Ss Brewing Technologies Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Did I rack too soon?
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-26-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
DanU
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: houston, pa
Posts: 27
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default Did I rack too soon?

So I have a few questions on what I should do at this point. I am making a variation of "cuties orange mead" from the recipe section using orange blossom honey and D47 yeast. My OG was about 1.126. The recipe said to rack to secondary in about a month. I pitched on 01/20/2013, and I just racked it to secondary sunday, 02/24/2013. The airlock was still bubbling every 6-7 seconds and I could easilly see little bubbles rising in the mead before I racked it, did I rack too early?

After racking I took an SG reading and it was 1.056. I was aiming for it to finish sweet, somewhere between 1.02-1.04 since D47 can tolerate 12-14%. I checked on it the next day after racking and I didn't see it bubbling. I know that it may just not be bubbling often and it could still be fermenting. I moved it upstairs last night to see if maybe a day or two at warmer temps would get it going a little more, I just thought it would be bubbling a little more since it was going about every 6 or 7 seconds before racking. Right after carrying it upstairs and sitting it down, I did see it bubble a few times, but after that I didn't really see it bubble. The majority of the fermentation was at about 56-57 degrees, so pretty cool but I heard D47 does well at cool temps. The temp in my basement dropped a little bit before I racked it, so it has been 55 down there, which is why I carried it upstairs to see if it would start again. The upstairs is kept at like 70-74 when we are home and 63-64 when we are away. Should I pick up the carboy and give it a bit of a stir without splashing around, or should I RDWHAHB and measure the SG in a few days? If so, when should I check it? It was racked sunday evening. My concern is that I may have racked it too soon and got the fermentation stuck.

__________________
DanU is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-26-2013, 06:03 PM   #2
fatbloke
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK - South Coast.
Posts: 2,660
Liked 171 Times on 158 Posts
Likes Given: 26

Default

Basically yes.

A lot of newer mead makers will find a recipe and rely on it too heavily. When it comes to managing the ferment timings are practically useless. Yeast being a natural organism, can be unpredictable. Which is why your main guide for progress should be gravity/hydrometer readings.

You should normally wait until its finished primary, because as it is currently, you will have removed a larger part of the yeast colony.

In the short term, the warm up is a good idea but try to keep it at 70F/21C or less as D47 has been found to produce fusels above that with honey musts. Also presuming that there's enough nutrients left it may just take a couple of days or so while the yeast multiplies back into a viable fermenting colony......hopefully.

At most you might consider adding some organic nitrogen source to help it along, say boiled bread yeast minimum or if you have or can get it, FermaidO (as different from Fermaidk).

__________________

"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away". Tom Waits.

Oh, and here's some blog stuff!

fatbloke is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-26-2013, 11:46 PM   #3
DanU
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: houston, pa
Posts: 27
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Thanks a lot for the info. There is a little airlock activity today, although it is slow. I would say about a bubble every 5 minutes. Should I just leave it at the warmer temp for another day and take it back downstairs tomorrow, or do you think I should go ahead and add the boiled bread yeast or fermaidO? I have some leftover packs of bread yeast from JAOM, so I could boil one of those in a little water, maybe 1/2 cup or so if that is what you think I should do? I wouldn't want it to affect the taste of the mead.

Thanks again

__________________
DanU is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-27-2013, 03:28 AM   #4
fatbloke
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK - South Coast.
Posts: 2,660
Liked 171 Times on 158 Posts
Likes Given: 26

Default

Maybe just do the bread yeast thing anyway. It won't harm the batch.

Take a reading first. Then if it picks back up ok and you see more bubbling take another reading to confirm the numbers are dropping then you should be safe to move it (with the associated temp drop etc).

__________________

"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away". Tom Waits.

Oh, and here's some blog stuff!

fatbloke is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-19-2013, 10:29 PM   #5
DanU
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: houston, pa
Posts: 27
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

So as you can see above in the original post, I racked to secondary on 02/24/2013. I did take your advice and do the bread yeast thing on 02/27 or somewhere around there. I have sat it in the basement and left it alone since, and there is a bubble in the air lock every so often, and if I look closely I can see some bubbles rising at the top of the mead. I took reading today and it was at 1.043, so it is fermenting VERY slowly. Do you think the yeast is just almost finished, or should a take a little mead out and dilute it a little to make a starter and pitch another pack of D-47? I was hoping to finish closer to 1.02

The mead has a good taste, just a little too sweet.

__________________
DanU is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-23-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
fatbloke
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK - South Coast.
Posts: 2,660
Liked 171 Times on 158 Posts
Likes Given: 26

Default

Ok, well I can't check the numbers on my smartphone as the table I usually use is an excel doc.

Now, you'd have to search for a gravity to % ABV conversion table. Presumably you know the start gravity so from that and the current gravity you can work out the total current gravity point drop and the resulting %ABV that equates too.

D47 has a published tolerance of 14% i.e. when you expect the yeast to die off naturally.

Slow ferments usually have 1 of 3 causes. Nutrition, temperature and pH swing.

Nutrition ? You added some more boiled yeast, though in relative terms, while it helps and usually works, it provides a lot lower level of YAN (yeast available nitrogen). So another dose shouldn't do any harm as the live yeast cannabalises the dead yeast and anything not used drops out.

Temperature ? D47 has a relatively low operating temp and while it will work warmer, its known to produce fusels above 70F/21C, so the "rule of thumb is to keep it below 70.....

pH ? People forget or don't know that honey has quite an acidic pH level. Without getting complicated, honey doesn't have much in the way of pH buffering so as a mead must ferments, the pH can swing. In the early stages of ferment its normal to aerate a batch for yeast development down to the 1/3rd break and a side effect of the stirring/agitation is to create nucleation points so that the carbonic acid can bind to them and come out as gaseous CO2 (and is why aeration prior to the final nutrient addition is a good idea because otherwise you can get a mead fountain/eruption).

The "sweet spot" for the yeast is about the mid 3.x pH and when first mixed the honey and water will normally give a reading of something like that.

If the gluconic acid, carbonic acid etc build up too much then thats when you see a pH swing. If it gets too close to 3.0 it can slow the ferment or if it drops below 3.0 it can cause a stuck ferment. If you want to check the pH, the test strips/litmus papers need to be reasonably "fresh" (they do degrade with time) and of wine range - 2.8 to 4.6 pH is common. Or of course a cheap pocket pH meter is also accurate enough.

pH can be corrected with potassium carbonate (there's other materials that can be used but the K carb is thought best with the least chance of causing flavour issues).

The above is why acid blend additions up front is considered as out dated and discredited technique. Small additions of acid can be made "too taste" before bottling..... I use a blend of 2 parts malic to 1 part tartaric (found that in a book and like it so thats what I use especially in traditionals).

__________________

"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away". Tom Waits.

Oh, and here's some blog stuff!

fatbloke is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Secondary Fermentation - To Rack or Not to Rack ryankf All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 138 04-21-2014 06:46 PM
John Bull Cider Kit...to rack over or not to rack over? louisbrewg Cider Forum 4 11-18-2012 07:22 PM
Traveling for 2 weeks -- to rack or not to rack? novaraz Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 10 09-07-2012 12:56 AM
Kolsch Lagering, to rack or not to rack? Marathon06 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 01-20-2012 01:28 AM
Fermenting in bottling bucket... To rack or not to rack? FoundlingOfDollar Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 11 11-05-2010 08:29 PM