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Old 02-13-2012, 03:53 AM   #1
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Default When to rack?

My first batch has been fermenting for a little over two weeks. I'm using the orange blossom recipe from "The Complete Meadmaker".

It says to rack after 2-weeks. However it still seems to be fermenting at a pretty high rate. I'm getting bubbles in the airlock every 7-8 seconds. I've read elsewhere to wait until that's closer to every 30 seconds or more.

Any harm in doing it now vs waiting? I'm in no hurry if it won't harm the mead.


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Old 02-13-2012, 05:15 AM   #2
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1. Do you have a hydrometer or refactometer?
a. If you do, take readings for a few days, if the reading is steady for 3 days or so, you've probably completed primary fermentation and you're okay to rack to secondary.
2. Honey has been known to ferment fairly slowly, let it take it's time.
3. You'll see all over this forum that airlock bubbling is not necessarily related to fermentation activity... which is true. Temp changes, floor vibrations, barometric pressure variations can all lead to increased perception of fermentation due to increased bubbling in the airlock.

You're in good shape bud, just let it sit if you have the time to wait it out. In the meantime, buy a refractometer to take readings, but just be careful to avoid oxidation or contamination each time you remove the bung to take your readings.


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Old 02-13-2012, 05:25 AM   #3
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I always wait until it's done fermenting before moving my mead. Plus, unless you plan on adding more sugar sources after racking (like fruit) then you won't get another fermentation. Post primary, you're racking to brite tanks.

For how long it will take, it depends on the OG, honey, yeast, temperatures, how much nutrient you gave it, and several other factors (those are the major ones IMO). I have a batch that's been fermenting for just over two months now. It's slowing down, finally, but it's still going. I had two other batches (much lower OG) that were finished in just under a month.

Unless you're making a pretty low OG/ABV mead, chances are you're looking at a month, possibly/probably more (3, or more, is not uncommon) before it's actually ready to be racked.

BTW, what's the batch OG? Did you give it nutrient? How did you oxygenate/aerate/degas it? What yeast is it using?
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsyhead View Post
You're in good shape bud, just let it sit if you have the time to wait it out. In the meantime, buy a refractometer to take readings, but just be careful to avoid oxidation or contamination each time you remove the bung to take your readings.
Picked one up this weekend! What's the best way I should go about getting the mead from the fermenter into the test tube so I can use the refractometer?

Considered using a hose/racking cane setup. But seems like there might be an easier way I'm not thinking of...
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dagobah View Post
Picked one up this weekend! What's the best way I should go about getting the mead from the fermenter into the test tube so I can use the refractometer?

Considered using a hose/racking cane setup. But seems like there might be an easier way I'm not thinking of...
Wine thief, beer thief, turkey baster to name just three easy methods.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:40 PM   #6
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What if I fermenting traditional with 71B yeast? Its taking its sweet time. Should I rack it or leave it alone untill fermentation is completed? I've heard its bad for mead to sit on 71B lees for too long
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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What if I fermenting traditional with 71B yeast? Its taking its sweet time. Should I rack it or leave it alone untill fermentation is completed? I've heard its bad for mead to sit on 71B lees for too long
How long has it been? "Normal" time frame with 71B is about a month, or within a week (or so) of fermentation finishing. As lomg ad it's still fermenting, I'd leave it alone.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:58 PM   #8
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Its been 3 weeks and about 30-40% sugars left, now its really slowed down though, I suspect it will take at least a full month. I fermented blueberry mead with same yeast and its finished in a month and tasted good from primary.
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:01 PM   #9
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All other meads with 1116, 1118 and cyser with 71b ferment out in less than a week usually. D47 takes little longer, but no more than 2-3 weeks. I notice that fruit or juice speed up fermentation dramatically.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:54 AM   #10
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Went ahead and racked last night. Specific gravity was between 1.001 and 1.000 when I took the measurement.

Took a sip, very sweet and boozy, but good flavor. (Pic below)

How long should I expect to wait for it to clear before bottling?



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