View Full Version : Over fermentation?

06-19-2011, 03:34 PM
I have attempted to make a 5 gallon batch of mead.

I definitely let it sit too long, but I was under the impression that the fermentation stops when it hits a certain alcohol level. I did not take an initial specific gravity reading, and I don't remember the level of my last one (and I think that is kind of useless without an initial measurement?), but I am pretty sure whatever I made - it's close to hard liquor now. There is not much sweetness a few sips makes me want to fall asleep!

I used one of those fancy refrigerated packets and honey from Northern Brewing (sp?).

So I am wondering if it is possible I could have over fermented?

I am also wondering if it's worth trying to distill what I have.

Regardless, I will likely try another batch, and be a lot more careful about the process. I never quite understood the secondary fermentation process, why it was done, why you get rid of the residue, etc.

06-19-2011, 05:26 PM
Hello Brandywine,

Welcome to Got Mead?

We need more information to help you out. Please provide the best information you are able to on the following:

Date you started the mead
How much honey you used, or the starting gravity
Type of yeast you used
Type of honey you used
Temperature of the fermenting must
Ambient temperature in the area where you are fermenting
Additional ingredients if any
Current gravity reading

OK so I noticed that you said you used a refrigerated smack pack, with some honey from Northern Brewer. Was that a gallon bucket of honey? Can you possibly dial in the yeast strain for us. It's tough to guess without additional information. If you can get us a gravity reading it would be very helpful.

If you're talking a batch that is 5 gallons total, then your initial gravity would be somewhere around 1.085 - 1.090 (guestimating that) which would give you a PABV of about 11-12% ABV. Most wine yeast will ferment that to complete dryness if you are using wine yeast. If it is beer yeast, then it could possibly end up sweet with a lower ABV.

Taste it, test it, check it and let us know!

Keep the faith, even if the mead seems gnarly now, it can over time, become quite nice with a bit of management and patience. So don't give up on it yet. Get us as much information as you are able to and we'll jump in and see if we can help you out!

Once again, Welcome to Got Mead? and we wish you the very best in mead, meadmaking and mead drinking!



06-19-2011, 09:54 PM
The stop of fermentation depends on a couple of things: how much fermentables you had, and yeast strain are the two biggest factors.

If you put enough honey in to let the yeast reach it's tolerance then there's no guarantee it stopped a where it claimed. In fact it's fairly normal for wine yeast to go past it's ABV tolerance (I had K1V go to 17.5% and it's rated at 16%) It's also equally possible for the yeast to stop short of it's rated ABV which has happened to me as well (About 12% out of D47 yeast)

If you didn't make a very high gravity must (not much honey) then like Oskaar mentioned it probably stopped well short of it's full tolerance.

Temperature of the must, nutrient additions, Ph etc also play a somewhat smaller role in how far the yeast will take your brew.

As for the pure alcohol taste, that's only the higher alcohols coming out. Fresh booze has more of these higher alcohols and can make you feel loopy faster, but it mellow out with time. Despite the strong taste, the alcohol level isn't actually any higher and in -most- cases won't be higher than 18%

As for the distillation, due to the fact that this site is hosted in the US, most users are in the US, and home distillation is illegal in the states; topics of distillation are generally prohibited in the public forums.