View Full Version : Secondary fermentation

06-12-2011, 07:51 PM
I have made a few small batches of melomel in 1 gallon water containers using bakers yeast. So far its been fun (considering I dont drink that much).
I made a batch of strawberry/vanilla using Lalvin K1-1116 yeast and the product came out well! But.. Low on color and aroma but a heck of a kick :)

I took the melomel and put it back in a fermenting jug (Walmart spring water 79cents), added 1 lb of strawberries (hulled and quartered), 1/2 of a container of real vanilla and another 1 lb of honey. I started a 1/2 a package of yeast and added it to the mix.

I can see the color being stripped from the berries, fermentation is slower than before (due to alch content?) and color is pretty.

Q1) How long should I leave this in a cool dark place before shocking it?
Q2) Will the honey added be consumed by the fresh yeast added?

06-12-2011, 08:18 PM
Firstly, take the mead out of the water jug, IMMEDIATELY! That type of plastic is not suited for fermentation, and a lot of plastic is gonna leech into your mead. In fact, you shouldn't be aging mead in any kind of plastic, because the alcohol acts as a solvent leeching even more plastic.

Okay, before we can address your questions, could you post your recipe, including ingredients and procedures. Have you taken hydrometer readings? This will affect if the honey and berry sugar is gonna be consumed.

06-12-2011, 08:31 PM
Some polymers are fine for extended contact with alcohol. So the water jug could be fine. It is obviously ok for potable water, so I wouldn't worry much about it for contact time less than a month or so. Longer times and you want something specifically noted for aging wine in, as many polymers are permeable to oxygen.

Full recipe and process are helpful here.

06-12-2011, 09:00 PM
2 lbs Strawberries hulled and processed in a food processor.
2 Vanilla beans split
3 lbs of Clover Honey
Shake to aerate for 5 minutes
1 package of yeast (water added with 1/4 tea spoon of sugar)
shake again, add water to fill the bottle 1.5" from top

Add balloon on the top of the water jug and wait...

I bottle into grolsh style bottles when the sediment drops.

I also just bought 2x 5 gallon carboys and a 5 gallon fermenting bucket for AFTER this last small batch :)

06-12-2011, 11:22 PM
What kind of yeast? Bread yeast, wine yeast?

Assuming you didn't put a very alcohol tolerant yeast in there, the extra honey you added will probably result in a sweet finish. The only way to know if it is fermenting the additional sugar is to measure the density. I would suggest getting a hydrometer if you don't have one. They are indispensable when trying to answer the "is it done?" question.

06-12-2011, 11:37 PM
Lalvin K1-1116 yeast for both yeastings (?)
I didnt expect much activity with this little honey, the first time it was really explosive :)
The balloon enlarged and I just went to prick the balloon with a pin and... All over the kitchen sink, wall me...
I have since bought bubblers...

06-12-2011, 11:56 PM
Ahh. That yeast can actually get up to the 18% abv range. I would definitely check with a hydrometer to make sure it's very very done before bottling. Stabilizing it would probably be a good idea too.

06-13-2011, 09:44 AM
Hi Julie,

I'd expect that your mead will be somewhat dry, perhaps all the way dry with the K1V.

You are better off rehydrating your yeast in plain water than with sugar. Lalvin/Lallemand yeasts specifically are designed to be rehydrated using plain water or Go-Ferm. The added sugar will definitely cut down on the number of viable yeast cells so your second addition of yeast and honey may leave your mead sweet.

Hopefully things turn out for you and your mead finishes off just the way you want it.



06-13-2011, 11:09 AM
To help clarify between Akeuk and MCCann:

Some types of plastic are OK for primary fermentation, specifically HDPE 2 food grade containers. Other types will easily leech plastic tastes into your mead. During this primary stage of fermentation CO2 production should be so high that a fermantation lock(bubbler) isn't even really needed. Myself and many other ferment without even a lid on the bucket during primary fermentation.

For secondary or long term aging, most agree that plastic is a NO-NO. If for nothing else, simply because plastic isn't very air tight, and will allow your mead to oxidize turning it into vinegar over time. Glass carboys are the best bet for long-term aging. There's other things that can be used too, but generally they're well out of size and price range for the home brewer.

Plastic is generally used in primary, because you have lots more to do. Nutrient additions, stirring, aerating, degassing, daily gravity checks etc. It's therefore much easier to work with something with a nice wide top (Wide top makes cleaning and getting fruit and/or fruit bags out easier too). This usually means a bucket, and generally plastic food grade buckets are the cheapest and most readily available container meeting these criteria. That would be why we use the plastic buckets :)

If I'm wrong on anything or missed something I know the very helpful crew will be sure to correct me ;D

06-13-2011, 07:17 PM
Ok. Dry is when the yeast eats all the sugars in the mix correct? I do like a dry wine, but since this is my second batch, a little sweet mightn't be too bad.

06-13-2011, 07:28 PM
A week after I started this batch, a girl at work sold me her husbands brew set up. I hope she survives :)
I got 2 5 gallon carboys
1 5 gallon HDPE fermenting bucket with a spout
Piles of tubing and racking stuff
Hydrometer and measuring vial (?)
And... Stuff I have not identified yet.
So far I have learned that this is a hobby for the extreemly patient :)

I appreciate the help guys!

Chevette Girl
06-13-2011, 10:15 PM
Lalvin K1-1116 yeast for both yeastings (?)

I think the term you're looking for is "pitch", 1116 for both pitches.

I kinda like "yeastings" though :)

Medsen Fey
06-15-2011, 08:01 PM
So far I have learned that this is a hobby for the extreemly patient :)

I prefer to think of it as turning procrastination into an art form :)

Welcome to GotMead!

Chevette Girl
06-15-2011, 10:49 PM
I prefer to think of it as turning procrastination into an art form :)

That is my new favourite quote ;D

06-26-2011, 08:22 PM
Ok. The color is where I want it as well as the sweetness.
I placed the 1 gallon container in the fridge and the product has cleared nicely.
Looking at it, started to wonder.... What if I froze the contents, then I could pour off the non-frozen product leaving the frozen sludge at the bottom.
Sound do able?

Chevette Girl
06-26-2011, 08:47 PM
Last time I tried something like this, the darned stuff froze solid! good to know my deep freezer is cold enough to freeze 15% alcohol at least...

Medsen Fey
06-27-2011, 12:23 PM
There was a thread around here somewhere, about freezing mead in plastic bottles and them sawing off the frozen lees. Apparently it can be done.

Found it - "Surgical" racking technique (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14325&highlight=racking+day)

Chevette Girl
06-27-2011, 01:06 PM
Wouldn't freezing it work like a major cold-crash and make it clear right up even after thawing? I know after freeze-distillation I have no sediment at all, it has dropped nothing so far, whereas usually I get a bit of scunge at the bottom of the bottles after some months when I don't get creative and just bottle it the way it finished... of course, you'd have to be careful you don't bust a fermenter... I use plastic water jugs...

06-27-2011, 05:49 PM
I thought alcohol didnt freeze till it reached a really low temp.

Medsen Fey
06-27-2011, 06:04 PM
Mixing alcohol and water will lower the freezing point of water (think anti-freeze), but if you make it cold enough, it will still freeze. As the ABV goes up, you have to get it colder to freeze it. There is a thread in the Patron's area (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17098&highlight=freezing+point) that has some links and tables that provide specifics.

Chevette Girl
06-27-2011, 09:25 PM
I don't have a thermometer in my chest freezer but it was cold enough to freeze 13-14% alcohol solid. I put it outside instead and got slush, which is what I wanted.

06-28-2011, 09:16 PM
Alcoholic slushie! Yum....
The brain freeze would be terrible :)

01-31-2016, 07:21 PM
I had to look hard, but I remembered reading this and thought it was interesting, so I spent the time to find it again after reading this thread.

It's copied from audioholics dot com/editorials/making-the-perfect-honey-mead


If you care to make a higher alcohol, higher perceived sweetness, higher bodied Mead, it's possible to take portion of the Mead (don't recommend doing the entire 5-gallons), and placing it into a separate container with a wide open top, such as a clean 2.5 Gallon Bucket. Take this solution and place it in a freezer overnight. In the morning, you will find an ice block floating on the top of the bucket. Remove this block as carefully as you can. It will likely be slushy and break up as you remove it. What you have left is about 40% to 60% of what you started with, which will consist of a concentrated Mead. Take the ice block and toss it aside. If you are so bold, taste some of what was removed as ice. You will notice that it is not only water that was taken from this Mead, but instead, icing the Mead also acted as a cold filter, thus removing a variety of unpleasant tastes from the Mead.

You can do two things with this concentrated Mead. One is to re-dilute it back to its original gravity (or close) and notice how much cleaner it is then the Mead it started from before icing. Another suggestion is to bottle this concentrated Mead in small 6 or 7 oz bottles and use if as a liquor. If you decide to leave it concentrated, I recommend placing it in a brandy snifter type glass and slowly sipping instead of drinking. Mark my words, you will learn to love this type of Mead.