View Full Version : First mead batch, seems to sweet

06-18-2012, 11:02 AM
I have recently Started my first batch of mead and I am unsure about a few things.
Here is my recipe

15 pounds of honey (may be slightly over)
4 gallons of water
half a mandarin (recipe called for an orange but didn't have one at the time)
3-4 handfuls of raisins
I am fairly certain the yeast was SN9 Cider/wine yeast (I foolishly didn't pay much attention to it when I started the mead)

I racked into a carboy after 2 weeks and it has been in the carboy for about a week, it is slowly fermenting still (airlock bubbles)
I took a hydrometer reading and it is around 1.060. this seems high to me and it still tastes far to sweet.
any advice or feedback would be appreciated :)

06-18-2012, 11:07 AM
I'm not familiar with your yeast, but 15 pounds of honey for a 5 gallon batch typically ends up in the semi-sweet range if you are shooting for 12-14%abv. I'd say three weeks is far too soon to worry about that though. My first mead kept up fermentation for six weeks. I'd check it again in another three weeks or even later.

06-18-2012, 11:11 AM
I suppose I should add on....

1.060 is a bit high, but like I said, it should keep chugging along for a while yet. Worst comes to worst, if you think fermentation has stalled, you can try to kick start it again with another yeast like EC-1118. But there are more qualified and experienced people on this forum who could tell you how to best go about that if it comes to it.

06-18-2012, 11:16 AM
Thanks for the quick reply! Yeah i am pretty impatient and wasn't to sure on what the reading should be at the moment. also I am in Australia so the Brand/types of yeast might be different.

06-18-2012, 11:18 AM
SN9 Cider/wine yeast has tolerances up to 18% ABV so it should easily be able to handle the must that you prepared (Starting Gravity ~1.105). Ec-1118 is a similar strain and I usually have my fermentation complete in 10-14 days with a similar honey/water ratio.

Take Hydrometer reading for a few days to make sure that it hasn't stalled.

Have you checked your PH? A low PH can cause fermentation to slow or stall.

Are the raisins and half a Mandarin all the nutrients that you put into the 5 Gallon batch? You may want to get some yeast Hulls or boil some yeast to give it some more nutrients.

Get the Hydrometer readings for a few days and check your PH, if we know that it has in fact stalled and we know if the PH is low we can help you take measures to correct the issue or restart fermentation.

06-18-2012, 11:29 AM
Yep thats all the nutrient i have added, I was considering adding some apple juice concentrate, but I wasnt sure if this was a good idea and how much of an apple flavour it would add.
also I havent taken a PH reading and I am not sure how to do it, I will look into it though.
thanks for the advice and feedback

06-18-2012, 11:41 AM
For testing the PH the least expensive and pretty easy method is to get some PH test strips for wine, measures PH from 3.0 to 4.0. The ideal PH range is from 3.6-4.0 anything below 3.2 is asking for a slow, sluggish or stalled fermentation. If you wanna spend the money a more accurate method is an electronic PH meter.

Test the PH, Get a couple Hydrometer reading to see if it is still going slowly or if it is stalled. As for nutrients yeast seem to like Apple Juice, but I'm not sure how much you would need to add to give the yeast what they need and I'm thinking half an orange and a couple handfuls of raisins isn't enough for the yeast you used. At this stage you want to add Organic Nitrogen like you would get from Boiled Yeast, Yeast Hulls or Fermaid O (not sure if that last one is available in AU)

06-18-2012, 07:55 PM
Thanks, I am going to head down soonand see if the local brewing shop has the PH strips. Is there any particular type of yeast i would add for the nutrient? or any boiled yeast will do?

06-18-2012, 07:58 PM
If I'm doing boiled yeast I just use Flieschmans Bread yeast.

06-18-2012, 08:01 PM
Allright so any bread yeast should be fine then?

06-18-2012, 08:06 PM
Yes, when you boil them it kills them and it gives the yeast in your must some organic nutrients to munch on, similar to yeast hulls yhat you can purchase at the brew shop.

Be forewarned boiled yeast smells bad.

06-18-2012, 08:14 PM
Alright thanks, also, is there a certain amount I should use?

06-18-2012, 08:25 PM
I usually boil 1/8 cup water and add 1tbsp of the bakers yeast and let that boil for like 5 minutes. I than pour some of the sludge into the carboy and than stir it in. No set amount that I know of, it will settle out with the rest of the stuff so I try to squeeze as much into the carboy as I feel comfortable with.

06-19-2012, 02:49 AM
I bought some yeast nutrient today and added it. I will take a hydrometer reading and a PH reading later tonight and post the results. I have also moved the carboy to a slightly warmer environment and the airlock seems to be bubbling faster.

06-19-2012, 10:22 AM
Temperature changes can sometimes speed up a fermentation but the also cause dissolved CO2 to be released from the must which could be the bubbles you are seeing in the airlock. The Hydrometer reading is the way to judge fermentation not the airlock.

Hopefully the nutrients helped though, but let us know the PH and Gravity when you get the info.

06-28-2012, 08:05 AM
Allright so my Hydrometer reading at the moment is 1.021. I did buy PH strips but they were cheap ones designed for beer so they ended up being useless. But the mead is still fermenting and has lost the sickly sweetness, but now its replaced with a fairly strong alcoholic smell and bitter/sour taste