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Doxman

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So I started my traditional mead on 12th of August.
I'm using Lalvin EC-1118
5 gallons of water and 15 pounds of honey.
My primary is on for 4 weeks now and it barely slowed down, still a lot of activity. Unfortunately I don't have hidrometer to read gravity.
My question is should I leave it more in primary or should I take some action?
 

IslandLizard

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Leave her in the primary until it's completely done fermenting.
Your mead needs all the yeast she's got in there to help finish it. Reason is, it gets more difficult for the yeast to ferment as the alcohol level rises.

You'll know when she's about done fermenting when you see the mead clearing. I'd give it another 2 weeks after it starts to clear, at slightly higher temps.
 

MX1

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You are going to need to get a tool for measuring gravity, whether that be a hydrometer or refractometer. However, without an original gravity reading using a refractometer now would just be guessing because you need the OG to correct the reading with alcohol. Your estimated OG should have been between 1.1000 - 1.1200 (If I figured it right) so if you get a refractometer then you can start there for the correction value.

I will answer your question from a beer wort point of view, because I am still waiting on my 1st two batches to finish up.
You need to have an understanding of where you want your mead to finish, either Dry (1.000) - Medium (1.010-1.020) - Sweet (1.020 - +)
The only way to tell if it is done, or done to the level that you are looking for is to measure the gravity. For me, the only way to judge the stage/state of fermentation is to measure gravity.

T
 
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Doxman

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Leave her in the primary until it's completely done fermenting.
Your mead needs all the yeast she's got in there to help finish it. Reason is, it gets more difficult for the yeast to ferment as the alcohol level rises.

You'll know when she's about done fermenting when you see the mead clearing. I'd give it another 2 weeks after it starts to clear, at slightly higher temps.
I've tasted it a few times, it's becoming pretty strong but it's still not cleared a tiny bit, you can definitely tell it's not gonna be done so fast. I am just worried about keeping it for too long in primary I guess?
Never used this much honey on 5 gallons, and it tastes awesome so don't want to ruin it from here :D
 
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Doxman

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You are going to need to get a tool for measuring gravity, whether that be a hydrometer or refractometer. However, without an original gravity reading using a refractometer now would just be guessing because you need the OG to correct the reading with alcohol. Your estimated OG should have been between 1.1000 - 1.1200 (If I figured it right) so if you get a refractometer then you can start there for the correction value.

I will answer your question from a beer wort point of view, because I am still waiting on my 1st two batches to finish up.
You need to have an understanding of where you want your mead to finish, either Dry (1.000) - Medium (1.010-1.020) - Sweet (1.020 - +)
The only way to tell if it is done, or done to the level that you are looking for is to measure the gravity. For me, the only way to judge the stage/state of fermentation is to measure gravity.

T
Yes, I definitely understand importance of reading gravity, I'm still a rookie in this world but I would guess that reading tool is going to be my next step :)
 

IslandLizard

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I am just worried about keeping it for too long in primary I guess?
There's no such thing as too long in the primary if you want it to completely ferment out (it will be very dry by then). Yeast doesn't autolyze (die) in 1-2 months, especially when she's kept active.

Now if you want to keep the mead sweeter, you'll need to stop the fermentation before it's completely done, as @MX1 said. Or back sweeten it with more honey, or even use a different one.
 

MightyMosin

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15 pounds of honey topped up to 5 gallons should have given you an OG of ~1.108, which when it is done being fermented dry, should get you ~14.3% ABV.
EC-1118 shouldn't have any issues taking it completely dry. As others have stated, you'll have to decide if you want to try and arrest the fermentation before becoming dry or to back sweeten after it completes if you don't like the dry flavor.
For me, I let it go dry to see how I like it and then adjust as needed... it's too difficult to try and stop it at a particular SG reading.
 
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Doxman

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15 pounds of honey topped up to 5 gallons should have given you an OG of ~1.108, which when it is done being fermented dry, should get you ~14.3% ABV.
EC-1118 shouldn't have any issues taking it completely dry. As others have stated, you'll have to decide if you want to try and arrest the fermentation before becoming dry or to back sweeten after it completes if you don't like the dry flavor.
For me, I let it go dry to see how I like it and then adjust as needed... it's too difficult to try and stop it at a particular SG reading.
My plan was to let it finish and then back sweeten it, never tried back sweetening before, this is maybe my 6-7th batch of mead ever.
 

bernardsmith

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It's not easy to stop a fermentation in mid-flight. Simply adding K-meta and K-sorbate often does nothing if the colony of yeast is large and healthy. You need to remove the yeast and to do that you need to anticipate the final gravity you want and cold crash so that the yeast go into a torpor in the fridge and so stop fermenting. At cold temps , the yeast will drop to the bottom of your fermenter - over a few days or week or so, and so you rack off the yeast and repeat that cycle two or three times. Your carboy will have very few viable yeast at that point and so you can usefully stabilize with K-meta and sorbate..
 

MX1

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From a beer poi t of view

When I cold crash I do it hard...set my chamber(Fridge) as cold as I can get it...no messing around...
 
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