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Please help

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Registered Member
Feb 24, 2023
Rhode Island
Hello everyone, newbie here .

Fermenting a small 2 gal batch of 5LB Strawberries and 5LB Honey. EC-1118 Yeast.OG 1.083. Airlock bubbling like crazy with foam on top of strawberries for around 3-5 days .
7 days later, airlock bubbling is almost to a complete holt and no foam on top of strawberries anymore. Smells amazing today on day 8.Took a Gravity reading at .994. Which is 11-12% ABV Correct?

-Should i keep my strawberries in for the minimum of 14 days in primary ?

-When and how to use Potassium Sorbate,Bentonite ?

-Do I have to know about Wine Tannins in mead?

-Is Sparkolloid Powder ,Gelatin Finings and Bentonite going to do the same thing?

- Do I have to use anything ?

-Should I be using any other products to put into my mead?

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 27, 2010
Ottawa, ON
I'm late to the party but 14 days should be a maximum for any kind of fruit in your must, you're not going to get more flavour out of it and you might start getting off flavours as the fruit starts to disintegrate.

If you're just starting out, work on sanitation and fermentation management first. Balancing out the taste of a mead that's not quite what you want is something that can be done afterwards, even if you just do basic things to a mead sample with honey to backsweeten, with something acidic like lemon juice, or something tannic like strong tea. If your fermentation management or sanitation are lacking though, you may not be able to correct things later.

Do some research on stabilization, I think we have a newbee guide around here somewhere with some really useful information. I don't know exactly where it is right now because the website's been redesigned a few times over the years since I've last needed to refer to it, might be on the main gotmead page rather than the forum page. Long story short, both metabisulphite and potassium sorbate are recommended to keep the yeast from reactivating at some later inconvenient time, it also gives your mead a better chance to age gracefully. I also get a way more wicked hangover from overindulging in unstabilized meads than stabilized, but that might just be a me being weird thing.

I can't remember exactly which one is what charge, but bentonite is charged oppositely from gelatin/sparkolloid. If one doesn't work to clear your must, try the other. I usually just choose the lazy way and give it a long time to settle out, but if I'm in a hurry or if something's stubborn, I'll start with bentonite because it's easier to prepare and add to the must, any gelatin based fining will need to be heated and that's a pain in the butt and I'm lazy. You can also get two-step fining agents like chitosan-kieselsol which I think take care of both positively and negatively charged suspended particles. I've got some of those packets saved up from wine kits where I didn't need them, I only use that if something's being unreasonably stubborn.

You can do some research on tannins too, you should be able to find a chart which tells you what fruits have a lot of natural tannin and which don't, and you should be able to find out some different kinds of tannins you might want to add. That tongue-scrunching, drying feeling you get from strong black tea or a really tannic red wine, that's from tannins, and they can add something to a mead that's not quite what you want, but if you're just starting out, I wouldn't worry about it until you have a baseline to start with.
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