View Full Version : New mead maker...is it done fermenting??

08-09-2015, 08:10 PM
Gerrtings! I made my first mead just under one month ago. I made two single gallon batches, one "dry" the other sweeter and spiced. My concern is how quickly they are progressing, especially batch 1. Sadly, I did not have a hydrometer, so there are no OG readings, nor pH.

Recipe 1:
2lb honey
Water to make 1 gallon
2.5 g D47 yeast, activated according to manufacturers directions
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp yeast energizer

Water and honey heated to ~140F for 20 min. Cooled to under 80F, approx 77F, pitched yeast nutrient and energizer, shook like I was a boss, added activated yeast. Topped with airlock, put away in a bedroom closet, cool and dark, approx 62-75F depending on time of day.
Two weeks later, bubbles were approx every 30 seconds. Racked.
One week later, more lees/sediment at bottom, but cleared significantly. Racked. Why? Probably because I'm like a kid with a new toy. Bubbles now at one every 2 minutes, corrected (for temp) SG approx 1.032. Is something wrong? Is it already done? Does it need a boost? It has an alcohol sharpness, not sweet, but not bitter. I get the "dry" sense. Also has excessive headspace now, as it went from a gallon jug to a 4L jug, plus 2 rackings...thinking of losing some marbles in it.

Recipe 2:
3lb honey
Water to make 1 gal
2.5 g D47 yeast, activated according to manufacturers directions
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
1/2 tsp yeast energizer
1/2 orange, sliced
1 tsp cardamom seeds

Same process for making mead, added orange and cardamom after yeast.
Racked @ 2 weeks.
Today (3weeks) bubbles every 35 sec, SG 1.042. Taste is sweeter than #1.

Thoughts, advice, anything, please!

08-10-2015, 07:56 AM
I am by no means a mead expert. But some other questions that may need answers are: What temp did they ferment at? Did you take gravity readings before racking off yeast?

If you are looking for a dry batch, neither of those are technically anywhere close. I have a 5g batch that started 1.100 and is now below 1.000 after 3 weeks. Staggered nutrient additions help to keep fermentation going along.

Based on recipe, first batch would have started at 1.074 so at 1.032 is about 55% attenuated. Yeast does leave fuller body but has alcohol tolerance to 14% so my guess is it stalled and is incomplete.

The second batch would have OG of 1.100 so at 1. 042 is also at 55%.

Perhaps so more experienced people will comment. My thoughts are you may need to add more nutrients and or fresh yeast to get them fermenting more. Otherwise will be left very sweet.

08-10-2015, 08:06 AM
Sorry saw temps listed...

08-10-2015, 07:24 PM
I would suggest next time just pitching the whole packet for each batch. It gives the yeast a better head start. You could feed it more nutrients in 3 separate feedings. Some feed everything before the half way mark and others feed at the 1/3 half and 2/3 sugar breaks. Things slow down some towards the end. With that said that yeast can easily eat that amount of honey to dry. You might want to buy some Ph strips to measure your Ph. They're not great but you can get a rough idea where your Ph is. If it's around what you think is 3.2 or so you might be ok. If it's lower you need to buffer it with K2CO3 according to directions

08-11-2015, 10:55 PM
Ok, to answer questions first..
Fermentation was roughly 62F @ night, 75F/day. This is in a bedroom wardrobe, coolest place in the house. Other option is 75 all day.
No OG reading, as I was ignorant of that concept at the time :)
Got pH strips, they appear to put the pH at roughly 3.4 (above 3.2, below 3.6) for batch 1, batch 2 looks more about 3.6
SG for #1 is now 1.01, #2 is 1.02.

Yesterday, Day 22, I added BrewCraft Nutrient and Energizer, 1/2 tsp each, dissolved in water, to each batch. No idea if that was right, wrong, or indifferent, haha.

And aeration? Degassing? My mead is blissfully ignorant of these tactics. We had no idea...should we be agitating each other, too? Sigh....

08-11-2015, 11:19 PM
It's pretty late in the game to do any of the things you missed. I wouldn't feed it anything except this<<<<<< boil some bread yeast in a little water,,5 grams each batch,,, 1/4 cup water,, after boil let cool and then add it to your must and then just ride it out until you get to zero (1000) on your hydrometer. then cold crash it for a few days and rack off the lees. Let it age for a month or 2 and rack again. Then come ask for more help :)

You have made a few missteps but over time you should be able to age out your mistakes :) Let us help you before you make your next batch so you can have some success before you get frustrated and walk away.

08-12-2015, 12:31 PM
I'll do that tonight, thanks. Though a tad frustrated, yes, I thought I had done a fair amount of research, apparently the style of mead making I saw was a bit more simplistic than found here.
Back to the books and learning I go...I'll be looking to make another batch in a month or two. My hopes were that one of the two I made would be ready for Christmas...though I realize it would be early even at that, as many age for a year or more.

Is cold crash done in a refrigerator? How cold, and how long is necessary?

ok, so does the airlock stay on until the bottling and what is acceptable headspace until then?

Thank you again for all the help!

08-12-2015, 02:06 PM
Ahh! I found the NewBee Guide and a newbie thread that had great info. Y'all rock.

08-13-2015, 01:02 PM
I wanted to post a couple of links that gave me a great deal of info, and may help others.

The NewBee Guide:

This one had great info on dealing with "fusels" - the hot, burning tastes that we age out of the mead.

After reading, I think my first fail (one of them at least, lol) was lack of aeration. Though I shook my jugs, I did not by any means shake them for 5 minutes. Nor did I degass or aerate after day 1. I popped my airlocks on and basically did not touch them for 14 days. Then, in my all-fired haste, I racked off my lees, taking away most of my lovely yeasties. So, between those two, I think that's where I really stalled my fermentation. And yes, low on honey in batch #1.

So, a (not) final question: My SG is fast approaching 1.00. My fermentation process was short, but the D47 has alcohol tolerance of 12-14%. What do you think is going on with my alcohol content? Did it achieve that target? Or will it be low?

08-13-2015, 02:59 PM
If both batches ferment to 1.100 then batch #1 would reach around 10% and #2 a round 13.5%. So the yeast you used can tolerate all the potential sugars. leaving a dry mead

08-13-2015, 03:00 PM
That was supposed to say 1.000 in 1st line!

08-17-2015, 02:13 AM
If you want something that will be ready for Christmas get a one gallon JAOM going ASAP and you should have something nice in time for the holidays.

D47 does not like going above 65F. This does not mean your mead is ruined but it means you likely have a lot of fusels that will need a long time to age out. Certainly longer than by the end of the year. So you should get the current batch off the lees and into a bulk aging vessel and forget about it until this time next year. You may be very pleasantly surprised at the flavor after a year of aging.

Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.