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Old 11-03-2013, 01:19 AM   #1
JSappenf
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Default How do you know when your mead is done fermenting?

How do you know when your mead is done fermenting? Is it when it clears? Is it when it is done bubbling? Is it when it reaches a certain specific gravity? How do you know that fermentation hasn't just stalled?


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Old 11-03-2013, 01:35 AM   #2
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How do you know when your mead is done fermenting? Is it when it clears? Is it when it is done bubbling? Is it when it reaches a certain specific gravity? How do you know that fermentation hasn't just stalled?
Specific gravity is your answer.

Once any indication of fermentation is complete i.e. it stops bubbling, then the recommendation is to take tests for gravity stability. You want 3 consecutive, identical gravity results (in the right area). Each individual test taken 2 or 3 days apart (at least), so the 3 tests have been taken across a period of about a week (minimum).

Yes, as long as all the kit used for the testing has been sanitised, I've never had any problems returning the sample to the main quantity of liquid.

Say for example, you wanted about 14% alcohol. Well that equates to about 103/104 points of gravity dropped. So if the must was made up to 1.110, then a stable gravity of 1.010 (1.007 for accuracy) would suggest that it can be considered finished.

Of course, generally speaking, the tolerance numbers quoted for most wine yeasts will have been worked out using grape musts and people often say that they've found that if a batch is properly nourished during the ferment, they have found that you can exceed the published tolerance by 1% or so.

Equally, to my mind, a must (using the example above) that was stable at 1.030 or higher, I'd consider as stuck and be looking at reasons why it had stalled like that.........

{edit} - oh, and it's also why it's considerably easier, when making "sweet" batches, that you don't use the beer making technique of putting all the fermentables in up front. It creates problems i.e. if you wanted to make an 18% batch - the gravity drop for that would be about 133 points, and if you wanted it to have, say, 20 points of residual sugar (presuming "finished" is at 1.000), then you'd be looking at a start gravity of 1.153 - which is up in the area of problem starts, potentially stressing the yeast, etc etc.

It's far easier to start lower, but using nutrients for the full alcohol target, then step feeding the batch honey to the appropriate level.


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Old 11-03-2013, 01:36 AM   #3
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Gravity, Gravity, Gravity. The only way to know.

Mead can vary depending on what yeast your used (Please Tell Us!), but a "dry" mead will usually fall around 1.010 or less, and a "sweet" mead around 1.025. But the yeast will tell you where it should be.
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:06 AM   #4
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Gravity, Gravity, Gravity. The only way to know.

Mead can vary depending on what yeast your used (Please Tell Us!), but a "dry" mead will usually fall around 1.010 or less, and a "sweet" mead around 1.025. But the yeast will tell you where it should be.
I used to vials of 2 vials of Belgian Golden Ale yeast WLP570 for the BROMM
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:21 AM   #5
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What was the OG?

That yeast will top out around 12% without very special treatment.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:48 PM   #6
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What was the OG?

That yeast will top out around 12% without very special treatment.
So with 8# of honey the OG was 1.07. I let it ferment down to 1.042 before adding another 5# of honey. This brought it back up to 1.078.
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:22 PM   #7
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So with 8# of honey the OG was 1.07. I let it ferment down to 1.042 before adding another 5# of honey. This brought it back up to 1.078.
Well, presuming 1.000 as finished, it had dropped 28 points before you added the step feed of honey back to 1.078, so a total possible alcohol strength if it did drop to 1.000, is a drop of 106 points which equates too 14.4 % ABV.

1.088/89 points would have given you about 12% ABV - presuming that the yeast tolerance is 12%, then you'd have a final of about 1.017 or so - which will be a medium sweet brew......


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