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Old 11-17-2007, 08:06 PM   #1
Karah
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Default Trouble in Bubble-dise

Okay, we made our first batch 12#alfalfa honey-6 gl h2o mead. Used White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast, Yeast nutrient-1tsp. had great bubbles, ya ya ya. Then, we siphoned it to the secondary. We added Blackberry puree when we changed it over. It is very clear and smells great and tastes alright. Have the airlock on it. BUT.... NO BUBBLES.
Then we started another batch in our primary- 12# wildflower honey, 6gl h2o, 6 tsp nutirient and 1 white labs sweet mead yeast. 24hours into the primary and we are looking great, foam, lots of bubbles, the works.
I wrapped both in dark towels and they are in the finished basement/den, slightly chillier down there but not cold.

O wise master of Mead....
Here are my questions:

1. For the Secondary Carboy: Should there be bubbles/airlock in the secondary?

2. For the Secondary Carboy: If there are supposed to bubbles, how do I get some? Add another yeast? More nutrient?

3. For the primary: Should we add nutrient again at all, if so when?

4. For both: Should these be shaken/gyrated, there is a lot of conflicting thoughts on shaking to aerate. ?

PLEASE HELP! Thank you.

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Old 11-17-2007, 08:11 PM   #2
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for the one on secondary, what was the og and the sg when you transferred to secondary? And how much blackberry puree? And what was the sg after you added the puree? I can do some calculations from there.

Do NOT shake and aerate it. It will oxidize and you'll end up with a sherry-like (bad) flavor. After fermentation starts to slow down, you want to transfer it quietly and keep air out of it.

For the one in primary, staggered nutrient additions are fine, but you started with alot and it's probably not necessary. I usually add a little bit at a time, not 6 tsp at once.

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Old 11-17-2007, 08:37 PM   #3
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Great feedback. I appreciate all the help we can get due to this being our 1st and 2nd batches.

Yesterday we bought a hydrometer. Havent used it. but will today. So for the first batch, no clue. And since Im a lay-man at this, I can ask since I know someone else out there is thinking the same thing... What is an OG and an SG in mead making? Please forgive the freshmoric innocence to this wonderful hobby.

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Old 11-17-2007, 08:43 PM   #4
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og=original or starting gravity
fg= final gravity (used to determine if/when a ferment is finshed or close to it). two or three readings over three days that don't change much is sign for transfer or bottling if close to anticipated fg





ps nice to see you post here and not just in chat

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Old 11-17-2007, 08:51 PM   #5
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A hydrometer is really helpful in wine and mead making. If you know where you are starting, you can know when to be finished.

The reason I asked those questions is because there is no way to tell if your mead is finished, or stuck, without knowing those measurements. I'd have to guess.

What I suggest is this- take the sg of the mead in secondary. Check it again in a week. If it's the same (and it's clear, you said) it might just be finished. I can try to backwards calculate what the original gravity might have been and from there use the figures from the yeast maker's website and try to figure out if you reached the maximum alcohol for that yeast. It would really be easier to check the sg when you make a batch (it should be in the 1.100 range or thereabouts) and then know the approximate alcohol % the yeast will conk out at. If it's not there, it may be stuck and might benefit from repitching the yeast.

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Old 11-17-2007, 08:51 PM   #6
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Ok, lets just say for all included purposes that it was ready to be put into the secondary-since it is now, should there be bubbles in the secondary?
If there are not bubbles, does this mean it is ready to be racked into smaller more manageable bottles for storage?

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Old 11-17-2007, 08:54 PM   #7
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No, not necessarily. Just because you dont' see bubbles doesn't mean it's not fermenting. It could still be fermenting. And if you added puree, you'll want that to sit for a while, I'd think. If you rack it off the puree, you'll lose the flavoring.

I'd check the sg now and again in a week to see if it's fermenting. If it's not, that's ok. If it is, well, that's ok too! But then you'll know for sure.

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Old 11-17-2007, 09:10 PM   #8
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You mentioned repitching the yeast, this means just tossing in another vial of sweet mead into the secondary and giviing 'er another go at it?

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Old 11-17-2007, 09:25 PM   #9
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Yes, but I don't think you'll really need to do that. It really depends on the ABV and the amount of fermentation taking place. If you check the sg in a week, it might be different than today. If it is, it means it is still fermenting. It usually slows way down in secondary anyway. I have 22 gallons of wine in secondary right now, and I have very few bubbles. Some are done, some are finishing up, but they are very quiet. What you might see are some fine lees (sediment) developing on the bottom as the mead yeasts finish up and flocculate out.

Bubbling is not a reliable sign of fermentation, so you can't really rely on it. The only real way to tell is to check the sg.

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Old 11-17-2007, 09:28 PM   #10
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ah, clarity thru your description. Thank you! I do see some the lees and honestly think it is finishing up.
Sounds good! And again, thank you.

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