View Full Version : Preventitive Measures

09-26-2005, 04:15 PM
Hi all! ;D
Lets play Red Light Green Light!

I began a mead about two or two and a half months ago.
Simple Recipe:

1 gal (12 lb) wildflower honey

5 gal H2O

I pitched eau de vie yeast witch has a very high alcohol tolerance of 21%.
and I was planning on adding 8 lb of semi sweet wild cherries and several vanilla beans to the secondary and tertiary.
og 1.070.

Fermentation was never hard. I added 5 tsp of nutrients to keep that natural CO2 blanket on top when I racked it a couple of weeks ago. Itís essentially finished now, bubbling maybe a few times a minute.

In order to finish this slightly sweet (1.009-1.012) Iíll have to put the total gravity far higher. This yeast eats allot! Approximately 1.16 will finish the abv and leave it dry.

My plan: Rack off 1 3/4 gallons and add 1 1/4 gal of honey. This will bring the total gravity in this batch up to 1.171 and leave me space for my cherries. (I have a plan for the "extra" must too but thatís another post :))

But I've heard that adding honey to a nearly finished fermentation could stress the yeast and produce medicinal flavors. If it risks the mead, I'd rather leave it where it is and have a dry sparkling mead instead.

Okay! So red light or green light? Should I go ahead with adapting the recipe or stop while I'm ahead? ::)

I go back and forth, maybe this would be better made with apple blossom honey and I should save my cherries and vanilla beans for something that might compliment it more...

Well, advice is much appreciated.
thanks y'all


09-26-2005, 04:38 PM

If you were closer to your alcohol tolerance I think it would be a bigger concern. This is what I'd do, other members will have divergent opinions I'm sure. My advice would be to wait on the cherries if you can. Make a yeast starter of about 1/4 gallon the day before. Gently heat the honey in its container, in a tub of hot water to bring it to a nice liquid state, stir in slowly in stages to mix it in well, without aerating!!! Repitch using the yeast starter. Let it ferment for a week or two then rack over the cherries. When fermentation slows to a blip every 10 seconds rack off the cherries, put on an air lock for a week or two to let fermentation finish, put in a solid stopper and let bulk age for 6-12 months. All should be good.


09-26-2005, 04:56 PM
great! Though the mead isnt stalled so I dont think I'll need to make a new starter. I'm pretty sure the reason it is slow now is because it is almost out of food.

what kind of stuff does stress the yeast?

09-26-2005, 05:05 PM
Too little Oxygen in the first 3 days
Too little Nutrient/Nitrogen
Too high a fermentation temperature
Too high an initial sugar level
A must just outside of the yeasts acid/pH range
Too much light exposure

Others anyone?


09-26-2005, 07:10 PM
Competitive spoilage organisms in the early stages of fermentation.
Oxygenation during anaerobic fermentation.
Incorrect rehydration and nutrient doses.
Overly curious cellar rats!



10-04-2005, 03:57 PM
hey all!
additional question: how can I tell if my mead is oxygenated?

you guys rock. 8)


10-04-2005, 04:38 PM
hey all!
additional question: how can I tell if my mead is oxygenated?

If it's still fermenting, there is not much chance you will oxygenate it unless you do something really extreme. Short exposures to air do not hurt as long as the batch is producing CO2 to cover itself again after the handling. It is prolonged exposures to air that result in harm...

10-05-2005, 01:15 PM
I expect oxidation is most common during bulk aging. Be especially careful in avoiding any exposure to air during this time. So if you have to open 'er up, throw down a layer of CO2 afterwards. And be sure to ensure that your airlocks are topped up!

Oxidation will be apparent in the flavor, an unmistakable sherry or "nutty" flavor.

10-05-2005, 01:50 PM
The oxidation manifests as a sherry, port, nutty almost metallic flavor.

You'll also notice color loss and browning of amber meads, and your deeper colored mels will move toward brown/black.

Hope that helps,


10-05-2005, 04:25 PM
Mostly I wanted to know for future refernace...thanks!

So on oxidation risk: If I am adding more honey to a going fermentation am I risking oxidation if I stir it?



10-06-2005, 02:07 AM
Past the first three - four days of primary there is always a risk of oxidation if you aerate your mead. Just minimize the splashing and agitating and you'll be fine.