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  1. Default Where's my alcohol?

    Hi All,
    I am brewing my first batch of mead and have a problem I never imagined...
    I pitched my yeast (Lalvin EC-111 on July 15 and fermentation was going excellent. I checked it on July 19 and got SG 1.36 Alc 5%. I checked it again today (July 26), (the fermentation slowed to a crawl as of yesterday), and it is SG 1.000 Alc 0%. Can this be true Has anyone else experienced this or is there a way to fix it?? The temperature in the room it was fermenting is 85 F (29.5C) which is well within the acceptable temp for the yeast.

    Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer,
    Rob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Brisbane Australia
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    654

    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    SG measures how much honey/sugar is left.

    Congratulations, the yeast has almost finished (It will probably go to 0.996 or lower).

    EC-1118 is FAST, and at that temperature, I'm not surprised.
    It is preferable to keep the temperature a little lower if you can (around 20C to 25C), but that is difficult in the middle of Summer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Ithaca, NY
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Just to expand on the last post...

    The %alcohol numbers you're reading are "potential alcohol" numbers. To determine the amount of alcohol in your mead, subtract the final reading (0%) from the initial reading (whatever it was) and there you go. Since your mead is just about done, there is almost no sugar left and therefore no potential for further alcohol generation--thus your 0% reading.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    learo05,

    Welcome to the Forums! Glad to have you here.

    Could you post your exact recipe? I agree with the previous posts, but I think we'd all love to see what you're working on.

    Welcome, again.

    -David

  5. Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Thank you for the answers! I was really worried there.
    I went with a basic recipe, I wanted to make a traditional mead for my first try (5 gallons)-

    4 Kg summer blossom honey
    1.5 Kg buckwheat honey
    3 tsp yeast nutrient
    1 tsp acid blend

    I got the honey from the farmer's market, (unpasturized) and, boiled it for maybe 10 minutes on and off to get some of the wax, etc out. I had read that some people boil it, some don't - so I went half way. I'll be racking this weekend and will bottle sometime in January. It'll be hard, but I am determined not to open a bottle for at least 2 years.

    Next attempt, I am going to try adding fruit. Pear or apple and maybe a spice or two...

  6. Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    You didn't even get a "thank you"? How rude. Here, I'll forward you one of mine...

    Dear Mr. Mazer Man,

    Thankshoe fer the really really tasty alcohol. Plez make more.

    Shinsheerly,
    The Mead Faries

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
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    908

    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Learo05,

    Just a quick note on your first SG reading. It should have been 1.036.

    Also, with respect to boiling, mazers use different methods to make their Mead with great results, but try a batch without boiling the Must. You may find the delicate flavors from the honey are not lost.

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, IA
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    1,867

    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Learo,

    I do the halfway thing you mention. I heat to 170F or so and whisk the batch and skim the scum. Part of it is that it is the way brewing mead was done in the Middle Ages and I am in the SCA. Part of it is that I like the results...

    But like Angus suggested, try a batch with no heat and see which one you like best. Make sure to use the same recipe (especially the honey) except for heating or you won't know what caused the differences.

    Good luck,
    Pewter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    I threw your recipe numbers into the mead calculator and came up with an SG of 1.089 with an 11.9% ABV. So your batch currently has about 12 percent alcohol.

    I don't think anyone ever directly said it but (%ABV potential at start - %ABV potential at finish = % alcohol in final result). Ask questions if you still have any...

  10. Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Quote Originally Posted by Angus
    Learo05,

    Just a quick note on your first SG reading. It should have been 1.036.

    Angus
    Did you mean 1.136?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Quote Originally Posted by insanity
    Quote Originally Posted by Angus
    Learo05,

    Just a quick note on your first SG reading. It should have been 1.036.

    Angus
    Did you mean 1.136?
    Nah, the SG given was interrim and had a 5% ABV attached to it. I believe that it should have been 1.036 as well. The OG was only 1.089... or so...

  12. Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    You're right, it was 1.036 on day 4(or somewhere very close to it). I didn't think to take a reading on day 1.
    Pewter, interesting you should say you don't boil it much to stay to the Middle Ages tradition, that was my reasoning as well. I was going to make beer, but I saw Beowulf & Grendel before I bought any supplies, and was intrigued by the Mead.
    Oh, just to make sure of this - I put one campden tablet into the secondary for every gallon when I rack, correct?

    Thanks again everyone! Talk to you soon.

    Rob

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Milwaukee, WI
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Learo05,

    Rather than use sulfites (campden tablets) to halt any fermentation, try using some of the natural methods instead, such as putting the mead in the fridge, carefully racking off the lees and letting it age. This will avoid the sulfite taste, will allow those who are sensitive to sulfites to drink it, and will be more in tune with your Middle Ages tradition. Make sure all fermentation has ceased if you are going to use this method to avoid making bottle bombs.

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    The OC
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Angus,

    Proper dosing of sulfites will not leave a flavor. This is why it is advisable to use powder and K metabsulfite as opposed to Campden Tablets which are soduim metabisulfite. Also one needs to be aware of the ppm being added to the mead and the pH of the mead as well. Over addition will certainly result in fouled mead with a sulfurous taste, properly dosed mead will not.

    Learo05,

    Which Beowulf and Grendel are you speaking of? I just saw the one with Gerard Butler and Stellan Skarsgard and aside from being long and pretty boring, I didn't hear one mention of mead in the entire movie. I replayed it a couple of times because I just couldn't beleive it, but they always mentioned beer rather than mead. It really put me off for the rest of the movie. I just couldn't get behind the portrayal of Grendel in the movie either.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  15. Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    It was the same movie. I visited some websites about the period after seeing it, and that's pretty much how I discovered Mead. That and I remember a line in The 13th Warrior - "It's not grain, it's honey!!"

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Dude,

    Can you point out which part of the movie that mention of mead happened. Like I said I replayed it several times and didn't pick up on it. If you can point me to the right spot that would be great.

    To me, 13th Warrior was a much better movie

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  17. Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    I found out alot about the period from websites about the movie/poem. That's where I found out about mead and meadhalls, etc. I agree, the 13th Warrior was a bit better.



  18. #18
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Oh, OK.

    Schwew! I thought I was going bonkers there for a minute. As far as I could tell (I replayed the thing three times listening for any mention of mead) there is no mention of mead at all in the movie. They always say they drank too much beer, or "will you have some beer?" but nothing about mead. That in itself really put me off on the movie, and the rest of it just plain bored me out of my mind. It had real potential, but kind of fizzled out like a flat beer!

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  19. Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    lol, sorry to make you watch it so many times!
    I must say I'm not looking forward to racking this weekend and doing nothing for the next 6 months waiting to bottle... I may have to start another batch...


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Milwaukee, WI
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    Default Re: Where's my alcohol?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    Proper dosing of sulfites will not leave a flavor. This is why it is advisable to use powder and K metabsulfite as opposed to Campden Tablets which are soduim metabisulfite. Also one needs to be aware of the ppm being added to the mead and the pH of the mead as well. Over addition will certainly result in fouled mead with a sulfurous taste, properly dosed mead will not.
    So, NaSO2 will result in a salty taste if too much is added. KSO2, if added appropriately, will not leave any detectable flavor. And effectiveness of SO2 decreases as pH increases. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction Oskaar. An area I was weak in. I found this pretty good site to assist in the addition of SO2: Winemaker

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

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