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My First Mead (Raspberry Melomel) Long Lag

Manboy

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 17, 2019
7
0
0
Hello, all. I am new to the forum and looking forward to learning and sharing. I have brewed a lot of beer, but just started my first mead, a raspberry melomel. I am accustomed to seeing a quick and vigorous fermentation start with beer, but 50 hrs. after pitching my mead has only a very thin foam that may simply be from my twice daily aeration. I can't measure pH because the digital meter I got from Amazon is defective. Should I not be concerned? Shooting for around 14% ABV, medium sweet, medium raspberry flavor and berry and honey aromatics. No boil method. Open primary fermentation.

5 gallon batch
15 lbs local honey (mixed pollen sources but delicious)
Starting SG 1.11
8g 71B-1122 yeast rehydrated with Go-Ferm
Fermaid K in 2 doses of 2.25g, Just added first dose because of slight foam, next will be at 1/3 sugar depletion around SG 1.07
6.5 lbs raspberries from my own garden. Frozen now. Planning to add to secondary. I have nylon mesh bags. When? How long?
French medium toasted oak cubes. How much? When to add? For how long?

Probably too many questions in one post from this noob. If you can help answer just one I will be quite grateful.
 

4give

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Jan 1, 2018
284
3
18
Montrose, CO
Welcome Manboy,
One thing to check is where your SG is now. If it's decreasing, then it's fermenting - I think that's the same way with beer, but I've never brewed beer. It might help if we know what the temperature of the must is as well since it should be within the range for 71B (59-85 F). Visual indicators can also be very tiny bubbles coming up - I can typically hear them if I can't see them due to the use of a bucket and fruit floating around on top. If SG is the same, then I'd think there's reason for concern and maybe repitch. Others here may have more thoughts.

Find the podcast area on GotMead (Got Mead live), and look starting around August of 2017 and forward. Ryan Carlson (aka Squatchy) has a few good recordings in there. I think the oak one is in August, and his modern mead making series starts on 9/5/2017. Oak is sort of up to you, but I'd start conservative and taste every couple of weeks. Once you get to where you think you like it, then rack, or take the oak out (if using immersion tube). I've only used xoakers so far, and stuck with 1 sphere per gallon for at least 4 months.

If you're adding the fruit in secondary, then I'm assuming you'll be stabilizing first. Again, depends on taste, but my experience is 10-14 days on the fruit.

Hope that helps!
 

Manboy

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 17, 2019
7
0
0
Thanks 4give. I will check SG tomorrow but it seems like a long lag. Appreciate the tip on stabilizing before adding fruit. I was always concerned about opening the fermentor often for beer but it seems to be necessary for wine/mead. I will watch the podcasts
 
Last edited:

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,203
26
48
Denver
You should repitch. I look for lag to be over in hours. Make sure to atttemperate your yeast slurry with your must slowly until they are the same temp.
 

Manboy

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 17, 2019
7
0
0
So the morning after my previous post I was planning a trip to my homebrew store for more yeast and Fermaid K to repitch but lo and behold I had a krausen. I just tonight reached 1/3 sugar depletion and fed again
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,203
26
48
Denver
So the morning after my previous post I was planning a trip to my homebrew store for more yeast and Fermaid K to repitch but lo and behold I had a krausen. I just tonight reached 1/3 sugar depletion and fed again
Good deal.

I failed to mention. I like to keep my must at room temp until my yeast gets off. It's then that I start feeding and at the same time start to reduce my temps.
 

Manboy

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 17, 2019
7
0
0
Sounds very smart indeed. I have no way to reduce temps other than a tub with water, a towel and a fan swamp cooler. If I set it outside it will freeze. Indoors it is 68-70 F. I may have injured the yeastie beasties if I used the distilled for rehydration by accident. It is on the same shelf as the spring water. It would be the one of the most stupid things that I have ever done. Certainly I will one day do something even more stupid
 

Manboy

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 17, 2019
7
0
0
A bit of detective work and it is clear that I did not grab the distilled by mistake. It was spring water. Fermentation is progressing nicely. The raspberries from my garden are in my freezer. I froze them fresh without washing first. Can I just thaw and bag them and rack onto them in secondary or should I thaw, wash, boil first? I am thinking that any wild yeasts/bacteria were killed by freezing or will simply not be able to compete following primary fermentation but idk
 

Squatchy

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Nov 3, 2014
5,203
26
48
Denver
Freezing doesn't kill anything. I would wash them well and then toss them in the mead if you have a higher ABV that 10%
 

Manboy

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 17, 2019
7
0
0
Thanks. I suspected as much. ABV will be above 10% so washing and adding when the time is right. So excited to be brewing my first mead and loving the podcasts so far esp the one on oaking
 

Odin

NewBee
Registered Member
Apr 10, 2020
2
0
1
Northern CA
So exactly how long was it from pitch to active fermentation? I’m at 48 hours right now on my first batch and nothing at all yet