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Old 06-29-2009, 02:01 PM   #1
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Default Longest Primary Possible?

Hey guys I did a search and found a few things that helped but nothing that made me feel confident.

I made a mead from 18 lbs of a wildflower/clover honey mix, 5 gallons of water, and Wyeast dry mead yeast. Put it in a 6.5 carboy. On July 10th it will have been in the primary for two months. The airlock is still ticking away, with a very thin layer of sediment on the bottom. It is bubbling just a little slower, than when it first took off. The original gravity was 1.104, and I will not take another sample until the first racking. The ambient temp is 70 degrees F. So it is not slow due to a low temp. 6 tsp. of nutrient was added (1 tsp per gallon of must).

My questions are...

Should I leave this thing in the primary until it starts to clear?

Should I get it off the thin layer of lees?

Push primary to three months?

Is autolysis really an issue here?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks


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Old 06-29-2009, 04:52 PM   #2
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You could figure out if it's done if you took a reading.


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Old 06-29-2009, 05:22 PM   #3
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I would rack it and top off with sanitary water (boiled and cooled).
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:19 PM   #4
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Should I leave this thing in the primary until it starts to clear?
yes

Should I get it off the thin layer of lees?
No

Push primary to three months?
Anything under six months is good.

Is autolysis really an issue here?
Absolutely not, as long as the batch is still fermenting.
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:43 AM   #5
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Once it stops bubbling, wait a few weeks, lots more yeast will settle out. Then rack off the lees and bulk age 6-24 months.
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Old 07-04-2009, 08:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input. I decided to wait until it drops some more sediment, maybe one or two months more. This is the first one that has been this steady this long, so I wanted to run it by the board. I will take a reading on the tenth(two month mark) just to check up on it anyway. I will keep you updated.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:20 PM   #7
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Well today was the three month mark. I racked the mead onto some oak cubes and plan on sitting on them for three months. I took a reading (1.016) so it is still not done fermenting. It is a dry mead which should get down to at least 1.000. This thing started at 1.104 so right now it is about 12%. It should make it to 14-15%. I tasted it and it seemed pretty good, still to sweet and a bit harsh and bubbly. Time will tell but I think this one will be very good. Thanks for all your input.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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Without yeast nutrients, and without oxygen mixed in early-on, slow (multi-month) primaries are pretty much typical. In fact back when I first started meadmaking (before much was known about yeast nutrient needs in honey musts) it was unusual for any batch to be out of primary in less than 3 months! It is too late now to add anything to this batch to goose up the fermentation rate, so your current plan (to wait until all is done) is the best approach for this batch.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:47 PM   #9
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That is why this one is so weird. I added "yeast nutrient" from northern brewer, then I aerated with a drill attachment in the 6.5 carboy. Pitched a yeast starter made from the honey I used for the batch which also had nutrient and was aerated. I must add that racking onto the oak cubes has kick started the fermentation again. It is bubbling much faster. Maybe do to the oxygen in the cubes or just the gentle stirring of the batch from siphoning.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJDMusic View Post
...Is autolysis really an issue here?
While this response may be later than your need, autolysis is often considered to be a "bad thing". However, that is simply NOT the case.

It really depends on what flavor profile you might be looking to achieve. Although autolysis begins as soon as the alcoholic fermentation is complete, it is a slow process - it takes months to impart any flavor alteration.

To this end, one group brew I managed intentionally left the pyment on the primary lees with flavor checks monthly (after 3 months). My pyment was racked off those lees on month 7.

My FAQ on this subject offers additional information...


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