How long does it take before you rack your mead to secondary?

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oklahoma_man777

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But is there any other tips in regards to my question and in general?
 

bernardsmith

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Hiya Oklahoma man777 and welcome. How long does it take? About as long as a piece of string.
Apologies for seeming to be flippant but fermentation is a living process and it takes as long as it takes the particular strain of yeast that comprises the particular size of the colony of yeast in the fermenter to ferment the amount of honey (and perhaps other sources of sugar) that are dissolved in the amount and type of liquid that forms the must at the temperature at which the fermentation is taking place given the amount of agitation the wine maker is providing to remove CO2, add air, and keep the yeast fully suspended, and the amount and timing of the nutrients you feed the yeast. And to determine how long THAT takes you need to close your calendar and switch off your clock and use your hydrometer. Time is not the metric here. It's the drop in specific gravity that you are looking for. (see Maylar's post above) You rack when the gravity drops to close to 1.005 - Unless, that is, you are step feeding the yeast additional honey because your goal is to create a mead that finishes sweeter than brut dry but you are not planning on back sweetening.
You want to ferment cooler rather than warmer, use a less aggressive yeast rather than a champagne yeast; watch that the mead does not become too acidic (a pH of about 3) simply through the process of fermentation. And - in my opinion - you want to ferment in a bucket loosely covered (no need for an airlock until you rack) with a cloth to keep out pets and dirt etc and loose enough to encourage you to stir vigorously a couple of times a day and add nutrient on schedule (using a bucket prevents eruptions when you add powders to gas saturated liquids).
 

Sigvaldi

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The gravity reading at which you rack will change depending on your recipe. Generally speaking, you should rack at about 70-80% of your expected gravity drop. The calculator here is made for malt extract, but i've found that putting in the same number of pounds of honey in the LME value gives you almost the exact same numbers as honey. It will then tell you the expected starting and final gravities.

I've only recently discovered this caluclator tho. Does anyone know just how accurate its fg calculations are?
 

bernardsmith

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The gravity reading at which you rack will change depending on your recipe. Generally speaking, you should rack at about 70-80% of your expected gravity drop. The calculator here is made for malt extract, but i've found that putting in the same number of pounds of honey in the LME value gives you almost the exact same numbers as honey. It will then tell you the expected starting and final gravities.

I've only recently discovered this caluclator tho. Does anyone know just how accurate its fg calculations are?
Sigvaldi, Why does it depend on the recipe and why would you need a calculator to tell you the final gravity? Mead ain't beer. Beer contains unfermentable sugars and contains sugars that some beer yeasts can ferment more easily than others but meads and fruit wines contain sugars that are for all intents and purposes totally fermentable (ie 100 percent fermentable so wine yeasts are not assessed for their "attenuation" which iin wine making is always 100% ) and you should always expect that the final gravity will be below 1.000 because any liquid that is made up of alcohol and water must always have a gravity (density) that is less than the gravity of water .
In fact if the final gravity is not below 1.000 and you have not deliberately designed your ingredients and protocol to ensure that the final gravity is significantly above 1.000 (because you are step feeding the yeast and are looking for a semi sweet or a sweet mead with a relatively high ABV) then quite simply your fermentation has stalled because of poor protocol.
 

Sigvaldi

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Sigvaldi, Why does it depend on the recipe and why would you need a calculator to tell you the final gravity? Mead ain't beer. Beer contains unfermentable sugars and contains sugars that some beer yeasts can ferment more easily than others but meads and fruit wines contain sugars that are for all intents and purposes totally fermentable (ie 100 percent fermentable so wine yeasts are not assessed for their "attenuation" which iin wine making is always 100% ) and you should always expect that the final gravity will be below 1.000 because any liquid that is made up of alcohol and water must always have a gravity (density) that is less than the gravity of water .
In fact if the final gravity is not below 1.000 and you have not deliberately designed your ingredients and protocol to ensure that the final gravity is significantly above 1.000 (because you are step feeding the yeast and are looking for a semi sweet or a sweet mead with a relatively high ABV) then quite simply your fermentation has stalled because of poor protocol.
Thank you for the feedback. I acknowledge that I do not know everything and that I am wrong in this case. This calculator will not work for this. This is qhy i love this forum. Always learning!
 
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