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Old 05-17-2009, 11:22 PM   #1
Mencken
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Default Does mead continue to ferment?

Hey, my friend made a mead that had about a 1.081 OG, and is presently at 1.01. It's been about 3 weeks now, and he's re-racked it once. He told me wine continues to ferment over a 6 month period, but wasn't sure about mead. Does mead continue to ferment as well, or is it likely finished now?

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Old 05-17-2009, 11:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mencken View Post
Hey, my friend made a mead that had about a 1.081 OG, and is presently at 1.01. It's been about 3 weeks now, and he's re-racked it once. He told me wine continues to ferment over a 6 month period, but wasn't sure about mead. Does mead continue to ferment as well, or is it likely finished now?
It should finish at about .990 or so, so I'd say it has a way to go.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:45 PM   #3
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Ah k, so it does keep fermenting. Definitely good to know. Thanks

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Old 05-18-2009, 02:05 PM   #4
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I've seen meads ferment for a year.

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Old 05-18-2009, 10:07 PM   #5
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that's not a guaranteed final gravity though. sweet meads can finish well above 1.000

racking before its done is not a good idea...this one probably will take a long time to finish because it was prematurely racked off the lees.

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Old 05-18-2009, 10:15 PM   #6
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Anyone mind if I hijack here?

I am doing my first mead, and it is still showing some slowed airlock activity close to three weeks after pitching. I plan on checking gravity soon, but is there a reason that I can't let it sit in primary for a while? Should I be concerned about letting it sit on the yeast cake (does mead have a yeast cake?) like can be a problem with beer? Or, should I rack to secondary soon?

Thanks. Sorry (sort of) for the hijack.

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Old 05-18-2009, 10:21 PM   #7
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For all of my meads and wines, I rack to secondary when the SG is around 1.010-1.020. That means fermentation is still taking place, so there is still some co2 to protect the wine or mead, but that you can move it off of the gross lees and allow it to finish. At that SG, there should be plenty of yeast in suspension to continue the fermentation. Often the movement will kick up more fermentation for a little while.

Once it's at FG, I top up (allowing minimal headspace) and allow it to clear. I rack only when there are lees about 1/4 " or so every 60 days. If there is a light dusting of lees, I let it go a little bit longer than 60 days. If there are no lees, then I leave it alone and just check the airlock once in a while.

Certainly, sweet meads can finish at 1.000 or above, depending on OG and yeast type. With an OG of 1.081 or so, I'd expect it to finish pretty dry, though.

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Old 05-18-2009, 10:27 PM   #8
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Thanks, I appreciate the input. I will do a gravity check soon and probably rack to secondary. This is all new for me, so it is a learning experience. I would like to have it ready to gift around Christmas. We shall see, I suppose.

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Old 05-18-2009, 10:49 PM   #9
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OP Mencken - I think you could get away with leaving it in secondary for another 3-6 months, see Yooper's post for more detail but usually I do one month in primary, 2-4 months in secondary until it is very clear, then I rack to a keg and age for another 3 months to year - depending on my needs for the keg. Then I crash cool before bottling (bring the temp to <40F).

For 9/9: The longer you wait the better. It takes many months, IE: > 4 to 6 to have the yeast impact the flavor unless you got some weird stuff in your must. I am very impatient and you should NOT use my time lines, longer is better, and someday I will learn patience, I just have not had the time to.

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