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I have no idea what's going on, and at this point I'm too afraid to ask...

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Hello, all. Newbie here, seeking some guidance from more experienced minds.

My wife bought me a copy of "How To Make Mead Like A Viking" by Jereme Zimmerman for Christmas last year, and I finally cracked it open and dove headlong into trying to make my own sweet nectar.
I took 1.25 gallons of spring water, mixed it with approximately 1.5 lbs of wildflower honey, and then pored my yeast into a 1/4 of water for about 8 minutes to activate. After that time, I added the 5 grams of Red Star Premier Rouge yeast, and 12 organic raisins, and set it to work on an open ferment for a couple days. I have it in a 2 gallon bucket, covered with cheese cloth, and I leave it in a dark room that stands at about 70 degrees. I have checked it and airated it 3-5 times a day since I started, and check the water temp with an exterior thermometer, which maintains at about 68 degrees. All temps in Fahrenheit.

I have not even begun to see anything remotely indicating that my yeast took, and I'm afraid to airlock my bucket without knowing for sure that I dont just have a tub of honey water standing around. Any pointers are appreciated.

Skäl Y'all!
 

Seamonkey84

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After 3-4 days, If your not noticing any fizzing at all when you stir it up then you may have to re pitch some fresh yeast. It won’t have a heavy foam when just sitting there, but your raisins should be starting to float by now.
 
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After 3-4 days, If your not noticing any fizzing at all when you stir it up then you may have to re pitch some fresh yeast. It won’t have a heavy foam when just sitting there, but your raisins should be starting to float by now.
The raisins haven't started to float yet. I may leave it open another day just to see what happens. Thanks for the reply.
 
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So I racked the mead into a carboy yesterday, and now the airlock hardly bubbles. While it was in a 2 gallon bucket, I would get airlock bubbles between 20 and 50 seconds apart with varying times. Now I might get one every 90 to 120 seconds. I'm not sure why its doing that, but I'm worried it may be stalled. What should I do?
 

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What was the gravity when you racked the mead? It is possible that the yeast congregated towards the bottom of your fermenter and so when you racked you left behind the vast majority of healthy yeast cells... The number of cells yo transferred may be very small and it may take them a significant amount of time to reproduce (and given the amount of alcohol in solution and the lack of oxygen this may be a challenge ) enough for you to see action in the airlock... Your hydrometer is not a badge. It is a very useful tool. You should learn to use it instinctively before you take any significnat action such as racking..
 

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Depending on your temps, it may be all but finished fermenting. Your description sounds very much like my typical ferment at 72°F.
 

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Racking it released some of the dissolved CO2. A slow down in bubbling is normal.
You should take a gravity reading to know how much is left to go. I do that before racking but you can do it now too.
 
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I actually did take a reading before I racked it. But I'm still learning how to use my hydrometer, so it didnt really reveal much information that I truly understood. I does seem to have increased in alcohol content, of course, but like I said it's still quite foreign to me.
 
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Racking it released some of the dissolved CO2. A slow down in bubbling is normal.
You should take a gravity reading to know how much is left to go. I do that before racking but you can do it now too.
I appreciate that input. I had thought that could be the issue, especially since I introduced more O2 during the transfer. I was also thinking that if it is still slow in a couple weeks I may split the batch and add more honey and yeast.
 

Seamonkey84

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Just add more honey now if you want it to be stronger. Otherwise leave it alone, let it clear, then bottle it. The yeast in there already should still be good to go if you add more honey now (or even weeks from now), you didn’t put enough honey in to reach the tolerance of most yeasts. even bread yeast will go to 10-12%ABV. The number you get from your hydrometer tells you how much honey/sugar is in solution that’s hasn’t been converted, that’s why people talk about the original/starting gravity, and what it’s currently at. The amount of change is how much alcohol you have. Since you took a reading, telling us the number you read can answer a lot.
 
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Just add more honey now if you want it to be stronger. Otherwise leave it alone, let it clear, then bottle it. The yeast in there already should still be good to go if you add more honey now (or even weeks from now), you didn’t put enough honey in to reach the tolerance of most yeasts. even bread yeast will go to 10-12%ABV. The number you get from your hydrometer tells you how much honey/sugar is in solution that’s hasn’t been converted, that’s why people talk about the original/starting gravity, and what it’s currently at. The amount of change is how much alcohol you have. Since you took a reading, telling us the number you read can answer a lot.
Well, the first SG reading I took, the hydrometer dropped to the bottom of the glass. Would not float at all. The liquid covered it to 1.010, so I made the assesment if the glass were a bit taller, it would be 1.000. My reading this week gave me 1.072.
 

Seamonkey84

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What the honey completely dissolved when you took the reading? 1.000 is plain water or once all the sugars are gone. With the little bit of honey you started with, that could of been done within 3 days. If it’s clear drink it like beer.
 
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What the honey completely dissolved when you took the reading? 1.000 is plain water or once all the sugars are gone. With the little bit of honey you started with, that could of been done within 3 days. If it’s clear drink it like beer.
Ive got another pound of the same honey I used to start it. Think adding it would help give me a little more umph? I mean, couldnt hurt right?
 

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Ive got another pound of the same honey I used to start it. Think adding it would help give me a little more umph? I mean, couldnt hurt right?
I think the question you should ask is:
Will it help? Or how will it help.
I try not to do anything without first answering the above question. More formally stated, What do you want to accomplish?

1st mead, I wouldn't waste any more honey on this batch. Let it clear for a while and get batch 2 going. Try and improve by not making the same errors again.
Ask the questions that you didn't know if you should ask.
 
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I think the question you should ask is:
Will it help? Or how will it help.
I try not to do anything without first answering the above question. More formally stated, What do you want to accomplish?

1st mead, I wouldn't waste any more honey on this batch. Let it clear for a while and get batch 2 going. Try and improve by not making the same errors again.
Ask the questions that you didn't know if you should ask.
That's good advice. Thanks
 

Seamonkey84

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Seeing as it’s been over two weeks since you started this, I’d follow the above advice and call this an experiment and start the next batch off right.
Hey, at least with a short/session mead like this, you should be able to drink it once it’s cleared. Stick it in the fridge to cold crash if you need to.
 
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Seeing as it’s been over two weeks since you started this, I’d follow the above advice and call this an experiment and start the next batch off right.
Hey, at least with a short/session mead like this, you should be able to drink it once it’s cleared. Stick it in the fridge to cold crash if you need to.
I appreciate the ideas. Could be a good supplement to a mixed drink as well I suppose.
 
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