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Old 08-02-2010, 07:27 AM   #1
Apr 2010
Posts: 26

I started another batch of mead not too long ago. The recipe (converted from metric, thus the weird amounts):
3.3 lb of wildflower honey
1.25 gallons of water
1 lb of rhubarb
Tiny cut of ginger
Nutrients & DAP
1/2 packet of Bioferm Champagne yeast

OG was around 1.080.

I cooked the rhubarb for a couple of minutes to kill any wild yeast. I activated the yeast in a cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Stirred the must twice a day to give the yeast some oxygen and remove the CO2.

The fermentation started pretty much immediately and was done in four days. The mead is now almost clear and it's only been 4 weeks or so since I started it. This is complete contrary to all my previous experiments. In fact I have some experimental batches started in February which have just finished fermenting.

Also, my latest mead started a week ago, with the same yeast and nutritions, with an OG of 1.096, is still not finished.

I'd really like to understand what is the key here, why did the rhubarb mead ferment that quickly? Does a lower OG really make that big a difference? Or does rhubarb contain something that the yeast really really likes? Or is the process just generally very random?

How quick do your fermentations usually finish? What kind of fermentation times can be expected once the process is well controlled?

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Old 08-02-2010, 09:13 AM   #2
May 2008
Posts: 2,274
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Lower SG meads can be completed very quickly since the yeast are not fighting a high ABV to finish out to dryness. The down side is a lower ABV, and a very dry final product unless you back sweeten.
Even with that said, four days is pretty quick, but if you pitched a full package into the gallon and half, that would explain most of it.
In Primary: Belgium Chimay clones.
In Secondary: Braggot, pale ale, end of the world white.
Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
On Tap: Clones, Chimay Blue, Red, Porter, malted cider.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:54 PM   #3
Jan 2010
Posts: 1,034
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The fastest complete fermentation I have seen was using RC212 at just under 80F and it took a batch with gravity 1.100 dry in just over 48 hours. Unfortunately, it got ahead of my nutrient schedule and smelled like something died.

Sometimes you get a batch that just goes like mad.

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Old 09-20-2010, 08:58 AM   #4
Apr 2010
Posts: 26

I bottled this mead last weekend and sampled it a bit. It is nice enough with initial taste being somewhat acidic-rhubarbic then moving on to the honeyness. Same thing with the nose, it takes a little while in a glass for the honey aromas to come out.

I think the level of rhubarb is just right, but the honey flavours seems to be a bit on the weak side and the body feel of the whole thing is a bit too thin, almost watery for my taste, I would prefer a more pronounced mouthfeel and slightly more honey aromas. I reckon a bit more initial honey would've done that that?

I haven't really aged any meads before so I'm wondering if I should leave the bottles for a few months more or drink them sooner. How can I expect this mead to develop during aging? I'm not looking forward for it becoming smoother as it is totally smooth enough as is, I'm wondering if it will gain more in flavour, for example will the honey become more pronounced?

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Old 09-13-2011, 06:51 PM   #5
Apr 2010
Posts: 26

To follow up on the rhubarb mead, I made a new batch this year with significantly higher OG. 5lb to approximately 1 gallon of water and maybe 1.5lb of briefly cooked rhubarb, bringing an approximated OG of 1.117.

The fermentation went very quickly again without much assistance, it finished around 0.997 in 1-3 weeks ( I was away so can't be certain when it finished). I'm currently waiting it to clear, then I'll stabilize and backsweeten it.

It definitely looks like there is something in rhubarb that makes mead ferment very well. The next test will be with just a tiny bit of rhubarb, more as a nutrient than something affecting the taste.

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Old 09-13-2011, 07:01 PM   #6
2ndGenBrewer's Avatar
Nov 2009
Posts: 153
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Keep us posted. I'm interested to learn if rhubarb can be used to speed up primary fermentation.

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Old 09-14-2011, 09:22 AM   #7
Aug 2011
Bangkok, Bangkok
Posts: 82
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My Blackberry melomel also took 4 days to stop the bubbling the airlock.
At the first time I 've seen I think it went to stuck fermentation but not really.
I've seen the bubble in the must still active.
It was stoped all activities in 1 week and that is quite fast fermentation so I racked it to the secondary but I surprised with its taste it's quite good but I didn't test the hydro. It was continued fermentation very slowly in the secondary it's look like no fermenting there but it was doing quietly.

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