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Old 01-09-2010, 01:55 AM   #1
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Default Many Misktakes Mead

So I've been putting off posting about this mead for a long time, but I think the time has come.

This is my second batch of mead ever and I was hoping for a sweet show mead. I made a few mistakes with this batch and need a bit of advice on how to proceed.

This is approximately a 5.5 gallon batch using about 18.5 pounds of honey.

The first mistake was with the OG. I took the reading, and then took it again and confirmed that it was 1.260. I later realized my hydro could not go that high and think that the OG was most likely 1.126. My second mistake was that I hydrated my yeast (71B-122) in 4 oz of 104* water and forgot to hydrate with Go-Ferm (vital nutrients?)

After 4 days I was at 1.110, after 9 days I was at 1.092, and after 27 days I was at 1.064. I added Fermaid-K at 1.110 and that was it. After 33 days I racked to secondary with a gravity of 1.060. I got lots of bubbles and airlock activity and thought I was good to go and that it would finish fermenting, but when I checked the gravity tonight (after 2 + months) I was only at 1.056.

What should I do at this point? I'm thinking my best bet would be to add some 1118, some Fermaid-K, aerate and see what happens. Is there anything else I should consider doing? Do you think this mead will have some weird flavors because of the prolonged fermentation and possible multiple yeast strains? Any advice would be appreciated!

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Old 01-09-2010, 02:30 AM   #2
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Your biggest issue is the lack of Free Amino Nitrogen.

If you are really serious, try this: First off, rack the mead you have off of the now dysfunctional yeast cake into a different sanitized carboy.

Using a 7.5 gallon plastic fermenter, start a new mini batch with 3-4 lbs of honey, diluted up to one gallon, 1 tsp of DAP, and 1/2 tsp of Fermain K. Rehydrate 5 grams of yeast with 7.5 g of Go-Ferm, and pitch that. Once it gets going, rack the stalled mead onto that new must base at a time, at two day intervals, until it's all cranking away. Add another 3 lbs of honey on the second addition of your stuck must (you'll need that to finish sweet).

If you are hoping for a show, do not mess around with 1118. Don't worry too much about off flavors for now.

If you want to try a lazy man's save on this, I'd suggest racking it again, adding 3 lbs of honey, 1 tsp of diammonium phosphate, and then repitching with a 10 gram Go-Ferm rehydrated culture of 71B-1122. If it takes off, add 1/2 tsp DAP and 1/4 tsp Fermaid K each day for two days. From the information and experience I have, you'll have much better luck going with the long form solution.

Good luck.

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Old 01-09-2010, 02:33 AM   #3
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BTW, if this all works well, you should finish up around 1.022-1.025. When fermentation is ostensibly complete, rack back into glass to age for a few months, then keg or bottle as usual.

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Old 01-09-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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Brother you've had this thing going for quite a while. I'd try to make a jewel out of it and go for the longer more involved option Ken suggested. I've never done anything like what his suggestion says, but when you think about what you have there and then what Ken is suggesting, it sounds like a total transformation plan to give you the batch you were going for in the first place, erasing the mistakes that were made. If that works for this batch, please let us know! Sure sounds like it will do the trick.

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Old 01-09-2010, 02:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Ken. I have about 3.5 pounds of honey leftover from that batch so I think I will go ahead and take the longer more involved route.

"...rack the stalled mead onto that new must base at a time, at two day intervals, until it's all cranking away. Add another 3 lbs of honey on the second addition of your stuck must (you'll need that to finish sweet)."

Do you mean to rack the stalled mead onto the mini batch 1 gallon at a time at two day intervals? Also, If I don't add the additional three pounds of honey should this mead finish dry or will I hav a medium show mead?

If this is the Ken Schramm, I just got your book for Christmas...I guess I better start reading! Thanks for the tips.

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Old 01-09-2010, 04:29 PM   #6
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Yes, exactly. I must have carved those words out while I was composing and reworking that. Sorry about that.

If you don't add the additional honey, it will likely finish off dry to medium. 18.5 lbs might have been a little light for 5.5 gallons. 71B can go through about .110-.115, almost .120 if it's really happy, so you'd be closer to sweet with the additional honey.

There's no "the" Ken Schramm, but I did write that book. I hope it helps in some way.

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Old 01-09-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenSchramm View Post
There's no "the" Ken Schramm, but I did write that book. I hope it helps in some way.
Yes, there is! After I met you (and got some great advice on a harsh cherry mead) at the NHC last year in Cincy, I remember walking away thinking, "THE Ken Schramm just gave me advice on my mead!". Which I took and found that I was sorry it was only a one gallon batch. I only have 4 bottles!

Anyway, we appreciate your input on the mead forum.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:04 PM   #8
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Maybe Ken's title could be changed from "Junior Member" to "Yes, that Ken Schramm" so he doesn't have to answer that question every time

PS: I just got your book, Ken. Good stuff so far. Thanks for writing it.

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Old 01-10-2010, 09:33 AM   #9
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i think i might be having the same problem. i didn't use a starter or anything, i just pitched my yeast it (it was liquid). i had about a teaspoon of yeast nutrient, but no energizer. it took about 3 days for airlock activity to show, and a week later i check the gravity and it had gone down from 1.1 to 1.095. is the gravity supposed to change faster than that? or is it ok.

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Old 01-10-2010, 03:31 PM   #10
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That is very slow. The good news is you have time to get some nutrients(DAP) and some energizer with it fermenting that slow.

In comparison I am following a basterdized SNA using Fermax/energizer from the LHBS and mine went from 1.138 to 1.070 in a week. Read through Hightest's stickies at the top http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/stic...ng-faqs-83030/ especially the Staggered Nutrient Additions pdf.

Now I'm using Fermax and have no idea exactly what is in it, so doing it my way isn't as exact as Hightests way.

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