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Old 10-12-2009, 02:06 AM   #1
CreekBrewery
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Default Honey addition in secondary

I racked my raspberry mead off the fruit and over to the secondary about a week ago. Before racking I added five pound of honey, warmed in hot water, to the secondary carboy. After racking was done there was a honey cake at the bottom so I swirled everything around. This didn't mix all of the honey in but I figured the beasties would find the food so I left it alone. Each day for the next couple days I stirred it up and tried to get the honey mixed in.

My question for everybody is, could I have done this a better way? I hate wasting honey, it looks like there is still a layer on the bottom. This is only my second batch of mead so I still have a lot to learn.

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Old 10-12-2009, 02:15 AM   #2
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im no brew magician but, i think the little bit of yeast that are still floating around in your mead "might" multiply and restart fermentation of that honey, then you would have to rack to a third carboy. if that dosnt happen your mead will be very sweetwith a high fg. im not actualy shure though. wait for the pro's to reply.

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Old 10-12-2009, 03:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CreekBrewery View Post
I racked my raspberry mead off the fruit and over to the secondary about a week ago. Before racking I added five pound of honey... After racking was done there was a honey cake at the bottom...
My question for everybody is, could I have done this a better way?
I suspect I have a good idea, but there are too many unknowns to be able to provide an answer that is not a SWAG.

What was the recipe? What was the measured OG? What was the SG when you racked the mead? What amount of time passed between pitching the yeast and racking off the fruit?
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CreekBrewery View Post
My question for everybody is, could I have done this a better way? I hate wasting honey, it looks like there is still a layer on the bottom. This is only my second batch of mead so I still have a lot to learn.
The problem is by racking you left behind many of your soldiers that you needed to continue the battle of creating alcohol.

Personally I would have added the honey in the primary, and gently stirred it up and let it rip there.
Then racked when the SG got to around 1.020 or so.

As you are, odds are the yeast will again reproduce and continue the battle against the new foe, but you are again in a second primary now so mind the temperature and provide nutrients to the yeast.

Tried to keep my response engaging and somewhat entertaining. Please read through the FAQ sticky above provided by hightest. You will most likely learn a lot.
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:15 PM   #5
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I was doing a 3 gallon ,slightly modified, version of the Sweet Raspberry Mead from stormthecastle.com

Yeast: EC-1118 (1 packet)
3 Gallon Spring Water
10.5 pounds honey
4.5 pounds red raspberries
The juice from 3 lemons
The juice from 3 limes
9 Tablespoons of strong english tea
3 teaspoon of yeast nutrient

My first batch of mead was the original 1 gal. recipe to a tee and it was a huge hit so I wanted to make more.

In the secondary I added another 5 pounds of honey and another teaspoon of yeast nutrient. I didn't check my gravity when I racked it so I guess I am SOL on knowing the ABV eh?

Kauai_Kahuna, good point on leaving lots of soldiers behind. I figured there would still be plenty left. Is it best to add all the food to the primary and stir like you said or would there be a reason to add anything in the secondary?

I really appreciate the help everybody!

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Old 10-12-2009, 11:03 PM   #6
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I try to do all additions in the primary if I want it fermented. For me, adding anything in the secondary is to sweeten or adjust flavour for taste and to condition and clear the mead.
You can use hightest's spreadsheet in the FAQ sticky on top, plug in the total lb's of honey, water volume, etc and get the OG.
Not that it has to be that way, but you just slow down the process.

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:11 AM   #7
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I guess I'll just chalk this up to education then.

I started reading through all your material Hightest, tons of great info in there. Thanks for posting all of it!

I don't want a real sweet mead so if I check the gravity and it's still kind of high should I use your stuck ferm restart method Hightest?

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Old 10-13-2009, 10:55 AM   #8
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You can certainly try it, but it would help to know the OG and present gravity.

Also, if all the citrus is necessary, I would not add it to the primary as it certainly lowered the must pH which does not make for a healthy yeast growth environment: Rule of thumb - add no acid to the primary...

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Old 10-14-2009, 02:13 AM   #9
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I had to wait until the little ones were tucked in but now I've got the current gravity. So OG was 1.092 and the measurement I took tonight was 1.024. I put the sample in the fridge so I can do a taste test in a bit.

According to Beer Smith these reading would give me 8.9% ABV. The question is can I really know the actually alcohol content because of adding the honey to the secondary.

From what I've read 1.024 would be a medium sweet mead which is actually what I planned on going for with back sweetening. SWMBO actually likes sweeter wines so the alcohol may be a little lower than I wanted but that's ok. Or... because she's drinking it I should probably get the ABV up and then sweeten it

Hightest, the "expert" who's recipe I was using said to put the acid in right at the start. I understand from your FAQ why I need to be more conscious of what I am adding when. Do you have a recipe resource you can recommend for newbies? I like to follow the people who know what they're doing then break out on my own once I get the hang of things.

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Old 10-14-2009, 02:51 AM   #10
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Knowing the OG is always good, but since you added more honey at the racking, you'd also need to know the SG and the must volume before adding that honey to properly calculate the ABV and new SG after adding the 5# of honey. While the calculation can be made, Beer Smith will not be able to do it correctly. Actually I know of no commercial software that does that calculation.

The method uses a concentration calculation: C1V1 + C2V2 = CtVt, where C is the concentration (or SG in this case) and V is the volume. The key is the proper application of the formula.

Your 1.092 OG is fairly close to what it would be if 10½ lbs of honey was mixed into 3 gallons of water (1.095). Considering the juice volume, and that of the berry liquid, the OG would be somewhat less than the pure honey & water mixture. The ABV of a 1.095 must fermented to 1.000 would be ~12.6%.

IMO, Ken Schramm's the Compleat Meadmaker book is the best reference presently available - it even has a few minor "oopses".

I'm not sure what references you were looking at that noted 1.024 was a medium sweet mead, but from my point of view (and Ken's) it is more a dessert mead (>1.020).

Mead recipe resources have always been a problem, and I was not immune to poor recipes when I first began making mead. I learned by making mistakes, and the decades of that experience, and some of the newer science, are complied in my FAQs.

IMO, one should first learn to make traditional mead before venturing into more complex mead styles.

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