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  1. Default Melomel just keeps going...

    Hi All,

    So, Iíve made a 5-gallon batch of mixed-fruit melomel. Pretty high starting gravity, 15# wildflower honey and about 12 pounds of fruit. Added nutrient and pitched with Ec-1118 Champagne yeast.

    Primary was vigorous and took about 10 days. Racked, and it chugged along another month. Racked again. Still going a month after that. Racked again last last night. Gravity at 1.01. Not much bubbling through the airlock, but a little head on top and tons of bubbles can be seen rising at the carboy neck. Stopper definitely tight. Tasted fine.

    How long should I let it work before worrying about it?

    Thanks!

    -John

  2. #2

    Default

    Welcome HyTronix. My first question would be why you are racking so much? Normally, I'd let the batch ferment until it stops (3 gravity of the same readings in a row), or if I have a reason to move the batch before fermentation was completed to a more protected vessel (e.g. move from a bucket to a carboy), I'd move the entire biomass.

    If I understand what you're saying, you've racked off of lees during an active ferment and likely left behind a lot of live yeast - sort of like taking them out of the battle before it's over. This would effectively give less yeast more work to do, and lengthen the fermentation time. This yeast can produce a lot of SO2 in low nutrient conditions, but if it smells and tastes OK, as long as your SG is moving down, just let it do what it does.

    You didn't state what your starting SG was, but the higher it is, the longer it takes to chew through it. The yeast may also start to struggle as the ABV get's near, or past it's normal tolerance.

    You didn't state what your process was either, but you may want to read up on modern mead making protocols if you haven't already. The podcasts here on GotMead are great, and you'd likely want to start back at Sept 5, 2017.

    Others may have different input.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,398

    Default

    I had one batch that fermented dry and kept bubbling for six months, I still don't know exact;ly what happened with that batch, I started it at a low gravity and fermented it dry, found my math mistake in my recipe, added more sugars and it dermented out dry again but kept bubbling. Turned out fine.

    You can at least rest assured that if it's still making bubbles, it's still somewhat protected with carbon dioxide. If the SG is changing, it's still fermenting, if it's not, then it's just degassing. I also noticed things would bubble if I brought them out of the basement up to the warmer kitchen, because warm must can't hold as much CO2 as cool must, so it LOOKED like fermentation had kicked bacu up, but it was only really degassing.

    In your case I'd just leave it till all activity ceases, then stabilize it with metabisulphites and potassium sorbate before bottling it, just to make sure it's really really done. Once I rack something into secondary, it doesn't get racked again till it's done and cleared, unless there's a real good reason (like a lot of lees have collected or someone knocked the airlock off and now I need to hit it with sulphites just in case).
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    361

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HyTronix View Post
    How long should I let it work before worrying about it?
    Until it's done. Yeast and fermentation and everything isn't an exact science. Let it do its thing. By racking the whole time, you keep on removing most of your yeast from the mead, meaning the rest have to work a thousand times harder to get the job done, and that's bad for everyone involved. You don't send a whole battalion of soldiers to the war and right in the middle of the action you pull out 99% of them. You leave them to do your job. Same with yeast.

    How long it'll take is a guesstimate at best as well. It'll take as long as it takes, so don't rush it, don't do anything with it, just leave it. It'll finish when it wants to, if it's going to, considering you removed most of your yeast already.

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