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Old 06-03-2013, 02:37 PM   #1
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Default Step Feeding

I started a batch of traditional mead yesterday, 12 lb of honey and 4 gal of water, K1V-1116 yeast. OG was 1.086. My plan is to step feed, adding honey to another vessel and racking onto it. At what SG should I plan on doing that? Wait til it goes to .998, or earlier?

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Old 06-03-2013, 03:09 PM   #2
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I usually wait for it to drop by 1/3 of the OG, take the SG just before adding and again after adding so you can keep track of actual OG. At the 1/3 break the yeast is typically well established, and you have an opportunity for addl nutrient.

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Old 06-04-2013, 07:59 PM   #3
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Whereas I let it get down to between 1.010 and 1.020, then I just add enough honey to raise the gravity by about 10 points, then let it drop down to the same 1.010 to 1.020 when I add honey again.....

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Old 06-05-2013, 06:27 AM   #4
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I think as long as the fermentation is still active, you should be OK... I'm far less scientific about it, and when I add additional sugars depends on they sugar...if it's just candi sugar or dextrose, I do it after things are fully active for a day or two, and after high krausen. If it's honey, or another sugar that adds flavor (molasses, etc.) I wait until things are almost completely finished (but still active signs of fermentation) and then add...I feel this preserves the aroma/flavor better. With mead, this is probably less of an issue, since all of the fermentables are honey...

BTW, it's not necessary to rack to step feed, and personally, I think you'd be far better off just adding the honey to primary and then racking when you're done, and it's done fermenting.

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Old 06-05-2013, 11:04 AM   #5
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Not necessary to rack, but it makes it easier to add X amount of honey, since I can put the empty bucket on the scale, tare it, and add X ounces of honey! Harder to do that with a full bucket when your scale only goes up to 13 lb.

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Old 06-05-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
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What I do when I add honey for additions or backsweetening is to measure out the honey using a food scale then dissolve it in a small quantity of warm water then add that...

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Old 06-07-2013, 02:05 AM   #7
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I second saramc, add honey at the 1/3 drop - this is the best time, because the yeast should be rolling and no longer need O2, and they have usually reached most of their saturation limits of nutrients.

That said, I would add no more honey than what would raise the SG of the fermenting must to the OG. If it is a lot of honey, split it up into multiple steps, adding at each 3/4 or 1/3 drop. It's usually not a bad idea to give it a good stir (at least on the first addition) to degass and mix everything in well.

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Old 06-07-2013, 10:12 PM   #8
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Man the K1V really took off. It went from 1.086 to 1.056 at 2 days after pitching, then I forgot about it and today, 4 days after pitching it was at 1.014 . So I added another 6 lb and 3 cups of hot water. Assuming it takes off again, I'll add another 6 lb later.

When you guys are step-feeding, do you leave the bucket top loose until the last addition?

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Old 06-09-2013, 02:16 PM   #9
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I use a blow off tube for all my primaries (and I also use carboys and better bottles), so I always have a sealed top... If you were to have an excessively vigorous fermentation with a loose lid, I'm sure the mead would be fine, but you'd have an awful mess on your hands!

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Old 06-10-2013, 12:08 AM   #10
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If I had an excessively vigorous fermentation with a tight lid I'm sure I'd still have an awful mess!

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