Strange hydrometer reading, possible infected mead?

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ChiefMead

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Hey everyone! New mead brewer here and I was hoping to share my possible mistake and hopefully learn about what is going on and save others the trouble. Take it easy on me haha

Anyway, I started a 1 gallon batch of mead late last year. I got a good 1080 reading on the hydrometer before fermentation. Then after it had fermented for the guts of a month and stopped bubbling away on the airlock, I decided to test the reading again and maybe rack it. I got a reading of 1044 which was a bit high but I was using more honey than the last batch so I think the yeast struggled to eat it at the same rate as my first gallon. Also I didn't use a nutrient this time either. I clearly wasn't thinking straight so I decided to rack it and also use a mesh filter to remove some extra sediment that could be picked up by the syphon. (If I could go back and tell myself not to do this I would) I then got a reading of 1010, much better, I thought. Silly me, looking back it seems that the mead probably needed more time or nutrient to continue fermentation rather than a rack or filter. Or perhaps try a secondary fermentation with some fruit.

It aged for a month or two before I tested it again. Now the reading is back up to 1040 and it is cloudy with a hint of cleaning alcohol in the smell. I believe I let way too much air get to it when straining it, I also think there wasn't enough nutrient for the yeast to eat the larger quantity of honey. I wanted to make sure my suspicions were correct before I reluctantly gutter this batch and label it an infected mead in the log. Can anyone spare some time to put me right on this one?

Thank you in advance
 

CKuhns

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I would suggest (as you probsbly already know) your hydromter reading of 1.010 was not correct.

You did probably add some air causing oxidation but if protected with a good air lock after probably not all that bad.

Could you have gotten some bacteria into. Yep maybe. If you think so or it shows mold or very strange krausen then not much you can do.

If its not infected and your looking to try to save this batch...
1. Shake it to suspend the solids remaining (if any)
2. Bring it to a slightly warmer place in the house. 5 to 10 deg F
3. Additional nutrients at this point will likely not help.
4. If after a few days its still not fermenting get a champaign yeast. Something like EC 1118 start it for a day or so in some of your must and pitch it in.
5. If none of that works. Let it clear and drink it or dump it if you think its gone off then chaulk it up as a learning excercise and try again.
 
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ChiefMead

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Thank you for this info! I'm going to give it a good look over and check if these options can help. Whatever the outcome I've learned a valuable lesson here 😉
 
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