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Thread: Where's My Alcohol???

  1. Default Where's My Alcohol???

    So I just finished my first batch, recipe below:

    1020g Tesco Everyday Honey
    4 litres water
    1 tsp Young's All Purpose Wine Yeast (also did a batch with EC-1118 to compare but haven't bottled that yet)
    1/2 tsp yeast nutrient


    Initial: 1.065
    Final: 1.045
    Which I calculate at 2.64%?

    Fermentation primary was only 3 weeks, but it was no longer bubbling and had been clear and quiet for a week. It didn't taste sweet so I've primed and bottled. Have I just made bottle bombs? Did fermentation get stuck? Has someone been sneaking in and stealing my alcohol and watering down the booze? Did I misuse the Got Mead Batch Calculator? What is the meaning of life?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Temperature during fermentation?

    Did you do any stirrings/degassing?

    How did you measure you final gravity? Hydrometer? Are you sure the hydrometer was free floating and not touching the bottom of whatever you were measuring in?

    If you ended up with 4.7 liters of must, then it looks like you used the calculator correctly.

    What was your process for assembling the ingredients? Boil or no boil?

    How long did the actual fermentation last?
    Was it ever vigorous or did it limp along?
    Did you do any other hydrometer measurements?

  3. Default

    Thanks for the response

    The honey and 2L did come to the boil briefly before I added the remaining 2L and then let it cool
    Actual fermentation lasted for about 10 days
    I didn't stir or degas at any time
    Hydrometer was used - pretty sure it was free floating but I could have messed that up
    Fermentation was very vigorous for the first 10 days, bubbling really nicely

    Is there a second check I can do now that it's bottled and sugar added to ferment?

  4. #4
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    Jun 2016
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    Don't think there is much you can do at this point. It's not a good idea to base fermentation on bubbles, but if you had a good fermentation for 10 days and then it slowly tapered off, and you said it didn't taste sweet, then there's a good chance you burned through all of honey. By the way, boiling is generally not encoured these days.

    How many bottles did you end up with? You could wait a week or two, for carbonation, and then open one up and see where it's at. See if you have any carbonation and what level it's at. If no carbonation then you probably killed off your yeast at some point. If excessive, then you may want to think about recorking/recapping all the bottles and/or sticking them into a very cold refrigerator to try and stop further fermentation.

  5. #5
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    Hi Lawrencewiseman - and welcome. At a gravity of 1.045 that should be cloyingly sweet - There is about 1/2 kilo of sugar in every 4 L of mead. You can certainly check even after you have primed and bottled - simply open a bottle and check the gravity over say three days. If it is not rock solid stable then you have the potential for a very explosive situation. If for some reason the fermentation had stalled (and that is presumably what you are suggesting) then how would adding more sugar "prime" the mead? If it had not stalled but had just slowed to a crawl then the sugar you added to prime this will be a spit in the ocean compared to the amount of sugar that is potentially fermentable.
    All that said, three weeks to bottling? Mead ain't beer (although it is possible to bottle more or less at three weeks but you really (I mean REALLY) need to know what you are doing..

  6. #6

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    Was the final gravity of 1.045 before or after you primed the bottles? What type of bottle did you use?
    Darigoni, I can assure you that waiting a week or two to check for carbonation is bad practice. I just opened a bottle of mead which finished dry a year and a half ago. It was around 0.995. I did not have any fizz in any bottle after drinking about 20. This week I opened a bottle with more than average sediment at the bottom and it was slightly petillant. I already talked about my backsweetened prickly pear wine which did not restart until 6 months later. Any remaining bottles had to be poured back into a carboy. Our grape wines consistently used to restart the summer after ferment was over no matter what level of sweetness they finished at.

    The answer to whether or not you might have created bottle bombs is simple:
    Is the level of residual sweetness more than the bottle can handle were the sugars to ALL be consumed by yeast?
    If no, you're probably safe, if yes you're in danger of bottle bombs or popped corks and eruptions
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  7. #7
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    Jun 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Hi Lawrencewiseman - and welcome. At a gravity of 1.045 that should be cloyingly sweet - There is about 1/2 kilo of sugar in every 4 L of mead. You can certainly check even after you have primed and bottled - simply open a bottle and check the gravity over say three days. If it is not rock solid stable then you have the potential for a very explosive situation. If for some reason the fermentation had stalled (and that is presumably what you are suggesting) then how would adding more sugar "prime" the mead? If it had not stalled but had just slowed to a crawl then the sugar you added to prime this will be a spit in the ocean compared to the amount of sugar that is potentially fermentable.
    All that said, three weeks to bottling? Mead ain't beer (although it is possible to bottle more or less at three weeks but you really (I mean REALLY) need to know what you are doing..
    I think he's suggesting that you might want to read the Newbee Guide (see top of web page) and I recommend that you check out the 9 episode Meadology series on Youtbe. That is, only if you plan on making more mead.......

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