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Old 02-23-2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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Default Tasting mead during the process

I was talking with claphamsa the other day and I saw another thread today where people mentioned tasting the mead during fermentation.

I have 5 various staged mead from one started in October up until the last one I did this weekend. I haven't tasted the October one, but I tasted the December 24th one when I racked it sometime in mid-late January but it was super sweet and still at 1.048, so I assume it wasn't anywhere close to done.

What's the process for this? What kind of intervals should I be tasting in? What am I looking for in terms of taste in various mid-fermentation/aging levels? Will this help me know I'm done?

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Old 02-23-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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I'm not sure why you racked it before it was finished fermenting...it's likely stuck now. A healthy fermentation at an appropriate temp takes about 2 weeks. If you kept it too cold, try warming it up and swirling the carboy to try to rouse what yeast is there.

If that doesn't work, I would make a small mead starter with some yeast and pitch that into your stuck batch to get it going again.

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Old 02-23-2009, 03:32 PM   #3
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I'm not sure why you racked it before it was finished fermenting...it's likely stuck now. A healthy fermentation at an appropriate temp takes about 2 weeks. If you kept it too cold, try warming it up and swirling the carboy to try to rouse what yeast is there.

If that doesn't work, I would make a small mead starter with some yeast and pitch that into your stuck batch to get it going again.
I racked it like a month in, airlock activity stopped, etc -- I assumed it was done. When I racked, it stirred up and started bubbling again, so I think I didn't screw up too bad on that.

I do keep it kind of chilly down in the basement - usually low 60s maybe high 50s on a cold night.
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:37 PM   #4
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That's cool enough for a slow ferment with most yeast, but not cool enough for a stalled ferment. Sounds like it had slowed down significantly and then upon racking it might have woken up the yeasties a bit. Its hard to say how far it has dropped since then. If your racking was mid january, then its been another month, and is quite possibly done fermenting or at least a lot lower.

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jezter6 View Post
but I tasted the December 24th one when I racked it sometime in mid-late January but it was super sweet and still at 1.048, so I assume it wasn't anywhere close to done.
What was your OG and what yeast did you use? Sweet meads will finish up somewhere about 1.024 or 6% residual sugars. If you used a yeast that finishes about 14% abv and 20 lbs of honey then this is what you'll be finishing at.

Otherwise, yes - you still have a long way to go. Did you use staggered nutrient additions (SNA)? How about rehydrating the yeast with GoFerm?

On my batches of mead I rehydrated with GoFerm and used SNA and all fermented quickly... 2-3 weeks to get to dry.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:21 PM   #6
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I racked it like a month in, airlock activity stopped, etc -- I assumed it was done. When I racked, it stirred up and started bubbling again, so I think I didn't...
Taking gravity readings eliminates guesswork and supposition. Without them your mead could just as likely have stuck at some higher gravity and it would look just the same as if it had finished.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:32 AM   #7
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The most important thing to remember is to bring samples of them all to brew day in march well give you EXPERT opinions!

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Old 02-24-2009, 02:39 AM   #8
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Wait, this thread is about tasting the mead - not critiquing my ferment temps and or racking issues. I'm not stumped about what I did. I'm not hurt about what I may have done wrong. I'm not even trying to diagnose. I racked when I "felt" it needed to rack, and thus far appears fine and I'm in no hurry until it's clear and ready for bottles.

Anyone want to talk about the original tasting question? The only reason I mentioned that earlier was that it was the only one I've bothered to taste at any point.

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Old 02-24-2009, 02:58 AM   #9
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There really are no set rules. I only taste my mead when I take SG samples. If you want to see what sweeter meads vs dry meads taste, tasting yours could give you an idea through out the fermentation process.

You'll know its done when it has reached a logical FG and has stayed consistent for several days, then has had time to become crystal clear. No I am not trying to tell you things you already know, I don't know what you know. To honestly answer your questions, you don't need to taste it. I guess the process would depend on why your tasting it. If your tasting it because you just took a SG sample, then the process would probably be however you took the SG sample.

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Old 02-24-2009, 11:19 AM   #10
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I taste the meades whenever I rack or take a gravity reading.... also when i think its done and im beginning to think of bottling... I will take and determine back sweetness!

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