View Full Version : not sure if I have an issue or not...

09-12-2008, 09:01 AM
ok first off:

Mystical Mythical Melomel (from recipe archive)

--Orange Blossom Honey

sanitize primary fermenter + lid, wine thief, hydrometer, stirrer, cooking pot, thermometer, airlock
clean and prepare fruit
Freeze fruit to burst cell walls
bring 3 gallons water to 180* (for 20qt pot, use 2 gallons)
crush all fruit
add fruit and honey to water
bring must to 170*
steep 20 minutes (skim?)
sterilize 2g water
add water and must to primary fermenter
cool to 80*
pitch yeast
aerate the crap out of it with vented stirring spoon
drop airlock rubber bung into must and spend 10 minutes fishing it out with the (sanitized) Wine Thief
cover, airlock, keep at >70* until fermenting
ferment @ 75*

08/04/08 - added 5tsp nutrient, 5tsp energizer, aerate 3 times today

08/05/08 - STRONG fermentation, some out of airlock. Added blow off tube. Aerate 3 times today
08/06/08 - sulfur smell - aerate 4 times and add 1tsp nutrient
SG - 1.018 (!!!!)
08/07/08 - fermentation nearly stopped, added 1/2tsp nutrient. Fermentation resumed for about 2 hours then stopped again.
SG - 1.010
08/08/08 - airlock bubbles 1/1.5 minutes, added 2lbs strawberries, 1lb raspberries, 1lb blueberries, 1 peach to secondary, then racked.
08/09/08 - signs of secondary fermentation evident
08/10/08 - pushed down fruit cap, Very dry taste with some fruitiness, will likely need to backsweeten
SG - 1.000
08/15/08 - pushed fruit cap down
SG - 0.996
08/18/08 - swirled to reimerse fruit
08/19/08 - 1:10pm pushed fruit down, stirred gently to resuspend everything
SG - .0994
08/21/08 - 7:00am pushed fruit down, stirred gently to resuspend everything
08/24/08 - Stirred @ 3:00pm to prevent fruit drying
08/30/08 - racked to carboy, backsweetened with 3lbs boiled/skimmed Star Thistle honey
SG - .994
09/04/08 - added 2oz american heavy toast oak cubes

the cubes have floated to the top,and it looks like with it some of the lees at the bottom. Now however I am getting bubbling, etc with no fermentation activity and its concerning me...I don't smell anything funky yet, but the look of it is just wrong. I attached pictures, what do you guys think?

Medsen Fey
09-12-2008, 09:26 AM
Hi magius,

It really helps if you can provide the recipe details in your post, or provide a link so folks don't have to go hunting to find them. If you are following this recipe (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&Itemid=6&recipe_id=27), then 12 lbs of honey with added fruit will not have exceeded the yeast's alcohol tolerance which is 17% (if you used WLP715 Champagne Yeast). If you added more honey without stabilizing the mead, I would expect the yeast to start fermenting that additional sugar as well, and I suspect that the foaming probably represents some continued fermentation.

Did you check the gravity before and after you added the star thistle honey? What is the gravity now?


09-12-2008, 12:22 PM
yeah the gravity at time of addition was .994, i also threw in some campden tablets (which I forgot to list for some reason). When i was done the gravity was 1.014 (also not noted, i'm slacking for some reason) I haven't checked recently however...

mystical mythical melomel

12 lbs Honey (i use fireweed)
4 lbs strawberries
2 lbs blueberries
2 lbs raspberries
4 peaches or nectarines
Yeast nutrient (if desired)
acid blend or 1 lemon cut in half
White labs Champagne yeast
Freeze Fruit until cell walls burst
Bring three gals water to about 185
Crush fruit
Add fruit and honey and bring must to 170F
Steep for twenty minutes while skimming film from top
Strain fruit and add to two gals Water in fermenter
Pitch yeast at 80 F
Airlock and leave in primary for one month.
Rack to secondary, add pasturized water and honey to adjust gravity.
Age for three months and then either prime for sparkling or drop campden for still mead.

FG: 1.010

09-12-2008, 12:52 PM
I think the best thing you can do at this point is to check the gravity again. Despite your campden addition, it looks from your photos very much like you've got a re-started fermentation. That's not unusual if the yeast is a sulfite tolerant strain - and if you did use the WLP715 called for in the original recipe, then it is very likely that the yeast has re-awakened. It is a strain that is specifically cultivated to perform secondary fermentation in Methode Champagnoise champagnes. It is nearly bullet-proof; stopping it requires 5 to 10x the amount of sulfite needed to take out most other strains of yeast.

09-12-2008, 12:57 PM
wow ok then...I'll check the SG today. if it is restarted though, adding that much campden or sorbate is going to cause some strange flavors...should I just let it ferment itself to extinction then backsweeten again?

Medsen Fey
09-12-2008, 02:40 PM
Sulfite and Sorbate may not add any noticeable flavor if dosed properly. The dosing in part depends on pH and alcohol content. Generally if sorbate is not greater than about 200mg/L it shouldn't affect the flavor.

What I would suggest is to let it finish fermenting the additional honey that you added, and let it sit and clear. I would rack it at least twice to minimize the number of yeast left in the mead - this will take a couple of months. Then I would add sulfite and sorbate, and then sweeten to taste. After sweetening, keep it under airlock for a good while just to make sure it doesn't start up again.

I hope that helps.


09-12-2008, 02:59 PM
I agree completely with Medsen, with only one additional comment. The amount of free sulfur dioxide (and thus the amount of molecular active sulfite) in your mead will decrease with time. It happens as more and more of the SO2 comes out of solution and forms part of the gas in the headspace above your mead, and less so, as some of it reacts with other compounds in the mead to become "bound," or chemically inactive. This means that although you added a carefully measured dose of campden back when you added the additional honey, and that produced a certain level of free SO2, the free SO2 in there now is certainly less. While it is difficult to estimate the remaining amount of free SO2 in a must, you can get a test kit to measure it, if you're so inclined.

09-12-2008, 03:03 PM
ok thanks a lot for the help guys. Guess I have more work to do :)

09-14-2008, 01:39 PM
Or . . . you can do it the really easy way and get some wine conditioner like this (http://www.eckraus.com/SGR310.html).



09-14-2008, 09:49 PM
Awww, man... that's cheating (well, sort of!). :confused4:

Medsen Fey
09-14-2008, 10:26 PM
Or . . . you can do it the really easy way and get some wine conditioner like this (http://www.eckraus.com/SGR310.html).

Oskaar, I've not tried using wine conditioner. Do you really find it useful?

09-14-2008, 11:08 PM
Heh heh heh. I've used it in mead and wine. No one has ever known. Kind of like remembering those steaks we used to barbeque before we found out they were bad for us! LOL



09-15-2008, 11:26 AM
Steaks are bad for us???? :sad2:

Ah... it's gotta be those PETA PITAs and their propaganda again!!! :protest:


09-15-2008, 03:21 PM
I'm going downstairs for lunch, and I'm going to get a buffalo steak! MMMMM, big fat dead buffalo!! (OK Bison, it's still dead and grilled to my preference!!)