View Full Version : Is my original gravity too low?

Rig the Walker
08-14-2011, 09:23 PM
My original gravity for my very first batch ever of 3 gallons was 1.094. Is that too low?

I had 8.84 lbs of honey for my 3 gallon batch so is a gravity of 1.094 okay?

I haven't pitched the yeast yet. I am going to use a liquid strain of WLP720 Sweet Mead/Wine Yeast.

08-14-2011, 09:52 PM
I think the answer depends on what you are trying to achieve with the batch. Do you want it sweet, dry, or something inbetween. The amount of sweetness desired will help you determine if your gravity will work for you. There is a mead calculator on the site that can help you figure out this kind of problem, but I'm on my phone and its hard for me to look it up. Yeast alcohol tolerance will also play a big part in where your mead ends up sweetness wise.

08-14-2011, 10:04 PM
That'll result in an ABV of around 12%, which will be dry even with that yeast. You could backsweeten if you want it sweeter, but I'd suggest letting it age before sweetening because once some of the alcohol has mellowed you'll be surprised how sweet even a dry mead is.

I personally have made meads with that OG and been very satisfied. As Triarchy said, it depends on what you want.

08-14-2011, 10:06 PM
Btw, could you post your recipe and procedure. More experienced mazers will want that before giving you further advice.

08-14-2011, 11:43 PM
Yes please, exact recipe and proceedure - plus what kind of product you would like to have ideally. There is no right and wrong starting gravity for mead, it could literally be almost any gravity, BUT for certain styles there definitely is right and wrong starting gravities.

Rig the Walker
08-15-2011, 06:44 AM
8.84 lbs Clover Honey
2.5 gal water
1 vial WLP720 sweet mead/wine yeast
3 tsp "Yeast Nutrient" from my local home brew store

I am hoping for a medium mead between dry and sweet, but what ever I end up with is fine for my first batch.

I had some temperature bumps in the road after making this post so I'll just go ahead and write it all out.

I first boiled a gallon of water and mixed all the honey to pasteurize it. Brought it to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 22 minutes then I added that to the carboy which had the rest of the water in it chilled.

Here is where I think i messed up pretty bad. I underestimated how long it would take for it to cool to 75 which is the max temp to pitch according to the yeast vial. I took the yeast out 5 hours prior and then refrigerated it again cause I didn't think the must was going to cool down in time for the remove yeast "3-6 hours prior to pitching" direction. I eventually got the must cooled down and took the yeast out. It hadn't got cold yet so I made a 2 pint starter with warm water and mixed it up then I pitched it.

I spent 10 minutes stirring with sanitized curtain rod and shaking it to aerate. I live in a really crappy apartment complex without central air and my must already got back up to 80 degrees in this whole process. The WLP720 said it likes to be between 70-75. After sealing and putting the fermentation lock in, I moved it to the coolest place in the apartment, which in the afternoon was 76-78 but by now for some reason the temp of the coolest place was 82. That was freaking me out so I put the carboy outside on the patio which was 78 then moved it back to my room last night with fans and open windows. It got down to 76 eventually. This morning I looked at the Carboy. It had been 9 hours since pitching the yeast and there is no visible bubbling or anything in the lock. there is a small ring of sediment at the bottom of my carboy. Is it screwed?

08-15-2011, 10:39 AM
One thing (among many) I learned here is that you really dont have to heat the honey. Ive been just adding room temp water and honey since I came to Gotmead and things work very well. Maybe a little more stirring to mix, but you never have to wait for the must to cool or worry about killing the yeast via temp shock.

That said, what was the must temp when you pitched? If there was a big temp difference between must and starter, you might have a problem. If that isnt the case, Id just let it go for a while. Looking for airlock activity doesnt alway work out, you really should use a hydrometer to measure gravity change. Ive had a few leaky bung/airlocks that dont bubble, it happens.

For the temp, I have seen a few people here use creative methods for temp control, like ice baths (or cold water in the bathtub, cold wet towels wrapped around the carboy and a fan, etc. I would try to get the temp down to the 75 range, but if you cant the only effect it should have is a stronger alcohol taste in your finished mead. Aging will (might) take care of that.

Rig the Walker
08-15-2011, 12:33 PM
I pitched it at 76 using the must as the starter in a huge sterilized mug. The temp was raising at that point and then it was 80 by the time everything was said and done.

If worse comes to worst, and the yeast does die, I can just get a yeast with higher temp range and pitch that assuming no fermentation took place right?

08-15-2011, 03:18 PM
I pitched it at 76 using the must as the starter in a huge sterilized mug. The temp was raising at that point and then it was 80 by the time everything was said and done.

If worse comes to worst, and the yeast does die, I can just get a yeast with higher temp range and pitch that assuming no fermentation took place right?

Correct, K1-V1116 in particular is known for having good results at higher temps AND just so happens to be a recommended yeast for restarting a stuck fermentation AND is an aggressive strain pushing out other yeasts :)

The yeast you used in this is known to be VERY finicky about everything from temp, to nutrients, to aeration and can give more experienced mazers headaches.

Still, I wouldn't repitch unless your fermentation DOES stick. Check your SG daily. If it doesn't get really darned close to totally dry (SG 1.000 ) or it sticks at a higher number without moving for several days, try the restarting fermentation procedures which can be searched out on these forums.

The temp of the must itself (when pitching) generally isn't as critical as making sure the must and your yeast starter/vial are very close in temperature, generally 10Fi is the max diff in temperature you want. Later on in the ferment you certainly want to keep your must at the lower end of your yeasts' recommended range.

Rig the Walker
08-17-2011, 03:13 AM
Since posting this question the other day; about a few hours later, my fermentation took off. It's bubbling pretty fast and has forced the water of the lock up to the top and almost spewing out. I guess I jumped the gun. I used the wet towel trick to keep it between 70-74. I am amazed that the yeast has been fizzing this fast for 48 hours. I can't believe it is supposed to do this for a few more days. I'm not even sure how long its supposed to ferment like that, but it worked out.