How fast should a mead ferment?
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    672

    Default How fast should a mead ferment?

    So I decided to dive into making mead this year. I've made a couple batches of wine in the past but mead is new for me.

    It has been fermenting since October 3rd. I have an airlock in place and the most bubbles I've seen coming out are at a rate of about 15/minute. When I've made wine in the past, the first few days that airlock was bubbling like mad. Is mead different? Should I be concerned? The temperature in the room is between 65-70 degrees if that matters much.

    Thanks...
    Working beeyards at 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
    Visit us at Best Raw Honey

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,800

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    The temperature and the variety of yeast matters a lot. A slow cool ferment generally speaking results in a better product than a warm rapid fermentation. Also, the fermentation can be done but bubbles will keep trickling out for weeks after. The use of a Hydrometer and knowledge of the original specific gravity and where you are currently at when measured answers a lot of questions and cures a lot of guess work. What yeast are you using? Original SG?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    672

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    The yeast is a Lalvin D47. I was looking for a sweeter mead and started with an SG of about 1.12.
    Working beeyards at 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
    Visit us at Best Raw Honey

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    bubbles through the airlock about 15 times per minute you say? That's once about every 4 seconds, still a fairly vigorous rate. I wait until it's to about 1x per minute, then transfer to secondary fermentation.
    If you're looking for a sweet mead, you'll probably want to let it finish fermenting, then taste it, and add potassium sorbate, then some sweetener (simple syrup made from sugar or honey) to taste. Less chance of restarting the fermentation in the bottle that way.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,800

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    You should get a fairly sweet mead with that SG and that yeast. A cool fermentation is definitely best with that yeast and just give it time. D-47 is normally used to make melomels, because it enhances the fruit flavors. Did you put any yeast nutrient or energizer? That can really change the rate of fermentation too.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    672

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Did you put any yeast nutrient or energizer? That can really change the rate of fermentation too.
    I put in a handful of raisins and then also a cup and a half of crushed ripe strawberries.
    Working beeyards at 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
    Visit us at Best Raw Honey

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Canon City Colorado
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    As was stated above yeast and temperature play an important role in fermentation but there is a third and that is nutrients which you have covered with raisins and strawberries. Your SG some would say is high and will result in a sweet mead.... I beg to differ as D47 will ferment that dry! I like sweet mead with a high ABV so I start very high gravity 1.170 which some would say is impossible.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoRaptor View Post
    As was stated above yeast and temperature play an important role in fermentation but there is a third and that is nutrients which you have covered with raisins and strawberries. Your SG some would say is high and will result in a sweet mead.... I beg to differ as D47 will ferment that dry! I like sweet mead with a high ABV so I start very high gravity 1.170 which some would say is impossible.
    Beg to differ all you like. Facts are facts. Lalvin D-47 yeast has an alcohol tolerance of 14% with only medium variation. A Specific Gravity of 1.120 will produce 18.16 Alcohol by volume. leaving .025 SG in residual sugar. Which is considered sweet in most judged events.

    BTW Raisins and Strawberries do NOT add Nutrients raisins add Tannin and body, and strawberries simply add character. DAP add nutrients!

    In response to the original question. a slow ferment is most preferable when making meads. Rather that attempting to facilitate a fast ferment by keeping the must warm. I try to keep it cool usually accounting for the temperature increase of the ferment and keeping the ambient temperature in the minimum zone for a complete ferment. This results in a mead that will be smooth regardless of the alcohol content. And keeps the Hot tongue biting pepper out of the alcohol. Resulting in a mead even with high ABV that warms in the chest rather than burning to the bottom of the pit.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    672

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    DAP add nutrients!
    Tenbears, not sure what "DAP" means. Should I add something else?

    It seems to be fermenting right along. I watch the bubbles every evening and since adding the strawberries, have counted the following number of bubbles per minute through the airlock:

    10/14/16 - 19
    10/15/16 - 18
    10/16/16 - 19
    10/17/16 - 19
    10/18/16 - 18
    10/19/16 - 17
    10/20/16 - 16

    This batch was started on 10/03/16.

    Thanks for the advice guys...
    Working beeyards at 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
    Visit us at Best Raw Honey

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: How fast should a mead ferment?

    Bubbles in the airlock are actually not a reliable indicator of fermentation progress. A mead fermented to dryness can still produce bubbles within the airlock as it off gases Co2. A SG reading is the only real way to determine if the fermentation is complete Even with residual sugars calculating alcohol tolerances and an unchanged 3 day SG reading indicates a ceased fermentation.

    Yeast nutrients are important for a thorough ferment, Meads/wines that starve for nutrition can produce H2S Hydrogen sulfide which gives some brews that rotten egg, or burnt rubber smell, These if left unchecked can convert mercaptins which are difficult to remove and can ruin the mead. We are not going to go into a disortation on this matter now. However, the best way to avoid the problem is to ensure a proper ferment by providing proper yeast nutrients. DAP is Diammonium Phosphate, which nourishes the yeast throughout the fermentation. Yeast hulls, Vitamin B complex, food grade urea are also helpful in nourishing the yeast for a proper ferment. When adding nutrients I add 1/2 the recommended amount at the start of fermentation. and 1/2 when the SG has dropped by 50% +- Yeast Nutrients and yeast energizer are available from LD Carlson or BSG. your local brew store should carry them or can get them.
    However At this stage of the fermentation in your brew I suspect the time has past and the ferment is done or near done.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •