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Old 04-28-2006, 07:01 PM   #1
BrewStef
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Default Racking mead to Secondary / Tertiary

Gents,

I have my first batch of traditional mead (15lb OB honey, water, WL Sweet Mead yeast - ONLY) in the primary. It will have been fermenting away steadily for 6 weeks as of this Saturday.

When the heck do I rack it to secondary? I have been told by a few sources to wait until it blips only once every 30 sec, but it is currently at around 18-19.

Should I rack it off the yeast now to prevent yeasty flavors, or hold off until it blips only twice a minute?

Also, once racked to secondary, when do I rack to tertiary? I know it will take a while to finish out, but I am not in a hurry, I just want good mead.

Thanks in advance for your input.

BrewStef

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Old 04-28-2006, 08:23 PM   #2
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Personally i'd rack it off now to avoid 'off flavours'. As it's still fermenting well I'd then think about a tertiary in another couple of weeks.

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Old 04-28-2006, 09:15 PM   #3
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Thanks...I will rack it tonight. I kind of figured I would have to rack it a few times. What is normal? Racking every few weeks after secondary?

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Old 04-30-2006, 05:48 PM   #4
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There's no need to rack off the secondary to a tertiary if most of the trub fell in the primary.

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Old 05-01-2006, 06:14 PM   #5
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Default Stuck After Racking To Secondary!!!

I am currently experiencing a slow/stuck fermentation on my first batch of Traditional Mead (and first mead as well). This happened IMMEDIATELY after racking to secondary 6 weeks after brewing.

From reading a bit on the subject on this forum, I believe my best bet is to pitch more yeast using a well-aerated starter. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Recipe:
15lb Orange Blossom Honey (raw)
WLP720 White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast
5 gal charcoal-filtered tap water

I did NOT use any yeast energizer. nutrient, etc, as I wanted it to be "purely traditional" without additives, etc.

I made a yeast starter two days prior using 1 cup water and 1/4 cup DME (I actually pitched the wort as well).

Total volume of batch was around 5.75 Gallons

Timeline:
March 19th - Started batch, SG 1.090 @ 78 deg

I saw the first bubbles at around 36 hours after pitching yeast.
Never vigorous bubbling - most was 1 blip every 7 seconds on 3rd day.
On fifth day, 1 blip every 12 seconds.

1 week later - 1 blip every 12 sec @ 69 deg
2 weeks later- 1 blip every 12 sec @ 69 deg
3 weeks later- 1 blip every 12 sec @ 68 deg
4 weeks later- 1 blip every 14 sec @ 69 deg
5 weeks later- 1 blip every 15 sec @ 70 deg

Racked to secondary (5 gal carboy) at 6 weeks, 1 blip every 17 sec @ 70 deg
SG 0.050
Tasted very sweet, definitely alcoholic (~6.75ABV), no alcoholic "hotness"
24 hours after racking, 1 blip every 3.5 minutes.

I also racaked the extra .75 Gal to a 1 Gal jug.
24 hours after racking, 1 blip every 45 seconds

So, the batch was progressing slow but sure at around 1 blip every 17 seconds. Now the 5 gal secondary is every 3.5 minutes and the .75 gal secondary is every 45 seconds. I know that more yeast made it into the 1 gallon jug than the 5 gallon carboy, as I did the jug after the carboy.

Ok...

What would be the best course of action?

I have a 1 gallon container 3/4 full of fermenting must which I can use to test or use as a base for a starter. Or should I just do a new starter and NOT use the gallon container.

Should I abandon my efforts at making a straight traditional mead and use additives? If I should use additives, how much? Should I use a different strain of yeast? Should I just wait it out to see if it just kicks back in gear by itself?

Any other suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-04-2006, 06:42 PM   #6
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This is what I did...any advice would be appreciated:

Ok, I added 2 tsp yeast nutrient in half a cup of water around 2 days ago.

Fermentation has picked up a bit. It was at one blip every 3-4 minutes, now it is a blip every 40 seconds. This is better, but a far cry from the blip every 17 seconds it was going before racking.

Should I:

1) Not worry, leaving it as is, which would likely result in a much longer fermentation period (I planned on bulk aging for a year anyway)

2) Repitch the same yeast (Vial of White Labs sweet mead yeast) AS IS

3) Repitch the same yeast with a starter, letting it grow for a day, siphon the wort, add more wort, letting it grow for another day, then pitch the yeast cake.

4) Repitch with the different yeast (K1-V1116)? Different strain?

Also, if I do repitch, should I make a DME-based wort or should I use the currently fermenting must? Or do I use DME for the initial fermentation, then use the fermenting must for the second round?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Cheers,

BrewStef

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Old 05-05-2006, 12:15 PM   #7
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The white lab mead yeasts are slow fermenters, and havent heard to much good about them, I have never tried them so i dont know. There is nothing wrong using nutrient, its the best way to avoid off tastes from stressed fermentation. Use DAP and energizer for your next one, or a premix blend from the yeast companys, the ones talked about on gotmead.com are fermaid and goferm are the ones that come to mind right now.

Its best now just to let it continue on its own for now, if you need to repitch, you will need to get the yeast use to the alcohol in the must first before adding it.

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