PDA

View Full Version : About half a gallon of honey at bottom of carboy, too late to mix in?



MisterPinstripe
02-04-2012, 05:08 PM
It has been about 2 and a half weeks since I started the mead. When it started there was a little over a gallon of honey sitting in the carboy. I didnt think too much of it as from what I understood that was another process that some people use.

It has been bubbling for the last 2 and a half weeks fine, just recently change to about 1 bubble every 13 seconds or so.

It has eaten about half of the mead, down to about half a gallon still at the bottom. My concern is dont I need to rack it to secondary around a month? No longer? And if so, it doesnt seem like it will have the time to eat off the rest of the honey. Is it too late to try to mix it up a little bit to help get that honey dissolved into the must?

This is the first mead I have attempted to make, so not sure what to do at this point.

I used about 15 pounds of honey to start it off, so I guess it has eaten off more then half at this point. I used a dry champagne yeast, so I figured that much honey would be overwhelming to it. Should I have used more then one packet of yeast?

Thanks!

Soyala_Amaya
02-04-2012, 05:14 PM
You don't have to rack to secondary until primary is done, however long that takes. Unless of course you're using 71-B, then you might try mixing it all really well and then racking it to get it off the lees, but you shouldn't have too much of a gross lees problem if it's still in primary, and racking during primary can actually stall your ferment.

If you're past your 1/3 break, you can stir gently to get the honey mixed up, trying not to get too much air into the must. If it hasn't gone past the 1/3 I think you have bigger problems than a layer of honey on the bottom of your carboy!

Do you have a brewlog posted? If not, what is your exact recipe and what steps have you used?

Medsen Fey
02-04-2012, 05:20 PM
Welcome to GotMead!

If you used a Champagne yeast and 15 pounds of honey in a 5-gallon batch, you have not overwhelmed the yeast. They should be able to chew that up with ease. Don't be in a hurry to rack. Swirl it around some, and let it continue.

If you provide the full details of your recipe, we may be able to make other suggestions.

Hang in there!
Medsen

MisterPinstripe
02-04-2012, 05:24 PM
Okay, thats a bit of a relief, wasnt sure if it needed to be moved at a month. I am definitely past the 1/3 break. Over half of the honey is gone at this point.

Basically what I did is I took about 15 pounds of wildflower honey and put it into the carboy with some warm water, came out to about 5 gallons total. I tried shaking it initially, but didnt really mix the water or the honey. Added the yeast and energizer as well. It was fermenting late that night when I went to check on it, not much lag time. It has been going pretty strong for the last 2 and a half weeks, but still a little less then a gallon of honey left (about 6 lbs.)

Guess Ill just wait until it finishes eating the honey before I rack, however long that takes? What if it gets to the point where fermentation has stopped/slowed enough to where I should be moving it and it still has honey at the bottom?

Thanks for the help!


You don't have to rack to secondary until primary is done, however long that takes. Unless of course you're using 71-B, then you might try mixing it all really well and then racking it to get it off the lees, but you shouldn't have too much of a gross lees problem if it's still in primary, and racking during primary can actually stall your ferment.

If you're past your 1/3 break, you can stir gently to get the honey mixed up, trying not to get too much air into the must. If it hasn't gone past the 1/3 I think you have bigger problems than a layer of honey on the bottom of your carboy!

Do you have a brewlog posted? If not, what is your exact recipe and what steps have you used?

Soyala_Amaya
02-04-2012, 05:32 PM
Take a good long look at the newbie guide and you'll see what I mean by exact recipe. :) But I'll ask some more specific questions too.

First, what kind of yeast, specifically. Not dry champagne yeast. Ec-1118, Kiv-1116, what? Name it please, that will tell us what it's ABV is and how far it can go.

What kind of energizer? What does it look like? A tan powder? Little crystals? Does the bag have a name? How much? Grams or teaspoons?

Did you aerate? If so how many times? If you didn't, I would right now anyway, because your yeast are probably asphyxiating from lack of attention.

You say "About" a lot. Can you be more precise? http://www.mediafire.com/?9b8yb4pu759yuob Here is a blank brewlog, it will help!

Oh, and WELCOME TO GOTMEAD

Medsen Fey
02-04-2012, 05:32 PM
If for some reason it doesn't finish, you can stir it up and rack it to secondary and see if it finishes. You might want to rack a gallon or two out, then stir it up, then finish racking so you don't have an MEA (Mead Eruption Accident). My guess is that it will finish chewing it up eventually.

MisterPinstripe
02-04-2012, 06:13 PM
Sorry about that.

I used Red Star Premier Cuvee champagne yeast, goes up to 18 percent.

Actually, I never used energizer, I user nutrient by LD Carlson. They were little crystal balls, and I used 1 tablespoon per gallon of must.

I aerated it when I first put it in, and then I mixed it a little about 6 days later. Is it safe to aerate it some at this point? I am used to making beer, so I am afraid of aerating after fermentation, only reason I did it after 6 days was a friend indicated it would be okay.

Thanks for the brew log, definitely will be using that in the future.

Thanks for all the help everyone.


Take a good long look at the newbie guide and you'll see what I mean by exact recipe. :) But I'll ask some more specific questions too.

First, what kind of yeast, specifically. Not dry champagne yeast. Ec-1118, Kiv-1116, what? Name it please, that will tell us what it's ABV is and how far it can go.

What kind of energizer? What does it look like? A tan powder? Little crystals? Does the bag have a name? How much? Grams or teaspoons?

Did you aerate? If so how many times? If you didn't, I would right now anyway, because your yeast are probably asphyxiating from lack of attention.

You say "About" a lot. Can you be more precise? http://www.mediafire.com/?9b8yb4pu759yuob Here is a blank brewlog, it will help!

Oh, and WELCOME TO GOTMEAD

MisterPinstripe
02-04-2012, 06:13 PM
Okay, Ill have to keep that in mind. Thanks so much!


If for some reason it doesn't finish, you can stir it up and rack it to secondary and see if it finishes. You might want to rack a gallon or two out, then stir it up, then finish racking so you don't have an MEA (Mead Eruption Accident). My guess is that it will finish chewing it up eventually.

MisterPinstripe
02-04-2012, 07:30 PM
Actually, I never used energizer, I user nutrient by LD Carlson. They were little crystal balls, and I used 1 tablespoon per gallon of must.
.

Correction, used 2 teaspoons per gallon of must.

Soyala_Amaya
02-05-2012, 11:16 AM
Sounds like your yeast are a little starved for some nutrients, and air. In mead, you want to aerate once or twice a day, vigorously, during the first 1/3 of fermentation for a clean ferment.

It also sounds like what you added was almost pure DAP without any nitrogen or other good stuff for your yeast. Take some regular bread yeast and boil it in a very very small amount of water, then add it to your must when cool, stir gently. The wine yeast will cannibalize the dead bread yeast for nutrients, and the dead cells will bind to any acids in suspension that are toxic to the yeast and give it more room to breath.

This is a quick fix method that has worked for a lot of stuck ferments, and should pick yours up pretty well.

And I'm going to reiterate a point that's been made a lot, mead is not beer. If the recipe says aerate, or check the gravity, or or stir it up, do it, please. I know beer is terrifying for possible infections, but mead is hardier stuff during fermentation. But it needs your love and attention! A properly managed fermentation will give you a clean ferment with a better product! Proper management just means different things for different products. :)

Anyway, try the yeast and give everything a very gentle swirl. I think it will help.

Chevette Girl
02-05-2012, 07:25 PM
In judging how far your yeast have gone, are you checking a hydrometer or just judging by whatever's still undissolved at the bottom? If you're just going by what's still at the bottom, don't forget there could still be a significant amount of sugar from the honey dissolved in the must too...

MisterPinstripe
02-07-2012, 09:23 AM
Anyway, try the yeast and give everything a very gentle swirl. I think it will help.

Got it, Ill get that done today. Thanks for all the help.

MisterPinstripe
02-11-2012, 09:24 PM
So, seems like the honey is getting eaten away, not too much left which is good. General question for my next batch, for some reason having a hard time tracking this done. I know I should aerate now a couple of times a day, and I should add nutrient when aerated. How vigorously should I aerate, and how much nutrient do I add? Just yeast energizer? 1 teaspoon? Having been able to find much detail on this when I have done searches.

Thanks for any help!

Soyala_Amaya
02-12-2012, 10:47 AM
Aeration should be as vigorous as you can handle it. Watch out for MEAs, it get fizzy in there with all the rapidly releasing CO2. I use buckets for my primaries and try to keep at least 2 gallons of headspace during that time so I can aerate like crazy and not worry so much about foaming.

As for nutrients, try looking up SNA. I know there's been a few good threads about it lately. There ARE some very detailed equations to figure out PPM, and it changes depending on your fruit additions because they have different nutrients in them. I suck at math. Really, I failed algebra four times in a row before they finally let me take the dumb math class. Once they take out numbers and put letters in there, I fail. So that's not my method. Someone else can give you some advice on that.

The two most common nutrients I see on here are Fermaid K and DAP. I think it sounds like you have DAP, get some Fermaid K for all the other stuff mead likes. http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19284&highlight=gotmead+method this thread had some pretty good info in and some good names to search too. I'm sure you can figure out who the brainy people are. ;)

I use a very relaxed nutrient SNA which is whatever amount I figure I need for the total, 1/3 of it after lag, 1/3 about halfway through the fist sugar break, and the last 1/3 right at the end of the first sugar break. (when 1/3 of the sugar has been eaten) Do some searches on sugar break too, there's lots of info there.

Whichever method you find works best for you, have fun with it! Mead is great and delicious, the yeast just needs some help while it's going along.

Chevette Girl
02-13-2012, 03:08 PM
I use a very relaxed nutrient SNA which is whatever amount I figure I need for the total, 1/3 of it after lag, 1/3 about halfway through the fist sugar break, and the last 1/3 right at the end of the first sugar break. (when 1/3 of the sugar has been eaten) Do some searches on sugar break too, there's lots of info there.


There's been a lot of debate lately about how much of which. If you purchase Yeast Nutrients it's usually DAP and the label usually recommends 1 tsp per gallon. If you buy Yeast Energizer, it's got the vitamins and minerals and the recommended dosage is usually 1/4 tsp per gallon. Keeping in mind that these addition rates were developed for grape wines, which already have a lot of what yeast needs.

Many of the others around here use either equal amounts or even more energizer than DAP, and also vary the amounts depending on whether it's a traditional mead (needs more) or whether it's a melomel (needs less because of the fruit content).

I call my SNA (staggered nutrient addition) the lazy method: I generally toss in 1/4 tsp energizer per gallon before I pitch and then I mix 1/4 tsp energizer per gallon and 1 tsp DAP per gallon into a little container, and I add some at each aeration, keeping an eye on the SG so that the last addition coincides with the 1/3 sugar break, and I stop aerating at 1/2 sugar break. I generally add the DAP and energizer after I've aerated it so it doesn't fizz up like crazy when you add the powder. I think there should be an explanation of the sugar breaks in the Newbee guide, but basically, take your original gravity, subtract 1 (or your estimated final gravity if it's not expected to go to completion), divide by 3, multiply by 2, and add the 1 back to tell you where your 1/3 break is, for the 1/2 sugar break, take your original gravity - final gravity, divide by 2, add the final gravity back in. So if your OG is 1.120 and you expect the FG to be 1.000, your 1/3 break will be 1.080 and your 1/2 break will be 1.060.

Medsen Fey
02-15-2012, 10:28 PM
If you want to keep it really simple, 1 tsp per gallon of DAP plus 1 tsp per gallon of an energizer (like Fermaid K) will usually work. That gives a bit more than 300 ppm YAN and will feed all but the hungriest of yeast or the extreme fermentations. You can get to a similar level with 1/2 tsp per gallon of DAP and 2 tsp per gallon of Fermaid K. Personally, I prefer this latter approach as I like using less DAP.

Which ever you choose, give half at the beginning and half and the 1/3 fermentation point and you'll generally find you get good results.

We sometimes make it much harder than it has to be.

Medsen the over-complicator