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Thread: Different Honeys - Different fermentation rates?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    908

    Default Different Honeys - Different fermentation rates?

    OK, so I have just racked my first Show Meads. One is an Orange Blossom, the other a Wild Flower.

    3 lbs Honey
    0.5 tsp Nutrient
    0.5 tsp Energizer
    Water to 1 Gal.
    D47 Yeast

    Wildflower - SG 1.112
    Orange Blossom - SG 1.118

    Both started the same day, October 20. Mixed and aerated 2 times daily for 2 days. Airlocked on day 3. Both bubbled a lot, both looked good.

    Racked today, November 9.

    Wildflower - SG 1.004
    Orange Blossom - SG 1.06

    Wildflower clearly fermented to completion, clear, very strong flavor.
    Orange Blossom still a long way to go. Milky, sweet.

    Question - Why is the Orange Blossom so far behind the Wild Flower in terms of fermentation?

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  2. Default Re: Different Honeys - Different fermentation rates?

    Angus,

    Honey varieties will vary in % fermentable sugars and nitrogen content which will affect fermentation rates. Here is a decent link that describes the differences between honey types: http://www.brewery.org/brewery/library/Meadx.html

    Note that wildflower is not on the chart since it varies so much that it is hard to come up with an average value. There can also be variability within the honey types based upon where (geographically) it was produced: http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/amhoney5.htm

    Peace.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    908

    Default Re: Different Honeys - Different fermentation rates?

    HB,

    Thanks for the links. I had some theories before posting, but thought I would ask to see if some other answer came up.

    As you pointed out, the sugar content may have something to do with it. But, the SG's were so close, I was surprised to see such a large difference between the two at first racking. Geographically, the honeys are local. Both Meads also seemed to run at exactly the same rates, slowing down to 1 blip every 15 seconds before racking.

    I have considered the pH level, which has inspired me to go and buy a pH meter at a my local fish store. I will check that out and post the results to see if that is the answer.

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Boulder County, CO
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Different Honeys - Different fermentation rates?

    Angus,
    I see you added nutrient, though I noticed in the second of HBs links it noted a marked difference in Nitrogen content of Florida and California Orange Blossom honeys (with the Cali OB honey at 3.3x the nitrogen content of the Florida samples). Perhaps a lack of nitrogen is what is causing the slow ferment on the OB mead...?

    Cheers,
    Kirk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    908

    Default Re: Different Honeys - Different fermentation rates?

    Kirk,

    This could be the problem. These two batches are really a learning experience to see how to brew, what different honeys do to the flavor and brewing process etc. The Wild Flower has fermented to completion, while the Orange Blossom is still gently fizzing along. I assume it will continue until completion, but who knows. I had to move it up to warmer temps to get it going again, so we will see how the taste is affected. Next time, I may try more nutrient in the Orange Blossom to se what happens.

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

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