Peach Melomel - Possilbe Infection, Primary/Seconday Fermentation, Adding Juice/Water
I've just started my first mead, a peach melomel. I'm using bottled peach juice (not pasteurized), and two pounds of honey for a 1 gallon batch. Here's my progress so far, my questions at the end are in regards to the primary fermentation.
1 Packet Yeast – Lavlin EC-1118
2 Pounds of Honey – 1 Pound : Clover Honey
1 Pound: Pure Wildflower Honey
5 Bottles Peach Juice: Bionature Organic Peach Nectar (100% fruit, 25.4 fl. Oz/750 mlE)
On Friday 5/23, I made a yeast starter with the following ingredients:
-1/3 Pound Clover Honey
-1/3 Pound Wildflower Honey
-1 Bottle (25.4 fl oz.) Peach Juice
-1 Packet Yeast
I heated up the juice until it was warm enough to dissolve the honey, then eventually let that mixture get to around 200 degrees to kill off any bacteria.
After that I followed the normal steps for making a yeast starter, and let it go for 26 hours (until Sunday 5/24).
After letting the yeast starter go for about a day, I heated up/mixed the rest of the honey and peach juice together, but instead of leaving it on high heat for 20 minutes, I let it get warm enough dissolve the honey and let it cool.
I poured half of that in the gallon jug, added the yeast starter, added the rest of the peach/honey mixture. Topped off the jug with cold poland springs water so that the entire mixture would be around 75 degrees. Added 1/4 teaspoon yeast nutrient and 1/4 teaspoon yeast energizer, shook for about five minutes, then put on the airlock and let it sit.
It's now almost a week later (Saturday 6/30), and there is a thick head in the bottle. It's yellowing/white, and isn't exactly solid foam, and is about 1 1/2 inches thick. It almost looks like it could be honey? Is this normal for mead? Or is this a sign of infection?
There are bubbles in the airlock every 5 seconds and bubbles in the bottle itself, so I assume it's fermenting like crazy. How long before I can rack into secondary? Since I'm only doing a gallon, i don't want to keep taking gravity readings and losing more mead in the process.
The bottle I want to use for secondary is about 1 1/2 - 2 gallons. That's almost two times the size of my 1 gallon primary; can I just throw in my more peach/honey and top it off with water, and then let it do its thing in the secondary fermentation? Will the extra sugars ferment? Will the extra sugars make the yeast so active that I'd need to do a third rack to let the yeast settle, or will they settle in this fermentation?