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Thread: Stuck or done

  1. Default Stuck or done

    2 batches simultaneous start date Nov 8, 2018

    1 gal carboys
    3 lbs clover honey
    1 cup sugar (to fortify wanted plenty of alcohol)
    spring water to fill (to glass one gallon lettering on carboy)
    EC-1118 yeast 1 pkg each

    honey added with hot water and shaken till dissolved
    batch 2 had spices, batch one did not
    spices were
    2 sticks cinnamon
    2 whole cloves
    2 whole all spice berries
    3 whole star anise (one was broke in half in package)

    Batch 1 started slow (i don't think all the yeast had activated when i added it) took about 1.5 days to bubble consistently near same rate as batch 2 but never got that fast.
    Batch 2 took bout 5 hours to get a good bubble (one every 5 seconds)
    both are getting sediment now on the bottom of the carboy

    batch one has slowed batch 2 has stopped.
    both were swirled, not shaken, daily to add Oxygen

    i'm low budget here with out all the fancy tools.

    the plan was for the batches to ferment till around the 10th of December then rack and settle and bottle for Christmas gifts.

    Should i go ahead and rack batch 2 and start the settling process?

    If mead is this fast i may have to make a batch or 2 a month

  2. Default

    also i had both of them wrapped in a electric blanket on medium to keep them warm. the location of my brew is in the unfinished part of my basement and it gets pretty cold at night. they probably stayed in the upper 60s (night) to the low 80s (day). it dropped into the 20s at one point here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Saratoga Springs , NY


    Hi eric - and welcome. You say you added the sugar because you wanted to "fortify" this fermentation so that it had more alcohol than you would have got from 3 lbs of honey dissolved to make a gallon of mead (and that would be about 14% ABV without any additional sugar).. so what was the gravity you were aiming for and why would this mead be more pleasant at more than 14% ABV than the honey would provide? Mead (and wine ) is all about balance - alcohol with flavor and structure (the tannins). What makes your recipe better balanced with the added sugar? This might be unpleasantly hot given the amount of alcohol and the stress that that will put on the yeast. You stress the yeast and the yeast have a very wonderful way of returning that stress to you but in shovelfuls

  4. Default

    this is a first try with mead, not really sure what gravity. i'm a bit of a brew newbie. was aiming at around 18% ABV, trying to max out the yeast.

    Also i think i figured out what happened, the clove and star anise (had way too much star anise) have antiseptic properties. i should have waited until i racked it to add them in.
    I racked it (left in lees and ran it through a sieve so it got really well aerated), topped off with spring water and removed all the spices. its going again but slowly. batch one i topped off as well
    Also, turned blanket off (Saturday) but left covered to help keep temp regulated (shouldn't fluctuate as widely) hoping to keep it in the 60's.

    like i said im running on the cheap, so i don't have a hydrometer nor do i have good temp control, that's why i used the EC-1118 (hardy yeast with good temp resistance and high output).

    i was looking to make something stout not as concerned with sip-ability with this first batch.

    the taste right now of batch 2 is a lot like Ouzo or Jagermeister, very licorice but still very sweet.

    If it don't perk back up by Wednesday ill see about some yeast nutrients.

    Any suggestions?

    Batch 1 is doing great, bubbles about every 10 seconds or so, its sweet but its still going fairly strong.

    I think i'm back to my Dec 10 window, if batch 2 picks back up if not, batch 1 will make good gifts and ill split batch 2, add 1 Lb. more honey and yeast and make 2 gal. of Ouzo Mead. (that dilute should offset any antiseptic tendency of the star anise and clove)

  5. Default

    by calculating, my original SG should have been around 1.125

  6. Default

    yeah it was the star anise, very anti microbial properties, im gonna get a hydrometer Wednesday to see what Batch 2 ended up at. maybe it will restart but im not holding my breath. I should have known better but i didn't think first. if its over 5% ill kill it, let it settle, rack it and drink it down. Waist not want not right.

    its a learning experience. batch 1 is still going strong and ill be able to do a batch 3 sooner.

    Luckily i like jagarmister. and now i know if i want that flavor to add it in after the fermenting is done.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Brookline, NH


    1. The sugar content of honey varies, but for a one gallon batch 3 lbs of honey + 1 cup of sugar would give you a starting gravity of approx. 1.142, which has a potential of 18.03% ABV. I'm not sure where the 1 gallon lettering is on your carboy and the spices in batch 2 take up a little room, so your SG and ABV potential are probably even higher than this.

    2. Did you use any nutrients? If your'e going to make more batches you should look into using Fermaid O or Fermaid K.

    3. Did you do any daily degassing/stirring? This not only gets the (acidic) CO2 out of your fermentation, but helps to keep the yeast in suspension and on the job.

    4. Did you hydrate your yeast before using or dump it in with the ingredients? Learn about about proper yeast hydration and perhaps invest in some Goferm.

    5. Did you monitor the temperature? You say you used a heating blanket (on medium) but don't say what temperature it was actually at. The temperature range of EC-1118 is pretty wide and forgiving (50-89 F), but a heating blanket could easily get it over 100 F. You'd do well to try and keep the temperature in the mid-60's to mid-70's and try to maintain consistency (minimal swings in temp).

    6. Your "mead" is most likely going to end up dry and with a high ABV and will probably taste like rocket fuel. From my experience most people like a mead with some sweetness left in it. You're going to probably want to add enough honey to get a final gravity between 1.015 to 1.030. To do this you're going to want to make sure that your fermentation is complete OR you're going to want to learn how to stop and stabilize the fermentation.

    7. Yes, you can make mead in one month, if you use good techniques, but something like you've made will take months to be "drinkable".

    8. The tools aren't that fancy; about all you need is a hydrometer and some nutrients. The biggest tool is learning what to do with them. Read the NewBee Guide, watch the YouTube series, by the Canadian Sasquatch, on Meadology (or mead methodologies) and, if you have the time, listen to the gotmead podcast on Modern Mead Making, starting on 11/05/2017.

  8. Default

    degassed daily, NO nutrients, yes hydrated yeast batch 1 i didnt let hydrate quite as long thats why the slow start
    Temperature id say they never left the 55-80f range would have dropped to the 30s with out the blanket i check them 2-4 times a day and give them a bit of a swril(degas and stir up the yeasts)

    UPDATE: after i racked to get out the spices, and topped them off batch 2 is going but very slowly. bubbles in must are like grains of sand (very tiny) batch 2 after being topped off is still going strong with bubbles bout 1 mm.

    pretty sure the star anise killed off part or most of my yeast cause it has anti-fungal properties but, the yeast that is left hopefully will begin to propagate and will have a Resistance to anethole and should still make a decent mead.

    Rocket fuel sounds fun if so it should be an excellent Ouzo flavored mead with the same characteristics as Ouzo.

    Remember Batch 1 and 2 only differences in recipe were the added spices and slightly different wait times in my yeast hydration. all other factors remain the same.

    Batch 1 will be back sweetened to taste with honey, batch 2 will remain full "rocket fuel" strength(if it survives)) (though would make an interesting honeyjack).

    Going to get a few supplies wed.: hydrometer, super clear, racking siphon, nutrients and more yeast for my next batches.

    And "drinkable" is a subjective term and this isn't for some competition its for me and a select few of my relatives whom enjoy a strong drink.

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