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Old 12-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
Cattleskull
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Sep 2012
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I have a 3 gallon batch of traditional mead fermenting away. Starting on 9-24-12. How many months should I wait to bottle? Its been 2 full months so far, can I wait a total of 6 months and then bottle?



 
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:05 PM   #2
Golddiggie
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ABV%? Yeast used? Honey used?

I have some 14% batches of mead (~4 gallons) that I made a year ago. I'll be bottling up one of them this week. Not sure when I'll get to the other one. IMO, anything under 14% is good at 10-12 months bulk aging before bottling. 14-16%, up to about 14 months. 18% is better after 14-18 months. Above 18%, 18-24 months before going to bottle is no issue. Provided, of course, you store it properly. I have one batch that's a 21% target (haven't pulled a sample in some time) that was started almost a year ago. It will be sitting for another year before it goes to bottle. Partially due to the strength and partially due to making flavor additions and wanting to be 100% sure I like it before I put it into bottles. The ~25% batch I'll be starting shortly is planned for at least 2 years in bulk, if not three years, before it goes to bottle.


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Old 12-05-2012, 06:11 PM   #3
Cattleskull
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Sep 2012
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I used a gallon jug of raw honey and organic yeast. The alcohol percentage was at or under 14%

also, bubbling has stopped completely so it seems when I checked this afternoon on the 3 gallon batch.

 
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattleskull View Post
I used a gallon jug of raw honey and organic yeast. The alcohol percentage was at or under 14%

also, bubbling has stopped completely so it seems when I checked this afternoon on the 3 gallon batch.
Let me guess, this was your very first mead you made, and you didn't check with any sites, books, or other resources before making it.

12# of honey (that's the typical weight of a gallon of honey, but using weight measure is FAR better) in a 3 gallon batch... You better check the gravity of that batch, since you could have something extremely sweet left. Since that has the potential for about 18% at that mixture. Next time, don't mix blindly, use the calculation tool readily available to make it to be what you want. Also, IMO, not having any information on the yeast strain is a bad idea. 'organic yeast' means squat. I use Lalvin Labs strains for my meads and I know what to expect. I also formulate the must to meet my expectations, or the tolerance levels of the yeast selected.

Also, mead is nothing like beer. Just because the airlock isn't moving doesn't mean it's even close to being ready for bottling. With the yeast you used, you could be looking at an extensive time in bulk so that it flocculates out well. IMO, at least 6-12 months is advisable when you KNOW what the yeast will do. Since you probably have nadda for information on the yeast you used, it's virtually impossible to say.

BTW, do NOT rack it more than once a month (two is a better minimum) to get it off the lees. That will help it to become clearer and produce something great in the glass.
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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine

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Old 12-05-2012, 07:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
ABV%? Yeast used? Honey used?

I have some 14% batches of mead (~4 gallons) that I made a year ago. I'll be bottling up one of them this week. Not sure when I'll get to the other one. IMO, anything under 14% is good at 10-12 months bulk aging before bottling. 14-16%, up to about 14 months. 18% is better after 14-18 months. Above 18%, 18-24 months before going to bottle is no issue. Provided, of course, you store it properly. I have one batch that's a 21% target (haven't pulled a sample in some time) that was started almost a year ago. It will be sitting for another year before it goes to bottle. Partially due to the strength and partially due to making flavor additions and wanting to be 100% sure I like it before I put it into bottles. The ~25% batch I'll be starting shortly is planned for at least 2 years in bulk, if not three years, before it goes to bottle.
Great info, I'm going to hold on to this quote for future reference!
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:07 PM   #6
Cattleskull
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Sep 2012
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What is racking? I haven't racked since its fermentation in the end of September. Do I have to buy another 3 gallon jug to transport the mead into the new jug? when should I start the racking?

How do I gravity check?

 
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #7
shhh
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Oct 2012
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Rack when the fermentation has stopped...by doing a gravity check. Transfer into another vessel.

Checking gravity is when you use your hydrometer in a sample of product.
You already said you used one to get a " potential alcohol of 14% . Gravity is the decimal numbers on the hydrometer. range from 0.990-1.1170 Mostly you want to be near 1.000 when its done fermnting
So ~3 stable readings in 2-3 weeks time should let you know fermentation has stopped. Now rack off of lees . stabalize if you want to backsweeten.

 
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:58 PM   #8
lpsumo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattleskull View Post
What is racking? I haven't racked since its fermentation in the end of September. Do I have to buy another 3 gallon jug to transport the mead into the new jug? when should I start the racking?

How do I gravity check?
You sound like me a month ago, it's tough to get into mead making by hanging out with experts, they have SO much knowledge and it can be overwhelming.

Racking is transferring the liquid off the sediment that has fallen to the bottom. My first time I tried just decanting it. Don't do that. Buy some food grade tubing and siphon it out. Yes, buy another 3 gallon carboy.

I am still trying to figure out how to check gravity. Everyone said to buy a hydrometer so I did. Problem is, you also need to get something like a 100ml graduated cylinder to put a sample in so you can take a reading, I didn't know this. You can also buy something called a "wine thief" that you can put your sample and hydrometer in.

Something else I learned: Because there are so many experts here, it helps a lot to give as many details as you can. Post the recipe you used, the yeast, the temperature of your house, your blood type, etc. The more details they have the more advice they can give.

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:55 AM   #9
Cattleskull
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Sep 2012
Fredericksburg, Virginia
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I have all the basic supplies, hydrometer, 100ml graduated cylinder, hose, all bought from a mead shop. My house temp is below 70s. I keep my mead in a dark part of my basement, its colder. I haven't checked the mead since I put the cork on it in September. I guess now is as good as ever to do a gravity check and do the 2nd racking if it qualifies correct?



 
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