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Old 08-08-2011, 04:28 PM   #1
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Default No-Heat Mead - Fermentation Problem or Methodology Problem?

This is my first batch of mead and I used the no-heat method and basic recipe from The Compleat Meadmaker. In the book, the author states to rack it off the primary yeast at 2 weeks, even if the gravity is not where it needs to be. He states that the yeast will continue to work on it and bring it down and does not mention the possibilities of stuck fermentation in these steps. His method does not involve staggering the nutrient additions.

The mead was fermenting very vigorously within 24 hours of pitching and kept chugging on for a little over a week. I thought everything was fine. I racked it into secondary before taking a gravity reading. Turns out the gravity was 1.050! OG was 1.100. Using Lalvin 71B. Fermented in my fermentation chamber at 70F.

I'm seeing some fermentation activity in secondary, so I'm pretty sure that it will eventually get down to my desired FG. But I'm also considering re-pitching another couple yeast packets to speed things up. I'm also wondering if more time on the yeast would have let it clean up off flavors like it does with beer. What do you think?

What do other experienced meadmakers think of this methodology of racking off yeast at 2 weeks? I know this author has a rep for making great mead...

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Old 08-08-2011, 04:39 PM   #2
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You'll be fine. After 2 weeks, there is still plenty of yeast left in suspension to finish the job and perform clean up.

Relax!

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Old 08-08-2011, 04:56 PM   #3
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Thanks Ace_Club! This is only clover honey so I'm thinking of making it a melomel for flavor. I don't want to pasteurize it, what SG should I wait for to add the fruit to ensure no contamination? It's at around 7-8% ABV right now. Should I wait until it's fully attenuated at 14% ABV?

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:47 PM   #4
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I have a batch of Ken Schramm's basic recipe going right now (except I used mesquite honey instead of orange blossom, because that's what I could get my sticky little hands on), and i used K1V-1116 yeast. I racked at 2 weeks, even though there was a little airlock activity, and it's still fermenting now, about a week after racking (I'm getting a bubble about every 12 seconds). It did take a couple of days for the activity to build back up after racking, so maybe you just need to give it some time.

As far as when to add fruit, why not just let it attenuate and then add fruit? Unless you feel the yeast needs additional nutrients from the fruit, the higher alcohol content will help draw the flavors out of the fruit.

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:52 PM   #5
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Thanks huesmann, I'll probably wait. I'm definitely not getting the airlock activity you are getting though. All I could find here was clover honey (and wildflower, but I hear that gets variable results) and from I hear, this does not give much flavor to the finished product.

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:55 PM   #6
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It's a little late, but you could add a bit of yeast nutrient. Most will say to not add any past the 30% sugar depletion, but I've been okay adding some at the ~50% depletion (where you are at 1.050)

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Old 08-08-2011, 08:32 PM   #7
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It's a little late, but you could add a bit of yeast nutrient. Most will say to not add any past the 30% sugar depletion, but I've been okay adding some at the ~50% depletion (where you are at 1.050)
Thanks, I was wondering about that and if it would have any impact on taste. I'll probably just wait this one out. But, I can only hold two carboys in my ferment chamber, so it's kind of holding me up. Oh well...
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:56 PM   #8
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Yeah definitely wait it out.. Good mead tends to be more about patience than anything else.

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Old 09-15-2011, 10:46 PM   #9
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I took everyone's advice and didn't touch it.

Today, I just took a sample, tasted and measured the gravity today. It hasn't even dropped a full gravity point.

I sprinkled a yeast packet on top and put the airlock back on. But it got me thinking that there's no more oxygen in there so will the yeast be able to do their thing? Do I need to let some air in there and shake it up to aerate?

I've never had a stuck ferment before.

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Old 09-15-2011, 10:48 PM   #10
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So it's still at 1.050? It could be too low of a pH also. Do you have any way to test pH?

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