Re: fermentation speed
Well let's call that about .75 lbs of honey @ 36 PPG ((specific gravity) Points per Pound per Gallon), for 27 gravity points. Then you have 2 gals cider @ about 40 PPG for 80 and a total of 107. But is it a 5-gallon batch, meaning the must was diluted to a 5-gallo volume with water? That would be a starting gravity of only 1.021, for a potential alcohol of about 2.7%. If it was undiluted, 1.107 will yield a potential alcohol of a little over 14% which is more in the "typical" range. For more on these gravity reckonings, see the Intro stickied thread.
Yes racking incurs volume loss, which is part of the reason I don't subscribe to the frantic racking schedules that many recipes recommend. Let the lees settle until they're firm (compact) before racking to reduce how much you have to leave behind, especially in small-volume batches like 2 gallons.
And Barry you're completely correct; your process where the siponate is being discarded (or consumed) doesn't pose any risk to the remaining batch. My misunderstanding.
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO