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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > When to rack and bottle?
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:12 AM   #1
tims5377
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Default When to rack and bottle?

So I have my first batch in the fermenter right now and it is bubbling along quite rapidly. The recipe I followed noted to bottle when the gravity hit 0.980. I forgot to take a reading initially, so I am not really sure what to look for and when to act. Also, should I rack to a secondary at any point?

Here is the recipe I followed:

Ingredients (5 gal)
10 lbs local fall flower honey
1.75 lbs blueberries (I used frozen)
0.78 gallon apple cider (pasteurized)
1/2 oz Saaz hops
Lalvin K1 yeast
Yeast nutrient - diammonium phosphate (to directions on package)
Methods/steps
Bring 2.5-3 gallons of water to a boil. Add honey, bring to a boil again. Toss in the yeast nutrient and hops and boil for about a half-hour, skimming off any scum that forms on the surface during the boil.
Put berries into a hop-boiling bag. Lower heat to a very low simmer, and toss in the berries, mashing the bag around to break them up some. Continue to steep the fruit for about 10-15 minutes while you get the fermenter ready.
Put the gallon of apple cider into the fermenter when the boil is about done, and then add the hot wort.
Add water to bring the total up to 5 gallons. Let cool, and pitch yeast.

When the gravity has dropped below 0.980, bottle and wait. 3 months wait makes for eminently drinkable stuff, but the longer you can wait, the better.
Final color is a light delicate pink, not unlike some white zins, so you may want to store bottles on their head and then freeze the neck to get the sediment out of the bottles, but I've just been very careful decanting into glasses with pretty good results.

Specifics:

SG: 1.075
FG: 0.965
Alcohol content: 23 proof

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Old 01-29-2013, 08:55 AM   #2
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Ignore stuff that tells you that stuff will be ready in X amount of time, that can only ever be a guesstimate.

As for bottling at 0.980 ? there's no guarantee that it will get that low. As long as the gravity is still moving down, then it's still fermenting, but once you get 3 consecutive measurements taken across a period of about a week, if they're identical readings then you can consider it finished. I'd have thought you will get to 0.990, but whether it will go lower I can't say.

All batches are different, however slight.

As for how long to age ? I'd say minimum 6 months, possibly longer. It could be that the quoted time scale is under ideal/perfect conditions, but unless you can mimick those conditions it's likely to take longer.

Once it's finished the ferment and has cleared etc, you can bottle some of it in standard 750ml wine bottles but also some in smaller beer bottles. Then you just open a small beer bottle every 2 or 3 months to judge how it's getting on.

It's likely to be a dry mead whatever......

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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So how long till I should start taking readings?

And is there anything I can do to not have it come out super dry?

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Old 01-29-2013, 07:41 PM   #4
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So I initially was planning on using D47 yeast, but my guy at the HBS told me that K1 is better for mead. So as it was my first time I didnt question. I was just looking on the Lalvin site, and the D47 alcohol tolerance is 14% while the K1 is 18%. If I did use the D47 would it have made a semi sweet mead as opposed to the dry one that I anticipate?

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Old 01-29-2013, 08:08 PM   #5
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you started with an OG of 1.075, which is pretty low anyway, really only a 9% potential to begin with so even the D47 could have taken that pretty well dry. the 1116 almost definitely will, you can still backsweeten when all is said and done to make it a semi-sweet. you will just have to cold crash/stabilize it or the 1116 will start fermenting again.

To get to the "23 proof" you mentioned in the initial post you'd need 11.5% abv and that takes an OG of at least 1.090

As far as racking, when you are done fermenting (based off hydrometer readings, 3 that are the same over a few days to a week) then it is a good idea to get it off of the gross lees of 1116 and into a secondary container, then you can decide as it relaxes and clears if you want to consider back sweetening or aging or bottling or whatever.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrewingMedic View Post
you started with an OG of 1.075, which is pretty low anyway, really only a 9% potential to begin with so even the D47 could have taken that pretty well dry. the 1116 almost definitely will, you can still backsweeten when all is said and done to make it a semi-sweet. you will just have to cold crash/stabilize it or the 1116 will start fermenting again.

To get to the "23 proof" you mentioned in the initial post you'd need 11.5% abv and that takes an OG of at least 1.090

As far as racking, when you are done fermenting (based off hydrometer readings, 3 that are the same over a few days to a week) then it is a good idea to get it off of the gross lees of 1116 and into a secondary container, then you can decide as it relaxes and clears if you want to consider back sweetening or aging or bottling or whatever.
Ok great. The gravity reafibgs above are not my readings. They came with the recipe. I actually forgot to take an initial reading which is where my question stems from.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:32 PM   #7
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when your gravity reads the same 3 days in a row. there is no set amount of time because no two fermentations are alike. I usually primary for a 2 week minimum. usually takes 3 though sometimes longer for higher gravity brews. I'd say 3 weeks then start your daily gravity readings. Just because someone else got down to .980 doesn't necessarily mean you will hit that exact number, but provided you followed the recipe exactly it should be close. At this point all you can do is wait for your gravity readings to level out then secondary.

At this point you can rack to secondary for a few weeks and let everything settle out or just bottle :-). Everything conditions better in bulk, especially ciders and wines. It's up to you to decide what is practical.

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