View Full Version : Help please - second batch not behaving

06-26-2015, 09:08 AM
Hi all,
Very new to mead making. I am one batch in(first batch was oranges/raisens in a one gallon water jug).

For my second batch I decided I wanted to get all fancy and this is what I went with based on 1 gallon size.

4lbs. Honey (from a local beekeeper who uses our ranch, pretty sure a mix of alfalfa and wild mustard)
2lbs. Black plums
Approx 1 pint black tea
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Pectic enzyme (before fermentation)
Alcotec 48hr. turbo yeast

The problem is I can see zero noticeable fermentation. When I try to take a gravity my hydrometer floats so high I cant get a reading.
I tried to attach some pics but was unable.

Thank you for your help in advance,

06-26-2015, 09:50 AM
Assuming you managed to get one full gallon of liquid in the jug along with 2 lbs of plums, you'd be sitting at a gravity of ~1.153 (1.144 from just the honey + 0.09 from the plums). Most yeast starts to have trouble starting after 1.140, and I'm sure some have trouble before that, depending on their strength and the amount of yeast pitched.

Realistically, after accounting for the volume of plums and for headspace, there's probably somewhere between 0.75 and 0.8 gal of liquid in there at the most, which would put your gravity somewhere between 1.190 and 1.200 (probably why the hydrometer is floating so high).

I'd say your best bet is to get two more pounds of plums and split your batch in two (add water to bring it up to volume, of course). That'd give you two batches sitting between 1.090 and 1.100 (~11.8% - 13.2%)

In the future, 2.5 - 3 lbs of honey is a pretty good starting point for one gallon batches.

06-26-2015, 09:58 AM
Thank you for your response! I should clarify that the two pounds was approximate starting weight, I cut the pits out of them and squeezed the juice from the remaining flesh on the pits into the batch.

I have very little headroom in my jug.

I really appreciate your input and will split the batch tonight when I get home from work and see if anything changes. Thank you very much!

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06-26-2015, 10:01 AM
Ah, ok, that makes sense. If that's the case, make sure you get a good hydrometer reading when splitting the batch, and feel free to add some more honey to bring it up to your desired gravity after splitting. Most meads I've made (and seen others make) are in the 1.090 - 1.120 range.

Chevette Girl
06-26-2015, 11:19 AM
I second this advice :) I try to keep honey additions under 3-3.5 lb per gallon (less if fruit is involved), for future batches if you want something sweeter or more potent at the finish, look up "step feeding" and you should get some tips on how to do that... as you have now noticed, starting with too high of a SG is really hard on your yeast.

And as you gain more experience, you might want to experiment with other yeasts, I don't know that particular one but anything that claims to be "turbo" is probably a grand idea for step-feeding to get as high an alcohol content as you can but may well be so vigorous (like EC-1118 is said to be) that it might blow off some of the more delicate honey and fruit flavours. If you're starting a little more conservative, there are other yeasts that might help bring out the fruit flavours a little better than something designed to blast through all your sugars so quickly.

06-26-2015, 03:15 PM
I appreciate the feedback, I have a bunch of different yeasts/recipes planned for the future and ALOT of learning to do!

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06-26-2015, 03:59 PM
The other thing is that all wines - including mead - are at their heart a balance between alcohol level and flavor and sweetness and so the more sugar you are fermenting per gallon (the higher the specific gravity or density) the more unbalanced the mead is likely to be. Turbo yeasts are typically (I think) used for fermentation that will end up as a distillate. Better would be to use wine (or even ale yeasts). Those yeasts are cultivated to play nice with the fermentable sugars and impart and highlight subtle flavors and aromas. The turbo yeast is like a muscle car. It is simply designed (I think) to produce alcohol - flavor and aroma be damned.

06-26-2015, 04:44 PM
I kind of figured it would turn out rough, and when I was putting everything together I was going to originally go with RC-212.

I don't know why I changed my mind, I think just raw curiosity. I'm sure this mead would taste a hell of allot better with something other than the turbo yeast but as a guy who prefers my scotch and whisky straight I figured I'd probably make something that would knock my socks off.

I'll probably run this recipe again with a more suitable yeast (I bought about 8 lbs of the plums, they are amazingly juicy and taste delicious).

Thank you for your input, I appreciate it.

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06-26-2015, 07:56 PM
Hi again,

So I came home from work to find this;

Do you think it will be alright if I pull some fluid out? Should I still dilute it a bit or let it do its thing?

07-02-2015, 07:52 AM
It's fine. Just pour a tiny bit out, wash and sanitze the bung and airlock and put it back on.