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Old 12-11-2010, 07:07 PM   #1
JoshuaDOC
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Default New here... a quick question

I am new to brewing and am learning...

I pitched two 5 gallon batches of mead two weeks ago. Both have been bubbling along steadily at a bubble every 10 seconds or so for that time. I was hoping to go to secondary this weekend but it just hasn't slowed down.

I don't have my log sheet here so I can't tell you what the initial gravities were. I also didn't test the pH.

The recipes were:

4 gallons water
1 gallon local light honey blend
1 pound turbinado sugar (in the starter)
6 lemons, juiced and zested (zest in cheescloth)
2 cups of diced fresh ginger
1 tblspoon lightly crushed fennel seeds
2 white tea tea bags
Lalvin EC-1118

4 gallons water
0.5 gallon local light honey blend
0.5 gallon wild honey that I got from amazon
1 pound turbinado sugar (in the starter)
4 oranges, juiced and zested (zest in cheescloth)
1 pound of cranberries, boiled in water to cover, strained off hulls and seeds, 1 pound sugar added a bit more water and the yeast (this was starter #2)
4 bay leaves
Lalvin EC-1118

The fermentation on the ginger batch kicked off much quicker. Had a popping airlock within 2 hours. The wild batch started to really kick in 12 hours or so.
I likely won't be using the EC-1118 again. I had 4 packets left from an apple wine experiment and just went with it.

So the question... When should I go to secondary? Just let it sit in the buckets until the bubbling slacks off? Did I not add enough nutrient? DO I have an acidity problem? Should I rack to secondary with nutrient or acid to get it to finish off?

Really this could be par for the course... I just don't know. My apple wine flew through primary in about 72 hours and I was expecting a similar result.

Thoughts? Advice? Thank you!

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Last edited by JoshuaDOC; 12-11-2010 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #2
Kauai_Kahuna
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Mead ferments much slower and takes longer than your average beer or wine, the honey does not have much in nutrients to keep them at their prime.
You may want to read hightest's FAQ in the sticky at the top of this forum, the section on SNA "staggered nutrient additions".
Racking time should be determined by your hydrometer, some rack at like 1.030 or so, I tend to make dry meads so I don't rack until I'm reading 1.010 or less.

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In Primary: Belgium Chimay clones.
In Secondary: Braggot, pale ale, end of the world white.
Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
On Tap: Clones, Chimay Blue, Red, Porter, malted cider.
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Old 12-11-2010, 10:15 PM   #3
JoshuaDOC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kauai_Kahuna View Post
Mead ferments much slower and takes longer than your average beer or wine, the honey does not have much in nutrients to keep them at their prime.
You may want to read hightest's FAQ in the sticky at the top of this forum, the section on SNA "staggered nutrient additions".
Racking time should be determined by your hydrometer, some rack at like 1.030 or so, I tend to make dry meads so I don't rack until I'm reading 1.010 or less.
I would prefer dry.. I will read up and.. Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:25 AM   #4
fatbloke
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Did you take a gravity reading before starting the ferment ?

Cos the best way of checking progress is with a hydrometer, airlock activity is a poor guide.

I'd guess that with Ec-1118, they should both be able to ferment dry, but I'm thinking that there's not much in the way of nutrients for either batch.

If they're past the 1/3rd sugar break (a 1/3 rd way from the start gravity to 1.000 presumed as dry), then yeast hulls or some other type of organic nutrient (couple of teaspoons of bread yeast in water and then boiled for 10 minutes or so, then cooled before adding). If it hasn't reached the 1/3rd break yet (probably has) then you could use a mix of Fermaid K and some DAP, or fermax.

Otherwise as it is, I'm thinking that neither ferment will finish quickly irrespective of how rapid the commencement was......

regards

fatbloke

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Old 12-12-2010, 12:43 PM   #5
JoshuaDOC
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The initial gravity for the ginger was 1.080. It is now at 1.015
The Initial for the wild was 1.085 and is now at 1.025.

Both are past the 2/3rds break...

I just realized that I made a mistake in brewing. I had an extra gallon of water in each bucket. That's what I get for doing this with a 2.5 year old running the house and a 3 week old crying. I filled the buckets to 5 gallons (because that was full) and forgot to take the gallon each out to be displaced by the honey. My recipe should have yielded a starting gravity around 1.100 and didn't. Somehow I didn't catch this. I should have added more honey...

My potential alcohol for both was between 11% and 12%. I would have liked to have a potential around 14. Oh well.

So I am going to have a relatively weak beverage. The flavors of both are great (I tasted a bit when checking gravity last night) but still sweet for my taste.

Long and short it seems that I am ready to go to secondary with one batch and could use a few more days with the other. Taste is good and that's the desire in the end no matter what so... so far success.

Is it just a bad idea to add sugar and nutrient this late in the game? I have a half gallon of honey still and could add another .25 to each with a bit more water. Only in the interest of getting abv up...

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