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Thread: When to rack.

  1. #1
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    Default When to rack.

    Making a semi sweet mead using 71b, It's been a little more than a month. The air lock bubbles about every 10 sec. It seem it has slowed down quit a bit in the last few days. Donít want and bad taste from the lees.

    Thought I heard I should wait until it bubbles once every 30 sec. But thought I should be there by now.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    It is probably getting to be time to rack--the first time. Going by bubbles is a risky business. Did you use a hydrometer and know the specific gravity you started with? You can test now and see if that specific yeast has reached its alcohol tolerance. 71b always finishes sweet for me at less than 14%ABV. The temperature of your fermentation and the nutrients added in your must have a lot to do with that though. I would rack and plan to rack again when the mead clears.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    I would rack it now. Get a hydrometer reading and taste it. You will have suspended yeast to continue fermenting if needed. What is your batch size? For a 5 gallon sweet mead batch I would use more like 12 - 14 lbs without fruit. If it comes out to dry you can always back sweeten but for any sweet mead make sure you sorbate when done or take a chance of bottle bombs and blown corks

  4. #4
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    It is probably getting to be time to rack--the first time. Going by bubbles is a risky business. Did you use a hydrometer and know the specific gravity you started with? You can test now and see if that specific yeast has reached its alcohol tolerance. 71b always finishes sweet for me at less than 14%ABV. The temperature of your fermentation and the nutrients added in your must have a lot to do with that though. I would rack and plan to rack again when the mead clears.
    I would agree with this.... Hydrometer is the only way to know for sure.... If you don't have one and plan on making more mead I think you will find it well worth the investment..... Also very useful in determining your 1/3 break for your step feeding.....

  5. #5
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    If FlowerPlanter doesn't have a hydrometer at this point what good would a reading be now? If they dont have a starting gravity there is nothing to compare a final gravity to. Plus in a semi sweet or sweet there will be final gravity. Even after fermentation stops completely there will be viable yeast floating around waiting for better conditions As I stated earlier taste it and either add more pasterized honey for more sweetness and stop the fermentation with potassium sorbate

  6. #6
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    If FlowerPlanter doesn't have a hydrometer at this point what good would a reading be now? If they dont have a starting gravity there is nothing to compare a final gravity to. Plus in a semi sweet or sweet there will be final gravity. Even after fermentation stops completely there will be viable yeast floating around waiting for better conditions As I stated earlier taste it and either add more pasterized honey for more sweetness and stop the fermentation with potassium sorbate
    True, not much they can do now..... This batch "is what it is"....

    If you don't have one and plan on making more mead I think you will find it well worth the investment.....
    As quoted above, was focused on if they were planning on making more mead in the future.....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Right before I racked it, it was bubbling every 20 sec or so. Still very cloudy. I do have a hydrometer and I did write down the starting SG (I will have to look and take a new reading). When I racked the mead it bubbles once every 5 min. I put the must in a cup in the refrigerator let it settle and poured the good off the top, it has a good taste on the sweet side and just a hint of bubbles.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Right before I racked it, it was bubbling every 20 sec or so. Still very cloudy. I do have a hydrometer and I did write down the starting SG (I will have to look and take a new reading). When I racked the mead it bubbles once every 5 min. I put the must in a cup in the refrigerator let it settle and poured the good off the top, it has a good taste on the sweet side and just a hint of bubbles.
    Sounds good..... How does it smell? Any sign of sulfur?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Smells like honey, no sulfur smell. What's sulfur smell mean. The lees?

    The starting SG was 1.115 and now it is 1.080
    Its been a month and a week in the cold basement.
    It's bubbling every 30 sec now.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Smells like honey, no sulfur smell. What's sulfur smell mean. The lees?

    The starting SG was 1.115 and now it is 1.080
    Its been a month and a week in the cold basement.
    It's bubbling every 30 sec now.
    Sounds like it's coming along fine..... The sulphur smell would indicate either stressed yeast or a breakdown of the lees.... 71B is more susceptible to this than many other yeasts..... An OG of 1.115 and a current reading of 1.080 gives you 14.5% alcohol (1.115-1.080)/.00736.... 71B is usually good for 14-16% so you are in the ballpark though 1.080 is still really sweet... Still bubbling so your yeast is still working so you might be ok for what you are looking for.... Give it time.... Meads are slow but well worth it....

    Do you degas?
    Last edited by Bob J; 02-28-2013 at 06:56 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    It looks like you have a stuck fermentation, you only currently have about 4.8% alcohol and have a long way to go. You may want to move it into a warmer area so it can ferment more. Did you add any nutrients? WVMJ

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    Smells like honey, no sulfur smell. What's sulfur smell mean. The lees?

    The starting SG was 1.115 and now it is 1.080
    Its been a month and a week in the cold basement.
    It's bubbling every 30 sec now.
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  12. #12
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVMJ View Post
    It looks like you have a stuck fermentation, you only currently have about 4.8% alcohol and have a long way to go. You may want to move it into a warmer area so it can ferment more. Did you add any nutrients? WVMJ
    Crap, you are right..... I subtracted 1.008 instead of 1.080...... WVMJ has it right.....

  13. #13
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    no nutrients, I added about 30 rasins and a few cloves.
    I will warm it up to about 68 and see what happens

    Thanks

  14. #14
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    Default Re: When to rack.

    Nothing wrong with any of the previous advice but I will offer a counterpoint: I've been fermenting mead for a few years now and have never racked a batch until it was essentially done with primary fermentation (of course with mead, it is REALLY hard to tell when it's done fermenting). It will have stopped bubbling LONG before I rack it. A typical batch for me will sit and ferment for 6-12 months, get racked and sit for 6-12 months before bottling. I've yet to have any issues from sitting on the lees and I don't personally know any meadmakers who have. One friend starts a fermentation, lets it go for 12-18 months and then bottles it. His meads are always fantastic.

    In a nutshell, I wouldn't sweat a straight or lightly spiced mead sitting on the lees. I do try to be more timely with removal of any major adjuncts like fruit chunks and large spice bags but, otherwise, not so much.

    steven

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