damson melomel

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MT_plum

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Hello everyone.

I have this little plum tree in my yard that went beyond this year. Shared what I had with friends and made jam & jelly. Another friend gave me 25 lbs of honey. SO we decided to make a plum melomel.

I'm still kind of new to this. Made a couple plum wines over the past couple years and an apfelwein or two, but this is my first melomel / mead.

Used the following as a base..

4# plums
4# honey
1 tsp acid blend
1 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1/8 tsp tannin
1 1/2 cup OJ
1 pkg yeast

primary for 8 days, where it was bubbling vigorously. racked to secondary and now it bubbles once ever 30 seconds...

Did i check OG? no.. SG was 1.048 when i racked. I'm just worried (because I do that) that I may be off the rails here. Since the out-gassing is so slow.. do I have a stuck fermentation? How would I know?
 

TipsyDragon

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ok first off what was your batch volume? what kind of yeast did you use? is the SG staying steady or is it dropping?

how did you prepare the plums? did you add them to primary or secondary fermentation?
 

jezter6

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You may have stalled the ferment by racking early. The only way to tell if it's stuck is through consistent hydrometer readings at the same value over a period of days. why did you rack it if it was still going vigorously? Have some patience. With that much sugar, this thing is going to be an alcoholic monster that will probably need a long aging time.

For what it's worth, I don't think ANY mead or wine would be "done" in 8 days, but certainly not one of this size (gravity, not volume). Probably should not have racked until airlock activity was nearly nil and you got gravity readings close to your FG.

What yeast did you use? 4# honey + plums is a LOT of sugar and will crap out all but the most tolerant of yeast strains.

Using hightest's mead calculator (see the FAQ Sticky) - you had a lot of potential sugars. The honey alone puts you around 17.6%....not knowing how much the plum affected that, I can only assume those numbers. At 1.048, that puts you around 11.7% ABV with just the honey alone. If you used a yeast that might not be so tolerant (one of the Sweet Mead varieties), you may have exceeded your tolerance.
 
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MT_plum

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Batch Volume == 2 galons
Yeast was Lalvin K1-v1116
Plums were frozen and then half thawed and pitted. just let the mascerated fruit float on top in primary.

I haven't checked SG since moving from the plastic fermenter to the glass carboy. Can I just drop the hydrometer in the carboy and let it float and leave it there till third racking?

I racked cause I don't have the space in my kitchen to have a 6 gallon bucket sitting on the counter. That and i was using my previous experiments in wine making as a base.
 

jezter6

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Well, that changes things. 4# in 2 gallons isn't quite as high as I thought.

In theory you could drop the hydro in, but if it has any fruit on top, you won't get anything near an accurate reading. Do you have a thief?

Even with wine background, when does anything get racked in 8 days?? I've never seen anything racked in under 2 weeks, normally around a month...

That said, you probably have a stuck ferment from the early racking. It may pick up again once the yeasties get back to health, although that may lead to stressed yeast.

Hopefully someone with experience in stuck ferments will come around and assist. I've never had the problem, so I can't say what's worked for me, but I'd probably end up repitching yeast. Don't take that advice without someone backing me up. :p
 

TipsyDragon

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ok. i probably would of gone with 5 or 6# honey. i'm with jezter6 you should of let it sit till fermentation stopped before racking. the plums should of been pureed and added to the secondary with a dose of pectic enzyme. the pureeing would of made the yeast's job WAY easier and the enzyme will prevent pectic haze. i would probably re-pitch some yeast and let them finish before racking again.
 
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MT_plum

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nono. the recipe was for 1 gallon. i doubled it. so.. 8# honey, 8# fruit, et al.
there is virtually no fruit in the secondary.

i may try the puree next time, but those ice crystals do a damn fine job of rupturing those cell walls..

i guess the worst that can happen if i re-pitch, then i may have a very dry mead... which is fine.
 

jezter6

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Ok, so we're back to 4#/gallon is a lot of honey, with a potential ABV of around 17-18%. Right now, you're at ~11%.

I'm not a yeast expert, but I've never got anything to dry out with that much honey, so you're likely to be fine. the problem I see is pitching yeast into a highly alcoholic environment. you might need to make a bit of starter and get a really healthy population pitched.

At best, I imagine this will still be sweet mead. 4#/g is almost guaranteed to be sweet. No worries about making this one dry.
 
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