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Old 01-27-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
Nastynate65
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Default Melomel's - Faster Fermentation Than Expected?

Hey all:

So, my 2nd attempt at a raspberry melomel;

14-15 lbs. wildflower honey
8-9 lbs. of blended thawed raspberries in nylon mesh bag (MUST BE RED, no pink allowed)
2.5 tsp. of yeast nutrient (DAP)
2.5 tsp. of yeast nutrient (just because...)
2.5 tsp. of pectic enzyme
And added 1 cup of early grey tea... just because.
Filled to 23-24 L mark in primary w/ water (~68 F temp.)
Pitched Wyeast 4632: Dry Mead (after ~12 hours activating smack pack)

OG was 1.095.

After 2 weeks I removed the nylon mesh (and w/e mush was in it).
After a total of 27 days, since pitching the yeast, I racked the melomel over to the secondary clarifier (S.G. = 1.000).

This seemed to ferment out quicker than I have come to expect from my meads. PROBABLY due to all the nutrients I added (for a while I was worried that it might have a metallic/burnt smell about it).

After close to about 2 weeks since racking it to the secondary, I'm thinking about adding the clearing agent & stabilizer. After this I would probably let it sit for about... another month before bottling. Thing is, this all seems to be moving kind've fast, and I'm wondering if I should be giving it a lot more time in the secondary. There is absolutely NO activity, S.G. has not changed, and I'm worried about letting it sit too long (its roughly 3 inches from the neck of the carboy, and I am unwilling to add water/mead/wine or weights in order to prevent the possibility of oxidation). Should I be giving this more time in the secondary? Could I potentially ruin this if I bottle to soon?

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Old 01-27-2013, 07:47 PM   #2
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It's not surprising that it fermented out faster than you are used too. Between the amount of nutrients that you added, plus the turbo boost of nitrogen in the DAP. Then all the fruity goodness in the raspberries and the tannins from the tea, your yeast would have been bouncing off the walls of your fermenter like first graders on a pixie stick binge.

If you have kept it sealed since transfering it to the secondary you will probably be ok with the head space if you want to leave it awhile to settle and clear naturally for awhile.

Or another option, since you have a little room, and added all of your fruit up front, is too give it some more raspberries (recommend using the freezing method). Add however many will fill up that 3 inches of head space. that will take away the worry of too much head space as well as bringing a lot more intensity to the raspberry color, flavor and aroma. it may give your fermentation a real breif encore but thats not unexpected or detrimental.

Besides that it sounds like you are ok, imho it's a little soon to be stabilizing and clearing but that's just me, I tend more towards letting nature take it's course in both those cases as much as possible.

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Old 01-27-2013, 08:30 PM   #3
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I've thought about going that route with letting my meads go through a more natural clearing/stabilization. Currently I have a 5-6 gal. batch of traditional mead doing that right now (1 month into the secondary w/ oak chips). It's fermentation rate was, of course, different from the rapsberry (roughly 18 lbs. of honey and right now it's S.G. was 1.012 roughly 3 weeks ago).

Interesting on adding more fruit to it in the secondary. I had been considering adding some more honey after stabilizing (I enjoy dry meads, but most people I know like the sweeter kinds; though not desert).

Last summer I did a blackberry melomel; except I had used ~12 lbs. of honey & ~8 lbs. of blackberries in the primary. I racked this onto ~4 lbs. more of blackberries in the secondary; but 3-4 days later noticed a 'burnt rubber' smell. I hate this smell, it's what ruined my first raspberry melomel that early spring (no doubt caused by increasing temperatures & D-47 yeast). For the blackberry melomel however, I was using 71B-1122 (something like that, I think that's the correct yeast). After this, I had been trying to avoid ANY additions of fermentable sugars into the secondary BEFORE stabilization. I had heard this can create some mutations among the surviving yeast strain, which will likely give off flavours/aromas.

Not quite one of the questions I posted above, but if anyone can explain the smell (I think fussel alcohols) after adding more fruit in the secondary, I'd consider the possibility of adding more honey/raspberries at this stage. This has been 1 of the primary reason's I've never added anything fermentable after primary fermentation; in both my beer & mead/wine recipes.

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