slow down once the food is gone for sure. Air lock activity is never a good replacement for hydrometer readings so don't go by bubbles. If you keep your yeast in suspension, you can keep it in a couple weeks past when things grind down to a crawl. By doing that you will allow the yeast to clean up some of the byproducts/offproducts of fermentation, which in turn will make it clear sooner and age out faster as well.

    Don't panic. You are probably ok. Your yeast will go dry unless you hurt them. Not sure what FG you were hoping for. If you don't want it dry,,, cold crash it hard for a few days. Then add sorbate/sulfites and cold crash another few days. Once your gravity is fixed you can rack it and add add what ever you want to get some sweetness back to your desired level. Just make sure your gravity has stopped moving after you stabilize for several weeks before you back sweeten it.

    Hope that helps. Patience grasshopper, patience
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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